How to quickly model files for metalworking using CAD drawings

Switching between different drawing programs, converting different file formats to your own specifications and adding dimensions manually: all processes that cost extra time and make the customer wait longer for a part. But how do you model files quickly and efficiently? We explain it in this blog article and share three best practices.

What do we mean by modelling?

In short, modelling is the creation of a drawing in a CAD programme. Both in 2D and in 3D. For modelling, you can start with a 2D drawing and convert it to 3D later, or you can immediately start with a 3D model. For example, the customer asks you to produce a part. But before you can start making it, you need to make a CAD drawing with the right dimensions and your own specifications. Modelling is therefore the making of the desired part or sheet metal with a 2D or 3D drawing.

Why are CAD drawings useful for modelling?

Time is money. Also for the metalworker and his customers. Drawing by hand and then controlling a machine is a thing of the past. When your CAD drawing is ready, you transfer it directly to the machine to create the model. Moreover, the drawings help you to analyse whether it is possible to produce the sheet metal in that way. Is a hole too close to a setting? Then there is a good chance that the hole will deform during bending. By using CAD drawings, you work much more accurately, which ultimately reduces failure costs.

In addition, competition is fierce in the metalworking industry. Customers need a part within a certain timeframe so that they can continue with their order. If they have to wait longer for a part because production didn't go well, they will outsource their next order to another metal fabricator. By using CAD drawings, you can take orders into production faster and more accurately.

How do you model files with CAD drawings?

Every metalworker models his files in his own way. But we would like to share three best practices with you:

  1. 1. It's great when you can use CAD software to model in both 2D and 3D, because customers provide their drawings in different file formats. It saves a lot of time if you can load each file format, edit it, convert it to your own standards and export the correct format for the machine (2D or 3D). This also avoids having to switch between several drawing packages.

  2. You want to make as few production errors as possible. It helps if you can automatically produce a sheet metal result. If you draw the result yourself, it is much more sensitive to errors. Hopefully, you will find out before production that the drawing is not correct. But if you're too late, you lose material and the customer has to wait longer for the part. It is therefore advisable to use CAD software that automatically produces a plate layout.

  3. This automation also applies to your production drawings. If you have drawn the front or side views yourself and then want to add dimensions, it is quite a lot of work. It also takes time to convert your CAD drawing from 3D to 2D, or vice versa. Fortunately, there are CAD packages that allow you to do this automatically. This saves your draftsmen unnecessary time and ensures that you can get the part into production quickly.

Do you also want to increase your productivity?

With the right CAD software, you can read in almost any file, for example DXF or STEP files, and model your files efficiently. This is just one of the ways to increase your productivity as a metalworker. Curious about more tips to produce faster with less failure costs? Read our white paper '5 essential tips for more productivity in metalworking'. 

5 essential tips for increasing productivity in the metalworkig industry