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CAD Software for Students: Moving drawings to 3D with Solid Edge


 When moving to Solid Edge from another CAD system, you may find that you have a lot of legacy 2D drawings. You hate to lose all of the work that went into creating those drawings when you move to 3D, and luckily, you don’t have to. With Solid Edge you can open up DWG files directly into drafting, so you're able to maintain all of those 2D files. Colors and layers even come through, as you can see in the video demonstration at the bottom of this post. To get this into a 3D model quickly and easily, Solid Edge offers a unique tool called Create 3D. In today’s example, we will be walking through the process to convert our 2D drawings to 3D models using this feature.

move drawings to 3D.jpg

To get started, we want to turn off a few of the layers that are shown: The border, text, and center lines layers can all be hidden. Now we’re going to use the Create 3D tool in Solid Edge. From the options menu, we want to include all of the dimensions. This is a third angle projection drawing. Next, we need to establish the front view of the drawing. Select the front view and click next to go to the right and then the bottom. Once we have those in our selection set, select Finish to align those views in the 3D space. Now we can take advantage of that geometry that has already been created, the manufacturing information from the DWG file, and begin to create a 3D model.

move drawings to 3D 2.jpg

First, we need to select the regions created by the intersecting sketches for this particular shape. We can see that it's extruded all the way to the right based on the 2D drawing view that has been aligned. Extrude right to that endpoint, and now notice what happened. The dimensions from the sketch that apply to that depth have automatically migrated onto the 3D model. As we continue, we can see that there's a plate on the front of the model. Again, we will use that intersecting sketch to select those regions to actually drag that plate onto the front. Notice material is being cut away. When we hit the space bar, it changes to add material instead. Let’s pick up the endpoint of this round for the depth, and again notice how the dimensions have migrated from the sketch to the 3D model.

move drawings to 3D 3.jpg

Now let’s take a look at the holes. We’ll go ahead and select those hole regions. As we drag, you can see material being added. Hit the space bar again to instead cut away material. Notice how all of those dimensions migrated onto the 3D model. Next we are going to focus on the rounds. You can see that there's a 3mm round missing from the 3D model which we need to add. There is also a 3mm round along this edge. To make it less confusing while working, let’s go ahead and hide those sketches while we add the rounds to each edge that requires them. Notice once the rounds are added, the 3mm dimension is migrated onto them.

move drawings to 3D 4.jpg

We have one dimension that did not reconnect, which was the 12mm dimension on the first hole. We can fix that very easily. We’ll use the select tool to select the dimension, hold the alt key down, click on the red node, and reconnect it to the end of the extrusion. Now we get the dimension that we're looking for, and those dimensions become driving dimensions in Solid Edge. Let's lock this dimension because we want to maintain the distance to that first hole from the end. If we start changing that, you can see that design intent kicks in to keep the holes aligned and also moves them all at the same time to maintain the dimension that we want. Now we can have this 3D model from the manufacturing dimensions modified however we want using these dimensions that were migrated from the manufacturing drawing. It’s very useful functionality to go from 2D to 3D.

(view in My Videos)

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