Two-dimensional design and drafting is still a big part of many companies engineering operations, said Suchit Jain, vice president of strategy and business development for SolidWorks
An engineer at Ashley Furniture, for example, told him this week that the company uses 2D drafting in conjunction with 3D design. Jain has found the melding of both 2D and 3D design not uncommon for other engineers he’s spoken with, he said.
“We help companies innovate; not necessarily only in 2D or only in 3D; it could be a mix,” said Andreas Kulik, director of product portfolio and business development.
With that in mind DraftSight, the 2D design and drafting application offered by SolidWorks, will be available for years to come and will continue to see upgrades, Jain said.
Jain and Kulik spoke at the launch of SolidWorks 2017 held earlier this week in Boston. The three-dimensional computer-aided design software SolidWorks is owned by Dassault Systèmes of Paris. SolidWorks also offers DraftSight as a 2D design and draft program.
“We have customers with 3,000 licenses of DrafSight; the application is going nowhere,” Jain said. “It can get job done and can also create edits and mark ups of 2D drawings.”
The company’s 2D and 3D design packages don’t compete, Kulik said.
“In the CAD space, there are certain aspects of design now done in 3D CAD, but there are some instances where 2D is enough,” he said. “For example, a part without any complex fasteners—like a gasket for a lawn mower, could be fine created in 2D, and so could flattened surfaces, like sheet metal.”
Two-dimensional drawings are also still commonly used to communicate manufacturing information with those on the factory floor, he added.
“And that type of communication is certainly not going away,” Kulik said.
What’s more, drafting programs are easier for engineers and nonengineers to learn to use than are CAD applications.
Also, many companies have myriad 3D Drawing legacy files, saved as .dwg files. Drafting software is still needed to open those files should a design need to be updated or reshaped, Kulik added.
In addition, consultants, small and medium businesses, hobbyists, and makers also use the tool, which runs from $99 to $199 and includes features such as the capability to attach pages of a PDF document to a drawing. Another feature is the application programming interface that allows users to customize and automate DraftSight, said Suzanne Locke, marketing director of community and user advocacy at SolidWorks.
In addition, an enterprise version of the tool is available at $335 for an annual license, she added.
DraftSight is now compatible with SolidWorks PDM, the CAD-maker’s product data management system, meaning 2-D and 3-D designs can be managed within the same tool, Jain said. Because SolidWorks 2017 also includes electrical design capabilities, both 2-D and 3-D electrical and mechanical models can also be managed within the product data management system.
Other features include commands to add, remove, reset, update and assign scales to annotation entities; the capability to easily save, restore, and manage configurations of layer properties and states; and block attributes that feature multiline editing and formatting capabilities for flexible use.