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Happy CADing: From 3D Models to Annotated 2D Drawings

Happy CADing: From 3D Models to Annotated 2D Drawings

If you’re wondering how to generate different views of a 3D model and annotate them seamlessly in a 2D CAD program, this tutorial is a must-read! Today, I’ll use a shaft of a reducer as an example to answer this question.

As always, I’ve prepared tutorial videos and a practice kit for you. Read along and try following me in ZW3D and ZWCAD!

Turn 3D Models into 2D Sheets in ZW3D

Watch the tutorial video to understand the process better

With your part model ready, it’s time to enter the 2D Sheet module and create a 2D sheet (This playlist will give you some idea of 2D Sheet in ZW3D). You can do that in 2 simple steps. First, click the 2D Sheet button in the Document Aware Toolbar or right-click on the graphical area and choose the corresponding option. Then, choose a template in the pop-up dialogue box. The one I used is of a customized A3_H standard.

Figure 1. The 2D sheet template

Figure 1. The 2D sheet template

This time, I’ll show you a 2D sheet in 4 types of views one by one.

Standard View

Under the Layout tab, choose the Standard view to invoke the Standard panel. In it, there are different settings, for example, different angles of the view that you can select to meet your needs, and the X/Y scale (here, I specified it as 1:2). Of course, you can always double-click on the view boundary to edit view attributes. In this case, I deselected the “Show hidden lines” option and chose to show the scale and label.

Figure 2. The Standard view with labels and scales

Figure 2. The Standard view with labels and scales

Broken Section View

As for the Broken Section view, it’s quite simple to create one. All you need to do is to determine the boundary and the depth point.

Figure 3. The Broken Section view

Figure 3. The Broken Section view

Full Section View

To generate a Full Section view, you can select the Standard view as the base view. Then, pick points for the section line and place the Full Section view below the Standard view. If you want to place it optionally, just change the “Location” in “Section Method” to “None”. Also, flip the arrows if necessary. Again, you can modify its attributes like the label prefix and format in the View Attributes dialogue box.

Figure 4. The view attributes of the Full Section view have been customized

Figure 4. The view attributes of the Full Section view have been customized

Detail View

Finally, the Detail view. Pick the base view, points, and note point (which determines where the label will be) first. After that, make it bigger by specifying the Multiplier value, locate it, and refine its attributes.

Figure 5. The view attributes of the Detail view have been customized

Figure 5. The view attributes of the Detail view have been customized

After generating all these views of the part, you’ll end up with a 2D sheet like this.

Figure 6. The final 2D sheet

Figure 6. The final 2D sheet

To export it as a DWG file, the seamless compatibility between ZW3D and ZWCAD is vital. You can simply go to the Tools tab and select Export in the Data Exchange panel. Please make sure that you scale the output properly!

Annotate 2D Engineering Drawings in ZWCAD

Watch the tutorial video to understand the process better

Alright, now you’ve got this 2D drawing with different views on your part, open it in ZWCAD, and start annotating with dimensions, multileaders, and multiline texts.

Set Dimension Style

Most of the time, the default dimension style doesn’t suit your drawing. Hence, you need to invoke the Dimension Styles Manager using the DIMSTYLE command and make some changes. For instance, if the default arrow size is too small, you can enter a bigger value and preview the effect in the manager.

Figure 7. The customized dimension style can be previewed

Figure 7. The customized dimension style can be previewed

Add Dimensions

Next, it’s time to annotate the design with dimensions. You can add various dimensions (linear, angular, diameter, etc.) in different ways. It’s simple yet important, so, keep reading and make sure that you get the hang of it!

First, Quick Dimension (Click here to learn more about it), a dimension-adding shortcut. It’ll help identify the types of entities automatically and create the right type of dimensions for different entities accordingly with only one click. For example, a radius dimension for a circle and a linear one for a line.

Second, continuous dimensions. You can use the DIMCONTINUE command to keep creating linear, angular, or ordinate dimensions according to the previous dimension created or a selected one. It’s super useful when many dimensions of the same type need adding.

Third, baseline dimensions. They are similar to continuous dimensions, except that they are generated from the baseline of the last or selected dimension. If you’re dimensioning the length of a collection of references, the DIMBASELINE command is a great help. Before you create one with DIMBASELINE, remember to set the style (baseline spacing in particular) beforehand.

Add Tolerance

Having added all the dimensions, you can move on to adjusting the tolerance, both dimensional and geometric. With tolerances specified, the manufacturer would have a better idea of how the product should be shaped and sized.

To edit the dimensional tolerance, simply select the dimension and do that in the Properties panel. As for creating geometric tolerances, you can use the TOLERANCE command to invoke the Geometric Tolerance dialogue box and then determine the necessary parameters.

Add MLEADER and MTEXT

Before you create a multileader object, modify its style, such as text height and text color, in the Multileader Style Manager first. Here’s a quick tip: the “Options” drop-down menu on the right side of the Text Formatting editor is useful for inserting fields, symbols, etc.

Figure 8. The useful “Options” drop-down menu

Figure 8. The useful “Options” drop-down menu

Likewise, you should modify the text style in the Text Styles Manager before you create a multiline text object. Next, you’re free to input paragraphs, like technical requirements, as a single mtext. The built-in editor is at your disposal as well.

There you go—a neatly annotated 2D engineering drawing!

Figure 9. The final annotated 2D drawing

Figure 9. The final annotated 2D drawing

This may seem like a voluminous article, but once broken down, it is actually easy to follow, right? Now that you’ve read through it, you should know that engineering drawings can’t be generated without the handy multiple view creating features, the powerful dimensioning functions, and seamless compatibility between 2D and 3D CAD systems. Satisfying all the above, ZW3D and ZWCAD can be your ideal choices to produce annotated 2D drawings from 3D models.

Try ZWCAD for free for 30 days!

Ryan Huang

Ryan Huang

Architect and Designer

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