Using 3D visualization for design

Today’s blog is courtesy of The Engravers Register website sponsor! is unique in many ways within the CNC industry but by far the most noticed is its heavy use of 3D visualization in order to produce and showcase its designs.

Why use 3D visualization?

Most shops use Corel or to a lesser extent, Adobe Illustrator, to produce line drawings that end up being cut with their CNC based machinery. For all the advantages put towards designing using this method along with trial and error, it can’t replace the power that comes to seeing a design come to place within a 3D environment. All the designs on regardless of how simple they may appear, have their origins in the virtual 3D space. The advantages are numerous including the ability to waste electrons over of stockpiles of wood in order to test a design, accurate designing process that can be exported to numerous formats (3D printers, laser cutters…. ) and relative easy viewing of the model as it’s being designed.

The costs of going 3D

For all the benefits that 3D visualization gives to, there are also a few costs. The biggest is its computing requirements – just about any computer can run Corel but not every computer has the horsepower to run Autodesk’s 3D Studio Max (which is what uses). Another major stumbling block to 3D visualization is the very steep learning curve across a number of areas such as 3D modeling, animation, texturing, lighting (and the list goes on). What uses in both software and hardware to produce a model is equivalent to using a sledge hammer to kill an ant.

If you can get over these two major requirements, given enough time though… this overkill can quickly pay for itself in allowing others to quickly understand a model you make. Take technical support, since 2008, has never had even ONE request for technical support regarding how to put a model together as unlike text, a 3D animation has no language barriers. It can also re-render higher resolution images as technology advances, when the site first stated, it rendered the 3D assembly animations at 320 x 240 pixels but now renders at 1920 x 1080 HD… a massive difference in quality and resolution!

The Bottom Line

There are many ways to produce a design, use what you are comfortable with and don’t be afraid to think way outside industry standards.