Dassault Systèmes offers a full range of 3D CAD solutions to match every user’s needs. SOLIDWORKS, CATIA V5 & V6, the 3DEXPERIENCE xApps, and DraftSight are all powerful 3D modeling tools. Yes, that’s right, DraftSight is in that list. Many CAD users aren’t aware that you can 3D model in DraftSight too, not just a 2D drafting tool. So, let’s take a quick look at what DraftSight has to offer for solid modeling.
It’s important to note not every version of DraftSight is a modeler since many users don’t need 3D. Schematics, P&ID (Piping & Instrumentation Diagram), plant layouts, site maps, traditional AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction), and maintenance of legacy files are all common 2D use cases.
For 2D users DraftSight Professional and DraftSight Enterprise are the way to go. For those who need 3D modeling, whether for product design or just playing around with a 3D printer, DraftSight Premium and DraftSight Enterprise Plus have you covered.
Also, DraftSight is a BOOLEAN modeler, not a PARAMETRIC modeler. So unlike CATIA, SOLIDWORKS, and the xApps, DraftSight creates no feature history. The process of creating models is similar, but without a feature tree to manipulate, editing them is considerably different. Not difficult, just different.
Boolean 3D Modeling in DraftSight
If you have a license which includes 3D capabilities, you’ll have a ‘3D Modeling’ workspace available in addition to the ‘Drafting and Annotation’ and ‘Classic’ workspaces available with all versions. The ribbon menu includes multiple tabs useful for working with both 3D and 2D entities. DraftSight uses the same familiar environment for everything. There’s no need to learn different environments for different tasks. To transition from 2D to 3D you just need to learn how to use the Z axis and some new commands.
Boolean modeling is simple. Think of it like working with clay. You start by forming a lump of material in the rough shape you want for the final product. Then you just add to or subtract from the model as needed to get the shape you want.
You can start with normal 2D entities and extrude them to create 3D solid bodies, or start with commands which create simple 3D geometric shapes like boxes and cylinders. Once you have some solid bodies to work with, that’s when Boolean operations come into play. The Union, Subtract, and Intersect commands allow you to combine existing bodies in different ways to add or remove material. Several other commands, such as Fillet and Chamfer, also help modify bodies.
Advantages of Boolean Modeling
Parametric models have strong advantages over ‘dumb solids’, those with no feature history. Parametric systems are extremely flexible, powerful tools, fast and efficient in the hands of a well-trained user. But everything’s a trade-off. That power comes at a cost in complexity, stability, learning curve, and price.
The more complex you make anything, the more there is to break. Parametric systems rely on a web of file relations, which can be mismanaged. Even for highly trained power users it’s easy to make modeling mistakes which cause rebuild errors, resulting in time lost to troubleshooting and tech support.
Boolean models are simple. They have no features to break, don’t need to rebuild, and have no interdependent file relations to worry about, unless you’re intentionally using external references. File size is usually quite small compared to parametric models. The part shown below is only 51 KB in DraftSight, but 321 KB as a fully parametric SOLIDWORKS part. That’s over 6 times the file size!
Modeling in DraftSight offers huge potential cost savings as well. A seat of DraftSight Premium or Enterprise Plus is a fraction of the price of a seat of SOLIDWORKS Standard, which is itself a bargain compared to CATIA. The minimum system requirements for DraftSight are extremely low, so you don’t need expensive hardware either.
Not all CAD users need 3D modeling, and not all modelers need the power and flexibility of parametric CAD systems. If you’re designing state-of-the-art aircraft, a DIY deck in your backyard, or anything in between we’ve got the right tool for your job in our CAD family. So, if the 3D solution you’re looking for is easy to learn and use, hard to break, and easy to pay for, why not take a closer look at 3D modeling in DraftSight?
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