Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and its Role in 3D Printing Services

When it comes to the 3D printing process, designing and modelling are crucial elements in ensuring that your printed products are impeccable. However, it can be challenging to conceptualise, design and make changes to your models, especially with the potential for errors and inaccuracies that may hinder your progress.  

In order to combat this issue, the use of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) services is becoming a more commonly utilised tool to design and develop 3D-printed parts, with teams such as ours at Additive3D Asia providing CAD services in Singapore.

What is CAD?

CAD is the use of computers in creating, modifying, analysing and optimising your designs that are meant for 3D printing. The process is entirely digitised and is significantly more time-efficient than producing physical prototypes. Essentially, CAD is a representation of these 3D printed objects via the file format STL (STereoLithography), with this file subsequently being translated into instructions for the 3D printer to follow.

As previously mentioned, one of the key benefits of this process is that it allows you to significantly reduce the amount of time and money spent on physical prototypes to identify areas of improvement. There are also other benefits such as the ability to draw these models to scale, and contributing to clearer team communication.  

There are generally 3 types of CAD services to choose from:

  • Wireframe Modelling: This method is the least complex of all three, and involves utilising wireframe lines that create a projection of the model. In this method, all surfaces are clearly defined, inclusive of the opposite ends as well as the internal components that usually cannot be seen. Due to the simplistic nature of this model, this method is best used for objects that do not have many intricate components.    
  • Surface Modelling: This method is more complex than wireframe modelling and can provide a more precise representation. Surface modelling allows you to map out a visual representation of an object’s exterior and shape, so you can show the procedural surfaces, validate imperfections and apply smoothness. While very similar to solid modelling, this method does not allow you to “slice” the model open as it’s hollow. Additionally, it’s also at times prone to geometric and physical inaccuracies.
  • Solid Modelling: This form of modelling is considered the most complex and also yields the most detailed representations. While similar to surface modelling, this method allows for a complete representation in shape and form. It also stimulates the model both externally and internally, which allows the model to be cut open, and is engineered to be geometrically and physically precise.

While these methods differ in their levels of precision, one common trait is the ability to make changes to your 3D printed designs, even just before the printing process itself. This is an indispensable asset to have, compared to manually designed models which would require more time and effort to rectify.  

The usage of CAD is also extremely versatile, with industries such as architecture, gaming and manufacturing all integrating it into their own projects. On an international scale, CAD is increasingly becoming a tool used globally for a variety of 3D printed parts. The rate of usage toward these services is projected to increase internationally across the next decade, with Statista reporting a steady growth of CAD market revenue for both 2D and 3D designs.

Try it Now

AdditiveAsia 3D provides you with comprehensive CAD services in Singapore for your 3D printing needs. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your company create an efficient and cost-effective 3D printing experience, you can reach out to us with any questions you may have.