Exploring 3D Snapshots: Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Process with Interactive Models
November 16, 20232 min read
The manufacturing industry stands on the brink of a technological revolution that redefines how we engage with technical drawings and design data. Central to this transformation are 3D Snapshots – a form of interactive 3D visualization that provides a comprehensive view of a product's geometric and non-geometric data in ways that traditional 2D drawings never could.
What is a 3D Snapshot?
A 3D Snapshot is an interactive 3D visualization that encapsulates a wealth of information found on a traditional 2D drawing and supplements it with dynamic, interactive features. Developed using advanced visualization technologies such as Lattice Technology's XVL, these snapshots offer an initial view set by the author that captures the model in a specific state, such as orientation or assembly status. The consumer is not limited to this initial view and can freely reposition the model, explore cross-sections, perform precise measurements, and interact with an associated parts list in real time.
2D Drawing vs. 3D Snapshot
Traditional 2D drawings have been the mainstay of manufacturing documentation for decades, but as manufacturing becomes more complex, the limitations of 2D become apparent. Complex geometries can be difficult to interpret, and as changes occur, 2D drawings can quickly become outdated, necessitating labor-intensive updates.
Conversely, 3D Snapshots offer a fully interactive and accurate representation of the product, carrying all Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) like dimensions, tolerances, surface finishes, and material specifications. These snapshots enable users to engage with the model in much more intuitive and informative ways, making it easier to visualize complex designs and assess manufacturing processes.
Advantages of 3D Snapshots Over 2D Drawings
Creating detailed 2D drawings is time-consuming and prone to human error. The 3D Snapshots, however, are quickly produced, and information from the native CAD systems is automatically carried forward, allowing users to explore the model for additional details that may have been omitted from the 2D drawing.
The 3D Snapshot is essentially the virtual product. This eliminates misinterpretation and enables a full examination of the design in an interactive environment. Users can virtually disassemble, reassemble, or apply cross-sections to inspect internal details.
Unlike static 2D drawings, 3D Snapshots maintain an integral link with the original CAD data. When design changes occur, updates are automatically reflected in the Snapshot, streamlining the process and ensuring the documentation is always current.
Embracing the Potential of 3D Snapshots
The shift from traditional 2D drawings to dynamic 3D Snapshots is not just about improving visualization; it's about embracing a new paradigm in manufacturing communication. The benefits extend beyond the design team to stakeholders across the enterprise, from manufacturing to marketing, providing a common, clear, and interactive view of the product.