Why Are 2D CAD Drawings Still Important When You Have 3D CAD Models?

Engineering Geek
3 min readMar 12, 2020

CAD (Computer-Aided Design) tools have transformed the design phase in the engineering, architectural, construction, and manufacturing domains. Designers today use CAD software instead of creating physical drawings on a drafting table. Since the last few years, 2D (two-dimensional) drawings work as communication tools for engineers. It helps optimize the overall engineering project, from conceptual design the product layouts.

With the technical advancements and increasing user demands, more sophisticated tools like 3D (three-dimension) CAD software gained immense popularity. It offers myriad benefits in terms of reduced design cycle time and project efficiency. However, professionals still prefer to use 2D drafting when it comes to finishing the job quickly, inexpensively, and effectively.

Let’s look at the benefits of using 2D drawings in today’s fast-paced digital world.

1. Flexible Design -One of the potential advantages of using 2D CAD is that the designs are easy to amend. Unlike with the traditional, paper-based models, it takes only a few clicks to change the layout on a digital platform. That means you can experiment with various options until you are entirely satisfied with the design.

Toward this, a professional drafter can create a realistic reproduction of the finished product and show how all the elements would fit together in the defined space.

2. Easy to Use -3D CAD tools offer numerous functions for the designer. However, many of them are not required to create drawing for assembly, piping, component plans, and more. On the other hand, 2D CAD tools contain only the essential functions, which are easy-to-understand and operate. It includes a layer, line types, line weights, and more.

3. Error-Free -With the reduced number of manual calculations, 2D CAD has minimum room for errors. Design engineers can digitally create various mechanical components along with precise dimensions and alter them based on the requirements. The CAD tool can calculate the changes made in different factors automatically. Further, it incorporates the inputs with the previously built designs.

As a result, you can get accurate, quicker iterations of current designs with minimum manual inputs.

4. Time-Saving -As mentioned above, the 2D CAD software calculates many of the added/updated calculations with less manual input. It allows the designer to focus on the areas that require more attention. Also, digital drawings can be shared across involved teams quickly. It helps keep everyone on the same page, and if errors or changes found by any team member, it can be addressed immediately.

Thus, the process of creating designs of materials, manufacturing, fabrication detailing, or any other units becomes quicker.

5. Cost-Effective -2D CAD solutions are far more cost-effective than advanced 3D CAD. Moreover, as you get the project output in less time, the cost of hiring an expert reduced significantly. Besides, the designs are easy to understand and meet the expectations at first go in most cases, which makes you worry-free from paying professionals for expensive alteration.

Where 2D Drawings are Preferable than 3D Models

• Tight deadlines to complete the project
• Designs are required for a single component
• When drawings require less space
• When the models do not need any 3D functionality
How About a Hybrid Approach?

Utilizing both 2D and 3D can help achieve project optimization far more easily and quickly. This hybrid approach improves interoperability and reduces manual updates. 2D CAD can help create drawings for shop floor requirements and further sharing them with team members, while 3D CAD tools can help perform design analysis, visualization, and error detection.


Despite the widespread use of 3D CAD models, the need for 2D drawings is evident for engineering CAD designs. According to a survey, the design engineers still use 2D drafting, almost 50% in general CAD software utilization.

A reliable partner with requisite experience in providing 2D drafting services can offer high-quality, accurate scheduling and estimation of your EPC project. They can help with the right-fit solution depending on your sector and specific business requirements. As a result, you can achieve a quick project turnaround with the highest return on your investments.