The Problem Solving Power of CAD Design

With the ever evolving landscape of design and engineering, Computer Aided Design (CAD) has emerged as a dominant force, moulding the way we conceptualise and solve complex problems. This blog dives into the overwhelming impact of CAD, both in 2D and 3D realms, resolving the intricacies of its problem solving abilities and exploring its real world applications.

The Evolution of CAD Design

CAD Design has undertaken an astonishing journey over the years. From rudimentary 2D sketches to detailed complex 3D models, CAD has continually evolved. Embracing technological advancements to keep pushing against the boundaries of creativity and innovation.

The Power of Problem Solving Using CAD

At the heart of all innovation lies a solution to a problem. In the area of engineering design, this challenge often involves intricate solutions that are not always visible in your mind’s eye. At its centre, CAD is a tool that provides problem solving super powers. This complex tool empowers our design engineers to visualise, analyse and refine their ideas in a virtual environment.

 One of the most potent aspects of the CAD Design process is its ability to bring concepts to life in a virtual environment. In a traditional design process translating mental images into tangible prototypes was a formidable task. CAD has reduced this barrier by providing our engineers with a digital canvas to work from where ideas can be tried and tested before manufacture. Using this technique we can explore diverse concepts effortlessly.

Understanding 2D CAD Design

2D CAD design involves creating detailed flat drawings showing the dimensions and specifications of a component or assembly. Depending on the application, this is a foundational step in the design process, providing a clear blueprint for further development of the product.

2D CAD provides a digital drawing board for design engineers to meticulously plan and analyse their concepts. The simplicity and precision lay the groundwork for more complex 3D models ensuring a smoother process for problem solving endeavours.

The key software that Twenty20 Engineering uses for 2D CAD are, AutoCAD and Draftsight. We also use the 2D draughting tools within SolidWorks and SMAP3D, depending on the nature of the project and industry sector.

What Are The Benefits Of 2D CAD Design?

There are several key benefits to 2D CAD Design.

  • Precision and Accuracy
  • Speed and Efficiency
  • Cost reduction
  • Easy Collaboration & Communication

What Are The Real-World Applications For 2D CAD Design?

There are several key industries that use 2D CAD design for their product and applications, these include:

  • Architectural Planning and Design – Architects harness 2D CAD extensively to create precise floor plans, elevations and blueprints, to aid them with their planning application process.
  • Electrical and Electronics Design – In the electrical engineering sector, 2D CAD is indispensable. It is used to design and create circuit diagrams, schematics and wiring layouts, ensuring the seamless integration of systems and components.
  • Building Services & Industrial Plant Design – All (MEP) Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing design work for new buildings will be carried out in 2D CAD to create accurate and reliable PID drawings to be used for installation and maintenance of building services.
  • Mechanical Engineering – Twenty20 Engineering’s design engineers use the 2D draughting tools within Solidworks and SMAP3D to create detailed part, assembly and fabrication drawings for our projects.

Transitioning To 3D CAD Design

What Is 3D CAD Design?

Three dimensional CAD provides realistic virtual models that increase the power of our design engineers problem solving abilities. 3D models represent the physical attributes of objects and structures, providing a comprehensive view of their form and function.

What Is The Advantage Of 3D CAD Design?

The design team can immerse itself in the virtual 3D realm allowing better visualisation of the components and assemblies that make up a project. The 3D environment makes it easier to solve design problems and helps to identify manufacturing issues and streamline the design process. For example, the complex relationship between multiple parts can be explored and refined, avoiding unforeseen component clashes and misaligned holes.

Twenty20 Engineering makes use of several types of software that utilise 3D CAD. Depending on the project requirements and industry sector we use the following:

  • Tekla Structures – For all structural steel detailing projects
  • SolidWorks – For all fabrication projects (not requiring structural steel)
  • SMAP3D – for all MEP / PID projects

What Are The Benefits Of 3D CAD Design?

There are several key benefits to 3D CAD Design including:

  • Realistic Visualisation – all components of a project, large and small can be viewed as they would be in the real world
  • Enhanced Collaboration – 3D CAD enhances the collaboration between the different stakeholders of a project, for example, the relationship between different assemblies, designed by 2 different teams to go on a new car.  
  • Simulation and Analysis – Simulation Tools integrated into the 3D software packages enable our engineers to optimise the design of our products
  • Rapid Prototyping – the CAD model can be easily transformed into a working prototype, using 3D Printing Technology.

What Are The Real-World Applications For 3D CAD?

There are several industries that make use of 3D CAD for their projects

  • Product Design and Development – in the sector of product design 3D CAD is supreme. Designers create detailed and accurate 3D Models of products and appliances, iterating and optimising the design as they go. This is achieved by running real world simulations and user feedback, helping to develop innovative and user friendly products.
  • Aerospace and Automotive Industries – the aerospace and automotive industries rely heavily on 3D CAD for the design of all aspects of the aeroplane or vehicle. 3D CAD is not just used to design the car but also for tooling design for injection moulding or press forming for example.
  • Medical and Health Care Sectors – in the medical sector 3D CAD has been a game changer. Medical devices, implants and even human organ models have been created. 3D CAD has been instrumental in developing lifesaving medical machines and alleviating the suffering of thousands who need joint replacement surgery.
  • Construction – 3D CAD has fundamentally improved construction times on major infrastructure projects, allowing for better communication between different trades and designers. For example, clash detection and avoidance between structural steel frames and MEP (Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing) building services.

Integrating 2D and 3D CAD Design

Both 2D and 3D CAD are usually used in some form at different stages of different projects, both have their place and are in dispensable to our design engineers. 2 examples of this are:

  1. Structural Steel Detailing – Twenty20 Engineering uses Tekla Structures to create a 3D model of the structural steel item, such as a gantry, mezzanine floor or staircase. The model will contain all of the parts, assemblies and connection details. All of this 3D information will be presented in a 2D format for fabrication and installation.
  2. MEP Design – Twenty20 Engineering uses SMAP3D to produce detailed 2D PID drawings for our MEP projects, before progressing to a 3D CAD Model for pipe routing and clash detection. This enables us to validate our MEP design before progressing with the necessary fabrication and installation drawings.

Combining the best of both worlds with 2D and 3D CAD harnesses the strengths of both systems. 2D CAD provides us with the precision and ease of documentation for a project as 3D CAD offers immersive visualisations, problem solving and analysis. Combining these efforts results in a comprehensive and efficient design process for multi-faceted problems.


In conclusion, the power of 2D and 3D CAD cannot be overstated, it empowers problem solving engineers to be creative and innovative in their solutions. Enabling them to visualise, analyse and optimise their solutions with remarkable precision and accuracy. By continuing to harness the technology designers and engineers can navigate the complexities of the modern world, generating solutions for the future.

As we move forward the integration of AI and machine learning will continue to empower problem solvers, whether by helping to optimise a design solution or by automating repetitive modelling tasks. Increasing the output of future design engineers. Contact our expert engineers to discuss your CAD design requirements today!

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