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SolidFace 3D CAD

What Is Digital Design?

Why SolidFace is your digital design solution.

Computers have changed the way we view and interact with the world, and it would not be different in design. Artists, engineers, architects, and many other professionals have adopted new ways of creating projects, utilizing what we know as digital design. Through aesthetics, texture, formats, colors, and images, digital design is a field of knowledge that aims to solve specific problems in digital environments. In other words, digital design is an umbrella term for creating what people see on a screen – computers, tablets, and phones.

Digital design is creating for what we see on our screens.
Digital design is creating what we see on our screens.

As design in general, digital design is not the task of merely adding images, drawings, and colors to a final composition. Designs are mostly created with an objective, which can be selling a product, creating an object, or transmitting a message, for example. To achieve that, the designer must think carefully about which illustration, texture, text fonts, and color palette will impact the most on the consumer.

A food designer used digital design to prove that. She confirmed that through images, the human mind can perceive if a food is sweet, bitter, salty, sour, or umami. She drew facial expressions with determined colors and textures to prove her point. She believes taste can be altered by the food’s color, shape, sound, temperature, and materials used in it. For example, the human mind tends to associate the color pink to sweet taste, while lemon green to sour. In her theory, our brain creates an expectation for the food we are about to taste, making us perceive its taste in advance. 

Besides leading the human mind to a taste, in design, colors can change someone’s mood. Red, orange, and yellow have been widely used by restaurants because they create the sensation of passionate hunger and thirst. Yet, green and brown palettes have been used by organic and healthy restaurants because they allude to the idea of ecofriendly and natural. Does blue make you feel hungry? Most certainly not. It commonly reminds us of water, swimming pools, warm weather, and shores.

Shapes can sell an idea too. Squares and triangles are commonly associated with authority, strength, courage, and reliability because of its sharp edges and straight lines. Meanwhile, circles are associated with magic, and mystery for its long history of reminding us of the sun, the moon, the Earth. It has a sense of eternity, as it has no beginnings or ends. Interesting how design can influence our brains, right?

Let us imagine a company trying to build a website to sell their products. As mentioned, letters, images, even colors change how a customer feels about a company, so it is a digital designer job to create a website that sends the correct message. The digital designer must be capable of showcasing not only the products that that company sells per se but to transmit the company’s culture. So, pretending the company sells sweet candy. It is more likely that our brain will respond better to round shapes and the pink palette than sharp edges and gray.

What taste do you feel with this image?
What taste do you feel with this image?

We need to notice that digital design does not come only in digital art or web designing. It is much more than that. Professionals such as architects and engineers design houses, bridges, motors, prosthetic body parts, and many others in digital platforms through digital design. To produce those projects, many professionals utilize computer-aided design (CAD) software, as it facilitates their job quite a bit.

But wait. What is CAD software?

A CAD (or CADD) software is a tool to create, modify, or improve the design and technical documentation of a project. It enhances the digital designer’s productivity and the project’s quality.

Back in the ’60s, IBM had recognized that using CAD systems was a better way to build projects. It was an opportunity to take designing electronic devices to a new level. As technology advanced, CAD systems brought capabilities that we take for granted today, such as automatically generating bills of materials, interference checking, and much more. Furthermore, CAD systems did not eliminate professionals from engineering nor architecture. Still, they empowered them to build design projects with more precision and quality. Most modern CAD software even allows the digital designer to rotate their 3D creation for a better understanding and modeling of it.

The food designer’s project above mentioned was made in 3D, with different textures and movements to a 3D human face that changed according to the proposed taste. Using CAD software, the designer had created the silhouette more quickly, manipulated it better, moved it, added textures, and was more impactful on the viewer. She also animated her model. Something she would not be able to do without this tool – she would have had to draw the face in 2D with a 3D illusion.

CAD is one of many tools engineers and architects use to create digital designs. It is part of digital product development activity (DPD) within the product lifecycle management processes (PLM). It can be used with other engineering tools, either being modules integrated into the CAD software or stand-alone products.

Some of the other tools that can be used with CAD:

  • Finite element analysis (FEA);
  • Computer-aided engineering (CAE);
  • Computer-aided manufacturing with guidance to computer numerical control (CNC) machines;
  • Photorealistic rendering;
  • Motion simulation; and
  • Document management and revision control through product data management (PDM).

Engineers and architects can digitally design buildings on CAD software and also have many answers to their projects. Through CAD software, they can blend constructed buildings in photographs of existing environments to obtain the final result, for example. Moreover, they can also preview potential blockage of view corridors and simulate shadows.

What else can I digitally design with CAD software?

When it comes to CAD software, the opportunities are unlimited. It can be easily said that CAD software had become an essential tool for society. Through CAD software, digital design and 3D printing have been changing lives, as it has facilitated the designing, study, and construction of various objects and devices. Let us check some examples of how CAD software has been improving our daily experiences.

The world is in a pandemic situation concerning COVID-19 (coronavirus), and the use of CAD software has been critical. Medical engineers have been digital designing 3D printed portable items that are crucial for its treatment and prevention, such as oxygen valves, masks, and sanitizer handles. It was invented a handler that auto sanitizes itself, which was also 3D printed. Beyond that, medical engineers have created a 3D virus model to understand how it works in a better way, so they can come up with more reliable solutions.

COVID-19 virus 3D printed from a digital design.
COVID-19 virus 3D printed from a digital design.

It has been a while that CAD software and 3D printing had become an essential ally to the medical field of science, nevertheless. There are very thriving prints of prosthetic limbs that function correctly, and that are a better fit for the patient. As 3D printing allows a personalized experience, the medical engineer can develop more comfortable prosthetics. That kind of technology can also cheapen those better prosthetics, being a powerful tool to make them more affordable.

Furthermore, there are some successful attempts to print human organs, such as a heart and tissues. There have been 3D printing of noses and ears by a company that acts in bioprinting. They commercialize bio-ink, a liquid to which human cells are integrated, and 3D printed to human organs. 

Printing human organs is a possibility that has been advancing quite quickly, actually. In April 2019, scientists presented to the world a heart 3D printed with living human cells. Even though it is around three centimeters, it has veins, arteries, and other heart full structures. 

A full heart 3D printed with biomatter.
A full heart 3D printed with biomatter.

Even though it is in an initial stage, human organ 3D printing is a reality. In around ten to fifteen years, it will probably save hundreds of lives. According to researches, there is little to zero chances of body rejection as the prototype is made from cells from the patient. That is really amazing.

You can build anything on CAD software. There is a company that has the ambition of 3D printing houses. With a model that was digitally designed on CAD software, they are partnering with a Russian company to print them. Their mindset is to lower costs on building homes, maintaining a sustainable way of constructing. According to them, 3D printing homes can lead to:

  • Less waste of materials;
  • Affordability by the usage of cheaper materials with analogous resistance;
  • Sturdy and secure housing that can resist winds of up to 220 MPH;
  • Net-zero energy consumption, which means when the usage of energy is identical to the amount produced;
  • Utilization of natural materials, leading to sustainability;
  • Compatibility with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices; and
  • Fewer costs with insurance by using materials that lower risks of hazards like fire or roof damage.

Their project intends to construct sustainable and affordable houses – and cities – that produce their own energy and portable water, and that can even survive tornados. Despite being a very ambitious project, CAD software and 3D printing might change the way we build houses today. It can replace many tools and materials we use in construction.

Another exciting project that can be made using CAD software was developed by Dutch digital designers for 3D printing. They cultivate algae and dry them to transform into bioplastic. The digital designers have a strong belief that bioplastic made of algae can replace plastic made of fossil fuels. That innovation can revolutionize the industry as the bioplastic is biodegradable, which makes it a sustainable option.

The use of biomatter for 3D printing has been a subject for a moment now. Some digital designers have constructed household items such as lamps, chairs, and tables from a biopolymer found in fungus, algae, mycelium, and even potato starch. Using biomatter as material for 3D printing is a sustainable solution that can lead us to a cleaner, greener, and better planet. It is known that utilizing biomatter for 3D printing lowers carbon footprint during the making of objects; nevertheless, it also reduces the use and waste of water for their production.

Although 3D printing has been studied and used to solve severe human problems, it can also be used just for fun. Digital design and 3D printing as a hobby is another use of CAD software nowadays. With the growing market of affordable 3D printers, many have been saving money to buy minor versions. They commonly use it to 3D print tools, accessories, and also miniatures of TV and movie characters as decoration. Some have even creatively created 3D models of their children’s drawings.

Character Yoda from Star Wars 3D printed.
Character Yoda from Star Wars 3D printed.

3D printing can also be applied to the making of clothes and accessories, by the way. Fashion companies have been working with small 3D printed pieces that, when united, fits the body perfectly. Though it has been used only for art and high fashion design for its complexity, 3D printing clothes is a possibility in a few years. Furthermore, 3D printers have also made jewelry and other kinds of accessories. It is an excellent ecofriendly option for the use of plastic and metals with less cost in its production.

Even fingernails can be subject to creative ways of using CAD software. Digital designers from New York have launched a series of artificial nails 3D printed. They come in various shapes and colors. It has been a while that nails had become an accessory to be matched with clothes, hats, and jewelry, and their 3D printing might change the fashion game as well.

Fingernail 3D printed from digital design.
Fingernail 3D printed from a digital design.

Advancing a bit further, printing in three dimensions has also made its way to cinema and TV. Utilizing a CAD software, a 3D printer, and imagination, Hollywood had 3D printed one of the main villains of the TV series Stranger Things. 

For that project, Aaron Sims worked with other experienced professionals in designing Demogorgon. With a brief idea of what Sims had in mind, the digital designers were enabled to work on it. They developed a 3D version of Demogorgon using CAD software, and a flower-opening head monster was born. After 3D printing smaller versions of Demogorgon as a test, the team 3D printed a more massive monster, which was painted to what we know today.

Basically, most of the things you can draw in 2D can be 3D printed with the usage of CAD software and digital design. The digital designer can build a template of mostly anything for printing. After designing the model on the CAD software, the 3D printer fuses layers upon layers of plastic and/or metals based on the model created on CAD software. That method of adding material layer by layer is the motive we can also call this process additive manufacturing.

Now, what is additive manufacturing?

As mentioned above, the process of the working layer by layer is additive manufacturing, a faster way to work. There are a lot of benefits of 3D printing a design. Because of exact geometries, and a predictable and specific quantity of material, 3D printing prevents the usage of tools and waste of material.

The additive manufacturing starts with digital design. The digital designer must use CAD software or 3D digitalization to create a model for the printer to follow. The 3D printer software will, then, cut the 3D model to layers of 2D design. On the 3D printer software, you can set dimensions and “resolution” of your printing; depending on the settings you decide, the longer it takes for the printer to print. From there, it starts 3D printing, and there are many ways a 3D printer can work.

The most common 3D printer utilizes the technic of fused deposition modeling (FDM). It consists of the printer’s material injector to warm and pull a plastic filament. This plastic filament is then melted and injected on a base. After it is finished with a layer, the support lowers itself, allowing the injector to start the next layer.

3D printing from CAD software digital design.
3D printing from CAD software digital design.

The time spent for the printer to 3D print its model depends on its complexity of design, resolution, and details, as mentioned. If the 3D design is more complex, then the 3D printer will take a longer time to print it.

Another type of 3D printing is by VAT photopolymerization. In that technique, a liquid photopolymer is used to start modeling the design, followed up by UV rays to cure or harden it. Like FDM, the base lowers itself to start the next layer once the last one is finished.

There are more ways of 3D printing, and you can check more about additive manufacturing on our blog.

But how can SolidFace help my digital design?

SolidFace is a CAD software designed to assist digital designers in their projects. It has multiple assets that facilitate the creation and management of designs. 

Being exceptionally user-friendly, SolidFace 3D builder is a solution that allows you to build your projects with ease. You can open your drawings in a few seconds without the need to bring up all the 3D models in the environment to the screen, allowing you to work on it right away. It is perfect for engineers, architects, designers, and anyone interested in 3D designs.

SolidFace also keeps clutter away by allowing the user to push or distribute parts of high-levels assemblies to sub-assemblies and work with them. There is a decrease in parts that need to be opened, facilitating your work by keeping your screen clean, and your builder with a quicker operation.

Digital design of a wheel made with a CAD sfotware.
Digital design of a wheel made with CAD software.

We offer you some features that are very important to your daily use, such as:

  • Data management: SolidFace has built-in management tools that reduce the costs of separated PDM systems. Any modification is captured and recorded, and it is possible to reverse it at any time, allowing tracking and auditioning.
  • Collaboration: our CAD software brings you the possibility of simultaneously creating, editing, and controlling designs. You can follow modifications in real-time as they are being made. In a few seconds, you can share design data with others, either they are your teammates, clients, or friends.
  • 3D part library: you can directly access a library of more than a hundred million part numbers from hundreds of component manufacturers. And they come in many standards like ISO, DIN, ASME, NF, ANSI, GB, and more.
  • 3D parts: with SolidFace, build your model quicker with powerful parametric capabilities. Observe the design purpose with inter part construction, and feel free to create simple or complex projects.
  • 3D assemblies: complex and detailed models can be created with built-in hardware and parts from other projects or libraries. You can test collision, for example, using the creation of movement simulations. Our unique parametric capabilities make it possible to eliminate the possibility of broken links and missing files.
  • Drawings: automatically and interactively create drawings with parametric references. This is an in-house developed module, which helps showcase detailed illustrations of parts and assemblies with dimension, geometric tolerances, datums, fully configurable drawing properties, and much more. SolidFace CAD software can import and export DWF, DWG, and DWT file formats.
  • Bill of Materials: a group of data comprises a set of attributes that defines denomination, material information, rules, and other features about parts or project details.
  • Parametrization 2.0: your digital designs can be simulated and updated simultaneously with the movement of them. Furthermore, you can reproduce 2D mechanisms that can be shown in 2D drawings or 3D sketch modules.
  • Support: SolidFace’s team works hard to give you personalized support. You can request our help directly on our website. Plus, you can create entry-level requests via e-mail or tickets free of charge. To give you better support, we also make available self-paced tutorials and instructor-led training on our YouTube channel.

We have the best cost-benefit in the market, without a doubt. Check some of our other incredible features.

  • 3D printing compatibility;
  • History construction tree;
  • 3D exploded view;
  • Real 3D simulations;
  • Windows app communication; and
  • Software interface customization.

Our CAD software package includes design, cost estimation, simulation, sustainable design, data management, collaboration, and manufacturability checks. Our integrated modules enable the design of related parts and sub-assemblies altogether, ensuring that every piece is updated in real-time. 

We know that many customers look for excellence in their suppliers, and using tools of lower quality to produce what you or your client needs can be a game-changer in the final product. SolidFace delivers the best quality of CAD software to you. 

Improve how you develop and manufacture your products with us.

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