5 questions to ask when modelling components in 3D

You do not need to go through the process of modelling components in 3D if you already have 3D models of your products at your disposal.

The big advantage of modelling components in 3D is that your customers not only get CAD models to scale but also a large quantity of additional information about the products which is useful for their design studies.

Below are some frequently asked questions that will give you more information about modelling industrial components.


Question 1 – What does modelling involve?

3D modelling is a complex field that demands highly specific training.

Whilst there are tools that allow most people to do a bit of 3D modelling today, they are of limited use.

The same is true when retouching photos: amateurs will be happy to retouch their images with Paint while professionals or those that need to make advanced retouches will use Photoshop.

3D modelling is the step in 3D computer graphics that consists of creating – using 3D modelling software – a three-dimensional object by adding, subtracting and modifying its component parts.

3D modelling allows you to test objects before proceeding to the manufacturing stage.

This is known as CAD, or computer assisted design.


Question 2 – Under what circumstances do I need to call on a 3D modelling service?

3D modelling is necessary if the manufacturer does not already possess 3D models of his products.

Whether the products have simple selection* or multiple selection (configuration) options**, if the component supplier does not have existing 3D models, the subcontractor must use their modelling technology to create 3D models of the products.

The models may be parametric or not, depending on the requirements. This mode is particularly powerful for integrating smart parameters in a model, allowing it to be upgraded and produced in several versions.

Once the 3D models have been created, the catalog is ready for publication.

*Simple selection mode: the product selection is made using a simple selection table with X columns representing the different characteristics for the criteria displayed and Y lines for the different product references proposed.

**Selection with multiple options (also called “configuration”): the product selection requires several tables or lists of criteria to make it possible to select a product reference.


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Question 3 – What does the subcontractor need?

The subcontractor must have all the plans needed to understand the geometry of the products. This includes dimension tables.

According to the product selection mode, we generally ask for an extract from the customer’s database to ensure that we have all the necessary information and avoid wasting our customer’s time.


Question 4 – Does modelling components in 3D take a long time?

Everything depends on the quantity of products and in particular the information that you provide to the subcontractor.

The more technical information you provide about your products the easier it is for technical CAD experts to model them.


Question 5 – Are my products secure?

Rest assured: the geometric information concerning your products is simplified and your intellectual property is protected.

Technical CAD experts can simplify the CAD models that you publish to show only the external geometry of your products, without displaying what goes on inside!

Engineers can still select your components and assess whether they are suitable for their assembly.

From the designer’s point of view, the advantage is that your CAD files are smaller and faster to download. And designers still have all the information needed to assess your components and integrate them in their project.

After reading this article, I hope you understand modelling more clearly and exactly what it involves.


To find out more about the technical skills you need when publishing your component catalog online, please download our guide:

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About the Author


TraceParts is one of the world’s leading CAD-content platforms for Engineering, Industrial Equipment and Machine Design. TraceParts brings highly targeted Lead Generation marketing services to hundreds of customers of all sizes and from all industries, via powerful cloud-based API and SaaS applications such as 3D part libraries, product catalogs and configurators.

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