Customize Your ZWCAD 2021? Easy Peasy!

Customize Your ZWCAD 2021? Easy Peasy!

You may know a thing or two about the faster and smoother experience ZWCAD 2021 can bring. But is that all? Nah. You can now further customize it to better suit your design habits. In this article, I’m going to show you how to tailor it in several simple steps. So, keep on reading! (And pay attention because free licenses are up for grabs!)

Personalize the Mouse Actions

In ZWCAD 2021, you can customize both double-click actions and mouse buttons in 3 steps. To start with, you need to make sure that the value of SHORTCUTMENU the system variable is 0. Then, input CUI to invoke the Customize User Interface dialogue box where you can see all the default result of mouse actions. Lastly, find and drag your desired command from the command list to replace the default result.

Watch the video below and you’ll have a clearer idea of how it works!

Customize the Ribbon via APIs

Customization is intended for not only users, but also developers in this version. In the past, you couldn’t have the Ribbon interface custom-made without using the CUI command. And that posed a challenge for the management department in enterprises: the customized interface could only be configured to workstations via CUIX files, which was cumbersome and high-maintenance.

Thanks to the new .NET interfaces in ZWCAD 2021, you can add, remove, or edit the Ribbon UI elements such as tabs, panels, and buttons in the add-on development programs. After that, you can configure these modifications to different computers along with other functions of your application, which greatly improves efficiency and flexibility. What’s more, you could make the Ribbon panel dynamically appear or hide according to whether your commands are running or not, which is just a great convenience to you.

Configuring the customized interface to various computers is convenient in ZWCAD 2021
Configuring the customized interface to various computers is convenient in ZWCAD 2021

Moreover, to make the porting of applications even easier for developers, we’ve upgraded Visual Studio® to version 2017 and the .NET interface to 4.6.1. Want to know how other CADers utilize the customization features of ZWCAD to succeed? Check out how Reg Whittaker, a veteran architect from South Africa, boosts his architectural design and drives business by personalizing ZWCAD!

Why not download ZWCAD 2021 to have a 30-day free trial and make it as handy as you like? If 30 days are not enough, take part in our drawing opening event to win free 180-day licenses!

How Fast Is ZWCAD 2021? Here’s Our Side of the Story

How Fast Is ZWCAD 2021? Here’s Our Side of the Story

In the workplace, you can’t emphasize efficiency too much. The minutes saved from waiting for basic operations to be done can be devoted to actual design tasks and increasing output. Therefore, a good CAD program should help you work smarter, not keep you waiting. Thanks to the new graphic engine, the long-awaited ZWCAD 2021 official is faster than ever, especially in terms of drawing opening and basic operations. Let’s take a quick look at how efficient it is! (Pay attention because free licenses are up for grabs!)


We conducted all efficiency tests on the same computer whose system specs are:

1) Operating system: Windows® 10 Pro

2) Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-8500 CPU @ 3.00GHz

3) RAM: 8.00 GB

The Efficiency of Drawing Opening

1,502 sample drawings whose sizes range from 10 MB to 350 MB were opened successively in ZWCAD 2021 Official, ZWCAD 2020 SP2 (its most recent predecessor), and its counterparts, ACAD 2020 and GCAD 2020.

For these drawing opening tests, we’ve coined a value called Z2CR (ZWCAD 2021 Official-to-Counterpart/Previous Version Ratio). It’ll help you better understand the results.


When Z is close to C, Z2CR is approximate to 1 or -1, which means there is little difference in the file opening speed between the two products compared. To make the tests as objective as possible, we have removed the data whose Z2CR is equal to 1 or -1.

Figure 1. Comparing the Efficiency of Drawing Opening
Figure 1. Comparing the Efficiency of Drawing Opening

As you can see, the pie chart above illustrates that 82.7% of the sample drawings were opened faster in ZWCAD 2021 Official than in its previous version, and up to 91.7% were opened faster than in its counterparts. Want to experience the speed for yourself and win a free 180-day license? Check this out!

The Efficiency of Basic Operations

We also endeavor to facilitate the operations users frequently use. As a result, executing basic commands like COPY, MOVE, ARRAY, and COPYCLIP is comparatively swifter in this version. How much swifter? The chart below generated based on the sample drawings collected from ZWCAD users can tell.

Apparently, it costs way less time to run basic commands in ZWCAD 2021 Official than in the subjects being compared. Among them, the efficiency of COPYCLIP has been improved the most dramatically in ZWCAD 2021 (roughly between 5 and 7 times faster than in its counterparts compared). The outstanding performance of ZWCAD 2021 Official can further free you from waiting for simple operations to be done.

Figure 2. Comparing the Efficiency of Basic Operations
Figure 2. Comparing the Efficiency of Basic Operations

By now, you should have a general idea of how fast ZWCAD 2021 is. This new version can help significantly increase your design efficiency, and you are encouraged to tell us your side of the efficiency-improving story (and win free 180-day licenses)!

Try ZWCAD for free for 30 days!

ZWCAD Mechanical 2021 Is Now Available

ZWSOFT today launched ZWCAD Mechanical 2021, the industry-specific version based on its faster and smoother flagship product, ZWCAD. Besides inheriting the speed, smoothness, and satisfying new functions of ZWCAD 2021, it offers more handy features.

ZWCAD Mechanical 2021: Simple Design for Sophisticated Outcomes

Create Congruous Single Holes Easily

Now we have two more options for creating single holes. One is the “By Standard Size” option. Once checked, it allows you to use the standard size whose unit can be metric or inch and thus, spares you from manually inputting the hole diameter, and thus streamlines your hole generation process. Being complementary to the fixed type, it helps ensure that the length of the center line would adapt to the size of the hole proportionally.

Figure 1. Single holes whose center lines are now adjustable can be created by standard size

Likewise, you can adjust the label size in the Hole Chart manager so that the hole label is neither too big nor too small for the hole.

Retrieve Parts Effortlessly from an Orderly Library

As the hub of mechanical design, the part library is always the primary concern. In this new version, parts have been rearranged by types and standards, enabling you to find the desired ones more effortlessly. What’s more, the German one is now available.

Meanwhile, double-click on a part in the library and you can directly edit it in the model space, which boosts productivity.

Figure 2. The rearranged part library helps facilitate mechanical design

In addition to the intelligent design functions mentioned, the APIs of ZWCAD Mechanical 2021 have been enhanced for not only developers to customize the program, but also enterprises to integrate it into management systems, such as ERP and PLM, and share internal product design data.

Want to experience it yourself? Download it now for a free 30-day trial!

ZW3D 2021: Continues to Tackle More Complex Design and Manufacturing Tasks

ZW3D 2021 has been officially released today. Continuing to focus on tackling more complex design, this fire-new version brings forth a great deal of new functions and enhancements for friendlier user experience, as well as more efficient and higher-quality product design and manufacturing.

Friendlier User Experience

Attributes Conversion

Except for supporting the latest versions of most mainstream formats, when importing files, ZW3D 2021 can also read their part attributes, such as Hidden/Suppressed Components and Material.


With the new Coordinate System, you can now create multiple Local Coordinate Systems (LCS), each of which can be activated as a Work Coordinate System (WCS) according to your needs.

zw3d 2021_csys.png
Figure 1. Design with multiple Work Coordinate Systems

Datum Axis

Moreover, the new Datum Axis, which can be generated from a geometric object, can act as the rotation center or help add concentric constraints. The CSYS and Datum Axis greatly increase your design flexibility.

Extended CAD Functions

Sketch & Modeling

G2 continuity between curves is supported, to help you get smoother curves and surfaces by Equal Curvature Constraint. Cosmetic Sketch with abundant symbols and shape marks is ready to provide references for the modeling process.

zw3d 2021_Equal Curvature Constraint.png
Figure 2. Get smoother curves and surfaces by Equal Curvature Constraint

For modelling, G2 Blend is now available for higher-quality fillets and blend faces. And previously, you may find trimming multiple crossed faces troublesome. Now, it can be done all at once with Cross Trim. So convenient and efficient.

zw3d 2021_Cross Trim.png
Figure 3. Trim multiple faces simultaneously by Cross Trim


Sometimes you need to insert virtual components which don’t need to be geometric, like spare parts. In this case, Include Unplaced Component can help.

In addition, Clearance Check can help you guarantee the minimum distance between parts. What’s more, you can edit the attributes and constraints of multiple components at one time by Batch Attribute Edit and Edit Constraint respectively, greatly saving your time.

zw3d 2021_Edit Constraint.png
Figure 4. Edit the constraints of multiple components at one time

Sheet Metal

For some industries, flanges of zero-radius are needed. The good news is that they are well supported in ZW3D 2021. Another important function for Sheet Metal design, Punch, has also been upgraded, enabling you to set fillets, open faces, and even a shape from an external z3prt file.

zw3d 2021_Zero-radius Flange.png
Figure 5. Zero-radius Flange

There are still many new CAD features you don’t want to miss, like Point Table and Dimension Table for inspection by measuring instruments, and the new ECAD module for the design of electronic circuit layout.

Upgraded CAM Capabilities


In ZW3D 2021, you can specify a customized part as a stock. More excitingly, pentagon, hexagon and octagon cutting tools are here to help with your turning work.


The time spent on “Rapid to end” for Solid Verify has been significantly cut down from several minutes to a few seconds compared with the last version.

Machine Builder for importing and customizing external machines, Machine Register for setting the Work Coordinate System and defining the tool compensation, CNC Controller for specifying the controller of simulation, etc. make Full Machine Simulation more powerful.

zw3d 2021_Full Machine Simulation.png
Figure 6. Upgraded Full Machine Simulation


Many ZW3D users have been asking for exporting CAM Operation List to Excel. In ZW3D 2021, it’s ready. You can also customize the template, and show or hide the coordinate. What’s more, Post Editor can now be activated right in ZW3D instead of opening a new browser.

zw3d 2021_built-in Post Editor.png
Figure 7. The built-in Post Editor

With improved user experience, extended CAD functions and upgraded CAM capabilities, ZW3D 2021 takes a further step to help you tackle more complex design and manufacturing tasks. Why not explore tons of new features yourselves? Or welcome to leave your voice in our ZW3D User Group.

ZWCAD 2021: Faster and Smoother

Today sees the official launch of ZWCAD 2021, the faster and smoother version of the powerful, reliable, and DWG compatible CAD solution developed by ZWSOFT.

ZWCAD 2021: Faster and Smoother

Less Time on Waiting, More on the Pleasing UI

Speed, a feature vital to ZWCAD, is at its hitherto best thanks to the upgraded graphic engine. On average, file reading consumes 30% less time in this version than the last one. Also, it only takes half of the time to switch, freeze, lock, and unlock layers. Nevertheless, there is no compromise on stability and display effects. Even at 4K resolutions, objects are adaptive and displayed in better quality.

Xrefs, Easily Managed and Clipped

External references can come in various formats, which makes it tricky to handle them when there was one manager for each type of file. In ZWCAD 2021, Xref management becomes much simpler. In one panel, you can preview and highlight files, check file information, modify file path, etc.

external reference manager-zwcad-0155-zwcad-0168.jpg

Likewise, clip-related commands like XClip have been integrated into one. With the CLIP command, you can clip blocks, Xrefs, images, underlays, and viewports. Plus, it’s feasible to scale clip boundary with grips and invert XClip by clicking the arrow.

Watch more:

Transparency, Adjustable for Distinguishing Objects

Sometimes, it is inevitable that design elements are overlapping. To have a clearer view of them, you can now specify the transparency of objects, hatches, references, etc. individually or collectively if they are in the same layer.


Different Layer Properties for Different Viewports

You might need to highlight some objects for plotting without affecting the design in the model space. Now that viewport layers are available, you can accentuate specific layer properties (layer color, line type, line weight, etc.) for each viewport. Furthermore, VpLayers can be quickly selected with filters and reset.

Learn More:

Quicker Calculations with Table and Field Formulas

Now, the value of table cells can be summed, averaged, multiplied, etc. with formulas and mathematical expressions. Similarly, formulas are available in the Field dialogue box. You can update the fields which are calculated with formulas using the REGEN command. With formulas, calculating is as easy as ABC.


Mouse Actions, Customizable for Personal Design Habits

When SHORTCUTMENU the system variable is 0, both double-click actions and mouse buttons are customizable. In the CUI dialogue box, you can replace the result of mouse actions with your desired command.

Customizable Mouse Actions-zwcad-0157-zwcad-0167.jpg

Of course, ZWCAD 2021 offers many more new features and improvements than the ones mentioned. For example, Visual Studio® has been upgraded to version 2017 and the .NET interface to 4.6.1 for easier porting of applications.

Download ZWCAD 2021 for a 30-day free trial and be ready for an unprecedentedly fast and smooth CAD experience.

Reuse of Japanese Infrastructure Has Increased with ZWCAD

All Japan Data Service Co., Ltd., a firm specializing in infrastructure inspection, has been using ZWCAD to help reuse and ensure the safety of more facilities across Japan.

Against the backdrop of population aging and environmental protection, the focus of developing infrastructure has shifted from quantity to reuse in Japan.

To this end, All Japan Data Service Co., Ltd. (AJDS for short) was founded in 1991 in Tokyo with the mission of providing comprehensive information through field surveys and data analysis. So far, they have spread to Nagoya, Osaka, etc. and have taken on 125 professionals, such as architects, engineers, and surveyors.

Safe and Stable Access to Drawings Anytime Anywhere

Since they mainly inspect structures (bridges, tunnels, etc.), traffic facilities, geological bodies, and urban planning, a powerful CAD solution is a must. However, the overheads have gradually risen higher so that they started looking for a budget-friendlier one. For decades, free CAD software had been tested occasionally, but quickly dismissed due to a lack of stability and the inconvenience caused.

Around 2012, on the recommendation of CHAM, the Japanese ZWSOFT partner, AJDS decided to try ZWCAD. The first test was to assess its stability. When opening large topographic maps in ZWCAD, they were happy to find the process not only stable, but also fast.

Besides, its interfaces and commands are familiar to the technicians, which resulted in lower costs of relearning and training. Moreover, permanent licenses in the form of network licenses and dongles can be used in the office and on-site, respectively, boosting efficiency and facilitating collaboration. Network licenses, in particular, helped them maximize the utilization of software resources and minimize the costs.

Figure 1. An AJDS technician detailing drawings of bridge inspection with ZWCAD
Figure 1. An AJDS technician detailing drawings of bridge inspection with ZWCAD

All things considered, they adopted ZWCAD and appreciated the icing on the cake, “An important reason for making this decision is that salespeople of CHAM genuinely care about our opinions.”

More Efficient Bridge Inspection Thanks to Powerful APIs

So far, tens of thousands of regular bridge inspections have been carried out by AJDS. In 2017 alone, they have inspected over 8,500 times. However, they used to suffer setbacks during such activities because the free CAD software they tested don’t support APIs. The lack of APIs led to complicated and faulty data synchronization because they couldn’t use their internal application, which integrates the results of bridge inspections into the database and generates reports.

Figure 2. The general drawing of a bridge
Figure 2. The general drawing of a bridge

Thanks to the robust APIs and customizable UI of ZWCAD, it is possible to synchronize the inspection drawings with corresponding annotations via the application program. “Porting our program to ZWCAD via the .Net interface has been trouble-free,” AJDS technicians acknowledged. Being able to use their program in ZWCAD has greatly improved their productivity while human errors slumped.

Better Management of Roads with Handy CAD Functions

Apart from bridges, tunnels are essential to road traffic as well. Since their locations usually allow of no detour, maintenance is vital. Visual inspection, rebound hammer test, leak detection, and ultrasonic testing are routinely conducted. Also, photos of the concrete are taken and processed to accentuate the cracks. Then, technicians will insert the processed raster images into ZWCAD with the IMAGE command, trace the damages using PLINE or LINE, and annotate them with ellipses, leaders, and MTexts.

Likewise, to create and edit road profiles, they would first insert images (JPGs, TIFFs, etc.) in ZWCAD and then outline with PLINE. With the standard blocks representing road signs stored in the Design Center, they can easily access and use the ones needed.

Figure 3. Cracks on the tunnel are traced and annotated
Figure 3. Cracks on the tunnel are traced and annotated

Balancing environmental preservation and urban development has always been a worldwide dilemma. Luckily, professionals at AJDS will continue monitoring the safety of social infrastructure and assisting the recycling of them with their considerable experience, expertise, and ZWCAD. They concluded, “ZWCAD is a complete and stable solution that makes our inspection and design of facilities easier than ever. We wish to sustain the long-term relationship with ZWSOFT.”

Happy CADing with ZWCAD: How to Design a Safe Deck?

Happy CADing with ZWCAD: How to Design a Safe Deck?

An ideal place to spend leisure hours? I’d vote for a wooden deck where you’re free to enjoy the sunshine, tweets of birds, BBQ parties, etc. outdoors while staying close to home. And today, I want to share with you some tips and tricks for designing a safe deck (download the design kit here).

In the following article, the whole procedure, including preparations, CADing, material selection, and drawing plotting will be covered. Besides, a tutorial video is also ready to help you understand the design process better. A surprise is waiting for you at the end of the article as well!

Before you start

To build a safe deck that can better withstand the test of time and bad weather, you need to consider a lot of things like obtaining a construction permit first. Also, please make sure that the soil you’re building the deck on is suitable because that could easily be its Achilles’ heel. So, although we’re not focusing on such considerations today, you must attach importance to them.

Preparing the plan

Before designing, you need to first prepare the plan of your house and its surroundings. Such a top view can help you better decide where to locate the deck and the basic shape of it.

A plan of the house and its surroundings to decide the location of the deck
Figure 1. A plan of the house and its surroundings to decide the location of the deck

Then, you can start outlining. At this stage, practicality should be your first consideration. If the ground were noticeably uneven, you should consider designing a multi-level deck.

The basic shape of the deck
Figure 2. The basic shape of the deck will be the base of the design

Next, you shall draw the dividing lines on the deck to represent the placement of the wood. Here’s a quick note: add dimensions to your design! Further, to make it easier to read the drawing, you could use the Super Hatch function to texturize the deck with realistic wood images.

The deck plan
Figure 3. Super Hatch can help make the deck plan realistic

Moving on, time to create the layout of the supporting pillars. Unlike a building, a wooden deck is relatively lightweight and the pillars could be small. Still, you should allow for the moving load on the deck, which means the distance between two pillars is usually about 3m to 4 meters.

How to quickly place them? With the convenient Array function, you can do the job in just 2 steps. (Learn more about ARRAY!) First, select the pillar as the basic object. Then, set the distances on the X and Y axes.

The pillar plan of the deck
Figure 4. Pillars can be quickly placed with ARRAY

Designing the elevation

Now that we have all the plans ready, let’s switch to another view. An elevation is mainly to show the height differences of the deck and its railings. Normally, the deck should be lower than the house floor so that it can prevent the water from flowing back to the house when there is heavy rain outside. As for the railings, it is suggested that you set the height to be 1 meter.

The elevation of the deck
Figure 5. You can easily tell the height differences of the deck and railings with an elevation

Choosing the materials

Whew—we’re now done designing! Let’s talk about the materials you’ll need for the deck. Choosing the right type of wood is vital to lengthening the lifespan of your deck. Antiseptic and insect-resistant timbers are ideal. Depending on your budget, you could select the very durable but expensive ones like red cedar or the fairly durable but cost-effective ones like camphorwood.

The right type of wood is vital to a deck
Figure 6. Choosing the right type of wood is vital

Apart from the wood, you need to pay special attention to the fasteners. Now, screws are preferred over nails which tend to loosen as time goes by. However, not all screws are strong enough for the exterior environment. Therefore, I suggest that you use rustproof ones. Also, if you chose treated timber, fasteners that are hardly affected by the chemicals will be ideal.

Screws are preferred over nails for a deck
Figure 7. Rustproof screws that are hardly affected by chemicals are ideal

Printing the layout

Finally, it’s time to create a layout. First, you need to insert your title block in the layout space for all concerned to check the necessary information, such as the materials and size. Then, you shall decide on the paper size in the Page setup manager. In this case, I think A3 is just fine. Lastly, you could generate viewports using the VPORTS command and organize the layout.

The layout of the deck
Figure 8. The final layout for contractors to check

At last, the whole design has been finished, and you can contact your local contractor and discuss it with them. It’s not that complicated to design a deck yourself, right? With a handy CAD program, it’s even easier. Why not have a try with a 30-day free trial of the latest ZWCAD?

ZW3D 2021 Beta is Now Available for You to Try

ZWSOFT today unveiled ZW3D 2021Call now (+91-9663424573) Beta for testing. The new version brings extended functions for CAD design and CAM programming as well as better user experience, helping you tackle more complex tasks.

ZW3D 2021 Beta

Here are the highlights of ZW3D 2021, and a surprise is waiting for you at the end!

Friendlier Interaction

In ZW3D 2021, user experience has been further improved with some small yet considerate new functions. For example, Command Search helps you quickly search commands by keywords, which is useful for unfamiliar functions. And for repetitive work, Script Record can help by recording the commands as a script, which can be set as a map key to quickly conduct the operation by one click next time. Moreover, the Cartesian Coordinate System is now fully supported, including 2D/3D Datum Axis, Datum Plane, and Datum CSYS, helping with sketch design, modeling, PMI dimensions and assembly constraint setting.

Figure 1. Search needed commands by Command Search.png
Figure 1. Search needed commands by Command Search
Figure 2. Datum Axis is supported.png
Figure 2. Datum Axis is supported

Extended CAD Capabilities

Except for friendlier user experience, CAD functions have been extended for higher-quality design. For sketch design, new functions like Offset Constraint to add constraints to offset entities, Equal Curvature Constraint to realize smoother curves and surfaces, Cosmetic Sketch to provide references for modeling process, etc., are ready for you.

As for modeling, G2 Blend is supported to get filets and blend faces of higher precision, especially benefiting streamlined design. The new Cross Trim function can trim multiple surfaces and sew them at a time.

Assembly has also been remarkably improved with new functions like Include Unplaced Component to insert virtual components in the assembly tree and the 3D BOM, Clearance Check to detect the minimum distance between components, and Batch Attribute Edit to apply attributes to multiple objects simultaneously.

Figure 3. Streamlined design of higher precision by Equal Curvature Constraint.png
Figure 3. Streamlined design of higher precision by Equal Curvature Constraint
Figure 4. The G2 Blend option is supported to get a higher-quality fillet or blend face.png
Figure 4. The G2 Blend option is supported to get a higher-quality fillet or blend face

Optimized CAM Programming

Enhancements in CAM module are also worth expecting. For instance, more types of cutting tools are supported in turning, including the pentagon, hexagon and octagon ones. What’s more, Full Machine Simulation has been upgraded with Machine Builder, CNC Controller, Machine Register, new measuring tools, etc. It helps you simulate the actual machining process more easily and accurately. Besides, the CAM operation list now can be exported to Excel, where you can also show or hide a specific coordinate. Finally, Arc Fitting is supported in 2X Milling, 5X Milling, and Surface Engraving to help generate higher-quality toolpaths.

Figure 5. The newly-supported cutting tools for turning.png
Figure 5. The newly-supported cutting tools for turning
Figure 6. The upgraded Full Machine Simulation.png
Figure 6. The upgraded Full Machine Simulation

To summarize, ZW3D 2021 brings a lot of new functions and optimizations for better user experience and stronger CAD/CAM capabilities. Now the beta package with a 30-day free trial is available. Welcome to try and share your comments with us in the ZW3D user group. Your voices are valuable to help us deliver a better ZW3D.

ZW3D Promotion

Design on Infrared Thermometer in ZW3D

Since the pandemic began, infrared thermometers can be seen in many public places to detect people’s temperature. It has been playing an important role in curbing the spread of COVID-19. So, how to design one in ZW3D? Let’s see!

Figure 1. The infrared thermometer designed in ZW3D
Figure 1. The infrared thermometer designed in ZW3D

Step 1: Draw the rough outlines of the thermometer on the YZ plane. In this step, you can import a photo of a real product into ZW3D for reference.

Figure 2. Draw the outlines of the thermometer
Figure 2. Draw the outlines of the thermometer

Step 2: Create the profiles for the head of the thermometer.

Each profile is a blend curve connected by the intersection points and created according to the outlines. How to create a profile? First, we can use the Reference command to create the start and end points, or the reference points as the picture below shows. Then create two construction lines that are tangent to the profile, and make sure that the profiles connect smoothly after being mirrored. The last step is to create a blend curve, which connects the reference points and is tangent to the construction lines.

Figure 3. Draw the profiles for the head of the thermometer
Figure 3. Draw the profiles for the head of the thermometer

Step 3: Create the surface for the head of the thermometer.

Extrude both the upper and lower outlines, which act as the reference for continuity. Then create the head surface by Curve Mesh command. Remember to set the G1 (tangent) continuity between the head surface and the extruded surfaces.

Figure 4. Create the surface for the head of the thermometer
Figure 4. Create the surface for the head of the thermometer

Step 4: Draw the profiles for the handle and then create the surface for it as the above steps illustrated.

Figure 5. Create the surface for the handle of the thermometer
Figure 5.Create the surface for the handle of the thermometer

Step 5: Create a curve on the head surface. The curve is intersected with the outlines of the handle. Then cut the head surface by the curve.

Figure 6. Cut the head surface with a curve
Figure 6. Cut the head surface with a curve

Step 6: Create a connection surface between the head and the handle. The connection surface should be tangent to all the adjacent surfaces.

Figure 7. Create the connection surface between the head and the handle
Figure 7. Create the connection surface between the head and the handle

Step7: Add endcaps and fillets for a better sense of touch and appearance. Then thicken the surface to make it a solid. Now we get the shell of half of the thermometer.

Figure 8. Thicken the surface to make it a solid
Figure 8. Thicken the surface to make it a solid

Step 8: Mirror the shell to get a complete body of the thermometer by Mirror Geometry command.

Figure 9. Mirror the shell to get a complete body of the thermometer
Figure 9. Mirror the shell to get a complete body of the thermometer

Step 9: Add some features to the body of the thermometer, like a logo, a panel, holes for the buttons and a trigger, and also an LCD screen.

Figure 10. Add features to the thermometer
Figure 10. Add features to the thermometer

Step 10: Divide the shell to get the covers of the battery bin and the infrared sensor by the Add Shape command.

Figure 11. Get the covers of the battery bin and the infrared sensor
Figure 11. Get the covers of the battery bin and the infrared sensor

Step 11: Create the trigger and buttons. the thermometer design is finished.

Figure 12. The final design of the thermometer
Figure 12. The final design of the thermometer

Have you got the tricks of designing an infrared thermometer in ZW3D? With its powerful sketch and modeling tools, it’s just a piece of cake. Why not design one by yourself? I am looking forward to your masterpiece. Download ZW3D and start your creation!

How 3D CAD Boosts Efficiency for 2D CAD Users

As a great helper of design, CAD software has been boosting designers’ efficiency for decades. 2D CAD, which came out first, has been widely used in multiple industries. But in the past ten years, an advanced technology, 3D CAD, has emerged and is getting more and more mature, playing an increasingly important role in the design process and co-working with 2D CAD seamlessly to further enhance design efficiency:

3D CAD is capable of designing and analyzing more intuitively and efficiently, while 2D CAD mainly aids the drafting work, which demonstrates geometric and manufacturing information in a simple, complete, standard and accurate way. They fit in with different stages and different user needs.

In this article, I’m going to show you how 3D CAD can help improve your productivity, and how 2D and 3D CAD can combine to complement each other for the best design experience.

Figure 1. 2D drawings
Figure 2. 3D Models

View with ease VS. Imagine with difficulty

As we all know, in the final production, the mechanical part is a 3D object. So if you design it in 2D CAD, facing the 2D drawings, you have to imagine what it looks like in your brain, which is rather challenging. What’s worse, some details could easily be missed, giving you an unwanted “surprise” until the real product comes into being.

Figure 3. Imagine the final product by a 2D drawing

But in 3D CAD, everything becomes intuitive. The mechanical part is simulated and rendered in the program, so you can just look around it and make modifications, which can be shown directly and immediately. In short, what you see is what you get during the design process, and you can “foresee” the final products in advance in 3D CAD.

Figure 4. View the 3D model directly

Parametric modeling VS. Manually modifying

During your design, there will always be countless modifications. When you are drawing in 2D, if you want to change some parameters of a part, for example, the radius of a hole, you have to change a lot of other objects related to it because they are non-parametric in 2D CAD. In other words, elements are “separated” with each other, so if you modify one, the others would stay still and you need to change them manually.

On the contrary, in 3D CAD, everything can be parametric. When you are drawing sketches, you can add geometric and dimensional constraints to the objects, so that they can be connected as a whole part. Or you can even define a variable such as X, and insert it in the dimension constraint as the length of the part, which can then be easily changed by modifying the value of X

Figure 5. Parametric sketch & controllable variable

What’s more, there is a history manager in ZW3D, which logs almost all your modeling operations. You can locate the operations and features you want to modify by rolling back the history tree or based on the model, redefine them and refresh to get the updated results. Even if an imported model without any modeling history can be edited directly by the Direct Edit technology.

Figure 6. History Manager of 3D CAD

Family part management: All at once VS. One by one

Sometimes you may suffer from the management of a part family. For example, there are a lot of parts with different configuration in the design. Usually, those parts look alike but just with different dimensions, or they are of the same sizes but with some differences in appearance. If you use 2D CAD, you have to create a different drawing for each of the similar parts, which is time-consuming.

But in 3D CAD, with the Part Table, you can just build a basic model, then modify the part parameters to get other parts in the table. In this way, you could easily get a series of parts based on the basic part, which is more convenient and efficient than in 2D CAD.

Figure 7. Part Table
Figure 8. A part family

Printed 2D drawings VS. PMI annotation

After drawing in 2D CAD, you always need to add numerous dimensions to the parts and print the drawings out on the paper, and sometimes the drawings could be blurry because of some printing issues, making it hard for you to check the annotations during production.

That’s no longer the case for 3D CAD, in which all information of dimensions has been stored in the model itself. In the PMI module, you can add annotations directly to the models, which is more intuitive and clearer, and share them with the producers without printing out the drawings.

Figure 9. Models with annotations in the PMI module of 3D CAD

Combine 3D & 2D to speed up your design

No matter which tool you use, 3D or 2D CAD, it cannot be denied that both of them have their unique advantages – 3D CAD gives you a more direct view of your modelling process, while 2D CAD allows you to add dimensions and annotations, which can be customized according to your practical needs and standards.

So I would recommend combining their advantages by using 3D & 2D CAD both. If they are from the same provider, it’d be better, like ZWCAD, the .dwg compatible 2D CAD and ZW3D, the all-in-one CAD/CAM from ZWSOFT – first you can start modeling in ZW3D, taking the advantages of the powerful parametric technology and the direct view. Then you can export the part drawings to ZWCAD, add annotations and customize their styles as you need.

Figure 10. Modeling in 3D CAD
Figure 11. Annotating in 2D CAD

Embrace the future

3D modeling is the future trend of mechanical design. Its advantages include direct view, parametric modeling, easy management of part families with Part Table, PMI module, etc., not to mention other powerful modules like CAM\Mold\Assembly\Sheet Metal in ZW3D, better complementing 2D CAD usage and boosting the overall design efficiency to a new level.