Beyond Prints: The Role of 3D CAD Models in Streamlining Metal Fabrication

Last updated on December 15th, 2023 at 08:51 am

Before you click “Submit” on your quote request, make sure you’ve uploaded a print and a CAD model for your part!

Keep reading to find out why a 3D CAD model matters so much and what can happen when we’re missing that key document.

Here’s Why Our Metal Fabrication Shop Requires 3D CAD Models

3D CAD Model
Our quoting department receives several RFQs every day that don’t include a CAD model. But like most of today’s top manufacturers, Approved Sheet Metal requires a 3D model before we can manufacture your parts—and sometimes even before we can accurately quote them.

Why a 2D print isn’t enough

Prints rarely reveal the full scope of your project, sometimes because of missing callouts, other times because of unseen features. When we can’t review every aspect of your design, we may overlook critical details that should be addressed before we begin your job.

Special tooling, for example, is a significant consideration. And if we don’t realize your part will need it, we’ll all be in for some unpleasant surprises as we dive into your custom sheet metal fabrication project.

How a CAD model improves your quoting experience

  • Speed. When our metal fabrication shop has a 3D model, we can generate an accurate quote in only two to three minutes! Without the CAD model, however, we have to manually enter your part’s data from your print, which can easily add 15 to 20 minutes to our quoting time.

Or, if your print is lacking crucial information, we’ll be forced to reach out to you for the missing details, which delays the start of your project and robs you of time better spent focusing on your next project.

  • Automation. While we prefer not to spend extensive time on data entry, our greater concern is the possibility of human error when manually entering a part’s specifications.

When we create a quote without a CAD model, our team must rely on manual calculations. With a CAD model, our metal fabrication shop can eliminate manual data entry from the quoting process altogether. Instead, our state-of-the-art quoting software will integrate your part design details automatically and 100% accurately.

  • Quality. When we have your CAD model, we can unfold the design, transfer the pattern to our laser, refold the model, and then proceed with forming and bending.
  • Value. A CAD model can help us quickly identify potential problems well before they cost you a single penny. From there, we can make Design for Manufacturing recommendations and help you refine your part design for optimized fabrication.

When we’ve watched your 3D model unfold and refold successfully, our metal fabrication shop can provide you with the lowest price and shortest lead time.

What happens if you don’t have a CAD file

Can our metal fabrication shop create a CAD model for you? Absolutely! There is a cost for our CAD services, but we’re happy to use your fully dimensioned 2D prints to make a 3D CAD model.

CAD Models and Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication

Part Upload Form
The advantages of submitting a 3D CAD model with your RFQ can’t be overstated.

Include your 3D model, and you’ll get a fast, accurate quote with little to no chance of data entry errors. You’ll also avoid fielding questions about your part’s specifications—questions that could slow down production after you’ve placed your part order.

This one simple tip is the number one way our customers can get top-quality parts at the best price in the least amount of time. Include a 3D CAD model any time you submit an RFQ for custom sheet metal fabrication services:

Request a quote from our secure quoting portal—and don’t forget to upload your CAD model!

3D CAD Models in Metal Fabrication FAQ

A 3D CAD model provides a comprehensive view of your part's design, aiding in identifying critical details and potential issues early in the process, ultimately ensuring accurate quoting and efficient fabrication.

2D prints may lack crucial details or unseen features, potentially leading to oversights in critical aspects like necessary tooling. This can result in delays, additional inquiries for missing information, and potentially unpleasant surprises during fabrication.

Having a 3D model drastically accelerates the quoting process, reducing the time required from 15 to 20 minutes for manual data entry from prints to just 2 to 3 minutes. Automation through CAD integration ensures 100% accuracy and eliminates human error.

Absolutely! The shop offers CAD services using fully dimensioned 2D prints for a fee. This service ensures the creation of a 3D CAD model to facilitate accurate quoting and manufacturing.

Submitting a 3D CAD model guarantees fast and precise quoting, minimizing the chances of errors in data entry. It also reduces queries about part specifications, streamlining production processes after placing an order, ultimately ensuring top-quality parts at the best price and shortest lead time.

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