4 Replies Latest reply: Feb 15, 2008 5:58 AM by (gayle_mcweeney) RSS

    CAD drawings in Illustrator

      Does anyone regularly use Illustrator to produce CAD-like mechanical drawings of items such as bottles? These would be fully dimensioned drawings with hatching and such.

      Our Engineering department wishes to push their CAD work onto the Design Team, and can't understand why Illustrator isn't a good choice of software for these very detailed line drawings.

      Your opinions please? We feel doing something like this in Illustrator would be quite slow, and of a lesser quality than doing it properly in CAD.

      Any examples you may have and/or other places to check on the Net would be a bonus!

      Thanks,
      Gayle
        • 1. Re: CAD drawings in Illustrator
          Community Member
          You could potentially split the difference, and do the things that you can do easily/accurately in Ai, then import into CAD and do the things you can't do in Ai... and vice-versa
          • 2. Re: CAD drawings in Illustrator
            You can get a Cadd plugin for Ai but it has limitations compared to real cadd programs. Check www.hotdoor.com/

            I think Ryan has the right idea.
            • 3. Re: CAD drawings in Illustrator
              JETalmage Community Member
              > We feel doing something like this in Illustrator would be quite slow, and of a lesser quality than doing it properly in CAD.

              There is nothing particularly "exotic" or taxing about 2D technical drawings. They can be done in a mainstream vector drawing program just fine. I mean, 2D orthographics and axonometrics can be done on a drawing board with vellum and pencil; so it can certainly be done programs in Illustrator's genre.

              But of the bunch, Illustrator's standard feature set is probably the worst choice, because it is missing so many features conducive to technical drawing. No user-defined ruler scales. No dimension tools. No callout tools. No proper fillet/chamfer commands (a fairly useless arc tool), etc., etc.

              Your Design Team would probably feel more at home in an Illustrator-ish program than a 2D CAD program. I would recommend your taking a serious look at either Deneba Canvas or Corel Designer 12, rather than painting yourself into the corner of mission-critical dependency upon an elaborate set of Illustrator plug-ins from a third-party vendor. The plug-in route comes with its own learning curve; it costs about as much as a competitive side-grade; it complicates your software updates and maintenance chores. And in the end you have a less elegant solution than you would have with a program that has the needed features properly integrated into the program's standard features and interface.

              > Our Engineering department wishes to push their CAD work onto the Design Team, and can't understand why Illustrator isn't a good choice of software for these very detailed line drawings.

              This is the part that wonders my mind. Why would your Engineering department want to offload CAD work (if that's really what it is) to a commercial design group? Nowadays, most Engineering applications model in 3D solids and surfaces and the 2D orthos are generated rather automatically. That's where "CAD" (more properly "CAE") becomes more exotic / precise / capable than general-purpose 2D drawing programs. Even if your Engineering department is only using 2D CAD applications they are still *engineering* (and therefore documenting) your products, aren't they?

              Or is this really a case where the Design Group wants the Engineering group to be responsible for commercial marketing artwork?

              JET
              • 4. Re: CAD drawings in Illustrator
                Community Member
                Thanks for the tip on the alternative software. I've also stumbled onto CadTools for AI. These may help this situation.

                As for Engineering, these are all 2D and while very simple in the world of CAD, they are still quite detailed with dimensioning, etc.

                We are getting a new system for tracking/routing both artwork and engineering drawings. They are challenging everything. We're not asking Engineering to do any kind of marketing, and they are trying to look at all resources available. They they would still be responsible for the drawings, and we would just be their hands.

                There are a lot of factors at play.

                Thanks for your replies!
                Gayle