6 Reasons why you should create 2D drawings for your designs

May 5, 2024

Both design and manufacturing processes are progressing and developing faster than ever before. With the advent of model-based quotation and processing, workflows have been simplified extensively. We often get questions from our customers, whether they should provide 2D drawings to us. The answer is a resounding YES!

An example of a technical 2D drawing
An example of a technical 2D drawing

Here’s 6 reasons why:

1 — They allow us to give you faster quotations

For simple parts, Factorem’s Quotations are generated by our internally built price prediction engine. However, for more complicated parts and assemblies, quotations are generated using conventional methods that involve heavy manual processing.

Having 2D files allows manufacturing engineers to open them using a PDF reader and quote quickly. This is much faster compared to opening the files using a CAD software, measuring key dimensions and quoting.

Quicker quotes translate to quicker manufacturing lead times and allows us to get your parts to you ASAP!

2 — They make the workflow easier for the supplier and machinist

Usually, suppliers have limited computers and this means that from the point where you give us the go ahead to make your parts, it takes more time to get the parts on the tool if we don’t have the 2D files.

Old school machinists and legacy workshops love 2D files since it allows them to make notes on the files and figure out what’s the fastest orientation and machining steps to fabricate your part. Having worked with drawings for a long time, they are more comfortable with 2D drawings and are quicker to fabricate your parts.

Since this makes machinists and machine shops work more efficiently, it ensures that they’re on point to getting your parts fabricated perfectly and on time!

3 — Model based quotation and machining aren’t universally accepted

Modern CNC machines allow you to load a 3D file, the G-Code is automatically generated and the part is machined. This is an exciting prospect, however, not all workshops possess CNC machines and much of the milling work is done manually. For simple parts, the setup cost on a CNC machine may be more than the price of the item itself!

Thus, having 2D drawings makes it easier for workshops to manage their workflow and allows the machinist to choose the machine and process in which your part should be made. This of course translates to getting your part(s) quicker and priced as low as possible!

4 — You can effectively convey your design and intentions to the machinist

Often times, a machinist wonders why you put in a certain feature, what your reasoning behind a peculiar design really was and would love for you to explain your design intentions in person. But you’d be sitting far away and he/she can’t really talk to you.

A drawing enables you to put notes, insert cross section views and communicate your design intentions to the machinist. This ensures that the nuances of your parts and design features are communicated correctly and your parts are fabricated perfectly, without any errors!

5 — It’s necessary if you’ve got a variety of tolerances and key features

If you have critical features like dowel holes or sealing faces, it’s quite difficult to translate the features and dimensions into machining insights, without drawing files. You may write a note alongside the 3D file, but nothing beats a 2D drawing highlighting these features in order to communicate the detailed dimensions to the machinist.

While the workpiece is being fabricated, the machinist may have to reference from your written note or call you from the workshop. This wastes precious time, both yours and the machinist’s, and delays how quickly we can get the part to you.

6 — It can reduce the burden on your pocket :)

Tighter tolerances are expensive to machine. Thus if you specify a relatively tight standard tolerance (eg. 0.10 mm) on a part with a 3D file, then the machinist has to ensure that each dimension/feature is machined to that tolerance. This can get really expensive, really quickly.

If you create a 2D drawing and call out tight and loose tolerances for the more and less important features respectively, then it’s possible to reduce the cost of the part significantly.


Whether you want to submit a drawing or not is indeed your choice, but we highly recommend it, for the 6 reasons above and many more. If you want to learn how to make clear, concise and complete drawings, please check out our Drafting technical drawings for CNC Fabrication as well as our recommended Factorem’s ISO 2768 Machining Guidelines .

Thank you for reading!