3D CAD modeling has come so far in such a short time. I remember when got my first taste of 3D modeling back in 1998. It was pretty clunky back then and took a lot of time, but it was so cool it was worth all the effort!  In 2000-2002 the usability became a bit better. Fast forward to 2007 and there was a turning point of usability. Not that long ago you had an Engineer do all the design and thinking. The Drafter did all the 3D modeling and created the detailed drawings. The modern Engineer now has be an expert in both domains. We now have these great tools to liberate all of these designs from our overactive imaginations instantly. However, like all technology it usually progresses so fast it makes us forget where things came from and how we used to do things. Let’s slow it down for a minute and talk about how mechanical designs are communicated.
Like it or not we are two dimensional creatures with an amazing three dimensional imagination. If you step back and ignore all of the hype about 3d PDF’s, Multi Axis Machining, compound curve generators, etc., we still only have two hands, two eyes and a flat piece of paper, or a two dimensional computer monitor to work with. It is just much easier for us to sketch our detailed ideas in two dimensions. The skill comes in rotating that mental 3D model in your head and describing the geometric requirements that make your idea work. The goal is to do this so someone else can easily understand it. You can have all the ideas in the world, but if you can’t articulate them in detail you won’t get very far.