Till the invent of sophisticated CAD platforms converting engineering drawings into useful presentation was a challenge for designers and engineers. After years of thorough data research and development now we have highly interactive CAD software such as AutoCAD, Tekla that can convert large quantities of scanned images into 3D intuitive models on a fly. This software offers a mean for embedding various graphics algorithms in your proposed design allowing immediate use of digital images.
Rapid advancement in CAD techniques and migration from 2D engineering drawings to 3D models has created new opportunities for the designers to think beyond paperto-cad conversion. It provides an interface where a user gives sketches of the design and the computer would interpret, analyze and represent data in an easy-to-understand 3D model.
Basic algorithms for geometric translation of 2D engineering drawings to 3D model have several limitations and are not feasible for real-life applications. Complex geometric algorithms along with symbolic drawing information provide intuitive solution to analyze engineering drawings with high-level of accuracy.
It is obvious that the documents scanning will have errors at every stage and these errors needs to be eliminated before translating them to 3D model for analysis. In many real-life applications it is a viable option to manually convert the drawings into a CAD model if time is not a constraint. Second option can be use of online sketching software which allows the designer to first make a rough sketch, which can then be transferred to a CAD platform for further modifications.
If your company has huge engineering documentation database, switching to CAD platform not only helps you browse such a database in an efficient way but retrieve the right information on your finger-tips. Here the focus is not really on functionality of 3D model but on finding right graphical details which prove to be useful to the engineer. In my opinion it may come as a surprise if you convert a scanned engineering drawing into a CAD model using AutoCAD or Tekla which not only saves your time but allows you to focus on your core activities like analysis and preparation of construction drawings.