3CT (3D Catalog Technology) is the process of creating 3D object libraries to be used in computer-aided design software. 3D catalogs facilitate the work of engineers, architects, designers and other users of CAD programs as they shorten considerably the time needed to draw and / or render a project.
3CT is usually employed by industrialists and manufacturers in order to better serve and appeal to their clients. 3CT is most effective in cases where the client is also a CAD user. For example, a manufacturer of luxury furniture will use 3CT in order to accommodate architects that are almost all users of CAD programs.
3CT superiority over paper catalogs
As CAD design has become largely widespread amongst designers from all domains, 3CT appears to be indispensable. A 3CT object could be injected into a project in an early phase of CAD design, as it is a virtual digital entity immediately exploitable by the designer. 3D catalogs are easier to browse and the users (The manufacturer’s clients) become well acquainted with the products.
Raw materials for a 3D Catalog could be obtained either by 2D/3D scanning or by exploiting existing CAD files of the yet to be created catalog objects. Such raw materials are called "Construction data" regardless of the way they are obtained. The construction data is then processed in order to modelize an as accurate as possible 3D object. The resulting object (usually called 3D Master) is then cut into various 2D projections: Top view (or plan) Front, Back, Right and Left views. The minimum 3CT standard is usually 6 files per catalogue object – one 3D file and five 2D projections.
Most 3D catalogs are intended to exist in several CAD formats. The aim is to reach as large a user pool as possible. Since every design domain has several available CAD programs.