The number one reason is editability - the ability to dive in and edit geometry, be that a 2D drawing in AutoCAD or a complex 3D model. Before CAD, editing engineering information involved razor blades and a whole lot of scratching, which for those that remember the pain is incentive enough! The second reason is reuse. By having access to all of your design data in a digital format, you can reuse almost any portion of anything, from blocks and Xrefs in AutoCAD, through to complex sub-assemblies in 3D modelling systems that adapt to their surrounding components. One of the first steps is to capture dimensions and parameters from an existing SolidWorks assembly The third reason is related purely to 3D working practices and is the removal of ambiguity. Orthographic drawings are possibly the most complex way to show how a part, assembly or product will look. Yes, they are still heavily used, but the point is that by taking advantage of collision and interference detection tools within 3D, we can ensure that parts fit together, sub-assemblies do not interfere with each other and the whole thing, when built, works.
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