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Services We Offer

Step2 Design is one of the UK’s leading CAD design consultancies providing professional 3D design support and technical drawing services to a range of clients across multiple industries.

Our dedicated team of CAD technicians use cutting-edge software to create accurate and realistic 3D models, DFM CAD data and technical drawing packs. We understand that every project is different, so we tailor bespoke services to your specific needs and requirements. Book a call with us to see how we can help with your project!

Concept Modelling

Alongside kick-off meetings and preliminary sketching, 3D concept model generation can be a fantastic way of quickly and effectively communicating early design ideas to clients and stakeholders. Quick to produce and low in-complexity, these early concept models can be used to rapidly iterate a given design direction or to generate multiple concepts, exploring the feasibility and validity of different design aspects. Concept models can also be converted into photorealistic visualisations and renderings for pitch decks and other marketing material, helping to kick-start enthusiasm and financial support for your project.

Step2 Design are experts in providing quality CAD content, efficiently and within budget. We are dynamic and reactive to your needs and requirements and believe that providing a quality service means open communication, honesty, and professionalism from day one.

Development 3D CAD

Step2 Design employs an iterative approach to design development, engaging with both clients and stakeholders to rapidly generate and refine concept ideas. We use the latest in parametric design software to create high-quality 3D development models that can be used for a variety of purposes; including prototyping, manufacturing and simulation. By modelling in a parametric fashion, our 3D models can be adjusted quickly and with minimal effort, allowing us to speed up the design development process and reduce time-to-market.

Precision is one of the core components of our 3D CAD and engineering design service and we regularly analyse the mechanical and structural aspects of your product beforehand to ensure seamless functionality and robust performance when prototyping. Combining complex modelling techniques, such as surface modelling with tolerance analysis, and our expert knowledge of materials and processes, we can create accurate DFM models that balance key performance metrics against mechanical feasibility and cost.

Value Engineered Design

At Step2 Design, we bring together the best design engineers to offer end-to-end support, from preliminary market research through to manufacturing implementation. We believe our comprehensive offering enables us to be one of the best design consultancies for your projects. Led by a team of experienced professionals, Step2 Design analyses existing products to identify value engineering opportunities, whilst our methodical design reviews explore ways to enhance manufacturability; facilitating production scale-up.

We use extensive DFM analysis to identify and mitigate issues throughout the project and regularly review and optimise components to streamline both fabrication and assembly. This results in functional, cost-effective parts that are perfectly suited to target processes – whether that be CNC machining, extrusion profiling, or injection moulding.

Our clients benefit from years of industry experience, with expert guidance and consultancy at each phase of the design development process. Our DFM-centric approach produces design data that is tailor made to each manufacturer with the best possible quality-to-cost ratio, allowing projects to progress smoothly from concept to rollout.

FEA and Mechanical Simulation

At Step2 Design, we leverage industry-leading CAD software to provide entry-level finite element analysis (FEA) and basic mechanical simulations without requiring dedicated CAE software. Using SolidWork’s integrated tools, our team executes foundational stress tests and structural analyses that identify risk areas on component designs. We virtually apply expected loads and forces to 3D CAD models to predict deformation and fatigue life within reasonable tolerances. This economical simulation provides insights into fundamental performance while avoiding costly physical prototyping iterations.

Additionally, we offer fundamental kinematics and tolerance stacking analyses for early mechanical engineering testing. By modelling realistic part movements, contact physics, and interactions of assemblies – including sliding components like gears and cams – clients can digitally evaluate designs for issues like collisions, alignment interference, as well as visualise and measure clearances between components. These baseline mechanical simulations grant cost-effective insights to refine tolerance spec early in development before hard tooling.

Step2 Design are our go to design engineering partners, and we thoroughly recommend them to anybody looking for external retail development. They have a great ability to dissect our creative work, challenge our manufacturing intent and then engineer each component to a production standard across our UK & European supply chain. On top of all of that they’re great people.
Alasdair McIntyre / Director


CAD Design FAQ

CAD is an acronym for Computer-Aided Design, describing a set of specialised software systems that enable users to design, test and manufacture products. CAD design describes the creation of a digital asset using software and has widely supported the growth in mass-manufacturing. One of the major benefits of using CAD over ‘pen and paper’ methods is the advent of rapid manufacturing processes, where engineers can carry out several design stages, often throughout the course of a single day.

At Step2, our design engineers have over 25 years of experience leveraging CAD systems to create outstanding digital assets for our clients. We pride ourselves in having a detail-oriented approach and a level of professionalism in creating reliable and quality assets that work. This means we never cut corners and will always endeavour to provide our clients with the highest quality technical designs.
Yes, as one of the leading design companies in the South West, we have a wide set of capabilities as well as wide range of industry connections, including both model makers and manufacturers. We can produce prototypes without CAD files, as long as we have a suitable design sketch of your intended product or idea. However, if the purpose of the prototype is to test components, manufacturing will require a suitable 3D design file to be able to register and produce the intended output.

We advise having a suitably editable CAD file as it also allows designers to identify and work on technical issues that arise during the design process. When manufacturing, it is often necessary to make several iterations to designs and working with CAD files enables you to rapidly amend your drawings and save crucial time in the design development process.

If you are looking to manufacture a product, creating high quality technical drawings of your CAD designs will save you a significant amount of money as they will ensure the manufacturing process progresses smoothly. At Step2 we understand what is required to make robust CAD files for prototyping and production and add value to all our client’s projects by producing only the highest quality digital assets.
At Step2, we pride ourselves in using the most advanced CAD software, and have made a significant investment in ensuring these tools are kept up-to-date and relevant. Reliability and functionality are both key to us; and we periodically review our current design suite against what’s new on the market to ensure we have the best possible tools for the job. This includes a suite of design development tools that provide us with end-to-end design capabilities for our clients. Whilst we can work with huge variety of CAD design software, we typically produce our designs in either:

- SolidWorks
- Inventor
- AutoCAD
- Sketchup
- Twinmotion
- Maya
- Adobe Suite

Whilst we ensure all our technical designs and CAD files are compatible with their respective manufacturing processes and techniques, we are always on the lookout for new tools and services that could potentially make this process more efficient.
Once a model has been completed, you will own the rights to the CAD model and any respective files we create for you. Our design engineers are happy to create CAD files in a variety of different formats and we can export to a wide variety of file types or outputs on request.
Typically, costs are higher for more complex product designs and building something with lots of mechanisms or intricate components will require a greater design budget. The best way to find out how much a CAD file will cost is to get in touch and we can review your design in detail.

If our clients have a certain budgetary constraint, we strive to create designs with these restrictions in mind, ensuring our clients receive the best possible value. This means we can cater to a range of product development budgets and remain open to all prospects. When creating a CAD development plan around a particular budget, we ensure transparency in everything we do and can provide you with a detailed cost breakdown ahead of any work being carried out.
Absolutely, we have spent many years building relationships with a network of quality suppliers who can help turn 3D CAD models in physical products and components. Our team of design engineers can also create technical drawing packs ready for manufacturer or support you in developing your own CAD designs to become manufacture ready.

By working with Step2 Design, you will have access to our suite of prototyping tools including our own in-house FDM 3D printing services. Whether you already have a manufacturing partner, or you are interested in exploring our network of model-makers and manufacturers, we are happy to support you and take the stress out of the design development journey. We have supported dozens of happy clients from concept through to manufacture, and would love to discuss how we can assist with you with your project.
A good CAD file will contain exactly the right level of detail required for its intended application. For example, a concept CAD model doesn’t need to be mechanically sound as its purpose is to show basic design intent for quick iterative reviews with the client. Similarly, a CAD file for a product render may not need to contain any internal details (if they won’t ever be visible). At the other end of the spectrum, a CAD file for a manufacturing application, such as a tooling mould, would need to be 100% fully resolved with considerations for tolerance, material flow and injection locations all baked into the file. This is because any imperfections in the CAD file will propagate into the physical part and cause unnecessary cost, delays and waste material. A deep understanding of the product and its requirements is the basis for generating a good CAD file that’s fit for application; and with over 25 years of experience in the industry, our experts have a proven track record in creating and designing CAD files that are perfectly suited for their intended application.

Whilst there several free CAD software packages available, a more technically challenging product or idea will require professional CAD design software to achieve a high-quality finished product. At Step2 Design, we integrate parametric modelling, as it allows us to create versatile assets that are easily adjustable to a wide range of geometric specifications. Cheaper software is unable to achieve this level of flexibility and can produce redundant CAD data that is difficult to modify. This is one reason why it is important to work with suppliers that have the best possible CAD design software as standard, as failure to do so can impede the success of your project.  
Most 3D CAD files actually originate from a ‘scamp’ or sketch. These can take the form of a rough drawing on a napkin, to a more detailed and mapped out digital design, our designers at Step2 can work with you to create a model that’s perfect for your needs.

Creating CAD models from scratch allows our design engineers to ensure your assets have the most robust technical foundations. Our team can also create accurate 2D technical drawings with dimensions and annotations that can be reviewed with you throughout the process. As experts in DFM (design for manufacture), we love working collaboratively with you to produce functional CAD models from your design ideas. Our design engineers can work with you to explore a range of construction methods, helping you understand and optimise your product’s components to be of the highest quality and functionality.
We provide our clients with a number of ways to view their CAD files. For viewing your product in 3D, we recommend a free piece of software called eDrawings that allows you to manipulate your model from any perspective whilst being able to view specific components, cross sections and exploded configuration. We typically recommend this route as it offers a more varied viewing experience.

For photorealistic renderings, we recommend any standard photo viewing software that supports JPEG, whereas ultra-high resolution animations are best viewed in a light-weight video player such as VLC that has support for a multitude of compression codecs.

We also provide all our files in a PDF format, which is cross-OS compatible and can show your model in both 2D and 3D formats. Alongside this, we can share native CAD files that are suitable for manufacturing-specific software.
As with the other services we provide, the time needed to create a CAD drawing or design will depend on the complexity and technicality of the model. We can normally deliver simple projects of 2-5 components within 24 hours whereas more detailed designs may take weeks or even months to develop.

A strong design brief and clear project specification will help shorten the time needed to develop a good CAD file. Once we have this developed, any minor adjustments or changes can normally be turned around in a couple of days (dependant on workload). At Step2, we believe the best designs are well planned and carefully thought out, so we suggest factoring in as much time to the product development journey as possible as this enables us to work with you to consider a host of key factors like product sustainability, functionality and material composition to ensure your product is delivered to market successfully.

    Trading Address

    Step2 Design Limited HERE
    470 Bath Road
    Arnos Vale
    Bristol BS4 3AP