Guillermo Melantoni, the man entrusted with the job of getting more 3D features into AutoCAD, gave a presentation on the new surfacing capabilities of AutoCAD 2011. The presentation included a demo which involved importing an Inventor model of an electric shaver in AutoCAD and modeling the product packaging for it using surface modeling. The Inventor part came in as a solid. Guide curves were extracted from which surfaces were lofted. The continuity between adjacent surfaces were appropriately set. He also used the surface trim and patch commands to trim portions of the surfaces and later fill them to suit the intended design. Finally a zebra analysis was carried out which pointed out undesirable continuities which were later adjusted to get the final surface model. The model was then sent back to Inventor where ribs were added as necessary to complete the model.
Here are a few pictures of the work flow. Click the images for larger views.
After seeing this, it is hard to think of AutoCAD as a 2D CAD system alone. Needless to say, Autodesk intends to add more 3D features into AutoCAD as time progresses. Love it.