The term derived from designers using metal wire to represent the three dimensional shape. The 3D wire frame model is the most abstract out of the three 3D CAD models other two models being surface and solid. Primarily it’s an edge of skeletal representation of a real-world object, geometrically it consist of points, lines, arcs, circles and other curves defining edges or object’s centre lines. It is created by defining each edge of the physical object where two mathematically continuous smooth surfaces meet. It allows shaping and modifying solids and solid surfaces also 3D solid modelling efficiently draws higher quality representations of solids over conventional line drawing.

Some of the key advantages one can drive out of 3D wire frame model could be listed as:

  1. Elementary 3D design creation for assessment and quick design iterations
  2. View the created model from any viewing angel
  3. Examine three-dimensional relationships in composition, including the distances, corners and checking potential interference
  4. Perspective views creation
  5. Automate auxiliary and orthographic views
  6. Reference geometry for 3D solid, surface and mesh modelling
    Instances where high screen frame rates is desired (like working with complex 3D model), most of the time designers use wire frame rendering techniques as its relatively simple and quick in calculating. Specifically for instance where greater graphical detail is needed; surface textures can be added automatically after the initial rendering of wire frame. Such practices permit designer to quickly evaluate solids or rotate the object to new desired views.

Direct numerical control (DNC) or Distributed numerical control is common manufacturing tool path concept for networking CNC machine tools; Wire frame is very widely used in programming of such tool paths for direct numerical control (DNC) machine tools.
Illustrations primarily hand drawn wire frame date back as far as the Italian Renaissance. 3D objects in video games during 1980s and early 1990s were also very extensively created using wire frame models. Many of computer aided manufacturing (CAM) processes use wire frame 3D models as inputs.

Wire frame models can be created by giving simple inputs by the designer and is very effective in developing systems. Some of the limitations designers face while working with wire frame models are – limitation in presenting information about inside & outside surfaces. Today wireframe models are created to define complex solid objects. Generally the 3D objects are complex, but wireframe models can be viewed in single dimension, improving comprehensibility.

One of the common technique used for creating 3D wireframe is called Extrusion where 3D wireframe model is created by copying a 2D profile and extending it to a depth defined by the operator; Yet another technique commonly used for 3D wireframe creation is Rotation technique where wireframe model is created by rotation a cross section or profile of the part about an axis.