The purpose of this article is to describe a newly developed 3D computer-aided design (CAD) system for the diagnostic set-up of casts in orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning, and its preliminary clinical applications. The system comprises a measuring unit which obtains 3D information from the dental model using laser scanning, and a personal computer to generate the 3D graphics. When measuring the 3D shape of the model, to minimize blind sectors, the model is scanned from two different directions with the slit-ray laser beam by rotating the mounting angle of the model on the measuring device. For computed simulation of tooth movement, the representative planes, defined by the anatomical reference points, are formed for each individual tooth and are arranged along a guideline descriptive of the individual arch form. Subsequently, the 3D shape is imparted to each of the teeth arranged on the representative plane to form an arrangement of the 3D profile. When necessary, orthognathic surgery can be simulated by moving the mandibular dental arch three-dimensionally to establish the optimum occlusal relationship. Compared with hand-made set-up models, the computed diagnostic cast has advantages such as high-speed processing and quantitative evaluation on the amount of 3D movement of the individual tooth relative to the craniofacial plane. Trial clinical applications demonstrated that the use of this system facilitated the otherwise complicated and time-consuming mock surgery for treatment planning in orthognathic surgery.