AEC Tech News (#298)

7 Jul, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

User Profile: The Utility of 3D

As a multi-discipline designer of water treatment plants, Bob Beatty bridges the gap between 2D and 3D every day.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Bob Beatty, a senior CAD designer and CAD manager at American Water Engineering in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, is a man who sees the world in 3D and 2D. To work efficiently on both new and legacy plant designs, Beatty has embraced what he calls "the future of CAD" — without forgetting his roots.

Bob Beatty uses AutoCAD MEP in his work as a senior CAD designer and CAD manager at American Water Engineering.
Bob Beatty uses AutoCAD MEP in his work as a senior CAD designer and CAD manager at American Water Engineering.

Cadalyst: How did you become involved with CAD?

Beatty: My first job was with Stone & Webster in 1977, where I worked on the design for a nuclear power plant, which was completely done on the drawing board. I learned my first CAD program after I moved to a fire-protection design firm. They had developed their own CAD system, which I helped beta-test. From there, I went back to S&.W and was taught three other systems: AutoCAD, MicroStation, and a mainframe system.

I joined American Water in 1996 and have been using AutoCAD and [AutoCAD MEP (mechanical/electrical/plumbing)] ever since. In designing water treatment plants, I use MEP 2012 to its fullest 3D capabilities; I have been told many times by my AutoCAD vendor that I "model to the extreme."

What motivated your leap to 3D CAD?

When I started to work for American Water, we were a 2D engineering department. We design all aspects of water treatment plants: architectural, structural, process piping, mechanical, electrical. We began to receive literature on [Autodesk] Architectural Desktop, and it just fascinated me. As I collected information on this software, I realized that this is the future of CAD, and I did not want to be left behind. I was getting bored with 2D drawings and saw the 3D world as both a challenge and a way to save time and money on projects. We have been using 3D CAD ever since my company purchased the second edition of the Architectural Desktop software. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

Paul Aubin


Event Report: Hexagon 2011

The inaugural gathering shapes diverse conferences and technologies into a single event that showcases the broad reach of metrology.

By Curt Moreno

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines metrology as "the science of weights and measures or of measurement." As I waited at the terminal gate, wondering what a conference focused on such a science would be like, I have to admit that I conjured a mental image of some very boring people, milling about in a hotel and measuring things with over-sized calipers. Little did I know what awaited me at the inaugural Hexagon Conference in Orlando, Florida.

I understood that the Hexagon AB company produces software and hardware solutions for a long list of industries, including my own industry of civil engineering. I had seen the Leica Geosystems brand of laser scanners and levels on many job sites; I had just never associated that kind of measurement with the term "metrology." Of course, all kinds of CAD and GIS (geographic information system) technologies depend on data about lengths and widths, distances and locations, material properties and part characteristics. Without metrology, the fancy software we use every day would be useless.

Something Old, Something New

Hexagon 2011 united conferences and technologies from Hexagon Group companies including Hexagon Geosystems; Hexagon Metrology; ERDAS; Leica Geosystems; Intergraph Process, Power, and Marine; and Intergraph Security, Government, and Infrastructure. Following Hexagon AB's acquisition of Intergraph, the measurement and visualization giant organized a large-scale conference addressing its many client industries. Read more »

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Curt Moreno is a Houston, Texas–based CAD manager, writer, and wannabe speaker who has been using AutoCAD since 1990.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Chicago BIMForum
July 19–21, 2011
Chicago, Illinois
This BIMForum will explore the theme, "When Does Design End and Construction Begin?" Read more »

August 7–11, 2011
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
SIGGRAPH 2011, the 38th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, will feature technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web. Read more »

Meridian Systems 2011 User Conference
October 11–13, 2011
Huntington Beach, California
This customer event will bring together project-based organizations from several infrastructure-intensive industries to share best practices and customer case studies for Meridian's two primary product offerings, Proliance and Prolog software. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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