CAD Manager's Newsletter (#267)

24 Aug, 2011 By: Robert Green

:: From Order to CAD Chaos, Part 1

It doesn't take long for a well-regulated workplace to slip into disorder in the absence of proper CAD management. Here are some tips on recognizing trouble — and fighting back.

In the previous installment of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I lamented how hard it is to find the time to perform CAD management duties in the current economic environment. In this edition, I will turn my attention to dealing with the chaos that inevitably rears its ugly head when CAD management and order are ignored.

I'll endeavor to show you how to spot problems before they become chronic, how to use the occurrence of these problems to illustrate the importance of CAD management, and finally, how to make your senior management understand it all. Here goes.

Recognize the Problems

To start the discussion, let me list the types of trouble I encounter most often in offices where CAD management is not a priority. You may not see all of these problems in your environment, but my bet is you've noticed at least a few of them:

  • "Just get it done" trumps "do it right"
  • Basic file management problems proliferate
  • Standards are disregarded
  • Software configurations devolve
  • Pre-project coordination is lacking
  • It's more difficult to generate output plots, PDFs, etc.
  • Processes that used to "just work" no longer do.

I'll expand on the most egregious topics in this edition, and provide my conclusions and recommendations along the way. In the next issue, I'll cover more of this list.

Just Get It Done

CAD management is, at its core, an organizational undertaking. The entire justification behind CAD management can be summed up this way: By thinking about how we work and devising ways to work better, we can coordinate our environment, reduce errors, and make every project flow more smoothly through our company. As CAD processes become better standardized, the error rate will drop even further, enabling the company to do more projects faster than before.

When CAD management is ignored, there is no longer a unifying effort to coordinate and optimize work processes, and a "just get it done" mentality takes hold. As this mindset becomes entrenched, all manner of problems will crop up — almost all of them avoidable. Make no mistake, these errors cost your company money, in the form of schedule delays and the time required to fix problems that never should have occurred. Read more »

Cadalyst Magazine

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: Cadalyst Benchmark Test Now Available for AutoCAD 2012

As many of you already know, the Cadalyst Systems Benchmark is a great tool for evaluating hardware performance, including PCs, workstations, and graphics cards. If you're running AutoCAD, you can use the benchmark test to compare the performance of an old system to a new one you might be evaluating, or to gauge the impact of a graphics card upgrade - just to name a few examples. Check out the latest version of the Cadalyst Systems Benchmark, now available for AutoCAD 2012.

Do you have a question or tip for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at; if I use it in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!

:: Resources

AU 2011 Class Catalog Available for Preview
The preview version of the Autodesk University (AU) 2011 class catalog is now live. AU registration will go live for AU members on August 30, 2011 (one week before general registration). This year, the conference will include new classes on advanced features and workflows; the cloud, mobile technologies, and visualization; and Autodesk certification preparation.

:: Events

September 7–November 18, 2011
Various cities
AUGI (Autodesk User Group International) CAD Camp attendees can learn about industry best practices, product tips and tricks, 2012 new product features, and industry trends at these single-day training events. Read more »

Creating Work Instructions and Technical Documentation Using Your 3D CAD Data
September 14, 2011
11 a.m. PT
This Novedge webinar will show how the XVL Technology Suites can use existing CAD data to create work instruction, technical illustrations, and other technical documents. Read more »

Bentley Plant User Group Conference
October 5–7, 2011
Biloxi, Mississippi
This annual user conference is in its 13th year. Attendees can learn about upcoming Bentley product releases and how other companies have utilized the software, and discuss customization and problem-solving issues by participating in a group breakout session. 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

:: What's New at

Circles and Lines Tutorial: Everyday Improvements in AutoCAD 2012
They might not be showy, but these important features will save you time and reduce tedium. Read more »

University Study Finds Rapidform Best Option for Parametric Solid Modeling from 3D Scans
A study funded by the U.S. Air Force concludes that INUS Technology's software is "the only viable option" for creating parametric CAD models from 3D scan data. Read more »

Autodesk Unveils Three AutoCAD Offerings Made for Mac
Expanding on last year's reintroduction of AutoCAD to the Mac platform, the company releases full, LT, and WS versions. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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