CAD Manager's Newsletter (#271)

26 Oct, 2011 By: Robert Green

:: Your Own Private CAD Cloud

Too worried about data security and service stability to take advantage of Internet-based computing? Put those concerns aside by building a low-cost, in-house network.

I've been watching the evolution of cloud-based computing over the past couple of years as the popular subject has moved from geeks-only to mainstream, and I'm fascinated by all the varied perceptions. Comments from management teams and IT professionals are all over the map regarding the definition of the cloud, fears of security breaches, and uncertainties about the real business benefits of the technology.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I want to clear up some misconceptions and begin to explain how building your own private cloud can make a lot more sense than trying to "buy an Internet cloud" from somebody else. Here goes.

What Exactly Is the Cloud?

We could ask ten computer users what the cloud is and get ten different answers — all of which could be right! My point is that a definition for the cloud is nebulous, contested, and still evolving. The most common answers I hear are along these lines:

  • It's an Internet storage location for our data
  • It's a way to connect our branch offices and traveling employees
  • It's a way to share project data with our sales force
  • It allows us to run software on a server instead of local machines
  • It's a security risk; we have no clue who owns the cloud or who we can trust.

Many people share the perception that the cloud is some kind of mysterious resource out there somewhere on the Internet, operating without a single owner or security provider. No wonder management teams are skeptical. I've seen a growing understanding of what cloud computing might offer as far as benefits go, but overriding worries about the lack of security and stability of cloud vendors keep most companies from making a big move to the cloud. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: The Training Circle

Has the search for fast, free training ideas got you running in circles? Engage users with this speedy, rewarding approach.

Want to find new ways to train your users that won't take much time and won't cost much, but will be fun and useful? Here's a clever idea that I've seen used for staff training in restaurants and retail environments; I've already tried it with a couple of my clients and had great success.

Here's how it works:

  • Have each of your CAD group members prepare to share one tip, trick, or technique that he or she uses to work more efficiently.
  • Get everyone together first thing in the morning, while people are still fresh and not yet ground down from the day's work.
  • Go around the "training circle" quickly – nobody takes more than two minutes to explain their idea.
  • No questions are allowed, because the training circle must move at high speed. Questions should be held until afterward, when they can be answered through casual interaction between users.

Read more »

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

Common BIM Files Help Verify Exchange of Building Information
The National Institute of Building Sciences buildingSMART alliance has released a free set of three building models to help building practitioners and software vendors improve their use of open-standard building information models (BIM). The Common BIM Files include an apartment building, a medical clinic, and an office building.

SprutCAM Launches CAM Tutorial Video Series
Manufacturing software provider SprutCAM has released the first videos in a series of new tutorial videos intended for beginning users of SprutCAM v7, a CAM system for CNC (computer numerical control) mills, lathes, wire EDM, and other CNC machinery. Subjects of the tutorials include basic interface function, tool library creation, and model import/export features.

:: Events

Displays at Your Doorstep Roadshow
Through November 16, 2011
Various cities
This fall, Mersive joins Delta and Digital Projection (DPI) on an educational tour that combines DPI's projection systems with Delta's display solutions and Mersive's visual computing software. Read more »

Vectorworks 2012 Tour
November 1–December 20, 2011
Various cities
At these events, presented by Nemetschek Vectorworks, designers in the architecture, landscape, and entertainment design industries will have the opportunity to experience hands-on test drives of Vectorworks 2012 software. Read more »

Exploring the Effective Implementation and Migration to ENOVIA V6
November 2, 2011
9:30 a.m. ET
Join Geometric for a live and interactive webinar as PLM specialists explain how companies utilize ENOVIA v6 through implementation and migration from legacy systems. 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

CADspeed Blog Post:
Tips on Buying Wide-Format Printers for CAD, Part 3: Setting It Up

Once you've determined which type of printer meets your needs, you'll need to address some practical details. Read more »

First Look Review: Dell Precision M6600 Mobile Workstation
Desktop-caliber performance combines with portability in a single unit. Read more »

Temple Team Captures 3D Data to Craft Traditional Hindu Sculpture
Using laser scanning to create a CAD model of a sacred bull makes a mammoth custom manufacturing project more manageable. Read more »

How Do You Learn AutoCAD? Take Our Survey!
Cadalyst and Axiom are conducting a survey of AutoCAD users. Please take a few minutes to help us understand your main challenges with AutoCAD and the training tools you use. Thank you! Click here to take the survey.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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