CAD Manager's Newsletter (#286)

11 Jul, 2012 By: Robert Green

Update Your CAD Management Plan

Is your office in the midst of a summertime slowdown? Don't twiddle your thumbs — use that downtime to evaluate tasks, problems, and your methods of coping with them.

Well, unless you're in the southern hemisphere, it's summer again. Lots of people are on vacation, and the frenetic pace of the office tends to slow down as a result. Why not take advantage of this time to assess and adjust your CAD management plan?

In this installment of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll give you a checklist for exactly what to do during the summer slowdown. Here goes.

Review Your Circumstances and Your Plan

First things first: What is your CAD management master plan? Is it written down? If not, do you have a master plan floating around in your brain? Or are you living the worst-case scenario: You lack a plan altogether, and simply scurry from one daily disaster to the next?

Be honest in your responses to these questions so you know where to start revising — or creating — your CAD management plan. If you don't have any plan at all, you've clearly got a lot of work to do. Conversely, if you have a plan that's well laid out, you can still benefit from a thorough review of how you're working.

No matter what kind of plan you have currently, the goal is to think through what you're doing, determine what you're doing wrong, and find more effective ways to accomplish your tasks. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Actually doing it, however, requires some action steps on your part, which we'll explore next. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: Use Peer Pressure to Enforce Standards

A simple peer review process can help your users develop pride in the quality of their work.

Do you ever have troubles getting your users to follow CAD standards? OK, you can stop laughing; this is, of course, a universal scourge that all CAD managers know well. The question is, what can we do about it?

I recently witnessed an interesting approach that relies on peer review of standards compliance. The process worked like this:

During certain project milestones (such as design reviews, customer submittals, etc.), drawings (this was an AutoCAD-based project) were swapped between users, who would evaluate them for standards conformity. Nobody knew which of their peers would be assessing their drawing; nor did they know whose drawing they would be grading. 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

New Whitepaper Series Explores CAD Selection Considerations
PLM (product lifecycle management) consulting and research firm CIMdata has published "CAD Selection Considerations: Design Changes," a whitepaper that advises CAD users on the importance of tools that allow rapid design model changes. The first in a series, the freely downloadable paper discusses functional capabilities for changing geometric models.

IDG Connect Shares Cloud Computing Resources
IDG Connect, a division of International Data Group, has made available a variety of free whitepapers, case studies, and videos that examine how cloud computing works and explore its applications. Access to some files requires viewer registration.

:: Events

Smarter 3D Printing: How to Have It All
July 11–November 13, 2012
Various cities
This free seminar, presented by 3D Systems, will include tips on how to choose the right 3D printer for any application and demonstrations of 3D printers. Read more »

Mold and Die, Fast and Easy
July 12, 2012
11:30 a.m. ET
SpaceClaim will present this webinar, which will demonstrate SpaceClaim's tooling capabilities, including editing parts from any CAD system, fixing problems with dirty geometry, extracting cores, and creating tooling around CAD models. Read more »

Introduction to SolidWorks Plastics
July 24, 2012
11 a.m. ET
Viewers of this webcast will learn how to evaluate manufacturability of their designs, eliminate mold rework, improve part quality, and accelerate time to market. 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

Quick and Easy All-in-One Video Tips: Something for Every CAD User!
Cadalyst's All-in-One video tips, sponsored by the HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation, combine three useful tips into one quick video. Host Curt Moreno, the Kung Fu Drafter, shares advice on topics ranging from resumes and training to xrefs and sheet sets. Watch the videos »

Vectorworks Cloud Services: Reduce CPU Computing Times, Improve Collaboration in 3D Workflows
When people think of cloud computing, benefits such as convenience and portability often come to mind. After all, the cloud may or may not deliver a faster experience for users of CAD solutions when compared to desktop processing. Read the CADspeed blog post »

First Look Review: NEC MultiSync EA243WM
LED-backlit 24" LCD monitor offers energy efficiency, professional features, and good design. Read more »

First Look Review: HP Z1 Workstation
Distinctive all-in-one system has it all — and it all fits inside a 27" display. Read more »

AIA Comes Home to the Capital, Part 2
Rendering software, printing solutions, and more were on display at the American Institute of Architects' National Convention and Design Exposition. Read more »

Growth is the Goal at Solid Edge University 2012
In its avid pursuit of more users, Siemens PLM Software is spending more money on development and offering more ways to consume its mechanical CAD solution. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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