CAD Manager's Newsletter (#290)

10 Oct, 2012 By: Robert Green

Establish a Training Program for Your CAD Users, Part 1

You could be doing more to help your users — and yourself — with training that prevents repeated mistakes.

As I continue my current round of travels, speaking to CAD managers around the country, I've noticed that many CAD managers do not have a training program in place to help their users more effectively apply their CAD tools. The reasons for this omission vary, but the end result is the same: untrained users who keep making the same mistakes over and over.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll begin a series that makes the case for training, provides strategies for convincing your boss to fund it, and gives you the tools to improve your training game. Here goes.

Why Bother with Training?

The conversation all starts with this question, doesn't it? After all, if the value of training were obvious to everyone, you'd already have your training program. But this isn't a perfect world, and you know your boss will ask you, "Why should we spend money on that?"

Because you will be questioned about the value of training, it pays to prepare your arguments ahead of time. Here are a few benefits of training that most management teams understand:

  • It improves standards compliance. If you have trouble getting people to comprehend and follow standards, it is either because they don't understand or are just plain stubborn. Training takes care of the first problem by demonstrating proper standards usage, while exposing stubborn users for what they are.
  • It can help you implement custom procedures. In order to automate redundant procedures such as plotting, symbol insertions, filing, archiving, transmittals, etc., you'll need to create custom programs and procedures. And for users to benefit from these procedures, you'll have to show them how to use your tools.

Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox:
Add Jing Videos to Your Training Arsenal

"Show, don't tell" is good advice for writers — and for CAD managers as well.

There's an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that's the case, how much is a video worth? If you're explaining a concept to users or having them send you software error reports, you'll quickly see that a video is worth a million words!

You may have already become a fan of Jing, a free video-sharing utility from TechSmith, since I first wrote about it a few years ago. If not, it's worth another look; Jing is now a downloadable utility, and it has even more features than in the past. 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

Engineer Training Courses Bundled with 3Dconnexion Mouse
Through October 31, 2012, engineers in the United States can purchase an i GET IT Platinum training subscription bundled with the 3Dconnexion SpacePilot Pro 3D mouse for $495, a combination that would otherwise cost $794. The self-paced, online training is available in various versions for users of AutoCAD, Inventor, SolidWorks, CATIA, and Siemens NX.

:: Events

VE Training Course
October 15–16, 2012
Omaha, Nebraska
This training, presented by IES (Integrated Environmental Solutions), will teach simulation techniques and methods that enable more sustainable design practices using VE v2012. Read more »

SolidCAD University
October 23, 2012
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
This event from SolidCAD, a preferred Autodesk Gold Partner, is intended to help Autodesk design technology users sharpen their skills and network with peers. Read more »

PLM Innovation Americas 2012
October 25–26, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
Attendees of this independent event will be able to learn from experts, network with peers, and visit with PLM (product lifecycle management) solutions providers. 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

Express Server v8 Simplifies Geospatial Data Distribution
Latest release from LizardTech features 30-day trial and support for Geospatial PDF. Read more »

Quickly Add Additional Objects with the Same Properties and Settings
Let's say you're working on an older drawing, and you need to add in a few additional objects. You might not remember the layer, linetype, scale, etc. of the object — but with Add Selected, there is no need to remember! Watch the video »

HP and Autodesk Move AEC Workflows to the Cloud
Two industry insiders provide perspectives about hardware and software solutions that are changing the way professionals work. Read more »

Define Equation-Based Loads in Femap
Femap Tips and Tricks: Apply hydrostatic loading to a water tank model. Read more »

Leverage the Autodesk Vault Job Server/Processor
IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: The Vault Client enables users to perform query, view, and print tasks on a model or drawing without having direct access to the CAD data. Read more »

Hard Drives for CAD Workstations: SATA and SA-SCSI Standards
The longtime, tried-and-true hard drive remains the backbone of a workstation's storage subsystem, but a new breed of solid-state technology is pushing its limits. Read the CADspeed blog post »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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