AEC Tech News #180

18 Oct, 2006 By: Scott MacKenzie

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BIM There, Done That

Straight talk about what it's really like to move from CAD to building information modeling

Are you still wondering, “What's the deal with BIM?” If you don't know the acronym by now, it means building information modeling. Personally, I think it isn’t as good an acronym as VBD (for virtual building design and documentation). But VBD isn't as compelling and, well, it reminds me of a disease, so we'll stick with BIM.

2D to 3D

My CAD experience goes back 17 years. I started on AutoCAD Release 9 and I have used four other CAD brands along the way. I had 12 years of production CAD experience before I did any chargeable work in 3D. When I was hired by a large architectural firm in 2000, they wanted me to take them out of AutoCAD R14 and into ADT 2i (Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2i). It was not an easy transition. I had little problem with the software personally because I saw great value in the drafting automation, but some of my coworkers were hesitant. Architects who were used to the status quo, and folks who probably shouldn't do CAD at all, had some trouble with "going 3D."

In my opinion, the drafting automation is great in ADT, but the 3D component forces the architect to change his or her approach in the process. And this was cause for concern and fear. The concern was justified, and we needed to digest the new technology carefully. Some people were scared, because it meant they had to learn a new tool and a new way of doing things, and follow some new rules. Oh, no!

As a CAD manager, all I wanted to do was make the process of getting the information on the drawings more efficient. The fact that ADT would clean up walls, doors and windows made it worth the change to me. But the deeper we got into ADT, the harder it became to control -- at the time, it was too difficult for most users to handle. There came a point where it just didn’t make sense for us to advance further into the capabilities of the software, so we stayed with the basic functionality of ADT and only used the walls and doors. Read more>>

First Look Review: HP xw8400 Workstation

By Ron LaFon

The HP xw8400 was a bit larger than most HP workstations that Cadalyst has reviewed recently -- it measures 17.9" x 8.3" x 20.7" (HxWxD) -- but the slightly larger case apparently included some new acoustic engineering features that made it one of the quietest systems I've ever used. The sleek silver and charcoal gray case featured three 5.25" external drive bays, with an additional five 3.5" drive bays accessible internally. In addition to single serial and parallel connections, the workstation had seven USB 2.0 external connectors, one USB 2.0 internal connector and single external FireWire connectors on both the front and back of the system. The extensive expandability options are supported by an 800W Delta power supply. Read more>>

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Cadalyst'scomplete list of upcoming industry events is always available on our Web site.

Adobe Acrobat PDF Central Conference
November 6-9, 2006
Council Bluffs, Iowa
This conference comprises both a main conference -- including more than 24 sessions presented by Adobe representatives and other industry experts -- and a "mini-conference" for those new to PDF or still investigating PDF possibilities. Read more

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