CAD Manager's Newsletter (#243)

13 Jul, 2010 By: Robert Green

Cloud-Based CAD, Part 1

What is cloud computing, and does it make sense for CAD users?

Until now, I've been avoiding the whole "CAD on the cloud" discussion; frankly, I think the topic has been a little overdone. However, I've been getting a lot of questions on the topic recently, and I've seen a great deal of misinformation and confusion concerning cloud computing. So since many of us have to chart a course for our companies' CAD/IT strategies, and the cloud may well be a part of that future, discussing the cloud may be of use.

We'll get the topic started in this issue by defining what the cloud is and how it could work for CAD managers — and perhaps, against us. Here goes.

What Is the Cloud?

I've heard and read a lot of debate about how to define "the cloud." The surest, simplest answer is: The cloud is a big network of computers.

Like all networks, the cloud is composed of servers (which can be located anywhere) and client machines (such as your computer), connected to each other via the public domain Internet and/or private networks (like the network in your office). So "the cloud" is simply a nickname for a global network of computers that can talk to each other via the Internet. (It doesn't sound nearly as mysterious when you state it that way, does it?) Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: Tips from CAD Managers Unite!

Members of the new Facebook group have some advice for their fellow CAD managers.

About a month ago I created a Facebook group called CAD Managers Unite! that has proven to be a useful resource for sharing information. Recently I asked for tips from group members, and I'd like to share some of that feedback with you here.

Tim McDougald said: Don't summarily dismiss the ideas and input of your users. Some of my best moves come from incorporating ideas brought in from outside or from new hires. There can be no "we have always done it like this" [attitude]. At the same time, know who you should not listen to. Some of the worst ideas come from new hires too. Read more »

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

Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

:: Resources

Cadalyst Updates Benchmark Test for AutoCAD 2011
The latest version of the Cadalyst Benchmark Test, C2011 v5.3b, is available for free download at Developed by Art Liddle, a former editor of Cadalyst magazine, the Cadalyst benchmark is designed to test and compare the performance of systems running AutoCAD. The latest version includes minor adjustments to ensure proper operation with AutoCAD 2011, but can be used with versions dating back to 2000. The test supports full, basic AutoCAD only. Full details are contained in the ReadMe file included with the download.

CAM Software Guide Explains Integrated Collision Checking
Manufacturing software provider Sescoi has released a free downloadable guide that itemizes and explains the reasons for using toolpath verification in CAM software and the benefits of integrated collision checking.

PLM Program Review Addresses Integration of Manufacturing, 3D CAD
Product lifecycle management (PLM) consulting and research firm CIMdata has released a new PLM Program Review entitled "Autodesk's Digital Prototyping for Manufacturing Program." The free review presents CIMdata's perspectives on the use of 3D design, analysis, prototyping, and simulation to support manufacturing engineering in the product development lifecycle.

Castle Island Report Provides Introduction to Open-source 3D Printers
Castle Island, a publisher of rapid prototyping materials, has released a report titled, "Everything You Should Know about Open-Source 3D Printers — but Didn't Know You Should Ask" ($9.95). It has been written in nontechnical language for users considering purchasing a kit or an assembled machine.

Molding Simulation Software Developer Launches Redesigned Web Site
SIMPOE SAS, a French software developer specializing in plastic injection molding simulation solutions, has redesigned its corporate web site. The new site is intended to provide users, partners, and resellers with easier and faster access to information about SIMPOE solutions.

:: Events

Webinar: ArchiCAD 14 — Open Design Collaboration
July 22–September 14, 2010
Various times
This webinar from Graphisoft will explore how ArchiCAD 14 turns IFC technology into full-fledged workflow solutions enabling collaboration with engineers. Read more »

July 25–29, 2010
Los Angeles, California
SIGGRAPH 2010 — the 37th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques — will comprise technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web. Read more »

The Best of V-Ray
July 28, 2010
Los Angeles, California
The Chaos Group, in partnership with CGschool, will present a live, full-day V-Ray training workshop at SIGGRAPH 2010. 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

Event Report: Siemens PLM Connection 2010
Product lifecycle management — with a high-definition twist — takes center stage at user event in Dallas. Read more »

Port of Rotterdam Manages Spatial Data Online
One of the world's biggest shipping centers implements ERDAS APOLLO to catalog and deliver masses of data via the web. Read more »

Maximum Training for Minimum Money
Set up a self-learning program for your users to increase skills and productivity even when times are tight. Read more »

Revit Tutorial: Editing Windows in Autodesk Revit
Edit the window family to include the appropriate building features, and save a lot of modeling time. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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