CAD Manager's Newsletter (#304)

10 Jul, 2013 By: Robert Green

Seven Pitfalls to Avoid as You Transition to 3D Modeling

You've heard plenty about what to do when moving from 2D CAD to 3D and building information modeling. Now it's time to learn what not to do.

The transition from 2D CAD to 3D modeling and BIM (building information modeling) continues to change how we do business — and vexes CAD managers as it does so. But you already knew that. Whether you're implementing 3D systems in the form of BIM for architecture, mechanical design/simulation for physical systems, or 3D topology design in civil/GIS environments, you've no doubt heard many suggestions about how to make the transition.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'm going to put a new twist on 3D/BIM implementation by telling you what not to do. By sharing the mistakes I've seen made time and time again, I hope to spare you the pain of repeating them. Interested? Here goes.

Do Not Believe the Sales Pitch

If you read all the marketing materials for 3D software systems, you'd conclude that 3D/BIM software is so simple to use that no training is required at all. Buzzwords such as intuitive and easy abound in the literature, and it's easy to see why senior management staffs often fall for those claims.

I don't care what any marketing person says — you're radically changing the tools people use and the way they work, so going from 2D to 3D is not going to be intuitive, easy, or simple. In my experience the entire process is counterintuitive (as you unlearn the old software), difficult (change always is), and complex (because many standard work procedures have to change).

Rule of thumb: Use sales literature as a way to start the 3D/BIM conversation, but always question marketing claims.Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Vacation Planning for the CAD Manager

Summer is here, and many of us will be taking vacations during the next few months. To help you make the most of your precious vacation time, here are some recommendations I've gleaned from experienced managers over the years.

  • Communicate well in advance. Let everyone know when you'll be on vacation. Encourage all parties to bring issues to your attention before you leave so you can address them prior to departing.
  • Establish separation. Since everyone has been told of your departure and encouraged to proactively address issues, you are within your rights to insist on being left alone while on vacation. Emergencies may happen, but at least you've minimized the potential for interruption.

Read more »

Do you have a question or tip 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!

:: Resources

Autodesk Offers Fusion 360 Free for Limited-Time Introductory Period
On June 25, Autodesk launched a 90-day free offer for Fusion 360, cloud-based software that combines capabilities of mechanical, industrial, and conceptual design tools. Upon expiration of the initial offer, Fusion 360 will be available for purchase from the Autodesk e-store for $25 per month, per user, based on annual contract commitment. Special pricing is available for students and entrepreneurs.

3DSystems Publishes Free, Downloadable 3D Printer Buyer's Guide
3DSystems is offering a free, 9-page "3D Printer Buyer's Guide" to site visitors who register. Topics include choosing the right 3D printer for any application, key performance attributes to consider, and which application needs may be satisfied by acquiring multiple technologies.

:: Events

Multibody Sheet Metal Design in SolidWorks
July 17, 2013
6 p.m. ET
Part of the Fisher/Unitech "Night School" series, this webinar will offer tips, tricks, and knowledge to help attendees stay ahead of the competition and learn more about SolidWorks. Read more »

An Introduction to Luxion KeyShot
July 17, 2013
11 a.m. PT
This webinar from Novedge is a beginner's course, instructing attendees about how to use KeyShot Pro 4.1 to create professional-quality renderings. Topics will include importing files, using the material library, and rendering output. Read more »

Reduce the Risk Inherent to Innovation with SolidWorks Simulation
July 19, 2013
2 p.m. ET
In this Fisher/Unitech webinar, attendees can learn how to inexpensively test new ideas with SolidWorks Simulation Professional and Simulation Premium. 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

Three Ways to Change Your Current AutoCAD Layer
Changing layers is a fact of life in AutoCAD — are you doing it the fastest possible way? Join Autodesk Evangelist Lynn Allen as she shows you three different ways to change your current layer. Watch the video »

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Generate an FEA Report in Inventor Professional 2014
Any Inventor user can create a finite element analysis (FEA) report by following these steps. Read more »

Solid Edge University 2013, Part 1:
Solid Edge ST6 Adds 1,300 User-Requested Features

Announced this week at the annual user conference, the "greatest version ever" is said to increase performance sixfold on some tasks. Read more »

Match AutoCAD Objects to the Correct Layer
If you ever need to quickly move objects from one layer to another, and you aren't sure about the layer name but you can see objects on the destination layer, this handy tool is perfect for you. Try LayMch for speedy layer changes! Watch the video »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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