CAD Manager's Newsletter (#316)

25 Feb, 2014 By: Robert Green

An Open Letter to CAD Software Companies

Here's what we really need from our tools — and from the firms that develop and market them.

Over the years, I've received lots of feedback from CAD managers telling me what they think CAD software companies should do to make their products better. I've heard a lot of complaints, some compliments, and a lot of expletives through the years, but the main thing I've concluded is this: CAD managers don't think that CAD companies listen. In addition, I've noticed a strong uptick in CAD managers' grumbling since cloud-based CAD has become such a hot topic.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll pass along the collective comments I've heard from CAD managers in the form of an open letter. Let's hope that CAD companies hear its message. Here goes.

Dear CAD Company CEO:

As CAD managers, we toil in less-than-ideal conditions. We work long hours, deal with irritated users, and have little budget or authority, yet we're expected to make CAD/building information modeling (BIM) software work all the time. We have to help our companies meet deadlines and profit goals, while keeping all our users trained so that the wheels don't fall off the CAD bus. It isn't an easy or glamorous job, yet we do it because we love CAD technology and want our companies to succeed.

We're some of your biggest fans, because you produce the software we work with every day. Unfortunately, we often struggle to manage the tools you produce and to make them work well. If you could listen to us, better understand the frustrations we deal with, and address a few requests, we'll be more than happy to sing your praises.

Here are a few things you could do to help us. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Create Training Videos with Project Chronicle

I first explored Autodesk's Project Chronicle — a screen-recording utility that lets you create your own short training videos — in the fall of 2012. As a big fan of video-based training, I liked the fact that Chronicle not only recorded the screen, but also listed the command steps and dialog boxes being used to facilitate user learning. The initial version of Chronicle was limited in that it only supported AutoCAD and it offered very little video editing capability. My initial impression was that Chronicle was a great idea, but was not yet mature.

In the latter half of 2013, Chronicle was developed into a substantial tool that supports Autodesk AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, Inventor, and Revit, plus vertical products based on these core platforms. Obviously this tool is Autodesk-centric, but since many CAD managers support Autodesk products to some degree, this tool is worth a mention. 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

SPEC/GWPG Releases Professional Workstation Benchmark
SPEC/GWPG (SPEC's Graphics and Workstation Performance Group, made up of vendors such as AMD, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lenovo, NEC, and NVIDIA) has released SPECwpc v1.0 (free for noncommercial users; $5,000 for commercial entities). The new benchmark measures more than 30 workloads for testing CPU, graphics, input/output, and memory bandwidth.

:: Events

NX CAD — Essentials for Excellence in Aerospace and Defense Design and Engineering
March 5, 2014
10 a.m. PT
This webinar from Siemens PLM Software will show how Siemens NX enables a company to design and develop great products and to respond quickly to new market opportunities. Read more »

Take a Big-Picture Look at the Overall CAD/CAM CNC Process Chain
March 25, 2014
9 a.m. PT
At this webinar, Chris Pollack from Siemens Industry will demonstrate important components of this overall CNC process chain. Read more »

SPAR International
April 14–17, 2014
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The 11th annual SPAR International conference will introduce attendees to the latest tools and information for using the newest 3D technologies to drive efficiency and mitigate risk. Read more »

Spring 2014 BIMForum
April 23–24, 2014
Boston, Massachusetts
This spring forum will focus on design and engineering to showcase the best examples of collaboration, optimization, and sustainability. Read more »

30th Annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference
July 21–25, 2014
North Charleston, South Carolina
At the 2014 Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference, expert and novice metrology professionals will convene to learn about the successful implementation and usage of measurement and inspection solutions. 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

HP ZBook 14
First Look Review: Lightweight mobile workstation for CAD on the go. Read more »

Try the Array Option in AutoCAD's Copy Command
If you've ever wanted to make multiple copies of an object equidistant from each other, you're going to lovem the low-stress Array option that was added to the Copy command in AutoCAD 2012. Join Autodesk Evangelist Lynn Allen as she shows you this handy new tool that you can start using right. Watch the video »

Set Divergence Points When Modeling Products in Inventor
IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: You may be familiar with top-down and bottom-up design methods, but the outside-in approach can save you time and rework. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment