CAD Manager's Newsletter (#329)

10 Sep, 2014 By: Robert Green

Choose Your Battles

You don't have the time and energy to pursue every single thing that might improve your CAD users' efficiency — so prioritize, then push for the changes that have a big impact.

The past few years have been an interesting time for CAD managers. Software environments haven't changed all that much, yet the various elements affecting how that software works — hardware, cloud/network environments, personal devices, and mobile work methods — have changed a lot. It seems that just when our transition from 2D CAD to 3D modeling and building information modeling (BIM) was starting to stabilize, everything else in our world got turned upside down.

This upheaval has led me to ponder the following questions: What priorities must CAD managers set to survive in the new CAD environment? And what initiatives and resources should CAD managers be pushing to implement? In this installment of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we'll strive to answer these questions, and give some practical advice as we do so. Here goes.


I'm starting with hardware because upgrading your hardware is the biggest no-brainer decision in the CAD environment. Of course hardware always gets more powerful over time, but the past year has brought huge gains in processing (more cores with bigger caches), more RAM, higher clock rates, better graphics, and cheap solid-state disks that speed CAD performance in a big way. A great CAD platform for 3D users can be purchased for $2,000 now (provided that the entire cost can be devoted to the workstation and not the display).

With the new hardware we have available to us, it simply doesn't make sense to keep using old, slow hardware that bogs down or crashes when attempting to work with large data files. Why would you want an expensive employee working on a high-profile project to be weighed down by a boat anchor of a computer when he or she could be using a fast, efficient machine instead?

What to fight for: The CAD manager's role is to make the case that new workstations really aren't expensive when amortized over time. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Computational Tools for Managing Networks

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I discussed the importance of having adequate bandwidth to power your cloud- and Internet-based CAD tools. To this end, I recommend's Tools page (pictured below), for a collection of handy computational tools.'s Tools page

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 prize!

:: Resources

On-Demand Webinars Demonstrate New Versions of solidThinking Software
SolidThinking has produced two webinars that demonstrate the latest versions of the company's Inspire and Evolve software. New enhancements including geometry simplification tools, smoothing options, and others are explained in a webinar introducing solidThinking Inspire 2014. Another webinar demonstrates improved usability and efficiency of solidThinking Evolve 2014, according to the company.

:: Events

LambdaVision and CCAT Develop Novel Surgical Tools Using Multimaterial, Multijet 3D Printing
September 11, 2014
11 a.m. ET
3D Systems webinar will explain how a startup company and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology developed a new surgical tool for a new retinal implant. Read more »

SolVilla and CCAT use Multimaterial, Multijet 3D Printing to Develop Revolutionary New Integrated Solar Panels
September 16, 2014
11 a.m. ET
This 3D Systems webinar will discuss how a startup company and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology used 3D printing technology to develop a solar roofing system. Read more »

Fisher/Unitech Design Excellence Forum
October 1–29, 2014
Various U.S. cities
Excellence Forum with events scheduled in 11 midwestern and northeastern cities. Read more »

SSI Americas ShipConstructor User Conference
October 7–9, 2014
Mobile, Alabama
Those who attend this conference will learn how ShipConstructor software, Autodesk applications, and other enterprise tools can help maximize productivity. Read more »

3D Documentation Conference Americas 2014
October 13–15, 2014
Orlando, Florida
Classes at this conference will provide attendees with training designed to improve job performance and give a better understanding of practical uses for 3D technology. Read more »

Virtualize Conference
October 30, 2014
Burlingame, California
This conference aims to educate industry professionals about ways to make their organizations more efficient using remote graphics and virtualization technologies. Read more »

NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference
March 17–20, 2015
San Jose, California
The NVIDIA GPU technology conference, which covers a range of topics and industries related to graphics processing units (GPUs), will feature an expanded automotive content track in 2015. 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

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Create a Point Cloud for Use as a Factory Asset
Don't waste time modeling your next factory asset — grab a camera instead. Watch the video »

Video Tip: Ensure That Your AutoCAD Text Is Readable
We certainly want the text in AutoCAD to be at an angle that is easy to read — but what is the fastest way to make that happen? In this video tip from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen, you'll see how to quickly make your text readable for everyone with the handy TOrient Express Tool. This tool works on text, mtext, attribute definitions, and attributes within blocks. Watch the video »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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