CAD Manager's Newsletter (#338)

25 Feb, 2015 By: Robert Green

Recapture Your CAD Mojo by Learning Something New

Learn something new and exciting, and solve your company's future technology problems at the same time.

Even though you deal with myriad technical problems on a daily basis and your job is never boring, do you ever get the feeling that you're stuck in a rut? That there must be something more than the daily grind to sink your teeth into? If you do feel this way, you're not alone; I hear these sentiments from many CAD managers.

Many of us originally embraced the job of CAD manager because we loved the technology — so it's not surprising that as we get pulled further away from technology and more into management, we lose some of our passion for the CAD game. In this edition of The CAD Manager's Newsletter I'll share an approach I've used to learn new technology and recapture some of that CAD mojo, all while bettering my management skills. Here goes.

First Things First

It goes without saying that if you're going to see projects through to completion, you must stay focused on your current tasks and keep your staff on track. I am in no way discounting this responsibility; it is the number one job we have as CAD managers. What I am saying is that a CAD manager who is engaged, motivated, and learning new things will do a better job for his or her company, as long as the focus of that learning is applicable to the company's overall needs.

So, if your company designs residential homes using AutoCAD and you want to learn more about designing fishing rods with SolidWorks, you're probably in the wrong job. On the other hand, if you want to learn about using custom software that helps create prefabricated wall and roof modules to speed construction and save money, then you're learning something your company should be interested in!

Now that you're thinking about getting back into the learning groove, it's time to determine what you want to pursue.

Forecast Future Technology Issues

To build your learning list, simply ask yourself a few diagnostic questions based on the CAD challenges your company might face in the next year of so. A few examples might be:

  • What will be the next plug-in or technology we need to further our building information modeling (BIM)-based energy management solutions?
  • What's next in digital scanning, and how can we use it to best serve our clients?
  • What is the most challenging part we might need to produce on our new manufacturing line, and how will I model it?
  • What technologies can we use to speed our annotative and drafting functions?

Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Memory and SSD Compatibility

If you ever have to specify random-access memory (RAM) or solid-state drive (SSD) upgrades to older workstations, you've no doubt scratched your head and wondered what type of memory modules, which speed, and which module factor you should buy for the RAM, and what controller technology is required for the SSD. To find the answers, you can break open the old system manuals (if you have them), scour the Internet for ages, or do what I do: head over to the Crucial website and let its system scanner feature do the heavy lifting for you. Read more »

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


:: Events

Organic Surface Modeling in SolidWorks
March 11, 2015
11 a.m. PT
Viewers of this Novedge webinar will learn about Power Surfacing v2 for SolidWorks. Read more »

COFES 2015
April 16–19, 2015
Scottsdale, Arizona
The theme of this year's Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES) is "Stepping Back to See the Big Picture." Read more »

GIS in Action 2015 Conference
May 4–6, 2015
Vancouver, Washington
GIS In Action will be a combined GIS conference of Washington and Oregon chapters of URISA. Read more »

Revit Technology Conference Asia 2015
September 10–12, 2015
Sentosa, Singapore
Those who attend the inaugural Asian Revit Technology Conference will learn from some of the world's top instructors and industry experts. 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

SolidWorks Stays on Course as Bassi Takes the Helm
The new CEO vows to respect the company's legacy while embracing its future. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: Do You Have the Power? Part 2
Don't make an aftermarket upgrade; choose the right power supply unit for your workstation configuration from the get-go. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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