CAD Manager's Newsletter (#354)

28 Oct, 2015 By: Robert Green

An Open Letter to All CAD Users

You work with your CAD manager every day, but do you really understand how he or she can help you with your workload — and vice versa?

As CAD managers, we struggle to serve two key constituencies: senior managers (who fund our budget and want everything done inexpensively) and users (who want to get their work done with minimum hassle). Over the years that I've been writing this column, I've often focused on how to deal with senior management, but I haven't devoted much time to explaining how to forge great relationships with CAD users. That omission ends now.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll begin exploring this essential topic via an open letter that you can either send to your own CAD users as is, or edit to suit your own needs. Here goes.

Dear CAD Users:

Hello from your CAD manager. I know many of you don't know exactly what I do, so you may not realize how much I can help you get your work done while making the company's projects more profitable. I'm hoping this letter can serve as my re-introduction, so we can start a discussion about how we can all work together to make our CAD environment as productive as possible.

What does a CAD manager do, exactly?

I hear this question frequently, so I'd like to start by explaining my job. First, you need to know that the senior management team in our company has given me a set of directives they expect me to implement. Many of these directives affect your daily CAD use, but you may not know why. Let me give you a short rundown:

Support projects. Management has made it very clear that my number one responsibility is to keep projects on track by supporting CAD users and tools. Therefore, making sure the files get finished, the PDFs get captured, and the renderings get completed will always take priority over anything else.

Keep CAD software and hardware running. This means installing and supporting the software you use, while making sure that I coordinate with the IT department on network issues and keeping up with the printers and plotters we all use every day. I may be debugging AutoCAD programming in the morning, setting up new 3D parts families in the afternoon, and creating new project kickoff training during lunch break, all while fielding numerous support calls to support printing problems throughout the day. If it ever seems like I'm being pulled in many directions at once, it's because I am. And if I sometimes seem tense, my apologies, but the job can be highly stressful at times.

Standardize and optimize CAD operations. The goal is to have everyone on project teams working cooperatively, so that the work gets done quickly, efficiently, and with the fewest mistakes possible. When I focus on standards and getting everyone to work in a consistent manner it isn't just because I want to, it is because I'm expected to. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Keep Backups Current with Microsoft SyncToy 2.1

I've used various backup utilities, DOS XCOPY, good old-fashioned copying and pasting, batch files, and anything else you can imagine over the years, but nothing really combined all the speed and synchronization that I wanted without resorting to proprietary utility software — which could conceivably go out of production or become obsolete. I've recently started using Microsoft's SyncToy application to keep backups current, and can't believe I didn't find it sooner.

For years, I've been recommending that CAD managers keep local backups on a portable drive so they'll have rapid access to any files that may need to be recovered. Buying the drive is the easy part — it is keeping all the backups up to date that's a challenge!

Keep Backups Current with Microsoft SyncToy 2.1

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

Onshape Drawings
October 29, 2015
11 a.m. ET
This webinar will cover the basics of creating Onshape drawings including drawing views, dimensions, and templates. Read more »

ISW: Revit Model Management with Ideate BIMLink
November 5, 2015
11:30 a.m. PT
This Ideate webinar will discuss ways in which Ideate BIMLink can help with managing a Revit model, maintaining its quality and saving time. Read more »

Autodesk University 2015
December 1–3, 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University is the U.S. Autodesk user conference for attendees from a range of professions and industries that include design, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and digital arts. 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

Clean Up Lines with AutoCAD's Change Command
Join Autodesk Evangelist Lynn Allen as she shows you how to clean up lines that don't meet perfectly, and how to force lines to be orthogonal. Watch the video »

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical and SimStudio Tools: Making Design Changes on the Fly
This IMAGINiT Tricks tutorial explains how to use Simulation Mechanical with SimStudio tools to make design changes while setting up and running a simulation. Watch the video »

Applying Materials and Finishes to a Staircase in Revit
This tutorial demonstrates ways to give your design a more realistic look and feel. Watch the video »

Creating Exploded Views of a 3D Model in Revit
Learn how to create a view that slices a 3D model into its main components. Watch the video »

Herrera on Hardware: The Next Generation of Small–Form Factor (SFF)
Intel releases Skylake processors, triggering the launch of a new round of workstations — including boundary-bending SFF models. Read more »

First Look Review: Velocity Micro ProMagix HD80
Top-notch parts support solid performance of this CAD workstation. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition