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CAD Manager's Q&A: Change Depends on Training

25 Oct, 2005 By: Robert Green

I can't see why anybody would want to limit themselves to 2D CAD when 3D offers so much more power. Was there this much debate when they changed from chisels to pens?


I can't see why anybody would want to limit themselves to 2D CAD when 3D offers so much more power.  Was there this much debate when they changed from chisels to pens?

Robert Green answers:   I've been around a while -- longer than I care to admit -- but I wasn't privy to the chisel vs. pen debate.  I do remember the drafting board vs. CAD debate, though, and the 2D vs. 3D debate is much the same. 

My experience has shown the main factor holding companies back from 3D adoption is the lack of personnel who can be immediately productive with 3D software.  Companies are more than willing to reap the benefits of high-tech 3D design, but they don't want to pay the tab to do all the training, process changes and data management work required to take the leap into full-blown 3D design.

I've observed that more and more companies do small-scale pilot studies that place motivated employees -- those willing to learn on their own -- into 3D production.  The pilot study approach offers a slow, steady way to grow into 3D with much lower initial startup costs, but it stretches out the period of 3D technology adoption.  Put simply, companies are willing to spend only so much to get into 3D, and many have found that a slow transition is the best way to mitigate cost. 

I believe 3D adoption will occur only as fast as companies can hire personnel skilled in 3D.  Colleges and trade schools must graduate enough SolidWorks, Inventor, Pro/ENGINEER and Unigraphics users to get the ball rolling.

And by the way, if engineering work could be done faster using chisels and tablets or papyrus scrolls than it could using CAD programs, I'd be the first one to advocate doing so.


About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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