Dialog Box December 2004

20 Dec, 2004 By: Cadalyst Staff Cadalyst

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True Results?
I have one question regarding your VX CAD review (October 2004, p. 28). Did you bring in data from another system to prove your point that VX is known for import and heal tools? I have a seat and what you say about this software is very far from the truth. I have yet to bring in clean data from UG that I can use in this software-it's useless to me. I do mold design and I cannot get clean data. I was lied to by VX sales pitch and I sent the technical support a bad file and I never heard from them again. Before you give software 5 out of 5 star rating, you better have something to back it. I have a pile of UG data that can't be tooled with this software. Also, exporting a complete mold comes in as junk when translating into Mechanical Desktop and Inventor.
— Jim Hartman, via Internet

ADT Should Not Be Highly Recommended
I take exception to your statement: "Architectural Desktop as it comes out of the box is an all-purpose architectural product that you must configure for optimal productivity" (First Look, VisionREZ, October 2004). After attempting to create complex roofs for residential remodeling, I think a more descriptive statement would be: "Architectural Desktop as it comes out of the box is a deficient architectural product that you must configure for basic productivity" (By the way, I purchased your book Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2004, A Comprehensive Tutorial and have read Section 10.)

In casting ADT's deficiencies as the norm ("all-purpose"), I think you could easily salvage the tarnished reputations of even the most foolish of politicians.

In all seriousness, I feel I am between a rock and a hard place. The rock is that the people at Americad deserve to be rewarded fiscally for VisionREZ. The hard place is I think residential architecture is "all-purpose" and therefore one should not have to spend extra money for an add-on that addresses a gaping hole in Architectural Desktop. Therefore, I cannot accept your five-star rating of Architectural Desktop 2005.

Which leads me to: there is a thread on the Architectural Desktop 2005 Discussion Group that I wish you would address by offering your help. The title is "Roof Tutorial." The thread number is 369419.

— Richard Jonas, via Internet

October 2004 Editorial
Your last two editorials have hit home for me. I'm a high school drafting teacher. The first year work is 95% on the board drawing. A second year student is given a CADD course using AutoCAD 2004. In their junior and senior years they may select between engineering drawings, architectural drawings, advanced CADD, and independent research in CADD.

In the engineering class they use AutoCAD for half the year and Inventor for the other half. In architectural class they spend half the year doing board work and remaining time using AutoCAD Architectural Desktop or Revit. The choice of software is based on what college they are looking into.

In talking with recent college graduates who found work in their area--mainly architecture--I found most started back doing board work and worked their way into CADD.

I've had a tough time convincing our administration that we need to keep the drawing boards. Most of the surrounding schools dropped the board drawings as a cost cutting measure. I contacted local colleges, Penn State University, Bucknell University, Lehigh University, and Pennsylvania State College of Technology--all stated they teach little if any board work, most work is done on computers. They would like to see students encounter board work before attending their schools.

The other premise of yours, which the CAD operator has to be proficient in two or more programs, is overwhelming. Try to teach them! There are so many choices: AutoCAD 2004, Architectural Desktop, Mechanical Desktop, Revit, Inventor and Land Desktop. All these are part of the ACES package for education and the administration feels we pay for it teach it!

I spend my summers at local colleges taking CAD classes.

— William C. Allison, via Internet

Asking for Trouble with Cutbacks
I just finished reading your editorial "Drawing Debate" in the October issue of Cadalyst. That paragraph about ways to cutback is without a doubt ludicrous!

Let me tell you how serious hiring inexperienced CAD people can be. Last year, I was walking out in our equipment yard when I happened to stop to look at some piping assemblies that were being loaded into Sea Vans for shipment to a nuclear power plant that we performed a radiation decontamination project on. These assemblies were part of a massive portable pumping system. Well, I was horrified to see that not one of those piping assemblies were what we call two-bolted. This was a direct result of an inexperienced temporary CAD drafter that did not know the difference.

We perform our services during plant outages. Those outages cost about $1,000,000 per day that they are shutdown. Had I not seen the mistakes and those assemblies had gotten out in the field, they would have required reworking at the plant. Not only would this have been extremely embarrassing, it would've cost several million dollars in delays.

When CAD first began to be popular, I can remember similar incidents as the above, because the industry thought ", we can hire a bunch of inexperienced college kids to do the drafting at dirt cheap rates."


I was working for Westinghouse Hanford at the time when they brought in several mobile office trailers full of young inexperienced CAD drafters. This ended in disaster. It was costing hundreds of thousands of dollars for us to go to the trailers and babysit these guys because they did not have the foggiest idea what they were doing. As I recall, in the span of about 18 months, management finally wised up, laid them all off, sold the CAD equipment (including the trailers) and as the old expression goes "went back to the old drawing board."

Please Sara ...don't give this kind of advice! It could cost companies in the millions!

Sorry to come down on you so hard, but when I read that article, it brought back very bitter memories.

— Earl L. Penor Jr., via Internet

Editors reply: Our comment about hiring less-experienced people was not meant as advice but as a reflection of what often happens when companies go into cost-cutting mode. Your recollection aptly illustrates the pitfalls of focusing solely on salary and not on intangibles such as industry experience. Comments
I really don't like your web site and the fact you have taken Lynn Allen and Bill Fane out of the printed magazine. I can't find anything on your Web site except the code and that has not been very useful lately. I liked reading Dialog Box and most of the articles you have removed from the magazine and put on the Web. The magazine has become nearly useless and your Web site is so difficult to maneuver through, I have decided it just isn't worth it anymore and will stop using both.

— Ray Smith, via Internet

I am a long time reader of Cadalyst (and Cadence). I was disappointed when my two favorite sections (Circles & Lines and Learning Curve) were removed from the printed copy of the magazine and placed only on the Web site. I travel often and looked forward to reading those sections on the airplane.

I understand the need to cut printing costs but it seems that over the last few years the number of pages in the magazine has been reduced considerably.

I hope Circles & Lines and the Learning Curve can find their way back into the printed copy of the magazine.

— Jan Russell, via Internet

Editors respond: Thank you for your comments. With the redesign of the Web site you'll find more of our hands-on columns online in your particular field of expertise-manufacturing/mechanical, architectural, GIS, or CAD management. We are continuing to fine-tune the redesign.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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