CAD Manager's Newsletter (#166)

13 Feb, 2007 By: Robert Green

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Software, Hardware and OS Turmoil

Navigating the big changes in technology and their effect on your CAD department.

Over the past couple of months several high-profile items appeared in the news that CAD managers should be very interested in. Let me list these items and then take a closer look at each of them.

  • Release of Microsoft's Vista operating system
  • Introduction of Intel's quad-core processors
  • Autodesk and Solidworks industry/user events.

What I find interesting about all these events happening in such a short time span is that they all foretell greater design capabilities, greater hardware speed and a new operating system that will permeate the market as new computers are sold. In a perfect world it would be great to have higher power software with better hardware and a more robust operating system to run it all on, right? But, as with all things new, the process of making these changes isn't going to go smoothly. And as CAD manager your superiors are probably asking you what your course of action should be.

In this edition of CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll provide a combination of analysis, conclusions and recommendations that I think can help you navigate the inevitable change that this perfect storm of technology events will bring for the first half of this year. Here goes.

New Software

I always try to keep an eye on the big software companies (like Autodesk and Dassault), not just to see what they're trying to sell but to see what their core message is. I've been looking at both of these companies over the past few months and a few things are clear to me. Read more>>


:: CAD Manager's Q&A

We're rolling out 3D software in my company now and users are coming around to the new way of design. What kinds of items should I be concerned about now and how can I avoid making post-implementation errors in this new 3D world?

Robert Green replies: Good question. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that once 3D software is installed and users being using it, you're not done with implementation -- you're really just beginning. To that end here are a few pointers I've found by trial and error that have worked for me.

Make everyone aware of your focus. Making users, managers, vendors and customers aware that the transition to 3D design processes is an ongoing task shows your intention to stay on the job. Simply sending this message says a lot about your commitment to seeing the implementation through to a successful conclusion.

Keep training. As soon as people start using the new software, they'll start making mistakes and they'll start asking more detailed questions. If you simply let the implementation drift, you'll allow bad habits to ultimately form and perpetuate themselves. An ongoing training program helps mitigate these problems.
Read more>>

Submit your questions to Robert Green

:: Resources

Graphic Systems Launches SolidNotes Tech Blog
Graphics Systems has launched a tech blog, SolidNotes, which includes tips, tricks and troubleshooting advice for various CAD programs and topics including mechanical design, design validation, data management, design automation and 3D printing. The online CAD resource is available free to all visitors. Graphics Systems staff members author the technical articles to assist fellow CAD users. SolidNotes visitors can respond to articles with questions or comments.

Cadalyst Job Search
Looking for a job? The Cadalyst Web site offers a job search section with extensive listings of CAD-related jobs in the United States. You can do a custom search with your own key words or search the listings by state. 

:: Events

Cadalyst'scomplete list of upcoming industry events is always available on our Web site.

Data Management Seminars
February 20, 2007 - March 22, 2007
Various US locations
Avatech Solutions will hold half-day seminars on How to Streamline Design to Manufacturing for Competitive Advantage. The seminars will provide engineering management with real-world insight into how product development bottlenecks, which affect time to market, can be eliminated by implementing data management with a best practices approach. Time: 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon. Read more

Webcast: Autodesk Map 3D 2007 for Environmental Consulting Firms
February 21, 2007
This webcast, by Ideate, will show how to leverage your existing engineering software's functionality by accessing readily available GIS datasets including land use, flood zones, wetland delineation and district boundary data. Time: 12:00 Noon to 1:00 pm PT. Read more

February 22, 2007
Seattle, Washington
This one-day learning and networking event is designed to recharge your career. Modeled after Autodesk University, course subjects range from AutoCAD to CAD Management to industry-specific tracks such as Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Inventor. More than 15 different classes offered. Read more

:: What's New at

Cadalyst's February Web Exclusives Now Live Online!
The latest editions of all your favorite Cadalyst tutorials for AutoCAD and other popular CAD software, CAD Cartoon, Dialog Box (letters from readers) -- plus all the content from the February edition of Cadalyst magazine -- are now live on

Announcing: Cadalyst Online PlanRoom introduces Cadalyst Online PlanRoom, a free, easy-to-use, time-saving service to help you store, manage and share project plans and large-format drawings -- all securely over the Internet. Powered by Check it out today!

Cadalyst Daily Update
For all the latest news and new products and updates about the newest features on, subscribe to the Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Plus, every Monday we bring you a full-length feature article you won't find anywhere else -- hardware and CAD software reviews, success stories, interviews, event reports, AutoCAD tips and more! Here's what you missed last week:

  • Putting a Face on Autodesk: Cadalyst's Ed Goldberg discovers how Carl Bass, a self-proclaimed bad student, became CEO of one of the world's leading software companies.