CAD Manager's Newsletter (#171)

24 Apr, 2007 By: Robert Green

Which CAD Tool Is Right for You, Part 2?

Examine the potential of new CAD tools for your company -- and be fearless.

In the April 11 issue of CAD Manager’s Newsletter, I began the discussion of evaluating CAD tools based on company needs and I described an example to drive home the concept. If you haven’t had a chance to read that issue, I recommend you do so now because this issue will take up where we left off. Here goes.

The Opposite Problem

In the last issue I cited a case that I called “Overkill” in which a company that was operating at peak productivity switched from AutoCAD to a very expensive mechanical solution that yielded no gain in productivity. This overkill example illustrates a phenomenon I like to call “feature lust”, in which a company simply buys newer and more expensive software based on a list of features that it didn’t fully evaluate.

This time I’ll describe a polar opposite case in which a company stuck to old software because it was comfortable, turning its back on new technology tools that could have radically improved productivity.

New Tool Avoidance

A regional architectural company I worked with last year was having great success in marketing nearly standard small buildings for strip malls, convenience stores and freestanding doctors' offices. This company was still using AutoCAD in very much the same way I remember using it in the late 1980s and saw no reason to change their processes to embrace new tools like Autodesk’s Building Systems or Revit (which the company had looked at). The company’s logic was that it had always used AutoCAD, its CAD people knew AutoCAD and they just didn’t see the justification for investing in anything new. Read more>>

:: CAD Manager's Q&A

How can I avoid the burned-out feeling I get in my job some days? It’s as though I answer the same questions day after day and never seem to get anywhere?

Robert Green replies: I think everyone in any type of computer support job has this same feeling from time to time, so don’t get discouraged. This is a normal part of providing user support.

First, to stop feeling burned out, you need to shake things up a little. For instance, if you’re getting a lot of questions about a particular subject, do a lunch-and-learn session and try to answer the questions in a public forum. I find that I feel less burned out when I tackle a problem head-on and address its root cause instead of continuing to bear it. Read more>>

Submit your questions to Robert Green

:: Resources

NC Software Market Report Available
Market researcher CIMdata announced that, based on end user payments, the worldwide NC (numerical control) software and related services market grew by 6.9% in 2006 to reach a level of $1.31 billion. Moreover, CIMdata estimates that in 2007 these payments will further increase by 6.4% to reach a level of $1.40 billion. If so, the NC market will have experienced four consecutive years with a growth rate of 6% or more. The report is available for purchase on the CIMdata Web site.

Send us the address of your favorite Web site or other resource and a few words about why you like it. If we publish it, we'll send you a Cadalyst t-shirt!

:: Events

Avatech's Autodesk 2008 Rollout Events
Various May Dates
Various U.S. Cities
Products from Autodesk allow professionals to explore ideas and experience designs virtually before construction or manufacturing begins. Avatech Solutions' experts will take attendees on a tour through the latest features that will affect the way they work and open up a world of innovation. Events are offered for architects, building design professionals, mechanical engineers, manufacturing design professionals and civil and survey engineers. Read more

Rhino User Meeting for Architects
May 31, 2007
Delft, The Netherlands
With the theme of Freeform Future for Contemporary Architecture, Dutch Rhino Resellers, in cooperation with the industry, will host a Rhino for Architects User meeting. The meeting will focus on experiences of users and the transfer of knowledge. Attendees will be able to share their experiences and spend time with other Rhino users. Read more

ESRI Survey & Engineering GIS Summit
June 16-19, 2007
San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, California
At the ESRI Survey & Engineering GIS Summit, more than 400 surveyors, engineers and GIS professionals will gather to discover the latest developments in spatial technology and unearth new possibilities. Read more

2nd International Conference on Rapid Manufacturing
July 11-12, 2007
Loughborough, United Kingdom
Hosted by the Rapid Manufacturing Research Group at Loughborough University, this two-day conference will feature a mixture of world-leading industrial applications and cutting-edge academic research currently being undertaken in the field of rapid manufacturing. Read more

Click here to view the complete calendar of events at

:: What's New at

Come On, People! Where Will CAD Be In 50 Years?
Lester Craft, editor-in-chief of Cadalyst sister site Innovate Forum, seeks reader feedback in his effort to develop a long-range vision for CAD.   Read more

New MCAD Discussion Forum Live Online
The latest addition to the Cadalyst line-up of CAD discussion forums is now live on Tech Forum: MCAD is designed to bring together peers in the mechanical CAD field to discuss news, trends and other topics of common interest. Subforums will focus discussions on topics relevant to users of specific MCAD software, including AutoCAD Mechanical, Inventor, Alibre Design, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, IronCAD, CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER and AliasStudio.

CAD Manager (Column): Your Workplace Action Plan Implemented
Robert Green tells how, after creating a CAD management action plan, you'll need to help employees adapt to change. Read more

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