CAD Manager's Newsletter (#183)

9 Oct, 2007 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager Self-Improvement, Part 3

How to get your training while getting your job done.

In the previous two issues of CAD Manager's Newsletter, I outlined a method you can use to identify learning resources and get your boss to approve them. I hope you've taken the time to do the research to educate yourself and have now received approval to do so. If not, you should take some time to read the last two issues so you can get going on your learning plan.

In this issue I'll give you some ideas about how you can now balance your training program with the CAD management and production pressures you must deal with each day. My goal is to help you prioritize your time so you can learn while keeping things under control. Here goes.

Lay Out Your Schedule First
Before anything else, you need to know how busy you'll be in the near term as you try to get your learning plan rolling. I highly recommend that you get out a calendar, your Outlook schedule, or whatever time-planning tool you prefer and start laying out all your tasks and commitments for the next three months or so. You may find that you have some very busy periods and learning will have to take a back seat for a short time. Below are some hints for building a good schedule. Read more>>

:: CAD Manager's Q&A

I try to keep all my in-house CAD users standardized via our network, but I struggle with keeping laptop users up to date. Any suggestions?

Robert Green replies: When I manage laptop users, I always set things up so the laptop stands alone and does not have to connect to the corporate network to run. My logic is that the laptop user may be at a paper mill running on the hood of a truck without a cell signal, much less Internet. Besides, when the laptop stands alone, it will never be bogged down by slow connections at hotels or conference facilities.

To keep the laptop up to date, I provide users with a way to synchronize their laptops to make sure they have the latest files on their C drives. There are a few methods I've used, which I'll summarize here:

Self-extracting ZIP files. Put the support files in a ZIP file with the correct paths, and then convert to a self-extracting file so everything will unzip to the correct path on the laptop. The WinZip trial version does not support self-extracting files, so you'll need to buy the real version to create self-extractors. But at $29, the software is a bargain. The self-extracting ZIP files can simply be emailed to laptop users periodically or just when things change. Read more>>

Submit your questions to Robert Green

:: Resources

Web-Based Community Portal for Autodesk Users
Autodesk's Media & Entertainment 3D community portal, known as AREA, is designed for artists using Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk MotionBuilder, Autodesk VIZ, and the Autodesk FBX universal 3D asset-exchange file format. The site provides access to tips, tutorials, discussion forums, blogs, downloads, galleries, member portfolios, and feature stories. Read more>>


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

An Evening with Autodesk Industry Specialist Kim Renshaw
October 12, 2007
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Synergis is offering the Sustainable Design Lecture Series to support the Sustainable Design movement. Attendees will learn the current challenges facing businesses, discern some of the perceived barriers to becoming more sustainable, and get an early look at the potential impact to the AEC business process and the subsequent changes just on the horizon. Read more

November 1, 2007
Portland, Oregon
This Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) regional learning and networking event will be packed with interesting courses and opportunities to network with fellow "campers" and browse the exhibit area. The foremost goal of AUGI CAD Camp is to enlighten and inform through educational sessions, which serve to broaden users' experience with the Autodesk products they use every day. Read more

Using Green Building Studio for Whole Building Energy Analysis
November 9, 2007
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
At this Sustainable Design Lecture Series event, Peter Gehring, director of building solutions at Synergis, will discuss how attendees can use a Web-based energy engineering analysis solution that integrates with today's 3D-CAD/BIM applications. The conversation will focus on a building information model from Revit Architecture.
Read more

Building Performance Analysis Using Revit MEP
December 7, 2007
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This Sustainable Design Lecture Series event sponsored by Synergis will focus on using the integrated IES Virtual Environment (VE) analysis platform within Revit MEP to conduct preliminary building performance analysis. Peter Gehring will lead the discussion and will also cover preparing the Revit building information model for export to the IES VE software application for more robust building performance analysis.
Read more

RAPID 2008 Conference & Exposition
Lake Buena Vista , Florida
May 20-22, 2008
North America 's largest annual rapid manufacturing conference and exposition brings buyers, sellers, and end users of design, prototyping, tooling, and direct manufacturing technologies together in an environment that facilitates networking and business interaction. Attendees can evaluate the latest materials and machinery, compare processes, talk to industry experts, and make valuable contacts. Read more

Click here to view the complete calendar of events at