CAD Manager's Newsletter (#192)

25 Mar, 2008 By: Robert Green

The Realist’s Guide to 3D Implementationp>

For a successful transition to 3D design, forget the marketing hype and prepare for the real task ahead.

In the last installment of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I covered the latest versions of Autodesk's upcoming 3D software releases including Revit, Inventor, and Civil 3D from the CAD manager's perspective. At the conclusion of the newsletter, I opined that the excitement of slick 3D technology often masks the reality of complex learning curves, hardware upgrades, and disruptive process changes that make the technology vexingly hard to implement.

In the next two issues of the newsletter I'm going to take a realistic look at what it takes to get 3D design software integrated into a 2D working environment to help you plan better for the transition.

It's Not That Easy
If you read all the marketing literature for 3D software systems, you'd think the software would run itself. Everything is described as "easy" or "simple" or — my personal favorite — "intuitive." I've been working with 3D CAD software implementations since 1986 using SDRC Ideas, CALMA, Pro-E, SolidWorks, Mechanical Desktop, and Inventor, and I can confidently say it has never been as easy as the marketing people would have you believe. Read more »

:: CAD Manager’s Toolbox:
     Simulating Network Environments

In the first edition of CAD Manager's Toolbox, I talked about using the DOS SUBST command to emulate network drives to test how your CAD packages would perform on networks. Since I posted that tip I've received a few questions that merit digging back into the Toolbox for a few more ideas.

Portable drives. A few readers pointed out that simulating a network drive could be done just as easily with a portable hard drive, or even a thumb drive. As long as the portable device has enough room to store the required files, then have at it! The only problem I've ever experienced is getting the right drive letter assigned to the portable drive. Here's a tip you can use to get the portable drive assigned correctly:

Step 1. Create a shared folder on the portable drive.

Step 2. Map the shared folder to a drive name of your choosing (or use the DOS SUBST command).

Note: Your portable drive will now show up as two logical drives on your computer: One assigned when the drive was plugged in and the other assigned by you in the step above. Read more »

Do you have a suggestion/tip that should be in the CAD Manager?s Toolbox? Send it to me at and you might get a cool Cadalyst souvenir if I use your idea.

:: Resource

Find the Answer Here
Have a CAD problem you can't solve? Need a routine to help with a certain AutoCAD task? Help for these and other CAD-related problems is available on the Cadalyst Discussion Forums. CAD Manager, Hot Tip Harry: Help, MCAD Tech, and AEC Tech are just some of the forums available to assist Cadalyst readers with everyday CAD problems. Participation is free, but you must register.

:: Events

Webcast: Document Management Alert
April 1, 2008
1:30 p.m. EDT
Join Robert Green as he reveals the pressing business challenges that justify document management (DM) as a critical technology investment in today’s market. Green will share the steps to evaluate and justify document management as well as the hidden costs of not doing anything. Read more »

3D Modeling Symposium Berlin
April 7-9, 2008
Berlin, Germany
This three-day event for professionals and students will include lectures, case studies, and master classes. Sponsored by The Universitat der Kunste Berlin (University of Arts Berlin) in cooperation with Visual-Dream. Read more »

Synergis Field to Finish Civil 3D Workshop
April 8, 2008
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
In this workshop, Synergis and Autodesk technical experts Jerry Bartels and David Blanchette will demonstrate Civil 3D's new survey functionality. Read more »

2008 ESRI Southeast Regional User Group Conference
April 14-16, 2008
Jacksonville, Florida
Join other ESRI GIS users from the southeast region to discuss challenges and discover solutions applicable to your location and organization. Read more »

12th Annual Portland CANstruction Competition
April 22-27, 2008
Portland, Oregon
Competing teams showcase their talents by designing giant sculptures made entirely of canned foods. At the close of the exhibitions, all of the food used in the structures is donated to the Oregon Food Bank. Read more »

CPDA Design/Simulation Workshops
May 13-14, 2008
Atlanta, Georgia
Developing a design/simulation framework (May 13) will look at simulation data management, process support, and integration. Frontiers in Design and Simulation (May 14) will explore how to model and support system-level design decisions in SysML. Read more »

2008 ESRI Education User Conference
August 2-5, 2008
San Diego, California
Meet with members of the worldwide GIS education community and explore how to use GIS software in your field, maximizing teaching, understanding, and managing with innovative applications. Read more »

2008 ESRI International User Conference
August 4-8, 2008
San Diego, California
Users from more than 120 countries come to learn new skills, share information, and discover best practices, tips, and tricks that they can use instantly. Read more »

2008 Society for Conservation GIS Conference
August 12-15, 2008
Monterey, California
This 11th annual conference is sponsored by ESRI and SCGIS, a nonprofit organization that builds community, provides knowledge, and supports individuals using GIS technology and science for the conservation of natural resources and cultural heritage. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on