BY: CHARLIE HABER a partner in CADNVANSYS of New York , who has served the CADD industry for twelve years. Mr. Haber currently serves as chairman of the Microstation Community (TMC) of New York and as the secretary of the Intergraph New York local users group (NYLUG). Mr Haber is available to provide consulting services and expertise in a variety of CADD applications, including Autodesk, Bentley, Intergraph, Softdesk and operating systems including Microsoft's Windows 95, NT an UNIX.
Get A Real CAD System!
I'm always amazed at so many of the large CAD sites that I visit. A huge number of them are running their CAD operation "straight out of the box". As I started to think about what pieces these users were missing, I felt like saying "GET A REAL CAD SYSTEM"!
Get a good CAD add-on package that is appropriate for your discipline. Many companies spend an inordinate amount of time customizing their CAD program, when that time would be better invested in con figuring and adapting an existing application. Take a look at the extensive programs like Softdesk's Auto Architect or a another program like Ketiv's Arch T. Softdesk's Productivity tools are cheap and have a wealth of additions to Autocad.
Manage these documents: How many CAD managers with over 10 CAD seats have any idea about which drawings should be saved and which are garbage. Autocad makes the job more difficult because every symbol (block) is a separate CAD file. Knowing what's what can make your management job MUCH easier. There are tons of packages. Some are CAD specific like Autodesk Workcenter or Bentley System's Teammate. Some like Cyco and Baratec can view documents from multiple CAD platforms.
Get a real plotting system: It astounds me how much time is wasted while people create and recreate plot files for their CAD system. Yes, some firms have an extra PC to use for plotting, but think of the cost of time used while people wait. Network plotting solutions like Byers CADNet and Intergraph's Interplot work with both Autocad and Microstation CAD files. They both offer solutions to create plot parameter files (or "How Is this drawing plotted"), and submit a whole project at one time (in two minutes or less). They both support networks, multiple plotting devices, do plot accounting and can enhance your CAD drawings far beyond what the native CAD plotting can do. For instance, in Autocad, you can place a multi-sided closed Pline on a layer called FILL1. Then you can Attach a simple program called a pen table and say something like:
if (entity=pline) and
if (layer= FILL1) then
Fill tone = grey 50
Fill = true
This would take the multi-sided Pline and fill it with a medium grey tone.
Get and learn the new upgrades: Yes I know their are bugs in Autocad rel 13, but revisions c4a kills most of them. There are a ton of new and improved features in most CAD software upgrades. If the windows versions needs too much horsepower, use the DOS version of 13. With Microstation, force yourself to unlearn some key-in habits and start using Accudraw. You'll be glad that you spent the time doing so.
Train, Train, Train: The average CAD user out there is using just a few of the many commands in the system. Make sure your users get Intermediate and expert training when they are ready for it. The cost can be easily justified by increased productivity. These Power Users are a boon to the more junior users around them, helping relieve the CAD Manager's burdens. Use these CAD leaders to run in-office lunch time seminars to bring the others up to speed.
All in all, you can see that there are a lot of things that are NOT getting done out there in CAD land. most of you are so busy trying to cope, that you lose focus of the big picture. Remember, CAD manager is a M A N A G E R, so manage your system.
If you have any suggestions or comments you may contact Charlie Haber by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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