Posts Tagged ‘AutoCAD’

A CAD Dinosaur’s Journey, Part 4: Get the Lay of the Land

March 3, 2015 Leave a comment

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Cadalyst’s blog series by Patrick Hughes, A CAD Dinosaur’s Journey into Modern Times. In this three-month series, Hughes chronicles his transition from AutoCAD R14 to v2015 and from an outdated PC to a state-of-the-art professional workstation. Follow along and enjoy!

Live Long and ProsperEarlier I mentioned that the most obvious difference I’d discovered between AutoCAD Release 14 and modern-day AutoCAD was the ribbon interface. In truth, that difference only scratches the surface of what’s in store when you update AutoCAD. Some users dislike the ribbon (undeservedly, in my opinion), there are several significant changes that are of great value.

Many of you coming from a more recent AutoCAD version are more familiar with these features, but 2015 improves on them. One such feature that I’ve been eager to sink my teeth into is the Multiple Document Interface (MDI). The MDI was introduced in AutoCAD 2000 and lets users work on several drawings within one AutoCAD session. You no longer need to close one drawing to access another. Previously, many advanced users opened two or more AutoCAD instances to switch between drawings — never more. Now, if I could only figure out how to toggle with my tiny arms!

AutoCAD 2014 brought forth file tabs. File tabs let you easily navigate between your open drawings. When you hover above a file tab, it displays thumbnail images of the various layouts that are contained in the tabbed files. As you move your cursor across the thumbnails, the main AutoCAD window displays the content. Plot and Publish icons appear above the thumbnail and open the selected layout when clicked. Clicking into the desired thumbnail brings the selected layout into editing focus.

AutoCAD file tabs show thumbnails of files within them.

AutoCAD file tabs show thumbnails of files within them.

It might not be clear above, but I was focused on the 015-….DWG file, but because I hovered over the 025-….DWG file, those are the thumbnails that displayed. Hmmm, looking over my drawing name, I see I erred in excluding an underscore in the name — I’m only a mere dinosaur, you know. Perhaps there are tools that will help me prevent these types of mistakes; I’ll keep you posted on that.

The Layout tabs are also new to me and I’m just beginning to learn how I might want to use them. For the time being I primarily use them for viewing purposes, but I can see the potential for a much more efficient workflow. I’ve likely developed some bad habits (Bad Dino!) over the years, so I hope I can learn to use the layout features as they were intended.

As you can see, I conduct my machine design work with 3D solid models. I’ve been chomping at the bit to get to use all the new 3D visualization tools that are a part of AutoCAD 2015. 3D Orbit was introduced in AutoCAD 2000 and enhanced in 2007. For viewing purposes, this is a huge improvement over the Dview command. Additional viewing tools were added with the ViewCube, introduced in 2009, which makes it painless to navigate around a model. I look forward to trying the Steering Wheel more — it looks like it has some great navigating capabilities.

Visual Styles also made its appearance in 2007 and I’ve found the Conceptual style to be especially helpful in a densely populated model, as well as quite helpful in communicating the design. Check out these next two images for examples.

AutoCAD 2015 offers greatly improved visual display styles

AutoCAD 2015 offers greatly improved visual display styles compared to Release 13’s limited wireframe display.


Conceptual visualization brings a model to life.

Conceptual visualization brings a model to life.


In closing, being a dinosaur my needs are simple. Most often I work in AutoCAD’s wireframe view so I can select points on solid objects that are behind other solid objects. There are times when I need to view the model from an opposite side or 3DOrbit to a different vantage point and my frame of reference becomes disoriented. On these occasions, I find it quite useful to switch to the conceptual visualization to reorient myself and select points as needed. There are a slew of visual styles available and I’ll experiment with them as time permits. Well, that and getting these dino-eyes modernized.


About the author: Patrick Hughes, machine designer and owner of Engineered Design Solutions in Rockford, Illinois, has worked with AutoCAD since 1991. He has developed a number of AutoLISP and other software solutions to automate his workflow and increase productivity, including the commercially available time tracking program, CadTempo.

A CAD Dinosaur’s Journey, Part 3: Installing AutoCAD 2015

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Cadalyst’s blog series by Patrick Hughes, A CAD Dinosaur’s Journey into Modern Times. In this three-month series, Hughes chronicles his transition from AutoCAD R14 to v2015 and from an outdated PC to a state-of-the-art professional workstation. Follow along and enjoy!

Installing AutoCAD 2015When AutoCAD 2015 arrived at my desk I eagerly ripped open the cellophane wrapper with my sharpened claws and inserted the 64-bit install CD. I had previously uninstalled the 2014 trial copy and was relieved that there were no conflicts during the 2015 install. The support files, block libraries, and customization files I had copied previously remained in place since they resided in a folder structure independent of the Autodesk files. I merely needed to adjust my file paths within the Options dialog box.

Upon initial startup, as was true when I used the V2104 trial version, I was greeted with the default dark drawing background, but this time AutoCAD also displayed the new dark scheme interface for the ribbon and other elements. Being the crusty old dinosaur I am, I figured I should explore my options and set the scheme to light and the background to white. I do think the new dark scheme is attractive and perhaps I’ll give it a more thorough try at some point. For now, these old dino-eyes are grateful once more for AutoCAD’s easy customization.

I updated from the default dark screen scheme to the white background. Oh, so much easier on my Dino-eyes!

Change Color Scheme in AutoCAD 2015

I updated from the default dark screen scheme to the white background.

Changing Color Scheme of AutoCAD 2015

Oh, so much easier on my Dino-eyes!


Speaking of customization, since I began using AutoCAD roughly 23 years ago, I’ve written my share of AutoLISP routines and integrated them into custom menus and toolbars. Upgrading from R14 to 2015, I now had a whole new set of tools to learn and a mental shift in how to put them to use. One feature that I am enjoying is the new Customize User Interface (CUI).

Up until AutoCAD 2006, customizing menus and toolbars required creating and editing MNU and MNS text files. The CUI Editor replaces the need for editing those files in a text editor and provides a rich graphical way to add and arrange elements by dragging and dropping them into place. With AutoCAD 2010, the CUI became XML-based CUIx.

I’m by no means fully up to speed in making my desired changes via the CUI, but I’m eager to make good use of the tool. In some ways, I miss the simplicity of right-clicking on a toolbar icon and entering a new command sequence, but I’m rather certain that those of you who are responsible for a large group of CAD operators appreciate the more refined control the CUI offers.


In closing, when Autodesk first introduced the ribbon interface I worried that it consumed too much drawing real estate. After all, I’ve always thought you could never have enough drawing area. Now that I’m used to it, it’s not a major hindrance. As I continue to make modifications, I now realize how flexible it is. My biggest challenge is arriving at an efficient grouping and placement of the commands I most commonly use. However, as I discover the latest tools AutoCAD 2015 has to offer, those tried and true (but tired) methods will likely be replaced with new approaches. I already feel my T-Rex reach lengthening; soon I may even be able to scratch my nose.


About the author: Patrick Hughes, machine designer and owner of Engineered Design Solutions in Rockford, Illinois, has worked with AutoCAD since 1991. He has developed a number of AutoLISP and other software solutions to automate his workflow and increase productivity, including the commercially available time tracking program, CadTempo.

A CAD Dinosaur’s Journey, Part 2: Getting Started in AutoCAD 2015

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Cadalyst’s blog series by Patrick Hughes, A CAD Dinosaur’s Journey into Modern Times. In this three-month series, Hughes chronicles his transition from AutoCAD R14 to v2015 and from an outdated PC to a state-of-the-art professional workstation. Follow along and enjoy!

A CAD Dinosaur's Journey into Modern TimesMy new CAD workstation arrived! I threw my T-Rex arms up in delight! The trouble is that they’re so tiny that no one noticed…. I really need some arm extensions. Maybe with time they’ll grow.

Due to my office remodel, I delayed setting the new workstation up for a week or two. Plus, after an anxious wait, Autodesk agreed to supply a new AutoCAD license in exchange for my writing a blog about my journey out of the dark ages of hardware and AutoCAD software. Now, I had to decide if I wanted a license to 2014 or wait for the soon-to-be-released 2015?

I decided to download the free 30-day trial version of AutoCAD 2014 to get familiar with it, and then move to the full version of AutoCAD 2015. (As you might recall from Part 1 of this series, I was using AutoCAD R14, so I had a LOT of catching up to do.) Reviewing the product selection on the Autodesk web site, I choose to go all in and sample the Autodesk Product Design Suite Ultimate to get a taste of the product offerings related to my machine-design needs.

Gigabytes Are Large

I’m not sure what I was thinking. Maybe I wasn’t thinking. I’m a dinosaur, you know, so there’s not a lot of room in my brain for such things. At any rate, I didn’t immediately realize that 33 GB is somewhere around 1,000 times more than 33 MB, which doesn’t sound too bad. But I did come to that realization shortly after I started the download process at 6:45 p.m. After 10 minutes, I checked on the download progress; the system indicated that 1 day, 14 hours remained. Oh, no! I finally gave up around 11:30pm and retired for the night. The download completed overnight, and upon snooping around I noted the last file timestamp was 12:50 a.m. That put the total download time at just over six hours. Compare that to a calculated download time of 40 minutes for AutoCAD 2015 (3.9 GB), based on a rate of roughly 17 Mbps.

Getting Acquainted

Installation went smoothly — a very nice surprise. I have etched in my tiny memory the pain of installing software during the Microsoft Windows 95 era, so there is always a certain amount of trepidation when it comes to installing a hefty program.

I anxiously launched AutoCAD 2014 and was greeted with the default dark background. Long ago I had accustomed my eyes to a white background and adjusted my display and linework colors accordingly. Changing defaults was no problem — setting options is still a right-click in the command window, so I simply adjusted the settings in the Options Display dialog box to my color preferences. Whoa, you can see by the two images that AutoCAD includes a much greater number of optional settings, and the dialog box is even resizable. I started by saving the default settings to a separate profile and made a new one for changes. (Note that images shown are from 2015)

Difference in options for AutoCAD 2014 versus AutoCAD 2015

AutoCAD Release 14 Preferences (left) versus AutoCAD 2015 Options dialog box (right). Note that 2015 offers MANY more options.

The grid is turned on by default as of AutoCAD 2011, although I prefer to work with the grid turned off, so adjustments also were in order. Hmmm… I didn’t see a specific setting in the Options dialog box, so I have to dig around. Once I start banging around with my stubby appendages, I finally discover that <F4> brings up the Drafting Settings dialog box where I can turn off the grid and updates other settings.

Options in AutoCAD 2015

I think it might take me a while to get to know all of the new options and how they will improve my workflow, but I’ve got a feeling they’re going to benefit me in many ways yet to be discovered.

Next up was copying my support files, block libraries, and customizations to the new workstation along with some current project files. I anticipated that some of my customization files would need modifications to work properly, but I wasn’t under any sort of tight schedule to do so. That turned out to be a good thing, too, as there was much to get up to speed with.

The most obvious difference between R14 and 2014 was the ribbon interface along with tool palettes and other sundry display and input options. I had become somewhat familiar with the ribbon interface, having previously used DWG TrueView, Inventor Fusion 2013, and other Autodesk software. I was determined to further acquaint myself and commit to its use.

The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Dinosaurs

I had hoped to get more familiar with AutoCAD 2014 and the plethora of software included in the Autodesk Product Design Suite before my trial expired. As it turned out, I was able to only dabble with several programs, including Inventor, one of my greatest interests. Surprisingly, 30 days goes by rather rapidly — in fact, it was over in what seemed like no time at all.

But soon AutoCAD 2015 would be on the scene, and I would begin my journey out of the swamp.


About the author: Patrick Hughes, machine designer and owner of Engineered Design Solutions in Rockford, Illinois, has worked with AutoCAD since 1991. He has developed a number of AutoLISP and other software solutions to automate his workflow and increase productivity, including the commercially available time tracking program, CadTempo.

A CAD Dinosaur’s Journey, Part 1: Emerging from the Swamp

February 18, 2015 1 comment

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Cadalyst’s blog series by Patrick Hughes, A CAD Dinosaur’s Journey into Modern Times. In this three-month series, Hughes chronicles his transition from AutoCAD R14 to v2015 and from an outdated PC to a state-of-the-art professional workstation. Follow along and enjoy!


1-acadblog-T-rex-iheartcadAs are most nights here in the swamp, it was dark and stormy. Fortunately, my Internet connection held up. Surfing my favorite CAD sites, I came across an interesting contest sponsored by Cadalyst that just might help me out of this swamp.

It seemed Cadalyst was just itching to give away a professional CAD workstation to someone who submitted the best video explaining his or her need for a more powerful computer.

From the Beginning

Let’s back up a bit. Allow me to introduce myself: Call me T, short for T-Rex, short for Tyrannosaurus Rex. Yes, I’m a dinosaur. You see, for the longest time I’ve used AutoCAD R14 — yes, the original R14 — for all my machine design work. R14 was very capable and served my purpose, but as time passed, and as the days and weeks continued their relentless passage, I felt more and more mired in the swamp of obsolescence.

Perhaps this contest would be my ticket into modern times. My walnut-sized brain spun into high gear as I crafted my video submission and lo and behold, my video was a winner. Woo hoo! Or, as we say in dinosaur parlance, “Rawrrr.”

The new, state-of-the art professional workstation was going to change history for this T-Rex — but it was only part of the solution. To emerge fully from the swamp, I would need modern CAD software as well. But how could I afford it? A new version of AutoCAD would cost a pretty penny.

So, I pitched an idea.

If Cadalyst could persuade Autodesk to supply a copy of AutoCAD 2015, the latest version of the software, I would gladly write a series of articles journaling my transition from AutoCAD R14 to 2015, sharing my experience and the benefits gained by moving out of the technological dark ages and into modern times. It could be a win–win–win for Cadalyst, Autodesk, and T.

You can imagine my big-toothed grin when the idea was met enthusiastically and I was given the thumbs-up to proceed.

Join the T Team

Being the dinosaur I am, I would be relatively content to apply my new software to my old work style. But the purpose of upgrading to new software is to learn the new tools and, more importantly, to put them to productive use.

I’ve got a good idea about the things I want to improve upon and how I might use the new tools. But this technological transition is a tall order, especially for a guy with short arms, so I invite you to participate in my journey. How can you help? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’m guessing a number of you are currently working with an older release of AutoCAD with an eye on upgrading. I’m confident most of you work in different engineering fields than I do and use AutoCAD in vastly different ways. AutoCAD 2015 holds new features that don’t interest me but would likely appeal to you. Send me your suggestions! Maybe I could actually use those tools — or at least I could experiment with them in new and exciting ways.

So, I invite you to send me your questions about things you may have heard about in modern AutoCAD. I’ll do my best to explore them, and in that way add you to the “win” equation.


Stick around and watch original video from Patrick Hughes T:


About the author: Patrick Hughes, machine designer and owner of Engineered Design Solutions in Rockford, Illinois, has worked with AutoCAD since 1991. He has developed a number of AutoLISP and other software solutions to automate his workflow and increase productivity, including the commercially available time tracking program, CadTempo.

Expert Interview with Scott Sweeney on Reusing CAD Models

January 19, 2015 Leave a comment

CAD ModelsWhile it might not be the most exciting development in the CAD world, Scott Sweeney says Reuse is the most important.

“Did you know that people still spend 20 to 30 percent of their time fixing CAD models? What a waste,” the vice president of marketing for Kubotek USA says.

And it’s not because people are bad at CAD modeling, Scott says. It’s often because the most popular CAD modelers make reuse of CAD models so difficult.

“The dirty little secret is that many CAD operators will find it easier and faster to start from scratch than to reuse their own or someone else’s CAD model,” he adds.

To help solve the problem, Kubotek offers KeyCreator Direct CAD, which allows users to edit any CAD model, no matter what system it was created in, no matter how it was created. It’s the perfect solution for most applications, especially for job shops and contract manufacturers.

We recently checked in with Scott to learn more about Kubotek and get his take on what’s new and interesting in the CAD world. Here’s what he had to say:


Tell us about Kubotek 3D … what products and services do you offer?

We develop and sell the best CAD software and CAD Querying tools for Job Shops and Contract Manufacturers.

We have three specific product lines:

  • 3D Direct CAD – KeyCreator Direct CAD, CAD Validation
  • Comparison software Kubotek Validation Tool and ECO Manager
  • CAD viewing software – Kubotek Spectrum Viewer and KeyMarkUp CAD viewer and mark up


What sets Kubotek 3D apart from other CAD software?

I am going to speak about KeyCreator Direct CAD – our flagship software:

  • Simpicity – KeyCreator is a direct modeler. This is the simplest and fastest way to generate or edit a CAD model. There is no history tree to rebuild, give you errors or crash. Changes can be made to the model regardless of how the model was constructed, or the order of construction, or what software it was authored in. Most CAD software simply cannot do this.
  • Cost – our software costs one-third to one-half the price of competitive CAD software, and this is also true of our maintenance agreement costs.
  • Querying tools – KeyCreator has unparrelled querying tools, including the capability to view features’ dimensions on the fly, superior visualization tools and unique comparison technology that graphically shows — with colors — the differences between two versions of a CAD model, including its product manufacturing information or geometric dimensions and tolerance information.


What CAD innovations are your customers most excited about today?

Three things. First, we just integrated into our base package our full comparison technology. This technology allows for easy and quick graphical comparison of two CAD models. This was available at an extra charge in the past, but we felt that it was so powerful that we wanted all of our customers to have this option available in the base package. So it is now included in KeyCreator 2015, which has been shipping since October.

Our customers are loving our integrated analysis system, KeyCreator analysis. It’s a full multi-physics simulation system fully integrated into our Direct CAD system. You never leave the software, so there’s no exporting files. Update the CAD and the simulation can easily be rerun over and over to get to your optimal design.

They also like our fully integrated two and three axis CAM system. This is a very inexpensive solution for what machine shops do most – milling. We just recently added two axis wire EDM.


What are customers’ biggest complaints or frustrations?

One of the biggest complaint is that managers oftentimes dictate the wrong CAD software for their people to use. Without a clear understanding of which CAD is best for the work they are doing, managers can unknowingly reduce productivity and effectiveness of their organization. “One size fits all” is not true for CAD software. CAD software that is good for design of certain products or for OEMs may be a very poor choice for manufacturers. Managers should listen to and understand the requirements of their people when choosing CAD tools.

We meet CAD users at trade shows, they come to our website and they speak with us on the phone. We are hearing a growing sense of frustration with some large CAD companies that are forcing them to work with their intellectual property in ways that they are not comfortable. Autodesk recently announced that they will no longer be upgrading customers from one version to another. They must either become subscription customers or pay in full for a new license if they let their subscription expire. Other companies are moving their customers’ data into their cloud, which in essence locks them into their world and becomes a larger barrier to interoperability with other people’s CAD data.


What’s your favorite CAD hardware? What do you like about it?

Any modern Windows-based system with plenty of memory runs our software just fine. Be sure to have a professional graphics card too.


What types of monitors do you think are the most useful for CAD designers?

Whatever monitor or monitors you like. Most are usually a dual monitor set-up to be able to see and work on different parts of the model simultaneously.


What do you think are some must-have CAD accessories for designers?

We love the 3D Connexion 3D mouse. It allows you to drive the model with two hands and easily model in 3D space.


How often do you think CAD workstations should be updated?

If they start to bog the use down, they should be replaced. If they keep working at a good speed, no problem. We see all age workstations in our customer’s shops. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Connect with Kubotek on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Expert Interview with Jimmy Bergmark About AutoCAD

January 8, 2015 Leave a comment

AutoCADJimmy Bergmark of JTB World has decades of experience in the AutoCAD industry. That’s why he started his own business to help fellow CAD users.

He agreed to share his experience in that industry with readers in this interview.

Please describe your background and how that background benefits JTB World.
In 1983 I got a Sinclair ZX81 computer and got hooked by what computers could achieve; I started to learn BASIC and after that took every opportunity to learn more about computers and programming and later selected an education with that focus. Starting in 1989, I got to work with building engineers using AutoCAD helping out with automating their drafting work using AutoLISP.

For nine years I worked for an EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) company as an Architectural and Structural Engineer, CAD Manager, Database Manager, Development Manager and System Manager. One great thing with that work was that the factory and office were side by side so we could see what we did be put into practice and also get quick feedback from the crew on the factory. During that time, I started JTB World in 2001 as a side business where I made good use of my experience of finding ways for companies using CAD to work more effectively and cut costs by automating tedious work. Since 2006, I’ve worked with JTB World full time together with my wife, creating apps that are sold through our website and now also on Autodesk Exchange Apps as well as creating custom solutions both for one-man shops as well as large enterprise companies.

Describe the services offered by JTB World.
JTB World focuses on programming services mainly for the AutoCAD and Revit platforms but also for Microsoft Office and Windows in general. Most programming is done with AutoLISP, VBA, VB.NET, C# and sometimes in C++, often involving connections to software like Excel or databases like Access or SQL Server. JTB FlexReport is a license and application usage monitoring solution offered by JTB World to help customers to manage their software licenses and be in a better position when it’s time to make decisions on maintenance, upgrades and new purchases that often can be very expensive. With the help of JTB FlexReport, it’s easier to know historic usage and estimate future usage.

When it comes to AutoCAD, what do customers say are the most beneficial features offered by JTB World?
My many years of using and programming for AutoCAD benefit our customers greatly. If a customer has an idea or a problem, it can in most cases be realized or solved with a custom solution that saves them time and money. Sometimes what the customer wants can be done with existing AutoCAD
functionalities, and I’d rather suggest them how to use these than to create a custom solution. Other times, AutoCAD is lacking functions some customers need, and I try to create something to make AutoCAD more powerful.

JTB World has, for example, the SSMPropEditor app that is for users of AutoCAD’s Sheet Set Manager. One customer said, “This program is one of the best values for the money we spent. I have mentioned this to management several times. The program and the support is above and beyond.” Another customer said, “I’ve purchased the SSMPropEditor and it’s the best investment I have made in my life. I’m editing custom sheet set data regarding drawn-by and checked by and lots of other data for hundreds of sheets in seconds while it took me days to do it.”

What are some of the biggest issues CAD users come across, and how do you address those issues?
Often similar things need to be done on multiple drawings. It can be from updating title blocks, plotting, extracting information to Excel to updating drawings to meet certain requirements. Existing apps like SmartPurger or AutoCAD Automation Tools are great for batch processing. Sometimes small apps done, for example, in AutoLISP can go a long way while in other cases the complexity can require days of work to program but still save even more time and costs compared to doing it manually.

Please name some trends happening in the field of CAD and how JTB World addresses those trends.
There’s importance of consistency of information and data when working with CAD. BIM is a big trend that has going on for years. BIM can be implemented by companies in different levels where even AutoCAD and AutoCAD Architectural can play a part, but the problem is that there is data both in the CAD system and in other external databases, and here JTB World both has existing apps like ACAD_db and ACA_db that link data between databases and CAD as well as custom solutions to fit specific needs. Other companies take BIM even further with Integrated Project Delivery and use the data better for both construction as well as building operation, and there are a lot of opportunities for a company like JTB World to help companies to achieve these goals.

What kinds of tips and tools does JTB World offer for CAD users?
There are several AutoLISP apps and code snippets I have put up on my site that can be used for free, and on my blog I share useful tips like Length of object label with free app for AutoCAD or Slow to license and start Revit.

What benefits do individuals experience when using JTB World?
Customers can draw upon my experience of having worked in and for companies similar to their own. I have done drafting and engineering work myself and know how frustrating certain things can be and how much help a bit of programming or customization can do.

Please share anything additional you would like individuals in the CAD community to know about JTB World.
Customers can get help with questions or apps that are done within less than an hour all the way up to large, complex projects that take weeks or months and often where many programmers are involved. Feel free to contact us at JTB World, and we will do our best to accommodate you by reducing your work load, minimizing errors when things are done manually and saving your company some money. We look forward to hearing from you.

Follow JTB World for more CAD tips on Twitter.

Categories: Connectivity, Workstations Tags: ,

Are IT Managers Ready for CAD Management?

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

The problem with new innovations like CAD and BIM (Building Information Modeling) is that, to most executives, it all sounds like a normal extension of the job of the IT manager. After all, it’s all “technology,” right? So the “information technology” specialist ought to be able to handle it.

Though many IT managers are well suited to managing CAD initiatives, skills in one field do not necessarily imply skills in the other. It takes training and hard work for the IT manager to become a successful CAD manager. What does your IT manager need to do to become a skilled and efficient CAD manager?

The Right Education and Experience

Image Credits: By FTTUB via Flickr
Evaluate the skills needed for CAD implementation in your environment, then endow your IT manager with those skills.

A background heavy in science, engineering, architecture, and/or systems development is best. CAD managers need the ability to:

  • Understand which hardware is best suited to the CAD environment
  • Develop efficient workflow processes
  • Identify, implement, and manage the right software systems for the job
  • Write clear and easily understood documentation on standards of practice
  • Train users on new systems
  • Be available and willing to offer user support

CAD managers aren’t just tech gurus; they also have to be good hands-on managers. It’s crucial to offer the IT/CAD manager good management training in addition to the technical training needed to do the job. Cadalyst’s Workstation Resource Center is broad collection of workstation-related resources written specifically for CAD managers and users. This resource center is ideal for creating a checklist for your IT manager to prepare for taking on CAD management.

Necessary Skills

In addition to the basic skills in MS Office, Project, and database management, CAD managers need to be able to handle:

  • Cost accounting
  • Document revision and control
  • Project planning and leadership
  • Records keeping
  • Quality control
  • Reporting and scheduling

Not only should a CAD manager have these necessary skills, he or she also must be able to understand how each relates to the other and be able to visualize and develop better ways of getting these things done.

Helpful Skills

CAD Management
Image Credits: By Innovate360 via Flickr
The skills and tools your IT manager needs to take on CAD are different than those for other IT-related management duties.

Some additional skills that are helpful for a CAD manager to have include experience with the software applications used by the CAD team. Additional skills may be advisable, depending on the CAD environment the manager will be working within, such as EPO tools, SCRUM, GANTT charts, and CPM diagrams. Often, the IT manager taking on CAD responsibilities is the best resource for which training he or she needs to get the job done.

An executive who is willing to listen to what the IT/CAD manager tells them about training, hardware, and software needs usually results in better CAD rollout experiences than an executive who ignores the pleas of the IT department. Cadalyst Whitepaper Library offers free, downloadable whitepapers, guides, and more on all manner of CAD hardware and software topics. It is an excellent resource for preparing your IT manager for taking on CAD management responsibilities.

Responsibilities of a CAD Manager

Look at the CAD manager as an in-house consultant. When the IT manager is endowed with the proper training and resources, this position can boost productivity and efficiency, eliminate waste, improve customer satisfaction, and overall do more with available resources.

For more advice about CAD management, follow Robert Green on and subscribe to his CAD Manager’s Newsletter.



Categories: Workstations Tags:

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