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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 In this three-month series, Hughes chronicles his transition from AutoCAD R14 to v2015 and from an outdated PC to a state-of-the-art professional workstation.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 with V2104, I was again 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.

Rawrrr!

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.

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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.

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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.

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Stick around and watch original video from Patrick Hughes T:

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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 Josh Mings on CAD Workstations

February 6, 2015 Leave a comment

CAD workstations

Josh Mings of SolidSmack understands the ins and outs of technology, especially when it comes to CAD. He says his site is dedicated to helping those in the industry – no matter if they’re just starting out or have been in the game for years – get the most out of their technology process.

Mings shares more of what SolidSmack offers engineers, designers, and everyone else in between in this interview.

SolidSmack offers a wealth of information about 3D CAD, technology, design and more. What does the SolidSmack team strive for to keep current with the latest in CAD technology?

We’re dedicated to covering the process, whether that’s how tech is used, ninja-like fab skills, or the blood, sweat, paper cuts and aluminum shavings it takes to bring about their idea. There’s news, of course – tech and design that affects the process for engineers and designers – so we mix that in with general interest topics, occasional arts and crafts, apps, robots or ninjas, and there you have your SolidSmack.

What elements go into creating the ideal CAD workstation?

Well, there are two routes you can go: building your own or buying from an OEM. But most will rely on their company to choose, so it’s important to woo the decision maker and bend them to your will. You have to consider what software you’re running, whether it’s CPU or GPU intensive, if it’s dedicated to only CAD software or running other programs which may require more RAM, and if you’re going to be mobile or not – which limits some factors and increases price, but you will have more options with mobile workstations here in the future.

Describe some of the courses cadjunkie offers. How do these benefit those using CAD no matter what their skill level may be?

Cadjunkie offers cad-ninja honing beginner to advanced courses, primarily for SolidWorks and modo. It’s the fastest way to get up to speed on either. Adam O’Hern provides the instruction based on real world experience with different products, and also has a voice that isn’t annoying.

How does SolidSmack help those using CAD to better their skill in 3D modeling?

Butter, lots of butter. It’s our hope that the stories and courses we publish provide more insight into technologies and using the software, while staying up to date on how the design and engineering landscape is changing.

How have CAD workstations changed over the years? How has SolidSmack addressed these changes?

I don’t think anyone would argue that they are now smaller and more powerful. I remember using “Lunchbox” computers and hauling around desktop monitors to demo SolidWorks. Now, people run 3D software on tablets with more power in mobile workstations than ever before. We’ll review these workstations occasionally to show how capabilities are improving.

What are the top three aspects of SolidSmack that make it stand out?

The content, the depth, the attitude.

How do all of the aspects of SolidSmack integrate with each other to facilitate a complete experience for CAD users?

They provide deeper insight, across a broader range of content, with any additionally necessary hyperbole, sarcasm or wit to make it just slightly more palatable than stale bread.

How big of a role does design play in the lives of everyday people?

They cannot escape it. The design affects them more than gingivitis or a bad hair day could ever hope to. Now, if you’re referring to the design process, most are only involved with that indirectly with the designers WHO WATCH THEIR EVERY MOVE.

Please share anything additional you would like readers to know about SolidSmack.

We’re always interested to hear from people about what they would like to see more of, story suggestions, if they’re interested in writing for us or have a favorite dessert recipe.

Follow SolidSmack on Facebook and Twitter.

Expert Interview with Ian Nichols on CAD

February 1, 2015 Leave a comment

CADAutodesk Revit is a powerful design suite specifically created to take advantage of Building Information Modeling (BIM), a new way of documenting projects with revolutionary implications in several industries.

Ian Nichols, the author of the Revit Zone, is passionate about this new software and its abilities. The Revit Zone is where he shares that passion and years of knowledge and experience. He also shares extensive knowledge of BIM at the website BIM Scape.

He took a moment to tell us about Revit, Building Information Modeling, and their potential with CAD Workstations.

Can you introduce us to Revit Zone? Where are you based? When did you get started? What differentiates you from other CAD sites out there?

I started the Revit Zone website way back in 2007. The idea was to share my enthusiasm and knowledge of Autodesk Revit with fellow professionals and students alike. At that time, there were very few websites and blogs dedicated to Revit. It just seemed a good idea to me to share my experience of learning and using the software.

Who are your main clientele, and what do they stand to learn at Revit Zone?

Many different design professionals visit Revit Zone. These include architects, tecnhologists, MEP engineers, surveyors, contractors and some clients too! Over the last few years, I’ve started to see a lot of students visiting the site as Revit becomes the standard software tool to learn within universities and colleges.

The description of Revit Zone states simply, “passionate about Autodesk Revit.” What is about that software that you are so passionate about?

When I discovered Revit way back in 2004, it totally revolutionied the way I worked as an architect. It liberated me from the process of “drawing” and allowed me to start “modelling” my designs. This meant I could spend much more of my time thinking about the scheme itself rather than worrying about how I was going to put it down on paper. For me, this way of working just ‘clicked’ and seemed very natural and intuitive. Obviously, the software has come a long way in those 10 years, but the fundamental principles of what makes it so good were there right from the start. This passion eventually led me to start my own BIM conpany, BIMscape Ltd.

In the introduction to your website, you said that it quickly became apparent for you that BIM was the way forward for CAD software. For people that don’t know, can you briefly explain what BIM is and why you feel like it’s so useful?

BIM is an acronym for “Building Information Modelling”. In essence, it’s all about building a virtual model of the design, authored by various members of the design team. The virtual model can then be analyzed, integrated and tested in a vast variety of ways (coordination, aesthetics, cost, buildability, etc) before it ever gets to site. Consequently, the entire Project Team can be a lot more confident about what is required, how it will perform, what it will look like, and how much it will cost to build, run and maintain; all before the first brick is laid. This is a quantum leap forward from the days of drawing lines on tracing paper by hand!

Do you use CAD Workstations in the office, and if so, which ones?

I personally use a Dell M3800 Mobile Workstation. It’s a fantastic mixture of power and portability.

What are the advantages for an engineer using a CAD workstation?

CAD workstations are configured for the job at hand. CAD and BIM software are evolving all the time. These packages can be very demanding on hardware, particularly when they are handling a large design proposal. It makes sense to have the right tool for the job.

A recent study by David S. Cohn Consulting showed that a software and hardware upgrade resulted in productivity nearly doubling. Why is an efficient workflow and setup so essential for maximum productivity, and what are some things that people can do, to optimize their own setup?

Software and training for CAD and BIM platforms can be very expensive. So it is short-sighted to cut corners on the hardware. Repeated crashes and data loss for an inadequately-spec’ed workstation can result in many hours lost or even deadlines missed. It is always wise to refer to the software vendor’s recommendation with regard to the specification of hardware required to practically run the platform.

If people are thinking of getting a CAD workstation for the first time, what are some specs that you recommend? How much RAM should they be looking for? What kind of processor? What are some things people should consider when looking to upgrade their setup?

For Autodesk Revit, an i7 Quad Core processor is ideal. I would suggest 16GB of RAM for the production and manipulation of average size models. A workstation-grade graphics card is also highly recommended.

You talk a lot about architectural design at Revit Zone, but CAD software can be used for a lot of different engineering situations. Have you worked in industries outside of architecture, and if so, which ones? What are some specific challenges that face engineers working in other fields? What are some ways that Autodesk Revit is good for those challenges?

Autodesk Revit is focused on building design. Its tools facilitate the production of architectural components. In addition, it can also produce components related to mechanical, electrical and plumbing disciplines. These disciplines all share the same common set of issues; i.e., coordination, cost, maintenance and (in some cases) aesthetics.

Why is it important for an engineer or a firm to be as efficient as possible in this day and age? How much time and money stand to be saved by running at maximum efficiency?

The world of work is a very competitive place now. Software tools like Autodesk Revit allow designs to be conceived, developed, analyzed and built very quickly. This in turn raises client expectations and quickly sets the standard. Anyone not adapting, evolving and utilizing these state-of-the-art tools is (in my opinion) will very likely fall by the wayside.

For more updates from the Revit Zone, follow them on Twitter.

Expert Interview with Tony Glockler of SolidProfessor on Continual Software Education

January 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Software educationSoftware is not something you simply learn once and move on.

Those that are the most serious about their careers and industries have always been lifelong learners, but this has become vital in today’s quickly evolving business climate.

To fill this need, the software training company SolidProfessor was formed to give CAD engineers all the training and certification in every major CAD platform they could ever need to stay at the head of their field and at the peak of their powers.

SolidProfessor’s Tony Glockler took a moment to tell us about SolidProfessor and some of the newest developments in the field of CAD software and workstations.

What is SolidProfessor? How did your company get started?


SolidProfessor is a team of dedicated engineers and designers creating the best learning experience for CAD and technical engineering software.
SolidProfessor was founded ten years ago by technical engineers and SolidWorks instructors who realized that the traditional classroom learning experience wasn’t effective for learning technical CAD software.  Students would leave intensive five-day courses on SolidWorks overwhelmed and retain only a fraction of what was taught in class.

To compound that problem, new annual advances in software development provided additional capabilities; but there was no ongoing training process to support users who wanted to get up to speed with the new capabilities. SolidProfessor was created to provide an effective method for people to learn technical CAD software, and to also maintain proficiency as the software evolved.

Who are your main clientele?

Companies, educational institutions and individuals — anyone who uses CAD software and wants to develop their skills.

You provide businesses, individuals, and institutions with training plans for all the major software. In this industry, how important is it to keep up with progress? How often should people think about re-training or re-certifying themselves?

It’s critical to keep up with progress. Software is changing quickly and dramatically, allowing designers to innovate and accelerate time to market. Ongoing learning is essential to staying current with the latest technology and software capabilities.

The word “re-training” does not apply very well to software learning.  It’s better to think of software learning as a Six Sigma or a continuous learning type of endeavor; people’s software skills should continually be improving.

Every time someone runs into a design challenge, there is an opportunity to learn and improve their skills.  The concept of a “training event” like attending a class applies to learning a subject once. However, software is rapidly changing and improving, so this requires a different solution to learning other than a one-time training event. Creating a culture of continuous learning is a much more effective approach for technical industries.

Re-certification, which is a good way to verify that someone is maintaining software proficiency, should happen with every new software release as new capabilities are introduced and the software evolves. A user can be re-certified on basic skills through an assessment test, and can be certified on new capabilities by completing a mini-course on the new software functionality, as well as an associated certification test following the course.

What are some of the areas that you keep people updated on?

SolidProfessor keeps our members updated on new software capabilities as well as new best design practices.

How important is organization and workflow for productivity? How much time does a business or an individual stand to save by optimizing their setup?

Great question.  It can be difficult to quantify, but organization and workflow are critical for a company to be productive and, more importantly, to compete in the market today.

As the size of a design team grows, so does the complexity of working together. Processes are essential for a team to operate effectively. Your team members can either be your greatest expense or your most valuable asset.

SolidProfessor helps you take control of your team’s productivity by rapidly onboarding new users and increasing productivity of your top performers. The administrative tools measure progress and knowledge retention with integrated tracking.

 

For more info and updates from Solid Professor, like them on Facebook, connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

 

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.

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