CADDManager on June 15th, 2006

Well at least the first four.

I posted this article in AUGI Hot News for June 2006.

If you look around you can see repeated patterns of CAD troubles.  People get themselves into trouble often by doing the same things.  As I observed these patterns of behavior, I came to understand that there is “nothing new under the sun”.

Presented in no particular order…

Sin #1:  Not Reading the Book

If you have read my stuff before you realize that this is one of my forgotten habits of CAD users.  Not reading the books and info you can get your hands on is like trying to install a garage door opening without reading the installation instructions.  Read the articles in the January, February and March issues of Hot News.


Sin #2: Not developing Standards

By “developing” I mean creating, defining, reviewing, updating and enforcing a CAD Standard.

Everyone has one anyway.  All users are creating objects in some form of a standard way.  They may be using their own “personal” standard, but they are most likely using one.  It may be written or just in their head, but they do have habits and processes that they use.

Standards drive the unification of producing CAD files.  Standards allow us to share project development better through unified methods, layers, processes, and production shortcuts.  We can automate the way something is produced and provide a target for file structure.

They drive the automation of creating data, but they don’t really guarantee that the data will be technically correct or interpreted correctly.

So if you don’t have one – create one and share it.

If you have one – review it and refine it

If yours is good – enforce it.

If it gets in the way – jettison it (but make sure you come back and correct the bad files – see Sin #3)


Sin #3: Going overboard on Standards

Some users are so head strong on Standards that they fail to get the job done.  They impact project deliverables by spending too much time getting it right.  Now, before you run me out of town on a rail, understand that I think good standards should not over tax your production flow.  Automated standards (those imbedded into the software through customization) should work well for speed and accuracy.

But, from time to time you will have to get something out the door in a pinch.  My thoughts are to stop worrying about the standard to get the job out and then go back and fix the files.  Most people do this anyway, but often fail to go back and fix the files.  I think many CAD Standards violations are done with the knowledge that the user is breaking the standard.  So why not just admit it and get the job complete and go back an fix the files.  Don’t let them be swept under the rug because someone if “too scared” to admit they made some mistakes.

NOTE: Standards can be set aside, but never accuracy.  The technical content of a file MUST always be exact.


Sin #4: Using the software like it was still a previous release

We all do this.  We all have some old habits that are still working for us.  I do not think we should abandon them all, but some of them are trapped in old releases.  If you have upgraded, please find out what has changed in the new release and see if you need to start doing something differently.

Autodesk carries a lot of old baggage from prior releases.  They tend to not remove commands or tools that are long overdue for retirement.  REDRAW still exists in 2007 even though most of us now can easily do a REGEN in the same amount of time.  In fact,  I would have trouble finding a command that was removed in 2007 that existed in 2006 (except the 3d stuff).  Why?  Because we all still use the old stuff – forever.

Now you may say “what’s wrong with using old tools that still work?”  There may be nothing wrong with the command, but you may be handicapping yourself to discovering new tools.  Watch a new user and see how they work.  I bet it would be very different from the way you work.
The real concern is when you move up from AutoCAD to another high end tool like ADT, Revit, LDT, Civil 3D, or Inventor.  No you may actually be causing problems by using the new tool the same way you used the old one.


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