CADDManager on February 16th, 2009

I have been thinking lately about the CAD and BIM users of the future. They will differ from today’s users. They may have some of the same characteristics, but there will be some definite differences. Some of the characteristics expand on what is happening now and some are evolutions that will occur.

Users in the future will think and work in 3D.

All of them, not just some. Even more so than today, in the future users will be immersed in 3D Design products. The current level of design tools has mad fantastic strides toward the next step by encouraging us to work in 3D. Most of them are still developing output that is focused on 2D. As the users and designers press forward with 3d, the output and deliverables will become more 3d in nature also.

3D printers are making headway into the rapid prototyping environment, soon they will become commonplace. These use to be the high priced washing machine sized devices. They are getting to the level of desktop tools now.Read more about this from Cadalyst Magazine where they just published a review of 3D Printers.

Immersive 3d environments will help designers visualize their work. Research into tools like “the CAVE” will allow for immersive interaction with as yet un-built environments. A “CAVE” is a system of rear projection devices that display on a roughly 10’ x 10’ environment. Users wear special glasses that allow then to move around in this environment and look at the environment in 3D. It is immersive in that it projects a 360 degree image. Even the floor is projected.

According to Wikipedia definition of the technology… A lifelike visual display is created by projectors positioned outside the CAVE and controlled by physical movements from a user inside the CAVE. Stereoscopic LCD shutter glasses convey a 3D image. The computers rapidly generate a pair of images, one for each of the user’s eyes. The glasses are synchronized with the projectors so that each eye only sees the correct image. Since the projectors are positioned outside of the cube, mirrors often reduce the distance required from the projectors to the screens. One or more computers, often SGI workstations, drive the projectors.

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One Response to “The CAD and BIM Users of the Future – Part 1”

  1. Not all projects are “BIM” sized. What about the rest of the building industry? How about the small 3 or 4 man architectural, Structural, mechanical, and electrical consultants? Do you think that the big “BIM” sized consortiums can do the smaller projects profitably? How much work is done by these smaller firms? Everything that is too small for the big guys I suppose. How many of these smaller firms are not using current software? Does anybody know how the building industry is broken down by project size? There are probably more smaller projects than the mega projects by numbers but how do they compare by construction costs? Does anyone know how many small engineering and architectural firms are using older versions of AutoCAD productively? I don’t know but would be interested in knowing. Wouldn’t you like to know. 3D is fun, but you know the 3d design is created by a person and not the drafting program. Buildings do not get built from 3d drawings, they get built from 2d blue prints. I would be really interested in an article explaining how exactly 3d is used to design and document a building. Remember, all buildings are the same, just bigger or smaller.

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