Let’s Talk CAD Management



This is the view from the Roanoke airport this morning. A low fog and a gate with no plane. Story of my life.

There are at least two consolations about being stuck in the Roanoke airport: it isn’t Atlanta, and it has a free internet connection. So there are plenty of things to blog about, and now I’ve got plenty of time to do that.

Let’s talk about CAD Management today. One of the jobs I’ve had that I liked very much was working for an optical instrument company as the Engineering Services Manager. In this job I was primarily responsible for a group of 5 people who would get loaned out to various departments who needed CAD help. Manufacturing, Engineering, Quality, we were the overflow workforce for all of these groups and had primary responsibility for the document change process. In addition to leading that group, I was also the CAD Admin, responsible for installation, standardization, optimization and training. I helped establish and implement the product development process, codifying it into an actual flowchart so that everyone could understand and follow it.

The challenges I had as a CAD Admin for a 3D CAD process were typical; implementing libraries, enforcing part numbering, getting people to use custom properties correctly, bug fighting, end user support, creation and enforcement of standards, file management, stuff like that.

It’s always easiest if you can build a CAD department from the ground up, but who ever gets the opportunity to do that? You usually have to step into someone else’s world, and determine what needs to be fixed, and what you can learn to live with, and possibly what you can learn from your predecessor’s way of doing things.

In addition to the surfacing challenges I’ve been hosting, I also want to begin hosting a discussion on CAD Admin topics. You can find several blogs on AutoCAD admin, and this is a topic that doesn’t get enough attention. CAD Admin types typically have to learn on their own how to deal with the situations that come up.

One of the topics that people seem to avoid is Toolbox. My blog gets tons of hits on that keyword because I’ve posted about it a couple of times. On my old site (which is now gone) I had a white paper I had written on Toolbox from before the time of blogs.

So the next post I do on CAD admin will be about Toolbox. It has changed a lot since I wrote about it last, and I could use a little refresher research on the topic. In prep for the discussion about Toolbox, do you have any questions or comments on it? How do you use it? Do you use an alternative? Let’s talk Toolbox!

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