CAD Managers

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PaulMunford
Posts: 898
Registered: ‎11-13-2006
Message 1 of 13 (820 Views)

CAD Standards - Less is more?

820 Views, 12 Replies
09-15-2013 01:12 PM

Just a little over a year ago I became a CAD Manager. Over the last year a lot of our focus has been on the quality of our drawings. Now, a year in, we are in a position to ask the question ‘what can we do without?’

 

We have a lot of customers for our Drawings. From the Architect and main contractor on site, to our own manufacturing and fitting teams, everyone has different needs and requirements from our drawings.

 

I’d like to think that we’ve done a pretty good job of satisfying all of our customers, but have we done too much? Have we been too accommodating? Would a simpler set of drawings be just as effective? I liken it to a Jenga tower. You build it up – and then you start poking bits to see what wobbles!

 

Have you ever been in a position to question your CAD Standards? Have you ever been asked to simplify your Standard. Maybe you are a frustrated CAD technician battling against a CAD standard which just slows you down?

 

How have you simplified your drawings?

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dgorsman
Posts: 5,112
Registered: ‎10-12-2006
Message 2 of 13 (786 Views)

Re: CAD Standards - Less is more?

09-16-2013 07:24 AM in reply to: PaulMunford

Main simplification was in data management.  We used to have both data files for settings (e.g. layes) and a standards document with a table.  Guess how often those atually matched, or how often there was time to create an entirely new table for a client with a couple of extra layers.  So now the standards are in XML and linked to an XSL stylesheet so the user sees them as nicely formatted HTML tables.

 

In some cases I do push back against client standards.  Thats usually because we are using slightly different software which enforces certain settings (e.g. layer by piping specification instead of layer by rating), or we go to a further level of detail in some areas which requires extra layers (like separate layers for steel beams, columns, etc. instead of one overall STEEL layer), or we are working in 3D instead of 2D so we benefit from a wider range of object colors.

----------------------------------
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Adopt. Adapt. Overcome. Or be overcome.
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Wanderer-MOTD
Posts: 204
Registered: ‎03-04-2004
Message 3 of 13 (787 Views)

Re: CAD Standards - Less is more?

09-16-2013 07:24 AM in reply to: PaulMunford

I recently just reworked my entire CAD Standards manual.

 

I initially created it, after two years on the job, over a decade ago. I'd made minor tweaks over the years, but, never looked at it as a whole.

 

I did just that recently, realizing that simply adding a page for BIM Standards a few years ago, when the corporate dictate came down, wasn't enough. I had to make it into a process manual, instead of just the simple quality checklist it had been. Hacking through the document I'd spent so long putting together, and realizing there WAS fluff to cut out, was a bit humbling... actually, it was also encouraging, realizing how much better my technical writing has become since college, lol.

Melanie Perry
***not all those who wander are lost***
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Distinguished Contributor
Wanderer-MOTD
Posts: 204
Registered: ‎03-04-2004
Message 4 of 13 (784 Views)

Re: CAD Standards - Less is more?

09-16-2013 07:29 AM in reply to: dgorsman

As a client, I welcome pushback on our standards. At least the right kind.

99% of the objections raised are 'this is stupid, we shouldn't have to do this because theirs no reason for it', during which time I can explain to them precisely why we have requested a specific item. They go "oh, okay," and do it. Waste of time, and irritating for the inherent condescension.

The other 1% are enlightening about the way people work.
In one particular (massive) project, during which CAD standards had been all but forgotten until closeout, the architect automated the changes for the floor plans in their set... but, the detail sheets were nested blocks that didn't use BYLAYER entities. And you know what? That was fine. When they sat down to talk with me, we could all discussed that the non-bylayer and nesting tripped us up when putting together composite plans and x-refs, but, details aren't included in those plans, so we were fine with them skipping those pages. Everyone walks away happily and efficiently.

Melanie Perry
***not all those who wander are lost***
http://AUGI.com/Surveys
http://MistressOfTheDorkness.blogspot.com

My defunct profiles:
http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/651859
http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/644095
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JGerth
Posts: 1,952
Registered: ‎12-05-2005
Message 5 of 13 (769 Views)

Re: CAD Standards - Less is more?

09-16-2013 10:10 AM in reply to: PaulMunford

PaulMunford wrote:

Just a little over a year ago I became a CAD Manager. Over the last year a lot of our focus has been on the quality of our drawings. Now, a year in, we are in a position to ask the question ‘what can we do without?’

 

We have a lot of customers for our Drawings. From the Architect and main contractor on site, to our own manufacturing and fitting teams, everyone has different needs and requirements from our drawings.

 

I’d like to think that we’ve done a pretty good job of satisfying all of our customers, but have we done too much? Have we been too accommodating? Would a simpler set of drawings be just as effective? I liken it to a Jenga tower. You build it up – and then you start poking bits to see what wobbles!

 

Have you ever been in a position to question your CAD Standards? Have you ever been asked to simplify your Standard. Maybe you are a frustrated CAD technician battling against a CAD standard which just slows you down?

 

How have you simplified your drawings?


Let's clarify -- are you talking about simplifying the drawings, as in how liitle is really necessary, or are you talking about simplifying a drawing standard?    Not at all the saame thing IMO, as a simple standard can result in horrendously complicated and hard to work with drawings.

 

A Standard that says 'draw everything on layer 0, and use only STANDARD text and dimstyles' is a retty simple standard, but does not result in useful dwg files.....,.,

 

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PaulMunford
Posts: 898
Registered: ‎11-13-2006
Message 6 of 13 (760 Views)

Re: CAD Standards - Less is more?

09-16-2013 12:15 PM in reply to: JGerth

Well - our drawings are set up using the BS/ISO standards. We have deployed the standard Via toolpallettes, scripts, tempates e.t.c - or the Inventor standards manager.

 

We can create pretty complicated looking drawings pretty quickly - but the management are asking the question 'if it looked simpler - would it be quicker'. So far I've been resiting change becuase we needed to walk the long way before we started taking short cuts - we need to understand what it is we are leaving out and what the impact might be.

 

As Melanie  says - it could be humbling to find 'fluff' in your drawings/drawing standard. But i'm hoping that the process will be galvanising as well.

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Inventor Surfacing | AutoCAD | CAD Standards
 
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JGerth
Posts: 1,952
Registered: ‎12-05-2005
Message 7 of 13 (757 Views)

Re: CAD Standards - Less is more?

09-16-2013 12:46 PM in reply to: PaulMunford

Different worlds (as well as continents :smileyhappy:

 

Here, i have to develop construction drawings based on 1) what the contractor needs to build it, 2) what the multiple permit agencies and jurisdictions want to see before they approve a project's permits, and 3) what the actual client wants to see.   As well as the individual quirks and idosyncracys of the various signing PEs/RAs/LAs.

 

so my cad standard has to flexible enough to accomodate all the disparate requirements, and tight enough that the end product is usable, re-usable, and consistent.

 

I've been thinking about setting up a checklist of 'things to show on different sheets, but am afraid it'll either end up as a massive matrix, (chinese restaurant menu maybe?) or a stack of different checklists to run through.

 

 

*Expert Elite*
dgorsman
Posts: 5,112
Registered: ‎10-12-2006
Message 8 of 13 (754 Views)

Re: CAD Standards - Less is more?

09-16-2013 12:55 PM in reply to: JGerth

PE quirks... along with QA/QC quirks, a definite sigh of exasperation there.  Doesn't matter *what*  the standard says, they usually get their way, even if it means going directly to the designers.

----------------------------------
If you are going to fly by the seat of your pants, expect friction burns.
Adopt. Adapt. Overcome. Or be overcome.
A good question will be halfway to a good answer.


*Expert Elite*
Charles_Shade
Posts: 8,196
Registered: ‎04-10-2005
Message 9 of 13 (699 Views)

Re: CAD Standards - Less is more?

09-18-2013 05:52 AM in reply to: Wanderer-MOTD

To carry Melanies thought a little further I often thought that Autodesk tried to fix plotting for years by adding enhancements to each successive release.

When they finally bascially scrapped the old printing system and went to Publish what had become an awful cumbersome Command is now quite elegant and useful.

Step back, look at the whole, get the input, ask for concessions. 

 

And even here as a one man shop I ask that question - Is it too complicated? Problem is I have an excuse for each Layer that I use and unless I take on the persona of Golum I am unlikely to argue myself out of one or ten. Plus I've gotten used to what these things look like on screen which makes my drawing easier and faster.

Regards, Charles Shade            Win8 FAQ
CSHADEDESIGN|AUTOCAD LT|LT-KB|DYNAMIC BLOCKS

 
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Distinguished Contributor
jest2525
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎10-22-2003
Message 10 of 13 (134 Views)

Re: CAD Standards - Less is more?

06-24-2014 11:49 AM in reply to: PaulMunford

Watch yourself.

 

In over 30 years of doing this I've seen that exact question come up many times and the answer has always been the same... "the CAD Manager".  That was especially true if the CAD Manager position was not a project billable position.  I've seen many a CAD Manager appointed who went in, defined standards, methodologies, and procedures, then spent considerable time honing, refining, and training users in all of this.  Sadly, when upper management saw the new efficient system that was now in place that a handful of users could now implement and maintain, the CAD Manager was deemed expendable.  Their justification was always "Why maintain a non-billable position when project billable users could manage the system?"

 

Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I witnessed that scenario...

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