CAD is the ultimate engineering tool for solving all kinds of design problems, right?
Well, maybe, but it only helps if users first have a feel for engineering, and second, know how to work with the tool. Roy Burmeister, Jr., senior product designer at Hutchinson Fluid Transfer Systems Inc. (Troy, MI), has that feel and knows how to use the tool, and he has advice for others that's worth reading.
Based on his experience designing with AutoCAD, CATIA, and Pro/ENGINEER, he has developed what he calls "The seven deadly sins of CAD." Here they are:
Separation between systems administration and the CAD department. Having someone who knows both design and administration leading both groups avoids conflicting priorities.
Lack of a comprehensive training program. Training makes CAD users more than mere CAD operators. It enables them to use the software to its fullest potential for streamlining and improving design.
No modeling standards. Without them, model construction can be ill-planned and result in models that are difficult or impossible to fix.
No backup. Expecting designers to catch their own mistakes is risky. They probably won't.
Unclear lines of supervisory authority. Having a variety of supervisors overseeing designers' work can lead to inconsistent directions and confusion.
Modeling parts more than once. One of the chief advantages of CAD is that you don't have to model anything twice. If you're going to consistently re-model, go back to the board.
Lack of productivity standards. Failure to set standards on timeliness, for example, takes away a sense of urgency and can result in late work.
Got any of your own "sins" to add to Roy's list? Speak out so we can all learn to use CAD more effectively.