Issue #483 : : July 16, 2006
C o n t e n t s
Write the Editor.
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Access nearly-daily CAD commentary at our blog: WorldCAD Access.
"Speaking as a structural engineer and a person who has been practicing BIM [building information modeling] for structural models since the early 1990s, the letter that you posted regarding structural engineers 'struggling (my words) with BIM' is silly.
"Talk to any structural engineer who has worked with MicasPlus or the earlier RAND software: we did 3D modeling from design through analysis to finished drawings for a long time.
"My suggestion to that any company that needs to find
structural engineers to work a BIM model: call down to Houston or
any place else where large industrial projects are designed."
"Large software companies would have us believe that there are only two groups in architecture world: those using BIM, and those that will eventually use BIM. They may be right.
"What the popular press is missing, however, is that many design-led practices are opting for an array of alternative, non-BIM software that provides advantages in creativity and flexibility over what BIM offers right now.
"What we really want to see is more real-world stories relating to how different design companies deploy BIM and new non-BIM workflows. Also tell us about companies that are moving into design-centric technologies using Rhino, Sketchup, and Modo, for example. These applications are not only being used as front-end design tools, but also for analyzing detail design in 3D. I get the idea that these technologies are being stereotyped in favor of BIM.
"What you don't learn when you read the BIM articles are the practical limits that BIM may pose in its current state. After developing the BIM model, how many details would I have to complete using traditional CAD? Write some articles about why BIM uptake is relatively slow amongst the foremost design companies. Along with the successes, tell us about companies where BIM deployment has failed.
"I don't believe we are getting the full story."
"After reading comments on BIM, a thought occurs to me:
Why is it that the 'big picture guys' never seem to grasp the importance
of details, details, details? I've repeatedly seen this theme in
action, without exception, during my time in this industry since
- David William
"I'm thinking about a response to your all -BIM issue of
the newsletter. I don't know if I want to go snarky or thoughtful.
Perhaps a combination would be appropriate. I'm thinking it would
be good for the general discussion of the technology."
The editor replies: "Either. Matters not to me. I throw out stuff -- contrarian or otherwise -- to get people thinking that maybe not everything is alright in La-La Land."
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A reader provided a copy of lawyer Howard Ashcraft's article, "Building Information Modeling: A Great Idea In Conflict With Traditional Concepts Of Insurance, Liability, and Professional Responsibility." A summary of his points include:
He summarizes: "Building information modeling is a key advance in building technology.... The key issues are compensation, risk allocation, and control of the model. If these issues can be satisfactorily addressed, BIM should become a dominant design methodology." Available to registered clients only: www.schinnerer.com/risk_mgmt/design_firms/amia/amia45.html
by Bob Shingler
WorldCAD Access has an article about the long-term storage of data, referring to the Fraunhofer Institute's use of microfiche. It questions how to store CAD drawings this way. Bob Shingler has a story of microfiche-stored plans that you might like to hear:
- - -
A few years ago I worked for a local authority in the United Kingdom. One job I was involved in was to put a new sewer line through an existing housing estate. The line meant demolishing a brick shed, constructing the sewer, and then rebuilding the shed.
I was about to measure up the shed to produce drawings, when I was informed that the council held all the drawings from when it was built 25 years previous. The drawings were all stored on an archival microfiche system.
I retrieved the slide from the archive and ordered original size prints to be produced from it. The contractor proceeded to demolish the shed and construct the sewer. A couple of days later, the prints were done and I found that due to the resolution of the original scanner, I couldn't read the dimensions or any text on the drawing. Luckily most of the other houses in the estate had similar sheds, and I was able to measure one of those up and re-annotate the drawing.
I managed to get around that situation, but it goes to show that when archiving information, it's best to check it's been archived in the best way before destroying the original data.
[Bob Shingler is a CAD manager in England.]
The editor comments: "This is similar to backup systems: it is easy to backup data from hard drives, but most people have no experience at restoring."
A summary of CAD industry news you may not have read elsewhere, or that I found interesting:
Adobe updates its free Adobe Reader software for the UNIX and Linux operating systems. Version 7.0.8 gives 3D support to uses of Sun's Solaris SPARC, IBM's AIX, HP's HP-UX, Novell's SUSE, and Red Hat's Linux. The pr firms calls it "a development of significance to Acrobat 3D users in the manufacturing and AEC industries." Download it from www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2_allversions.html
EVOQE releases solidThinking 7.0 for Windows and Mac OS X Universal. The suite consists of fully parametric, Class A surface and solid modeling environments with built-in photorealistic rendering and animation for industrial designers. www.solidthinking.com
Nemetschek presents AllPlan Generation 2006 [Generation? I take that to mean the next release will be in 2046.] The software handles designs from freehand sketches to detailed architectural planning. The new tachometer for quantities and costs feature lets you check the current construction costs at any time during planning. [The pr firm left out Web links.]
Seemage releases a plug-in that supports Adobe's 3D PDF (U3D) and their own .smg format. [Where it plugs-in is not clear from the press release.] Download from seemage.com/freedl/SeemageAcrobat.exe
VX Corporation integrates VX CAD/CAM software with Antares Italia's Lib3D library of mechanical components for mold makers. www.AntaresItalia.it
AUTOMSIM Premium (e99) is circuit design and simulation software for electric, pneumatic, hydraulic, and digital electronics. www.irai.com/produit3_e.html
Triple Squid Software Design releases a beta of its Moment of Inspiration 3D modeling software. File format is based on Rhino. Check it out at moi3d.com
DRCAUTO SOFTWARE completes Toolkit Max 2007 (US$450) for AutoCAD LT 2007, with support for fast-Load AutoLISP, Visual LISP executables, AutoLISP, ObjectARX, ObjectDBX, plus additional commands. [Autodesk really hates it when DCRAUTO figures out how to get past all its blockages to customizing LT.] estore.drcauto.com/toolkitmax2007products.htm
SAMTECH launches BOSS quattro V5.1 for parameterized analyses, stochastic analyses, design of experiments, and more. www.samcef.com
progeSOFT updates progeCAD 2006 Professional with multiple-copy printing and plotting, 3x resolution of enhanced metafiles, redlining and markup, enhanced support for True Type fonts, and more. [EMF support? I wish Autodesk would make good on their promise to me to upgrade from WMF to EMF.] http://www.progesoft.com
Seminars & Conferences
NAVTEQ 2006 LBS Developer Conference is Sept 11 in Los Angeles CA USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
People/Companies on the Move
British-based Delcam acquires US-based International Manufacturing Computer Services, developer of the PartMaker suite of CAM software.
Avatech Solutions completes its acquisition of Technology & Training Services, which specializes in facilities management.
CoCreate appoints Hansjoerg Plaggemars as chief operating officer. Mr Plaggemars was the company's chief financial officer.
Autograph Technical Services moves to 168 Garland Rose Lane, Dallas GA 30157 USA.
Letters to the Editor
Re: Whence Shop Drawings
"I've spent most of my life in the mechanical world designing stuff that will go to production. We've done a few projects that are a little more 'civil,' and the differences are fascinating. I'm a little envious of architects, to be honest. They appear to do the fun, creative stuff without ever having to concern themselves much on the tedious details. Seems really strange to 'design' something, and then leave things -- like how the parts fit together -- up to someone else.
"We bid on some shop drawings a while back, and I got to
see what a really good, fast manual draftsman bid: he beat our inexperienced,
overly-conservative butts, of course, but I think even an experienced
shop drawing guy on CAD would have trouble competing with him. There's
still no substitute for skill and experience."
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"Thank you for sending the 'news letters' to me! I have
them all saved for reference."
"Just a short note. Your newsletter is very interesting
and helpful for our work. Best from Germany."
"Thanks and keep up the good work, I always enjoy reading
"Coke boldly goes where every other clueless control-hungry
company has gone before."
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