I work in the engineering department at a store fixture and retail space design company. We use both AutoCAD and SolidWorks in our department. My job is to engineer and value engineer the items that our creative department designs. I am qualified to do space planning and things like drop notes or graphic callouts or fixture icon “blocks” into drawings but as an employee it is not to the companies’ benefit or best interest to use me or any other member of my department to do these tasks as our skill set, expertise and billable rate just do not make sense to be used for the task. In my opinion this is more or a CAD operators job. Please do not take me the wrong way. I am not saying I or any other member of my team is too good for this task; it just is a misuse of our skills.
Lately we have had requests from Project Managers and or Account Executives requesting that I work with IT to get such and such an individual the AutoCAD and the little bit of instruction it would take for them to be able to do these things. These individuals are not CAD operators. They are project managers and have plenty to do without taking on the tasks of being involved in what they think will be a little bit of CAD work. I have already had numerous encounters with one of the individuals requesting this. I have shown, taught, and explained to him many times how to open an existing drawing and print. He refuses to take notes and just does not retain the information.
Now realize that what would happen if outside sources draw existing site plans. There would be different companies, different drawing techniques, different layers, different, fonts, different setups and formatting, different plot settings, and different CTB and STB settings. Some would be using XREFs and some using model space and some using paper space. The biggest issue I see with doing this is that I feel that these folks internally with no CAD experience are going to struggle with things like differences mentioned above. Do you think these things would be an issue or am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Keep in mind, the people here internally who would be using these other AutoCAD files have zero AutoCAD experience. Am I correct in thinking that this really needs to be handled by a group or department, whatever the skill set, or are these and other unmentioned stumbling blocks legitimate issues?
Another question - is there software that could use these existing AuotCAD files regardless of layer, scale, font, etc and convert them to some other format that could be easily manipulated by our already overloaded, non CAD proficient project managers?
From contributor A:
This is so wrong in so many ways. I am a detailer/engineer in a huge custom shop. I build the job as it will eventually leave the shop. I would never let sales, support, or whatever, modify anything I'm building. They have no business going into the cads. If I'm responsible for the job, you don't get to mess with it. It would be so easy for an inexperienced person to destroy the profit margin on the job - even if it is just wasting time struggling with the cad, and not wasting the cad.
Design and Engineering software (which is what we all use) is among the most powerful and difficult software to master. We're talking cabinets, so the engineering is pretty simple. But the software and proper use of it isn't simple.