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08/15/06 09:39 AM
Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general? Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general?

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08/15/06 09:39 AM
Jeff new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

This is an important article.
What has suffered in the name of efficiency is honesty. Engineers who move ahead are masters of presentation and optimism.
The boss listens for what he wants to hear. "I will have it done tomorrow." is much better than "it might take 3 weeks.". Much of the work is done by consulting firms. They care about billable hours, not intelligent design (the type man does that is).
As the commercial asked - Were's the beef ?

08/15/06 11:21 AM
Lower expectations new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Interesting point of view. I don't think it's CAD and time-to-manufacture, so much as it is lowered expectations that have been ingrained from our experiences with computing. No one thinks twice when they need to reboot a PC during a workday. We put up with software locking up, we shrug our shoulders at the vagaries of CAD programs & other Name Brand SoftWare. Nobody demands the best when "just good enough" is universally accepted. No sense complaining about bugs & workarounds when no one will bother to fix them, they'll just sell you the next bell & whistle. So, those attitudes carry over to other walks of life. Mundane is good enough.

J. T.
08/16/06 06:57 AM
Case In Point new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

The article selects a specific medium (e.g. CAD) on which to pin its message. The article engenders a discussion beyond any one medium. As everything in the developed world continues to converge we are increasingly forced to focus on 'good enough,' which often isn't.
In the U.S., at the top of the economic food chain, we feel the need to shave wherever possible in order to stay on top. This means the niceties of exacting fit'n'finish become cost items, extras we convince ourselves customers aren't willing to pay for. In many cases, our customers are in the same situation and, indeed, cannot pay for anything beyond good enough.
This article itself is a classic self-representation of the topics it decries. It is replete with a lack of grammar checking, spell checking, and the like (e.g. 'thee' instead of 'the', and so on). Not looking to dwell on typos to the detriment of the message, but it is it’s own best example of the problem at hand.
Editor, where were you before this was posted?

Er Ramalingam K S
08/17/06 06:45 AM
Golden Blend of 'Clicks ' and 'Bricks' new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Dear Readers
My opinion is that there are still gaps to be filled when we start using CAD It has to grow a long way to stabilize That does not mean they are not good They are good for faster flexiblity in deisgn , altering the design , fastness in drafting , on line messaging , clarity , visualisation ,printing & easy to get itself for CAM , I mean Computer Aided Manufacturing
I do accept that the percentage of curomer returns for various products from various industries are growing after this CAD
One way is to have Mentors for the CAD Team while designing and releasing the drawings The Mentors should be from a cross functional team of senior experts - from Design , Manufacturing, Assembly , Marketing and Service And the CAD Designers should be given an opportunity to interact / see with their own eyes of what is what and not confined to their desks alone The fact is that we have to develop a lot in CAD associated Softwares
The journey towards perfection is through excellence which is always elusive But let us be on the route We will continue that
Anyhow, a GOLDEN BLEND of the 'OLD - BRICKS' & 'YOUNG CLICKS' will be ruling the world by contineous upgradation for the betterment of human society/ living at large

08/17/06 02:07 PM
Blame the process not the technology. new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

What leads to poor quality in the elevator? The customer. Period. If the custom will accept a lower level of quality then the manufacturer will make it. It is up to the owner during the walk through to point out the elevator panel and say that it is unacceptable and that it must be fixed. No one else is to blame.
CAD and technology are irrelevant to this core issue. If you can complete the drawing/design in X number of hours, then you have just proved that it can be done. People worked just as hard and put in just as many long hours when they pushed pencils. Driving workers for every last drop of productivity is not a new concept that was introduced along with the computer.
If the drawing goes straight from the designers desk to the shop with no quality control, then it is a quality control issue. A drawing created using pencil and paper could have taken the same route to the shop.
Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall on the back of a napkin. But the engineering and plans were completed using very high powered computers. Which is the better method? Neither. The better method is the one that works.
CAD works. CAD saves time. But the quality is unrelated to the medium.

08/19/06 08:45 AM
THE CHECKER new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

The old fart that made sure the drawing fully defined the part. I hated this guy, until he discovered a mistake that would have cost the company a forture and the loss of my reputation and maybe my job. This guy was the teacher who in time taught me to become "THE CHECKER"

08/20/06 04:03 AM
It's About Time new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Ever since the introduction oF CAD in ALL spheres of manufacturing, the VERY important role of the checker had been undermined. Progressively, all CAD product manufacturers have added "self checking" features into their products. In the early days, these were very basic, and were nearly always subject to debate on accuracy. Nowadays we are being led to believe that they are the "bible". Not true, nothing that the programmers can instigate can equate to "gut feel", "eye for error", "true professionalisim".
We live in a world that demands excellent results instantly, yet in most cases, the basic training does not exist so that the operator can mentally visualize potential traps along the way. And to add to the mayhem that is increasing in all areas, "CAD Operators" are increasingly being given the design roles - they are cheaper (initaily). I too started on the "board", could accurately forecast timeframes, and even though I strove for perfection, I occasionally tripped up. Thank God for "The Checker".
Let's not kid ourselves, we must be vigilant, trust the product we use to achieve our aims, but we must NOT retire the Checker.

Norm Crawford
08/23/06 07:39 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general? new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

A simple question deserves a simple answer. No, CAD/CAM does not diminish quality. I too started on the drafting table and was good at it. But I jumped on the opportunity to be on e of the first to use CAD and explored 3D CAD immediately with outstanding results. The interesting issue around quality was that back in those days, engineering required that my CAD models meet the 2D drawings "exactly" and of course the 3D CAD modeling found flaw after flaw after flaw in the design. That of course lead to me being the pain that nobody wanted to talk too. I'll lay odds that some of these guys are still around today and remember. I have also contacted some of these guys over the years and almost all will say that they must have been out of their mind to think that 2D Ink on Mylar was more accurate then 3D CAD modeling for design. You see, when I left, the company felt the unfortunate pain of a single expert leaving. CAD use became a requirement for everyone.
Ah yes Checkers. Well, again some functioned extremely well but the work overload and ability to properly do any sort of accurate tolerance analysis was pretty much non-existant. Howerver, where checkers became doomed is when they "took advantage" of the CAD technology and started sending drawings back for totally non-valued changes that had absolutely nothing to do with quality. They became editors who wanted entire views moved around, endless dimensions positioned slightly different, font changes, text size changes, underline this and don't underline that. So I think it fair that some responsability for the unfortunate doom of checkers be accepted by many (NOT ALL) checkers.
I do however think there is great opportunity for checkers to return to be what I think they really ought to be and that is in dimensional management being specialist in the dimensional management control or tolerance analysis. Stuff that has real value. My guess on the elevator example is that the dimensional control was non-existant or just plain in accurate and again nothing to do with the CAD technology.
I will say this; Original thinking, Innovation, still takes just as long. CAD does not help that, which is often misunderstood. Use of CAD speeds up the development of an idea, but the talent and time it takes to originate the idea is still worth it's weight in gold.

Proof readere
08/23/06 07:54 AM
Quality in Language and Writing - Proof read new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

It would seem logical that if you complain about quality you would proof read the article to discover any quality problems in your article. Without counting, I would say that there are at least 6-10 errors in grammar or left out words in the first page alone.
I would trust your content more and would perhaps have read on.

08/23/06 12:58 PM
not CAD's fault... new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

The problem is not the tools we use, but how we use them. In the article, the engineer accepts too tight a deadline, "So you say OK (knowing if you don’t someone else will) and stay the extra few hours a night..." The people who assembled the elevator are no less intelligent than those who assembled them in 1970. In both cases, the laborer is rushing something in order to succeed against perceived competition.
News Flash: The customer cares about quality, and will pay more for it.
News Flash #2: There are multiple ways to gain a reputation that will drive business your way, #1 be the fastest (but not necessarily the best) or #2 create the best most elegant design (or at least one that works and looks better and is easier/less expensive to manufacture. In either case, the world will beat a path to your door.
UNLESS YOU NEED THAT EXTRA JOB TO SURVIVE, consider turning down jobs you know cannot be performed in the timeframe alotted AND IN A HIGH QUALITY MANNER. You'll discover the time with family, the opportunity to exercise, and relaxation to clear your head is worth more than the contract that's taking away the things you really want.
Where I work, we have very strict quality requirements that have forced us to no-bid jobs due to poor data or time constraints we know to be unrealistic. And yes, we've heard (many times) that there are others ready, willing and able to do what we won't. We've lost some business that way, but most of the time our customers know we're being honest with them or they try someone else and come back to get the quality they know we can deliver.
Quality pays, whether it is in your work or your personal life. Don't compromise!

Mike LaCroix
08/24/06 09:10 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Li new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Just like the writer of the article, I am a freelance product designer and understand the long hours and deadlines that are unrealistic. My response to the question "Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in General?" is a resounding NO. Also, the qestion needs to be addressed as two independent topics, Quality of Life and Quality of product. It must be remembered that CAD, be it mechanical CAD or electronic CAD or whatever CAD, is only a tool no different than a hammer or screwdriver. As the saying goes, "it is not the tool that counts but rather how you use it". If we look at the "Quality of Life" aspect first, we should remember that what we do in life and how we live it is based only on the choices that we make. If the job keeps you away from the family too much, there is the choice to find a new job that allows more family time or just don't work any overtime. The reality is that the only thing responsible for a persons quality of life is that person and the choices they make. Thus if a person chooses to be a freelance engineer working from home and takes on either too many jobs or commits to impossible deadlines, the loss of family time is a result of their own choices. If you don't like your current situation, make a choice to change it, but don't blame a tool for the problem.

As for the issue of "Quality in General", again, the problem is not the tool but how the tool is used. Before working as a freelancer I used to work for large and small corporations and the controlling factors in product quality were not the design tools but the skill of the people who use them. The problem of product quality doesn't rest solely with the product designers but with the entire process from concept to product shipping. If we look at the plate in the elevator that didn't fit properly, we might find out that everything mated perfectly in the CAD model and that the problem was with the company making the plate. On top of that, the elevator company might not have inspected that part upon receipt. As for the installer, the fact that it didn't fit just right wasn't his/her concern and might not even work for the elevator company and figured that if they just install it the best they can, that will be good enough. If that was truly the scenario, then CAD had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the product.

It is my firm belief that the quality of one's life is only as good as one makes it with their own personal choices. As for the quality of the product, it will only be as good as the people involved with it from concept to shipping and their abilities, not the tools they use.

In closing I would just like to say that there is a much bigger issue at play here with regards to quality of life and product. Many many years ago, there was a time when employers held their employees in high regard and vice versa. Today, that is no longer true and quite the opposite. Today, companies only care about the bottom line and maximizing it at all costs. As for the workers, the same thing is true except that the bottom line is their salary. No more are the days of loyalty between company and worker where a person can start and retire at the same company during their career. So long as this disrespect between employers and employees continues, a person's quality of life will always be below what it could be. As for the quality of the product, the bigger issue is the lack of quality training and common sense in young new workers. There needs to be a fundamental change in philosophy regarding training/education of new hires. But that is a whole new subject.

Mike LaCroix

08/28/06 04:13 PM
past present and future new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

what can help you deliver better desing in less time - software...
change is upon us people... using 20 year old software to meet the demands of costumers today...
autodesk is doing it ... the new inventor and revit... it's sad to say this but... goodbye AutoCAD it was fun while it lasted...
sure there are many people thinking it will not be today autocad retires, but maybe it's the user that has to retire first. the next generation of designer will not use autocad, just like the old generation switched from pen and paper to CAD

08/29/06 07:06 AM
CAD Dimish Quality new [re: samov]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Well, let me say the feedback on this subject is quite interesting and well receieved, although I feel a little disillusioned. It appears that many are living in dreamland vs. reality. Like or not its about the almighty dollar in todays world and everything else is secondary. Although I agree that the lack of quality does not soley ly on the designers shoulders. If you look at the entire process needed to get an idea into the market, you will see that every step is budget conscience...and rightfully so. Lets face it companies are in business to make money, right? The problem is when business wants to make ludicrious money and make sacrifices in workmanship, employee benefits, etc., etc.. So whether your using the best or the fastest software doesn't make a hill of beans.
And in all honestly, theres software out there thats far better and faster than Autodesk Inventor but until businesses realize that there staff needs more time to make decisions and improve quality you might as well ustick with AutoCAD 2D. In fact that way you have an excuse when deadlines are missed.

Interested Engineer
08/30/06 08:50 AM
Interested engineer new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

I don't get it. Long hours aren't related to CAD/CAM. I started on a board with pencil and vellum. We worked long hours on some projects on paper, and later worked long hours on CAD, sometimes we worked reasonable hours. A lot of it's related to the company and industry you work in. We are in a world economy and are competing with people in poor countries desperate for work. We also compete with other industrialized nations with strong work ethics.
A good solid modeling program can be properly used, with downloaded components modeled by the manufacturer, using interference checking and just a lot of examining fits. You can make the parts transparent and see what's happening inside your assembly. I remember the master designer putting together 3 views on the master layout, and everyone studying it to see which pencil lines went to which component! NO THANKS! If you use the power available, you can design far more stuff, better and faster than ever before. With this power and modern rapid prototyping / manufacturing methods, the prototypes should converge much faster and better into a good product. It's all about workmanship with the tools you have.
As for the elevator panel, there are bad projects in all times. It's a matter of workmanship, at either the design, manufacturing or installation stage. I've got news for you. They made bad stuff in the '70's and every time too. Maybe it's since been broken and replaced. Remember transistor radios and 8-track tapes?

Tom Kirkman
(Stranger )
09/06/06 05:39 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general? new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Cad/cam software is a tool. It is no different that paper and pencil. It is the engineer that makes the difference.

It is easy to blame the software. Let's face it, when we live in a society that personal responsibility goes out the window, the blame is placed anywhere but upon the individual.

Do the best job you can, and you will be fine. If the company you are in does not care that you are doing your best, find another company.

10/04/06 06:59 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general? new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

One of the issues that is missing in the article but has been mentioned in some of the responses is that the person who is using the CAD system for Design and Detailing should actually KNOW something about design and drafting. CAD is a tool not unlike a pencil or triangle, that is used to convey what is in your head (knowledge, experience, company know-how, etc.) and get it to a piece of paper or data file for use in manufacturing, quoting, customer review..... Just because you can do it faster does not make it better. It seems that today many companies want to hire young degreed Engineers to do the job that seasoned Designers should be doing and then complain about the CAD system because they don't really know how to use it properly. Maybe that's what happened to the Elevator..........

10/04/06 07:47 AM
Cad speeds up work new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

This article is good. I design electronics and cad has speeded up and improved printed circuit boards. The design itself depends on the ability and integrety of the engineer doing the design. Management does think designs can be done faster, but they don't take into consideration the research and developement time that has nothing to do with the actual drawings.

10/06/06 01:37 PM
I find the younger generation... new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

I find your conclusions rather interesting and familar. I remember Kelly Johnson's statement in the 70s about CAD along the same lines. He bemond the loss of engineering creativity and quality. His response was give me a few more engineer's that can use slide rules and a few less computers. Aside for the historical reference, what I have watched more years than I care to admit to in public has been an acceleration of the business cycle which has accellerated the engineering and product development cycle. This has ultimately resulted in businesses looking for people to fill slots that can come in and so to speak be productive immediately. I use the passive sentence purposely, as I see lots of engineer's lately that can bang out a design, but is it a good design. I see many senior engineering manager' that I would let suppervise running bathwater for my kids bath.
I don't put this people down, its the environment that has created them to be they way they are. When was the last time you saw a real apprentiship program? I don't mean having interns grinding through dog work, I mean a real program where new talent was brought on board the team and given a project of some real importance to do suppervised by a real mentor.
During the late 80s was asked about how to save the talent and knowledge that was leaving out the door in most major aerospace corporations. During that time AI and Knowledge Capture where the big things at IBM. I remember telling a panel of Sr. Execs the best thing they could do was create a real mentor program and start using their Sr.s not as managers but trainier and mentors. Bring up people from the ranks to learn how to do large projects.
As I watch many more corporations (GM, IBM, even MIcrosoft) stumbling, I can see the roots of their own failures in not investing in people. You hear the slogan "People are our most important asset" however, you don't see them managed that way. They've become just another portfolio item to be traded.
Given that situation, do you wonder why many people today are acting as though they're here just to fill a slot. Do exactly what was spec'd no more, no less --stay in the box. If my company wants be to do something they'll tell me. Trouble is most of the management above is clueless on what they need to tell these people as they didn't learn it from their management in the 90s.
They've learned mangement by spreadsheet and therefore if it doesn't fit into Cell A4 it doesn't get worked upon. I guess I shouldn't worry, it just means more money for my consulting business strating out these problems.

(Stranger )
10/07/06 06:45 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general? new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Interesting comments all.

For perspective, I am an Architect that has been "on the boards" closing in on 40 years. My first real drafting assignments were inking (tracing) design drawings onto linen with ruling pens and using Crow Quill pens for lettering. We were taught that drafting was an "art" unto itself and far different than design.

Now days, as an architect, I am involved in two stages of the design process ...

Prototypes ... new structures that have never been built before.

Design Revisions ... better known as historical preservation.

I strive to communicate my designs to those in the field by using the techniques taught to me so long ago. Drafting is about communication, not design.

I currently have my daughter inputting a building originally designed in 1929 into CAD. The quality of the drawings are in a completely different universe than the junk posing as construction documents in most A&E shops today.

The term lineweight is a foreign concept to most folks.

I live by three rules in my business

As a checker of the work of others ...
Am I making "different" or am I making it "better"

As a mentor of others ...
If you cannot visualize the object in 3D
You cannot communicate it in 2D
So it can be built in 3D

Every structure is designed in my head long before I every put pencil to paper of pixel to screen.

My mantra for design communication is ...

CAD only makes you draw bad faster.

10/10/06 03:29 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general? new [re: Ant'ny]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

I see where you are coming from, and fond memories of being on the "board" and "communicating" with those faceless people who were going to create your work of art comes flooding back.
Thank you, that is what I needed.
CAD drafting does not encompass all, if you cannot think "3D" then CAD won't do it for you.
The only saving I have found in CAD over the last 26 years is in "corrections". Admittadly, if a good CAD manager sets the department up properly i.e. standards, blocks etc., savings are to be made, but my experience is that this procedure is rare.
I work with a person who has taught CAD, yet does not know how to re-align axis when they have been set to a "non- X_Y" orientation. SCARY!
I give myself another year or so, and then I will retire and watch the "engineers" (who know all) just grind Western know-how into the ground and the Asian nations will (as they are begining to) take over. Goodbye Western Engineering/ Manufacturing.
What are our children/ grand children going to do? Be Salespeople?
The reliance on Technology scares me, I have used it since 1980, but I rely on gut instinct, an art seemingly being lost/ eroded.

10/11/06 09:32 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general? new [re: Ant'ny]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Talk about menories....we're kindred spirits of a sort. I grew up on the board. My orginal training and start in the "design" industry was in Architecture too. I remember my mentors complimenting me on my good and imaginative designs, then slamming me for my poor drafting skills. Line weight uneven, smudges from using too soft a lead, I think I might have gone through six eraser dust bags in two months cleaning up my velliums.

Your point is rather clear and I totally agree with it. If you don't have design skills and 3D reasoning capabilty CAD isn't going to help. Murphy's Rule #7 To err is human, to really screw it up takes a computer.

As in my other post, my positions the past thirty years have been to help orgainzations apply computer technology efficently and effectively. The problem I continually see in that mission has been an unequal balance between the two. Most of the time I'm called in after the fact to fix the deployment mess that was created becuase they wanted to go from A straight to Z with the least amount of money, time, etc. (i.e., efficency --at least supposed financial efficency).

The trouble with that is, organinzations and people don't work like that. Its not like the MATRIX where you can download 20 years of knowledge and skill into an organinzation or a person from a floppy disk. Yet organizations persist in a mindset of If I buy the tool, install it so it turns on the lights and prints ink I have a modern engineering organinzation.

I watch today as many mondern corporations are still struggling with applying technology. In applying I mean more than just dropping a box on some desk or a network in a department. Integrating I.T. into a business or a way of doing work takes time. Tiime to internalize how to use the tools to accomplish the tasks at hand. Like old drafting tools, CAD can be an electric pencil, eraser, and slide rule all in one. However, it can't replace the design skils which are gained over years, those heuristics take time to develop. We continue to lean of the science and math model of engineering, because that are the tools that are taught in school.

What we forget is that there is, as you point out, an art side to engineering. Design is a creative endeavor, not a math formula. Even in math there is some amount of are, remember how much fun Calculus was until you got it was not a simple answer but an approach to finding answers.

In the end its not CAD but ourselves placing too much or buying into the hype of vendors to make a magic button that does engineering and design. PEOPLE perform aka practice engineering, not machines.

10/17/06 08:13 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general? new [re: BrianS]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Remember this my friends...

These CAD jockeys are now designing the 787...


They truly think that eliminating drawings will save them money...

OH OH...

Give me a good 737, 747...

Jose Luis
10/19/06 04:39 AM
Formation new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

I am an old? enginner too (53) and also spent long days with pencil.
Perhaps pencil give us more time to think , that is for me the key.
Our minds were centered in designing.
Today OS troubles, incompatible formats , hangings , software operations not fully understood...
Management thinks that a 600h course on CAD is more valuable that the same time studiing old mechanic , electricity , etc. But you will need a full knowledge of materials , processes and phisics in general to make a good design.
On the other hand software vendors place a lot of features on CAD/CAM software that you don't need.
In my group there are some young engineers. We design a lot of parts every week, and I always need to ask young fellows not to start using the computer from the beginning of a task. Solutions must be in their minds and unfortunatly computers do not think.
So, for me is still time for our brains, young people must develop theirs with the best formation possible. And CAD is the powerfull tool (only a tool) that I have found in my long days as engineer.
Sorry for my poor english.

10/19/06 06:57 AM
Re: Formation new [re: Jose Luis]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

It is finally nice to hear from some professionals that are not so wrapped up in technology to forget the original purpose..

Optimal Design...

10/20/06 07:59 AM
Re: CAD Deminishes Qulaity new [re: Joe]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

I guess you didn’t get my sarcasm ;-).

Not to sound like some pessimistic old man ( which I really am not, fairly optimistic and 42) I am just your typical American male that has become a bit frustrated with the way the world has evolved in general. I have a young daughter and to see the world she will be forced to live in drives me crazy. What happened to our generation making the world better for our children’s generation and so on. This somehow got reversed I know for a fact it’s all based on greed. Yes, greed as been around since the dawn of time, but it has reached epic portions in the past decade.

This brings me back to this post. Where CAD diminishes quality (because of greed) and where “Craftsman” and “Experts” no longer exist in society. Ever try to get a plumber to fix something in your house, how many times does he come back to “fix” something he screwed up? And at the end of it the workmanship is shoty at best. My neighbor just had his house painted by “professionals” it cost him $9000 (I nearly fell on the floor). I said to him, when are they going to come back to finish, he said they are finished!

My other neighbor had an extension put on his house where a new foundation needed to be added. Well, the foundation cracked only a few weeks after installing. That’s not even the worst part. The “professional” construction workers added the extension on top of this foundation entirely crooked. I mean one end was just touching the foundation and the other end about 12” off the foundation. My neighbor had another company to come in jack up the house onto I-beams to “rotate it to fit on the foundation! Jeez, Ray Charles could see when putting the sill plate down that it isn’t on the foundation…What the heck went wrong there! Ok, enough of that, I have a boatload of items to fix on my to-do list that were created by “experts”.

So to say, at least in America “experts” and “professionals” no longer exist. So, better get used to it. Be prepared to live in a world built on “good-enough” and like it. And pay double the price for it.

10/21/06 06:39 AM
Re: CAD Deminishes Qulaity new [re: TomL]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

I agree, it's a matter of mentality and conscience. The tools don't matter as long as the mindset is poor. I worked for a decade in the construction/renovation bussines, both in Western and Eastern Europe, and now I'm a house designer in Ontario, Canada. The gap in approach towards all the phases in construction is obvious. Many contractors are mediocre, to put it mildly. Quantity and quality are still the same thing. It's frustrating, whether you use the pencil or the computer.

frustrated reader
12/16/06 10:54 AM
Learn how to spell new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

It is very difficult to read an article where every sentence has several spelling and grammatical errors. It's distracting and damages the writer's credibility.
Please use a spell checker next time!

(Stranger )
01/05/07 12:10 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Life and Quality in general? new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

The author presents a percieved "problem" and does not offer too much in the way of solutions, just a general malise about how things are going to H--l in a hand basket.

Fortunately for him (and for anyone unsophisticated enough to buy into ALL of his opinion) the solution is to be found staring you right in the monitor screen.

The base problem with all substandard work (CAD/CAM being NO exception) in all of its manifestations from concept (screen doors for submarines), drawing, checking, manufacturing, installation, and customer buyoff, is to CHECK the work and what your part of the proocess is.

The author would do well to implement this piece of advice by doing a complete scan of his entry for spelling, grammer, and just plain sentence structure.

The old addage holds true here, clean your own house first.


(Stranger )
01/18/07 05:04 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Li new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

The greatest problem I see with CAD is it facilitates making images that are "too believable". Any undergrad ME student now can create a slick photo real image that management will eat up. Management tends to equate the time needed to create the image and the actual time to create the widget. It is counterintuitive to many that it is possible to create images of widgets that can’t be manufactured. I made this mistake when I first started using 3D CAD as my personal sketch pad, and allowing management to see my “sketches”. “Seeing is Believing” gets in the way of reality too many times in our business. The elevator example is perfect, it illustrates how what looks just fine at the 30,000 foot level (the pretty 3D rendition of a cute blond standing in a fully textured and ray traced image) but falls apart when actual tolerances and mating relationships are worked out to completion. From management’s point of view, the problem is “conceptually whipped”, with only minor details left to sort out. As a result, we are left to produce on a compressed schedule, leaving only enough time for an “average” solution. The old adage: “Quality, Speed, Cost; pick any two” is as valid today as it was in the days of Gum Arabic.

(Stranger )
01/26/07 02:37 PM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Li new [re: dwurmfeld]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

In general we have put much too much stock in our CAD technologies. It is interesting to scan the help wanted adds in some of the trade rags. It’s very common to see that knowledge in a particular CAD system is so significant to us that it finds its place in the add. I guess that is due to the fact that it is sooo difficult to learn and such a big investment. Sounds like the CAD systems are driving us – rather than supporting us. My son is a first year engineering student. One of the classes that he took was called “Engineering Design 1”. What a joke. He spent much of the semester learning Pro/E. He did very well in the class, but is he going to be better engineer for this? Not a chance. When did good CAD skill = good designer / engineer?

(Stranger )
01/27/07 08:23 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Li new [re: phamil1]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

When did good CAD skill = good designer / engineer?

When they eliminated detail drawings.

(Stranger )
01/30/07 12:44 PM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Li new [re: phamil1]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

CAD and CAM are tools and nothing more. The main problem is that people are expecting computers to be shortcuts in doing there work, or looking for software to do there job for them. If you’re an engineer that doesn’t know how to design then all the tools in the world won’t help. I say get off your butts and do your jobs right in the first place.

Jeff Walters

(Stranger )
02/13/07 08:32 AM
Re: Does CAD/CAM Technology Diminish Quality of Li new [re: TheCamMan]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Where should I begin? First of all I am a young engineer who was taught both paper drawings and 3D modeling (Pro-E) in my engineering program. And I will be the first one to admit that I rely on 3D modeling as my primary design tool. The ability to see a true geometric representation of your design before your product is built is an incredible advantage that we have today. As far as mentoring goes, I also believe that this skill is being under utilized in today's workplace. I was assigned as the primary production engineer on a multi million-dollar government project with less than two years of experience, which is not how quality engineering should be done. I also agree that today design engineer's should not come directly from the college classroom. I myself spent time as a production supervisor and then as a production engineer before I ever held and engineering design position. Which brings up the question of weather it is the Universities fault for not instilling the importance in the entire engineering design cycle or the company’s fault for believing that you can take a green engineer and give him the title of design engineer?

Now a direct reply to the author. If I understand this correct you are complaining that you now have to actually work an entire month each month instead of getting one week every month to do whatever you please. What did you do "back then" when you only had to do 3-week worth of work to do in one month? Engineering/Design is not an easy job. I am sure that everyone who has responded to this post will agree to that statement. If it is getting to hard for you get out and choose a different profession!! You are compensated more than fairly for what you do for a living. Anyone who disagrees with that statement is just plain spoiled. My grandfather (Also a design engineer) grew up in a poor home and had to work for everything he ever got. I also unfortunately grew up in a poor home and had to work for everything that I have achieved (serving in the military and scholarships is the only way I was able to go to school). It sounds to me like you believe that something is entitled to you. I will give you a little lesson that nothing is. There is no degree or experience that automatically gives anyone the right to an easy life. (that last statement is for all of the ivy league grads) I am tired of everyone complaining about outsourcing and foreign manufacturing taking jobs from hard working American workers. It sounds to me like a schoolboy complaining about the bully taking his lunch money. What would you grandfather say to you about that situation? Mine would tell me to stand up for myself. The world has changed you are going to have to compete with not only your neighbor across the road but also your fellow engineer in Bangalore (I hope that everyone who reads this post knows where Bangalore is).

In summary be thankful that you are able to earn a nice living for your family. Neither 3D modeling nor 2D drafting is the real problem. You are having difficulty dealing with the new work environment that exists on the global stage. This stage is not going away. More is going to be asked from you in the future. You have choices. For example, you can give into the changes and adapt. Realize that you are going to have to work harder in order to stay competitive or you can get out. Maybe I have an advantage all I know is global competition. I am prepared for the inevitable effects that the global market will have on my life and will adapt when the situation presents itself. Because that is what the professional workers from now on will have to be. Adapters.

Rock Chopper
02/27/07 09:27 AM
Effects of The Technological Boom new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

There are many interesting observations here. First, does CAD make our lives worse? No, I don't think that is the case. I think most users will agree there are so many things we can do in short order that is very time consuming to do on paper. The CAD systems today have made my job easier.
The overall observation here is about technology and how it has diminished our quality of life. I feel that technology has improved our lives in most ways. The problems begin with how we choose to incorporate the technology into our daily lives.
Cell phones are a common example. What a great invention. Your loved ones can get a hold of you if plans have changed or when they get in a bad situation. People can get important messages to you when you are away from your desk or home. You can get the latest updates from the office on a situation that just arose as you were travelling. The flow of information is quicker and easier.
Now let's take a look at the problems that come up with abuse of this technology. Increased risk of automobile accidents. Kids playing on their phones while in the classroom. Constant disruptions of ringing phones and people picking them up in meetings, movie theatres, in check-out lines, holding everyone else up.
***These aren't problems caused by cell phones themselves but by how we choose to use them. In the end it's still our choice on how each of these technologies should be used.
Let's take a look at it from a different perspective, more inline with the original article. The demand for technology and the constant innovation behind it has increased it's pace dramatically in the past 20 years. It has caused a reaction that begins with us and ends up with us.
People have come to expect immediate gratification. They want the technology now. When they order something to be delivered they expect it in a few days not the traditional 4-8 weeks that we were accustomed to when ordering that sea monkey kit out of the back of a magazine. If it's not available right now, they will go somewhere else to get it or whine and cry because they have to wait.
Companies are trying to respond to this and bank on it by being the first to offer the products in demand. This constant demand and the desire to be the first to market or the fear of lost opportunity is a big driver for many companies who have chosen to be technological leaders. This in turn has dramatically decreased the time between concept to market. In turn pressure is on to find faster ways of developing these products, utilizing all of the tools we can.
***Now, with this in mind, do you believe the time you save using CAD tools makes up for all of the development time lost because of decreased time-to-market initiatives?

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