My list of go to CAD websites & blogs

We all have our own list of favorite websites related to our jobs that we really can’t do without. Here’s my list of 2015 and the list of those one high on my list that are now those I even forget I have bookmarked. Of course, there is a few dozen more I visit regularly but not on a daily basis.

My 2015 list:

Social Media (in a very particular order)
Twitter Business and networking is what Twitter is all about. It’s an amazing resource for the CAD world.
Facebook It may be the worlds biggest, but that doesn’t mean the best.
Google+ Wouldn’t even make the list if it wasn’t for the Community functionality. The Google+ Inventor community is a truly remarkable tool for all of you Inventor users out there.

Autodesk Discussion Forums
The only discussion forum worth visiting with it’s fast responses and built in experts. If you don’t know who JD Mather is, you’re missing out.

Autodesk BETA
I would love to tell you more about the Autodesk beta program but I can’t. Just go check it out yourself.

Design & Motion
These guys obviously have figured out a way to add an extra day to the week or a few hours to each day. Scott Moyse, John Evans  and the rest of the D&M crew are content machines with new goodies coming out almost daily.

Paul Munford is yet another non-stop CAD ninja. Between his blog, forum posts, social media presence and published books I think Paul and Chuck Norris are in the same category.


Falling off the wagon this year:
Yes, I added my own forum to the declining list. My lack of fresh posts and content is obvious. Let’s hope the trend turns around and I get back on the CAD saddle soon. Honesty is always the best policy.

The once dominate forum was purchased by Sold Smack and as a forum in a social media world… it’s struggling to stay relevant. With most posts with just a few replies, you can see only the hard core anti hashtaggers stuck around.


So what sites do you visit regularly?

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Keeping traditional CAD relevant in a CAD cloud world

Here’s an interesting topic I wanted to get all of your opinions on. There’s a enormous effort today being put behind “CAD in the cloud”. Autodesk is heavily investing in development and marketing of Fusion 360 and newcomer, OnShape is rapidly gaining momentum. With their low cost and ease of use, CAD in the cloud is gaining users at a rapid pace. The makers movement only accelerates the pace of adoption further.

So what If you own your own business or are part of a larger company that uses traditional CAD software such as Inventor, Solidworks, Creo, etc. and are feeling left out? Are you worried years from now that you won’t be able to find enough qualified people to hire for your company that is entrenched with your traditional CAD software? What if you’ve already decided using CAD in the cloud is not a good fit for your company due to government regulations, missing features or another reason? How do you stay relevant?

The worst thing you could do is put your head in the sand and ignore the CAD cloud movement. This doesn’t mean you have to switch off your current traditional CAD application for a CAD in the cloud application. But it does mean you shouldn’t limit yourself or your company to your traditional CAD applications.

Consider first, polling your engineers, designers and drafters on what other CAD in the cloud applications they may use at home and in their free time. You might be surprised on how many of them are using something already for their hobbies or home projects.

Think about how you might be able to leverage in a cloud based application into your design cycle. Can you use the powerful collaboration features of Fusion 360 or OnShape for product concepts or sales demonstrations? Even if you already know the detailed design efforts will remain with your traditional CAD applications, there is so many opportunities to reduce the overall design cycle by harnessing the modern cloud tools being developed today.

I would love to hear what you all think. Post a comment, find me on Twitter at @cadtoolbox or like me on Facebook.


You can also check out these other posts regarding concept design with cloud based CAD applications:

GrabCAD: Fusion 360 Key For Concept Design: An Interview With Aurel Estidial

Synergis CAD Blog: Autodesk Fusion 360, The New Kid On the Block

So am I trying to convince you to drop your current CAD application and start using Autodesk Fusion 360? The answer is NO!!!!   The point I want to make, Autodesk Fusion 360 should be viewed as an extension of your current CAD tools and not as a replacement. – Mark Lancaster @ Synergis


Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

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Always room to innovate the old

So many new ideas, concepts and inventions happen daily that sometimes we forget innovation can happen right under our noses. We continue to use old methods, processes or tools to accomplish what we need to accomplish without a thought about it. There is always room for innovation.

I love cool new stuff, and when I saw this I really said to myself… “wow, what a great way to simplify!” Shift Agent is an online tool for managing your employees work schedules. I thought back to those days long ago working in a restaurant and the annoying confusion around work schedules and absences. This tool really sounds like it could be applicable to so many different types of businesses, like restaurants, retail, manufacturing, etc.

Shift Agent is an online service that allows you to publish the best employee schedule quickly. Use the app to save time and money every week as you manage your labor schedule and handle requests for days off, trades, and availability updates with ease.

Check out the demo video and decide for yourself…

Follow them on Twitter at @ShiftAgent

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What an exciting time for CAD!

2015 has already been an exciting time for CAD and other nerdy related things. Autodesk has officially released AutoCAD and Inventor 2016 which are as usual, chocked full of new features. Inventor 2016 has a new text editor and updated presentation environments which were two of the areas of Inventor almost untouched since Inventor was first released. 2016 also allows you to work more efficiently with other CAD file formats, always a much needed area for improvement with the rapidly changing landscape of CAD software. Check out the full description of what’s new in Inventor on the Design & Motion blog.

In other news, GrabCAD rocked the market again by announcing their flagship Workbench was now free for all. This certainly garnered quite a bit of excitement from anyone looking for an easy way to hit the ground running on a simple way to collaborate.

Develop3D magazine wrapped up another Develop3D live with John Hirschtick (OnShape) and Carl Bass (Fusion360) going head to head discussing their competing CAD in the cloud platforms.

Speaking of CAD in the cloud… OnShape officially launched its beta and Fusion360 is adding new features at feverish pace.

So much that’s new and changing, so little time to write about all of it. What excites you? Find me on Twitter @cadtoolbox and let me know.




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