After a lovely break over Xmas, I thought I’d get back into the swing of things on here.. and I’m starting off the year with CAD document management – a crucial yet sometimes overlooked aspect of computer aided design.
I’ve seen some pretty horrifically non-existent filing systems, so I know all about the woes of poor CAD document management. I’ve had to determine whether a file named “New.dwg” is in fact new as advertised verses a file which has a newer last modified date. I’ve had to perform mass searches on networked drives for “*.dwg”, and sift through hundereds of files looking for something I’ve been handed in a hard copy, that doesn’t have a drawing number on it… Not very helpful at all, and potentially costly to projects as time is wasted trying to find out stuff we should already know. And this is totally avoidable, with very little effort. Hopefully you’re doing this already, but if you’re not, you must implement some standard CAD document management.
What do I mean by this? It can be anything from a full-blown electronic document management system (EDMS) to simply keeping your drawings saved in “/SomePath/CAD/ProjectCode/DrawingNo.dwg”. The scale of the work you are doing usually dictates what level of document management is best suited for the job. More often than not, projects with 50 drawings or less are easily accommodated by a simple folder structure. Above 50 and you might want to consider some managed solution. Look into things like Autodesk Vault to keep better control over your drawings and revisions.
Another option to keep better control over your drawings is to use sheet sets. These are really useful not just for keeping things tidy and well managed, but also has some neat batch plotting functionality that is really worth using.
Whatever you do, have something in place. The most costly option is to have nothing, as this leads to a whole range of problems. Make sure all drawings have a drawing number. Make sure you name your files sensibly. And finally, make sure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet – ensure you communicate to others working on the same project and get them to work in the same way.
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