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BAD CAD - an Overview

I had an opportunity (nice way to put it) to investigate some CAD files that were not in optimal shape recently.  They had a checkered history of creation, so I was wary of the files and knew they needed to be checked out.

They were created with a combination of data that included client files, prior architects files and my in-house crew.  They we opening very slow and sometimes failing altogether. 

I started looking into the troubles and followed a process that I have used over the years to finding out the problems.  

I have seen a lot of BAD files in my day.  It is often a combination of many factors that all combine to make a file unusable or unproductive.

Here is my definition of BAD CAD:

A CAD File that is created or modified in such a way as to cause one of the following:

  • System Failure

  • Corrupt objects

  • Software lockups

  • Failure to Export, E-Transmit, Save As... , etc

  • Strange layering quirks

  • Bad Reference files

  • General decrease in productivity

  • Plotting failure

  • Bad output to hardcopy

I look in five areas for my troubleshooting:

The Files - This is the first place I look.  Most often the file or an object in the file is corrupt.  I need to find out if the problem is resident in the files as they were created, edited, plotted, etc.  I look here first and spread my investigation to the following areas in order

The Machine - Next I look to the persons PC.  Does the problem only  happen on one machine?  Is it a machine or system variable that is set incorrectly?  Is it hardware troubles?

The User - I always talk to the user to find out what has happened, what happened before it broke and how they got to where they are.  It is quite often a mistake, a misunderstood tool or a bad click that got them here.

The Server - Sometimes the network or server hardware acts up.  Don't forget to look here.

The Software - There are always "bugs" in the software.  A tool that is not yet mature, not designed to be used in the way it is used or just not programmed correctly.

I will expand each one of these in the next few Journals, looking deeply into the causes and effects of BAD CAD

We will start with the files.

The Files