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Testing CAD Proficiency

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Has anyone been able to find a test, either written or CAD based, that you can give to your drafters to see just how good they are? I'm going to be taking over as the CAD manager for the company I work for, and I've noticed that it takes some of the drafters a considerably longer time to complete their work than the others. I'm looking for a way to pinpoint exactly where they are falling short and what I can do to train them in being faster and more accurate.

 

If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to them.

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neekcotrack
Has anyone been able to find a test, either written or CAD based, that you can give to your drafters to see just how good they are? I'm going to be taking over as the CAD manager for the company I work for, and I've noticed that it takes some of the drafters a considerably longer time to complete their work than the others. I'm looking for a way to pinpoint exactly where they are falling short and what I can do to train them in being faster and more accurate.

 

If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to them.

 

 

I would say everyone is different. So you would need find out how they go about doing a command. Like for a Circle, do they click the circle button, or just type c? Are some using tool palettes, or some just inserting blocks?

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jonesy

Personally I would (and have) sat down with the cad users and talked to them, asking them what they think their strengths and weaknesses are, chatted while they worked. That way they dont realise they are being assessed :) Once you have done that you can find out if more than one user has the same problem, and if so, you can give a short lesson on how to, or have a tips and tricks section in your company cad manual.

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ReMark

Some people might find it insulting that you are asking them to take a CAD test. Had that thought crossed your mind?

 

Maybe conduct a monthly CAD skills lunch & learn meeting where people can share their ideas on what makes them productive with others might prove to be more benefical. Those who lag may not have much to initially contribute but they could soak up some new ideas in the process.

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jonesy
Some people might find it insulting that you are asking them to take a CAD test. Had that thought crossed your mind?

I have to admit, I wouldnt like being told I had to sit a cad test for the job I was already doing. Its different when you apply for a job, you need to prove your skills (sometimes)

I like the idea of monthly meetings, I tried to do that at the previous place, but the ones that needed the help didnt think they did, so they didnt come.

Its a very fine line you will be walking, and to gain the peoples trust you need to be careful.

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ReMark

The "carrot" is the lunch part and the "stick", well, that's where you beat some knowledge into their heads with the learn part. LOL

 

You can boost attendance by making it mandatory (sounds ugly) or entice them somehow. Everyone who shows up has their name entered in a raffle. The prize is a day away from the office at a CAD seminar, or a Tips-n-Tricks seminar, a one day AutoLISP course, or something else related to AutoCAD.

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rkent
The "carrot" is the lunch part and the "stick", well, that's where you beat some knowledge into their heads with the learn part. LOL

 

You can boost attendance by making it mandatory (sounds ugly) or entice them somehow. Everyone who shows up has their name entered in a raffle. The prize is a day away from the office at a CAD seminar, or a Tips-n-Tricks seminar, a one day AutoLISP course, or something else related to AutoCAD.

 

If it is mandatory then you gotta pay me, assuming I am hourly. A free lunch of crappy pizza is not enough incentive to get me to give up my lunch, which is my free time. You wanna train employees, show how important it is by doing it during work hours.

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CmdrDuh
If it is mandatory then you gotta pay me, assuming I am hourly. A free lunch of crappy pizza is not enough incentive to get me to give up my lunch, which is my free time. You wanna train employees, show how important it is by doing it during work hours.

Ditto that! As a former Autodesk reseller, when we would go into a company and "assess" skills and have training, there were always those that felt "slapped" in the face by having to take a test. Those ended up being the best students.

 

Another way to spin the test is to say that you cant test new hires if you don't have a benchmark to compare them to. We had to do that here at my current job, as the union had a fit when we went to test a new hire.

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ReMark

rkent:

 

Bad memories, huh?

 

We get a nice catered lunch and we also get to leave an hour earlier. Sweet.

 

Sucks to be you. LOL

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SuperCAD

Grab a beet and take a seat. This ones' going to take a while!

 

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

What I'm trying to do is test each of our CAD users so I can see where they need help. I've already got an idea of some basic skills that need to be addressed (watching one guy type a set of notes is like watching the last five minutes of The Longest Yard), but I need to get a better plan of attack when it comes to training.

 

Out of the four of us CAD users, this is what I know of their training background.

 

User1 - He's been with the company the longest, and was trained on another CAD program (Pro-E I think). Like I said above, he's a reeeeaaaalllyyy slow typer. Also, I've observed him working on projects and it's almost like he forgets what command he needs to use to perform functions like trimming or filleting. I've already trained him on 3D and he's getting good at it, but he's eager to learn more so that's a plus. Also, he's seen the light and switched from doing his text and dims in modelspace to doing it all in paperspace (another plus).

 

User2 - He's been there the second longest, and came from a company who manufactured medical devices. He was trained on at least two other programs (Catia, Solidworks and maybe another that I'm forgetting). The things that he needs work on the most is the language he uses. Basically, he refers to EVERYTHING smaller than an inch in thousandths of an inch (due to his background and the precisions that medical devices are held to), and can't seem to grasp the idea that we're buidling high-end cabinets (among other things) and an acceptable tolerance for us is more like 1/8" and not 0.00032". The irony of it is that his drawings often have lines that don't join where they're supposed to and his dimensions sometimes aren't attached to the correct points on an object. He's shown interest in 3D modeling so I've been helping him with that when we have time, and he's also putting his text and dims in paperspace now.

 

User3 - His background is based around doing CAD drawings for an architect. The way he was taught how to use CAD is based around whatever the arch knew about it. All of his commands are entered with key strokes rather than using the buttons on tool bars or programming the extra buttons on her mouse. He uses two or three keystroke combinations to zoom in or out and completely ignores the fact that a single button can do the same thing or that a spin of the mouse wheel works even faster. His drawings are the hardest for any one else to use, since he puts too many notes and details in his drawings. In fact, there are so many notes that he usually has to make a copy of the feature he is detailing and paste it in another spot so he can erase the notes and put more on without losing the original notes. This has, in fact, cost the company some money since a change needed to be made and he only updated one of the two copies of the object in his drawing.

 

To continue, he was hired nearly a year before I was and due to his "professional" background working for an architect, my supervisor felt that he was the best candidate to come up with a CAD standard and "teach" the other two how to conform to his standard. In his standard, he had around 7 or 8 different dimension styles (this was before 2008 so annotative scaling wasn't an option), nearly as many text/font styles (which were all different fonts and sizes) and a page border design that took up too much valuable drawing space. Almost every suggestion I've given him to help work faster with less errors has been ignored. It like he doesn't want to admit that he's not as good as they thought he was and isn't getting as much attention as he used to from the higher ups.

 

In closing, I think I've got a pretty good handle on what their backgrounds are and some idea of what they know and where they are falling short. However, instead of pulling everyone aside and training them on and individual basis, I'd rather find out where all of the are when it comes to AutoCAD usage and develop a training program that everyone can be in on. Yes it would be on company time, and yes I'd buy lunch if that's what it took (and the pizza joint across the street is no where near "crappy").

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hay123

Someone should come up with a test.

 

I am thinking online, with short typing speed test, general knowledge, etc..

 

I would pay (a small amount) to do 'Fun Cad Skill Test' like those typing speed tests, everyone loves them.

 

Also, I do pretty much all my commands with keystrokes. When I was first taught cad, our teacher assured us that once we became more familiar with commands that; that was the fastest way to use cad. Do people think toolbars are faster than keyboard shortcuts? (Apart from zoom on mouse of course)

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SuperCAD
Do people think toolbars are faster than keyboard shortcuts? (Apart from zoom on mouse of course)

 

Personally, yes I do think toolbars are faster. However, I have a customized toolbar that has about 95% of the functions I use all the time, and I have four of my extra mouse buttons programmed for Enter, Esc, Ctrl-Shift-C and Ctrl-V. I figured that the less time my hands are off of the mouse the faster I can do my work. In fact, I even have another number pad that is on the left side of my keyboard so I can use my left hand for numerical entries and my right hand stays on the mouse a majority of the time.

 

The problem I see is that the other CAD users don't know how to set up a custom toolbar, and the two that are "teachable" have a lot of the standard toolbars that came preloaded with AutoCAD so their drawing space is reduced and there are too many buttons on the screen at one time making a single button hard to find (I have a total of 8 toolbars including my custom toolbar and they have around 15-20 toolbars visible).

 

Now I'm not trying to force anyone to use CAD the same way I do. All I'm saying is that I've used both the keystroke and button methods and I've found that the buttons are way faster for me, so I want the other users who've only used one method to be open minded and try something different. One thing I've learned over the years is to never think that I know all that there is to know about CAD or to assume that my current way of doing things is perfect. I'm always looking for the better, faster, easier way of working that doesn't sacrifice accuracy.

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ReMark

Three CAD operators and a CAD operator/Manager. It shouldn't be too difficult getting everyone on the same page (lterally and figuratively). That means that any operator could go to any workstation and find all the toolbars, LISP routines, etc are the same. I think you'd benefit from taking a look at the Standards feature AutoCAD now comes with. Everyone should also be using the same text fonts, dimension styles and page layouts.

 

Is there a drafting/CAD standard manual?

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SuperCAD

There used to be, but it was only two pages and not very detailed. We're working on revising the company's standards and creating a manual.

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nocturne00
There used to be, but it was only two pages and not very detailed. We're working on revising the company's standards and creating a manual.

 

As early as possible update and expand said manual. there are some published acad manuals, a good thing to do would be to pick useful details from different manuals and input it in your own. Sooner of later this will become a bible of cad operators in your company, sometimes if there are disputes, a company standards manual quickly resolves it.

 

As for testing CAD proficiency for cad operators, we test for

Accuracy, Technique, Speed and Presentation. we have a standard printed out test drawing and issue it to them. We glimpse at how they draft and check their outputs.

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nocturne00

Do people think toolbars are faster than keyboard shortcuts? (Apart from zoom on mouse of course)

 

Personally, i think it would be a GREAT advantage to actually memorize most of the common commands and give them customized alias to shorten em to 1 or 2 letters. this will leave the only some averagely used commands and custom commands or LISPS as toolbar entries.

one disadvantage of having too many toolbars is the reduction of the drawing area.

I still remember what a 15" CRT monitor with tons of toolbars look when we were first training for ACAD2000 not so long ago :D :D :D

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LCE
Some people might find it insulting that you are asking them to take a CAD test. Had that thought crossed your mind?

 

I have to admit, I wouldnt like being told I had to sit a cad test for the job I was already doing.

 

I think this is being looked at from the wrong direction. It neednt be a test to see if you are good or bad, and there would be no pass or fail, but rather an assessment of skills to see how they can help you improve, therefore helping you and helping the company, everyones a winner.

 

When I started at my previous company I had all users sit an assessment so I could get an idea of where I was starting from, and providing it is 'marketed' correctly, so assessment to help them, rather than test to judge them then anyone who refuses to do it, or doesnt want to do it quite frankly has a bad attitude.

 

I have mentioned it before, basically because it is fantastic, so check out CADsmart

 

Have a good 1 all.

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LCE
If it is mandatory then you gotta pay me, assuming I am hourly. A free lunch of crappy pizza is not enough incentive to get me to give up my lunch, which is my free time. You wanna train employees, show how important it is by doing it during work hours.

 

OK, but do you work extra at the end of the day for the time you might spend in the kitchen, or on personal calls? Not saying you specifically, but just in general.

 

Also, this training isn't just benefiting the company, you are getting far more from it than they do, especially if you happen to leave in the next few months. Would you then reimburse them at a reasonable cost for the training?

 

Can't all be take take take....

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SuperCAD
I think this is being looked at from the wrong direction. It neednt be a test to see if you are good or bad...

 

Exactly. You hit the nail on the head!

 

 

I have mentioned it before, basically because it is fantastic, so check out CADsmart

 

Awesome! That may be exactly what we needed and it's not all that expensive. I'm going to read into it more and talk with my supervisor.

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