Where have all the profits gone?
Some CAD drafters love 3D work. I love 3D modeling. The problem I find is
most people want this service for free. Unless you are working for a large
firm with the resources to buy you the software to do 3D modeling and you
are fast enough to be able to learn the program well enough to be able to
charge your time to the project, you are wasting the clients and your
employer. Why you may ask? The reason is that most small shops want to get
out a set of plans that will suit the building and planning departments in
their area, and not break or whittle down the projected profits.
Think about the initial cost of the software that has 2D/3D capabilities.
They are all expensive and the learning curve will "knock the socks" off of
any junior staff who will have to go through all of the downtime associated
with the huge learning curve that is a product of so much built in utility.
Even the seasoned veteran who knows everything there is to know about CAD
will find learning these programs daunting. They aren't tossing drawings out
the door for reproduction until they also deal with the downtime learning
the program. Most even have to go to costly training sessions to learn how
to use them. And, we are not speaking of the new guys or gals here who.
These seasoned vets's get paid quite well to go through the training and
then become proficient with the new "magic drafting and 3D modeling"
There are good things about the 2D/3D paradigm in design software. Expect a
lot of expense to get good quality work out the door to the client. Expect
to pay for traveling for training. Especially, expect to do this on a
constant basis. Software companies are publicly traded and their investors
expect to see a good return on their investment. This means you will deal
with upgrading your CAD software every year. That can only mean one thing,
Well, India and China.
I recently had two clients I have been doing work for some 10 years
(around 80% of my work) contact me and say that I had to match $3 per
hour otherwise they were going to send their work to India or China.
At $3 per hour I would not even be able to pay for the absolute basics
of doing anything, let alone software upgrades.
How do they do it? Well, the major software vendors turn a blind eye
to rampant piracy. There is absolutely no way that legitimately
licensed software can be used. I think they call this "viral
marketing". You know, look the other way while the software becomes
entrenched and then when people know nothing else and everything
shifts, move in.
| >Where have all the profits gone?
| Well, India and China.
| I recently had two clients I have been doing work for some 10 years
| (around 80% of my work) contact me and say that I had to match $3 per
| hour otherwise they were going to send their work to India or China.
| At $3 per hour I would not even be able to pay for the absolute basics
| of doing anything, let alone software upgrades.
| How do they do it? Well, the major software vendors turn a blind eye
| to rampant piracy. There is absolutely no way that legitimately
| licensed software can be used. I think they call this "viral
| marketing". You know, look the other way while the software becomes
| entrenched and then when people know nothing else and everything
| shifts, move in.
| Ian A. White, CPEng.
| | /| / WAI Engineering
| | /_| / Sydney 2000
| |/ |/ Australia
Letting totally "outsiders" do 3D CAD is about as intelligent as giving a manual
to translate by someone who does neither have the object in question or the
knowledge to handle it.
Well, we all know about those kind of manuals. The problem with outsourcing is
that the false profits only become apparent when something has to change and the
model has to be redone because the person who dit it is no longer there and the
next person has no clue how the thing was built.
There are intelligent persons relying on the work I do, and they're prepared to
pay a decent price for it. But maybe that's because they see what can be
accomplished in an (expensive) hour by someone professional.
The problem is that when you have a mind set in management that thinks
about instant profits and returns to shareholders first, this is what
happens. It is something that has been extended to just about every
aspect of life here. The only work being done locally is that which
HAS to be done here. The rest (be it manufacturing, farming, or
anything else you want to think of) goes overseas.
Take an absurd situation here as an example. In our two supermarket
chains we are now seeing the total demise of Australian produce. This
started off with the dumping of foreign products at prices that were
simply not sustainable. I mean, you could get garlic from Mexico
landed in Australia cheaper than you could from a local farmer. The
labour to grow and harvest it in Mexico might be cheaper, but the
transport costs are not in the same category. Then once the local
farmers went out of business, up went the prices. The same for kiwi
fruit. We used to get them for something like 40c/fruit grown locally
or in New Zealand. Then in came kiwi fruit from Italy at 30c/fruit.
Once the Australian and New Zealand growers found they could no longer
have them on the shelves, the Italian product is now up to 60c/fruit.
We have our illustrious state government let a contract for new rail
cars (some 2000 I understand) for the suburban network let to a
consortium that will have them designed, drafted, and fabricated in
China for $3/hour. They raw rail cars will then be shipped to
Australia where only the final fit out will be done. All this from a
Labor government when jobs are being lost everywhere to work being
The problem with CAD is that it is easy to do anywhere in the world,
and it is something that does not even show up on the radar of most
people. Unless you are not in the industry, you would not even know
the discipline even existed. Just yesterday I received a call from a
company asking if I would do some drawings for them. They asked for an
hourly rate, and when I told them what it was (and I am at the lower
end of what is charged), they said they would have to think about
sending it offshore.
Don't worry. One day your clients willing to pay you will get someone
in with the mind set to send work offshore. It is not that it might
happen, it will happen. It is only a matter of time. As I said, I lost
2 clients I did work for for the past 10 years (some 300 small
projects) when they took on someone who convinced them to do this.
By the time people wake up it will be too late.
| callto://waiwhite on Skype
The moment air travel is calculated at the real cost (and not like now with
totally untaxed fuel) a lot of absurd imports will disappear like snow in the
I'll give you another example. Our shrimps are flown to Morocco (some 6000 km)
to get peeled and then come back to the shop, all because of cheap labour.
That is what has happened here, only by then it is too late. To
illustrate this, when cyclone Larry went through Far North Queensland
and put the banana growers out of business temporarily, we had to
import bananas. They should be cheap you say, only bananas went from
around $2 per kg, up to $12 per kg. This is what happens when the
local competition is driven out.
...and subsidies - HUGE subsidies.
The same thing will happen in the technical areas as well. At the
moment there is a skills shortage in Australia. A whole generation of
engineers and draughtsmen have been lost because they have been
squeezed out of the industry. Now when companies bid for work they do
so at a price where doing the work locally is unsustainable.
There is a report in today's newspapers about university graduates
having to undertake what can only be described as remedial training
once they graduate because they have no practical skills. They are
taught by people who have no practical skills so what do they expect.
Then you get the absurdity of people applying to teach technical
disciplines being rejected because they are "over qualified", or
because they have no formal teaching qualification! You know it is
better to have someone teach a technical discipline, not because they
have any experience in that discipline, but because they do have a
formal general teaching qualification! No wonder we get the outcomes
As I said, by the time we wake up it will be too late.
Who said anything about "simple" projects. I was only saying that to get
a building drawn legibly and sent to a contractor or builder does not
a 3D model. A building permit does not require a 3D model. Some CAD
programs definitely make drafting faster, more accurate and easier to edit,
all. Some are so complicated that a novice user has little chance of getting
the full benefits that the programs have to offer.
It's a little like comparing apples and oranges. A person who has taken the
time and spent the money on a high end 2D/3D product can use them to their
advantage. If you work on high end building or projects you may need a 3D
model for client presentation and as a sales tool. The cost for creating
a 3D model may be a small part of the budget and therefore be an excellent
tool for sales. A high end user can use some of these programs to layout
plumbing, AC and electrical plans so that "interferences" and other problems
can be caught in the design phase rather than after the fact. You will not
find a happy contractor or builder when they find that the poured in place
plumbing or electrical conduit is in the wrong place. So, new CAD programs
come with good, bad and ugly features that can either save you time and
money, or cost you more than they are worth.
I am supposing that you don't pass the costs related to the time it takes
you to learn how to use a 2D/3D CAD product(s) on to your clients, or take
out of your own profits. Further, when it comes to purchasing a CAD program,
a bright lad, such as yourself, should be able to read a price list and tell
difference between $800 and $3000.
I am not questioning weather complicated 2D/3D programs are useful. Rather,
I am wondering how much time and expense is involved in really learning how
to use them properly? Are they appropriate for residential contractors,
or small drafting shops that provide services for smaller projects? Also,
upgrade circus was not established for your benefit, but rather for the
of your wallet. It seems that most drafters would rather go about their
and produce the drawings that are essential to get a building permit and
builder a clear, accurate and easy to read set of plans.
You may like 3D. So what! Do you live indoors, like in a house or apartment?
Do you work in a office? Do you think that those 3D spaces you live and work
in did not have to be presented as 2D paper drawings to the building
department so that they could look them and make sure they were structurally
sound and followed the building codes? Do you hand your computer to a
building contractor so that he can see your 3D model, make a bid on the
project and then hand it over to the masons, carpenters, plumbers and
electricians so they can do the same? Obviously not, or they would have told
you to plot and copy it so they could take a look at it on paper. The
tradesmen who build the 3D spaces where you live and work would take a look
at the 3D model, give you a pat on the back and say "good job old boy", then
ask you for of set of the paper plans, so they can sit down and figure out
what their cost will be and what materials they are going to need.
How long have you been using CAD anyway? What are your qualifications? Have
you built 3D associativity
into the programs you have written? What are they named and where are they
available? In all your years of doing whatever you do, have you ever had a
connectivity issue between your drawing and its database?
I know as a matter of fact that many clients, not all, but most, don't want
to spend the extra cash necessary for a high quality, photorealistic 3D
model of their house when all they need is a set of 2D plans to get the
project done. I've run into problems with breaking associativity in a
drawing and know what a hassle it is to pull a 400 sheet set of drawings
back together so the parts can work again together.
In the end, you have your way of looking at it and I have mine. It's time to
get back to work.
There are two groups. the elite 3d group and the pee on 2d group. I am
a 2d pee on that knows how to draw 3d but the architects that draw in
a hybrid 2d-3d manner.
Most hvac/plbg/elec consulting engineering firms in KY still use 2d
and will continue to use it until made to switch by government policy.
I still see people hand drafting in some establishments.
You can make money with 2d don't listen to the elitist snobbery.
Switch to 3d when you need to.
all kidding aside, I think Modat22 kind of nailed it, indirectly. I bet
the clients who are demanding 3d are mostly public institutions.
they don't really have to justify the acutal costs involved, and get new
I am just finishing a job which is a government spec. it has to be
plotted on mylar, presumbaly for archival puposes. manure smells better.
these are my tax dollars at work, only they aren't really mine. the
government spec still says mylar because they CAN'T GO OUT OF BUSINESS.
such poor choices can only be made in perpetuity by tyrants. those of us
who have to care what we charge for are less liberal.
oh, the job that must be plotted on mylar is for asbuilts on a federal
building, where the devices shown on the plan have mostly already been
replaced with a new design. and we, the taxpayers, will be paying for
the rent on the building that warehouses the mylar for the copies that
will never be blue lined of the devices that no longer exist.
have I strayed off topic?
people with too much money make decisions not based in any reality that
concerns the people who actually produce new wealth.
yeah, I think I got off topic. sorry.
"A bright lad would read the manuals."
A brighter lad would use MDT, ADT or similar Autodesk product for 3D work it is a lot easier that you think and a lot easier to alter a pert if there is an size alteration than what it is to alter part in plain AutoCAD as they use PARAMETRIC dimensions plus there are also library's of fasteners etc so there is no need to slaver on drawing them every time or creating blocks or the like.
Believe you me I have worked in AutoCAD 3D and moved to MDT for ALL MY 3D WORK
all the profits gone?<BR>><BR>><BR>><BR>>Some CAD drafters love 3D
work. I love 3D modeling. The problem I find is <BR>>most people want this
service for free. Unless you are working for a large <BR>>firm with the
resources to buy you the software to do 3D modeling and you <BR>>are fast
enough to be able to learn the program well enough to be able to
<BR>>charge your time to the project, you are wasting the clients and your
<BR>>employer. Why you may ask? The reason is that most small shops want to
get <BR>>out a set of plans that will suit the building and planning
departments in <BR>>their area, and not break or whittle down the projected
profits.<BR>><BR>><BR>><BR>>Think about the initial cost of the
software that has 2D/3D capabilities. <BR>>They are all expensive and the
learning curve will "knock the socks" off of <BR>>any junior staff who will
have to go through all of the downtime associated <BR>>with the huge
learning curve that is a product of so much built in utility. <BR>>Even the
seasoned veteran who knows everything there is to know about CAD <BR>>will
find learning these programs daunting. They aren't tossing drawings out
<BR>>the door for reproduction until they also deal with the downtime
learning <BR>>the program. Most even have to go to costly training sessions
to learn how <BR>>to use them. And, we are not speaking of the new guys or
gals here who. <BR>>These seasoned vets's get paid quite well to go through
the training and <BR>>then become proficient with the new "magic drafting
and 3D modeling" <BR>>software.<BR>><BR>><BR>><BR>>There are
good things about the 2D/3D paradigm in design software. Expect a <BR>>lot
of expense to get good quality work out the door to the client. Expect
<BR>>to pay for traveling for training. Especially, expect to do this on a
<BR>>constant basis. Software companies are publicly traded and their
investors <BR>>expect to see a good return on their investment. This means
you will deal <BR>>with upgrading your CAD software every year. That can
only mean one thing, <BR>>$$$$$!<BR>><BR><BR> You do very simple
things, eh?<BR> 3D is faster & more accurate; less error prone as
well.<BR> And has LOTS of other applications than just making 2D
pictures.<BR><BR> A bright lad would read the manuals.<BR>--
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