Project Impossible – CAD manager looks for something he doesn’t want to find

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Clearwater, Florida, USA — [Editor’s note: The following is based on a true story. Names and some details have been changed to protect the customer’s identity.]

John opened design file number 157 to give it one last check for errors before sending it off to his customer. He checks the title block data… seems fine. Borders? Check. Global Origin? Check. Proper views turned on? Check. Looking good … wait a sec. What’s this?

Something about the font in the title block catches his eye. A mild sort of panic feeling begins to well up, ever so slightly, in his stomach as John grabs a copy of the client’s specifications. Holding the specs alongside the file, John spots an error. Then another. Then it hits him. His mild panic swells into that dreadful feeling of terror that sweeps through one’s body when first realizing something major may be wrong. Can it be? John opens another of the project’s design files (number 644) and carefully studies the fonts, looking for something he hopes not to find. His head rotating furiously back-and-forth between the spec and the design, John continues his ill-fated inspection. Suddenly, he freezes. His turning head becomes a stare in the direction of the spec, without actually seeing it. John hits that moment when something you don’t want to see is yet undeniably present. You know the one — where you just freeze for a moment dimly hoping that this isn’t happening and that perhaps if you stay still enough, long enough, it will somehow go away. Of course it never does. In John’s case, this CAD manager has just discovered that this error affected every one of the 2,552 design files in this project — and it was due in less than a week.

After a few moments, John gradually breaks free from the grip of shock and begins looking over the design file some more. After some more study, he finds it wasn’t just the font that was wrong. Random levels were turned off, there were incorrect reference files attached to some files, there were wrong line weights and the list went on. How could this happen? Had they been using an out-dated copy of the client’s spec during most of the design process? John didn’t know and at the moment, finding out why it happened was not first on his list of things to do. The first thing had to be fixing it all before he lost his job. Okay, well maybe he wouldn’t get fired over this, but it certainly would tarnish his reputation and cost his company a lot of money. But there was no way to correct this many errors in that many files without hundreds of man-hours. Hundreds. Maybe more. Maybe much more.

John had lost track of the time. His first indication of this was when he noticed he was alone in the office except for Nolan, the IT guy who makes updates on the Network at night when traffic is low. Thinking it was probably too late to reach anyone by phone, John sits down at his computer and shoots off an e-mail to Axiom. He wasn’t sure what to expect, with his long list of problems and the short period of time in which to complete them. But why not?
John had eight major things he had to solve on this project of twenty-five hundred files.
The next morning, he received an answer:

“Dear John,
“I looked at your account and noticed that you already own MicroStation Productivity Toolkit. Every problem you describe can be handled quickly and easily with tools that you already have. I have listed the correct application below each of your problems. Give me a call and I can walk you through it.

“Problem: A new reference file needs to be attached to approximately 185 master design files.
Application: RefManager

“Problem: A new logical name needs to be used for a specific reference file in all of the master design files in the project.
Solution: RefManager

“Problem: The ‘Locate Lock’ setting needs to be turned off for all reference files in the project.
Solution: RefManager

“Problem: Various levels need to be turned off and others need to be turned on in nearly all 2,552 project design files.
Solution: Global File Changer

“Problem: The ‘Line Weights’ View Attribute has to be turned on in the majority of the project design files.
Solution: Global File Changer

“Problem: Extra digits need to be added to the end of the drawing number listed in every master file.
Solution: Global File Changer

“Problem: The font in the title blocks needs to be changed in every master design file in the project.
Solution: Global File Changer

“All of the work can be done in batch, of course. It shouldn’t take more than a few hours to fix everything.”

John grew more and more hopeful with every line. He already owned everything he needed to get the job done. What’s more, his past experience with the tools in MicroStation Productivity Toolkit was that they were fast, accomplishing tasks on hundreds or thousands of files at the same time.

Using the V8 version of MicroStation Productivity Toolkit and with the help of Axiom customer support, John completed all of the above tasks and got the project delivered on time and to the customer’s specifications. It only took the use of two of Toolkit’s 17 software programs to solve all of the problems on his list.

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