Virtual Machine and CAD tools, a good match?

January 30, 2023
 min read

Are you an engineer or architect, or are you studying for a career in either of these fields? If so, then you’re already familiar with Computer-Aided Design, or CAD. 

CAD began in 1962 when a computer scientist named Ivan Sutherland created “Sketch Pad,” a computer program that enabled users to draw simple designs on a screen with a special pencil. By the 1970s, the automotive and aerospace industries were starting to develop their own CAD programs, which quickly led to the use of computers in designing and planning everything from ink pens, to suburban neighborhoods, to 3D experience environments for virtual reality users. 

Today, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the vast array of digital tools available to help architects, engineers, and others create better designs. Here are some tips to help you use CAD software faster and streamline your CAD-related projects:

Whenever possible, start with a template.

Engineers and architects are trained to design “from the ground up,” and that’s how many of them approach design challenges. Chances are, though, there are templates available for any kind of design you need to create. You can purchase templates with title blocks and other time-consuming elements already created and ready to customize, which can save you hours of time on your CAD drawings. Then, customize these templates with your company or client’s layers, text styles, dims, and blocks. That way, you can use them again and again to multiply the hours you get back.

Fine-tune your AutoCAD settings.

You can decrease the time you spend on digital design tasks by improving the performance of the software you use to create CAD drawings. When you are using AutoCAD, there are several steps you can take to optimize performance and shave minutes off your work time, such as:

  • Disabling the AutoCAD splash screen - a few clicks will disable the AutoCAD splash screen when the software loads, which may significantly reduce load time
  • Turning off the “create new file on startup” feature - by default, AutoCAD will automatically create a new file when you launch the software. If you are working on an existing project, though, that feature will cause unnecessary delays in processing time. You can disable this feature which may help you access your projects faster.
  • Disabling drafting settings like quick properties, dynamic input, and selection cycling unless you actually need them. You probably don’t need these features to be active - maybe you’ve never even used any of them. Turning them off could free up processing power to make AutoCAD run faster and more smoothly. 
  • Disabling “InfoCenter” - Although this feature can be an excellent source of information, it can also slow down CAD processes. Try turning this feature off when you’re not actively using it.

Properly use and name drawing layers.

Ever open a CAD doc to find that all the layers are unnamed? In order to make changes, you have to manually click on each layer until you find the one containing the right elements. Sorting through unnamed layers can siphon 10 minutes or more out of your day - every time it happens!

Any engineer or architect can tell you that what’s just as frustrating is opening a file where everything is on the same layer. It’s easy to skip proper layering processes when you’re creating CAD drawings. The few seconds you save, though, can cost you many times over when you come back to resume work or make changes to the design file. Take the time to properly layer your CAD elements and descriptively name each layer. You’ll avoid confusion and delays when you access or share it later. 

Work from a flexible “virtual desktop.” 

If you’re like most CAD software users, you do all your work at one workstation. You’d love the chance to work on-the-go - a new environment could definitely help you look at that challenging project with fresh eyes - but completing CAD work remotely is tough. 

Mobile-friendly devices just aren’t built to handle the demands of CAD applications. Plus, the software isn’t compatible with most mobile operating systems, making it nearly impossible to dive into your work remotely. 

A “virtual desktop” can unchain you from your workstation. 

“Desktop as a Service” leaders like Flaneer empower architects, engineers, and others to take their CAD skills anywhere by eliminating device compatibility and processing limitations. Virtual desktops extend the power of your main workstation into the Cloud, allowing you to access your files and work inside your CAD platform, no matter what device you’re using.

Before virtual desktops, running AutoCAD or other CAD software on Chromebooks and mobile devices was extremely difficult. Plugins and apps frequently crashed, and even when they did work, they were typically stripped-down versions that didn’t provide the tools professionals needed to produce quality drawings. 

Now, virtual desktop users can access and use AutoCAD, Catia and other software from any desktop, laptop, or mobile device. Because all the processing takes place in the Cloud, your devices do not have to meet the software’s specifications or compatibility requirements. You can design with confidence knowing that crashes and system freezes are things of the past. 

You also get to avoid the security concerns that come with transferring files across devices. When you are connected to your virtual laptop, all files are saved and updated in the Cloud. You don’t have to worry about hackers accessing your files or disabling your operating system. This can be especially important if you are collaborating on a design with other professionals working on their own devices. 

Flaneer gives you control of when and where you work - now you can design just as productively on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean as you do in your home office.

Find out how Flaneer’s innovative virtual desktops are helping architects, engineers, students, and others get more done in less time - and from anywhere they want to be. 

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