Not that you’re a handmaiden, or could be. All I need to say is one word, Buuuuutter. A layer of it should cover everything, including your modeling processes, and your bacon.

What does butter have to do with 3D CAD? Absolutely everything my cow-slapping friends. You need ways to get things done finger-lickin’ fast. We’re about to apply a whopping slab of fine cream-milk butter to what you do to crank out the CAD, three slabs in fact. You want to lather those processes up nice and good. Here’s three ways to go about doing it.

Know the process, optimize it

The best, first step you can take when starting a new job, a new project or covering a new responsibility is to learn the process inside-out. Watch how other people do it and give them a good wallop if they’re doing it wrong. I keep a notebook while watching someone perform a task, add stars to actions that can be immediately improved by other means and ‘X’s next to actions that can be done away with and used as an excuse to yell loudly. You can do this simple exercise for modeling processes, but works for everything from accounting to shop floor cleanin’. Can I get a woo hoo.

Furthermore, if a task is not even part of your job description, but you notice ways to improve a process in another department, write it out, present it or model up an example of the methodology they can use, like you’re way better than everyone else for thinking it up. For your own task, take 30 minutes before modeling to review other models that you’re using to find improvements after you…

Take 15 minutes each day…

to learn a new feature. Churn that butter baby, get into it with an intensity no one can match. Because you can? Nope. Because you’re most likely the only person interested in doing so. Even if you don’t use certain features to model a grommet maker, learn it. Then add it to a list of features that Benefit, Do not Benefit, or Require Further Review.

Keeping something like this on a server, which other can access, makes it a valuable resource for building knowledge throughout the group. On top of that, if gives others the chance to look into features that may be useful and avoid the ones that won’t help when things need to get done.


You’re a fab modeler, but there’s other around you. (Maybe even better than you. Don’t cry.) Here’s where I find duplicating your efforts to provide a strong impact on the amount of 3D data a team is able to churn out. (PUN!! Awww YEah!) Basically, you start a base model, then hand off copies to others to turn into your standard parts or assemblies. Sort of like creating a template, but one step further with the idea that they will change the base part you created.

This works great for an outsourced team or contractors you need to get up to speed quickly. Set up a file structure in a network folder or PDM system for your components to duplicate. You do the first component. Copy it to separate folders others can access. CREAMY. This also works extremely well for parts using table-driven design (design tables) that not everyone understands how to use.

The three things that help
It breaks down to three things you can pretty much create or start using DAY 1. No Week long training sessions here, buddy. Put them on the list of ‘important things I need to use as a butter-churnin’ 3D CAD user.’

  • A Notebook
  • A Benefit, Does not Benefit, and Requires further Reveiw list (spreadsheet)
  • A Duplicate Modeling Process

Have you got some buttery secret of your own? Share them or be forever DOOMED! 😉

Image via Weaving a Life


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.