If blueprints are going away, I would love to see what people think is replacing it that can survive a job site or fabrication floor.
— Shaan Hurley (@ShaanHurley) February 12, 2013
Sometimes the best discussions start with a single tweet.
You can follow the entire Twitter conversation here. Shaan and a few others were emphasizing how paper prints really can’t go away due to the harsh environment of a machine shop, fabrication shop or in-field location and how paper would be the most reliable. Granted paper copies of drawings may have their place… but in my opinion, not anywhere you plan on making something from them.
So what’s the process companies that print drawings follow?
- Engineer makes a CAD drawing.
- Drawings gets reviewed and promoted to released in whatever system or process they may use.
- Drawing gets printed by either engineering or shop for fabrication.
Sounds simple enough, right? Sort of. What happens when engineering needs to make a change?
- Engineer revises CAD drawing.
- Drawing gets reviewed and promoted to being revised.
- Paper copy is re-printed with changes.
Now how do you go about gathering all the printed copies and copies of copies that may have been made? How do you communicate effectively and timely to the person at the CNC mill that he is using the wrong print to make that widget? When using systems such as Inventor with drawing files stored on network drives, Autodesk Vault or a full blown PLM system, you always have to remember that the second you print a drawing, that drawing could be obsolete.
In the next few blog posts I’ll be discussing this topic and issues and how you might approach solving them using readily available solutions. I hope this spurs some additional great debate like Shaan’s tweet did.
Thanks to @Twiceroadsfool, @ScottMoyse, @BluRaja, @Kellings, @IrishMJ, and @ShaanHurley for the Twitter discussions so far.