Everything you need to know about Productivity with CADD

Productivity with CADD


CADD software continues to improve in various ways. CADD programs are easier to use than ever before and contain multiple tools and options, allowing you to produce better quality and more accurate drawings in less time. CADD multiplies productivity several times for many duties, especially for multiple and time-consuming tasks. A great advantage of CADD is that it increases the time available to designers and drafters for creativity by reducing the time they spend on the actual preparation of drawings.

As CADD applications improve, the traditional requirements of a drafter often become less important, while the ability to use new CADD software and application-specific tools increases. Productivity gains realized by the use of CADD tools are directly related to the proper use of those tools. In the constantly changing CADD world, you must be prepared to learn new drafting tools and techniques and be open to attending classes, seminars, and workshops on a regular basis.

Design Planning

Some of the most important and productive time you can spend working on any project or drawing is the time you use to plan. Always plan your work carefully before you begin to use the tools required to create the drawing. A design plan involves thinking about the entire process or project in which you are involved, and it determines how you approach a project.

A design plan focuses on the content you want to present, the objects and symbols you intend to create, and the appropriate use of standards. You may want processes to happen immediately or to be automatic, but if you hurry and do little or no planning, then you may become frustrated and waste time while designing and drafting. Take as much time as needed to develop design and project goals to proceed confidently.

Consider creating a planning sheet during your early stages of CADD training, especially for your first few assignments. A planning sheet should document all aspects of a design and the drawing session. A sketch of the design is also a valuable element of the planning process. A design plan and sketch help you establish the following:

  • The drawing drafting layout: area, number of views, and required free space.
  • Drafting settings: units, drawing aids, layers, and styles.
  • How and when to perform specific tasks.
  • What objects and symbols to create?
  • The best use of CADD and equipment.
  • An even workload.


Ergonomics is the science of adapting the work environment to suit the needs of the worker. There is concern about the effects of the CADD working environment on the individual worker. Some studies have found that people should not work at a computer workstation for longer than about four hours without a break. Physical problems, ranging from injury to eyestrain, can develop when someone is working at a poorly designed CADD workstation. The most common injuries are repetitive motion disorders, also known as repetitive strain injury (RSI), repetitive movement injury (RMI), cumulative trauma disorder (CTD), and occupational overuse syndrome (OOS). Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common repetitive motion disorder. Most computer-related injuries result from the sedentary nature of working at a computer and the fast, repetitive hand and finger motions typical while using keyboards and pointing devices. Proper workstation ergonomics, good posture, and frequent exercise help to prevent most computer-related injuries.

Ergonomic Workstations

cad workstations The figure shows an ergonomically designed workstation. In general, a workstation should be designed so you sit with your feet flat on the floor, your calves perpendicular to the floor, and your thighs parallel to the floor. Your back should be straight, your forearms should be parallel to the floor, and your wrists should be straight. For some people, the keyboard should be either adjustable or separate from the computer to provide more flexibility. The keyboard should be positioned, and arm or wrist supports can be used to reduce elbow and wrist tension. In addition, when the keys are depressed, a slight sound should be heard to ensure the key has made contact. Ergonomically designed keyboards are available.

The monitor should be 18″-28″, or approximately one arm’s length, away from your head. The screen should be adjusted to 158-308 below your horizontal line of sight. Eyestrain and headache can be a problem with extended use. If the position of the monitor is adjustable, you can tilt or turn the screen to reduce glare from overhead or adjacent lighting. Some users have found that a small amount of background light is helpful. Monitor manufacturers offer large, flat, nonglare screens that help reduce eyestrain. Some CADD users have suggested changing screen background and text colors weekly to give variety and reduce eyestrain. The chair should be designed for easy adjustments to give you optimum comfort. It should be comfortably padded. Your back should be straight or up to 108 back, your feet should be flat on the floor, and your elbow-to-hand movement should be horizontal when you are using the keyboard, mouse, or digitizer. The mouse or digitizer puck should be close to the monitor so movement is not strained and equipment use is flexible. You should not have to move a great deal to look directly over the cursor to activate commands.

Positive work habits

In addition to an ergonomically designed workstation, your own personal work habits can contribute to a healthy environment. Try to concentrate on good posture until it becomes second nature. Keeping your feet flat on the floor helps improve posture. Try to keep your stress level low because increased stress can contribute to tension, which can aggravate physical problems. Take breaks periodically to help reduce muscle fatigue and tension. You should consult with your doctor for further advice and recommendations.


If you feel pain and discomfort associated with computer use, stretching exercises can help. The figure shows exercises that can help reduce workstation-related problems. Some people have also had success with yoga, biofeedback, and massage. Consult with your doctor for advice and recommendations before starting an exercise program.

Other Factors

A plotter makes some noise and is best located in a separate room next to the workstation. Some companies put plotters in a central room, with small office workstations around them. Others prefer to have plotters near the individual workstations, which acoustical partition walls or partial walls can surround. Air-conditioning and ventilation systems should be designed to accommodate the computers and equipment. Carpets should be antistatic. Noise should be kept to a minimum.

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