Creo LinkedIn Group Weighs in on Paper to Digital


I recently posed a question to the Creo group on LinkedIn and it sparked some interesting feedback (to say the least!).  Feel free to head over and see the full thread (you will have to join the Creo group if not already a member) and hey, why don’t you add to the conversation while you’re there!  For now, here are some of the highlights.

My original post was:

When do YOU move from paper to digital?

Do you create early concepts with pens/pencils or with digital tools? If you start with a physical drawing, when do you recreate your designs in a software application? In a recent study, we found that 34% of users were creating concepts on paper, but we’re curious to know at what stage in the concepting process YOU make the leap to a digital tool.

Some of the responses include:

Paper is easily accessible… ideas go right into paper, napkins, tissues, on a drawing board, then digital pens to the computers.

Most of the time I start on a blackboard or on paper, because it is easier to get a “better picture” faster and share with everyone in the office. After this rough design I go to the digital. I only start with digital design when I am pretty sure what I am going to do from the start. So that means that I already had a similar experience on another project, or it is a concept that I can´t change.

I consider myself a newbie in 3D-CAD modeling and I used to work only with free hand sketches for my simple designs. But today, after I bought a 3D-Printer I am moving to CAD ASAP.  For me – being able to manufacture the design with few mouse clicks is a great motivator for using CAD.

The ideas come first on paper. Adding the right dimensions to the structure comes with CAD, calculating for strength and so on is so much easier with the CAD model.

Our thread also diverges from the main question at times which is fun.  A few people shared thoughts on designing digitally and capturing IP:

I would like to say we do, but that doesn´t happen. I would like to attach reference documents into windchill… but that´s not our standard right now. I hope we can start doing that one day.

The problem is the disconnect between engineering management, and the engineering tools now available. As people are resistant to change, and management has not taken the initiative to educate themselves as to what is now possible, I see that little will change. I have pushed for more digital documentation of designs and earlier involvement of downstream users of the digital data for many years. Unfortunately management has not understood the benefits to do so and rarely use the data for “lessons learned”. Until there is a greater emphasis on saving this data to be used in the future we will suffer from the age old problem of repeating history.

And I couldn’t help but probe for thoughts on Creo as it related to our discussion of paper vs digital concepting.  It resulted in my favorite comment thus far which I will close with here:

My philosophy for now is:
If it is easy to draw by hand, it will also be easy to draw in CREO
If it is complex to draw by hand, it will be easier to draw in CREO
If it is important, it must be drawn in CAD

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