An Open Letter To My Fellow Engineers
by Kyle Shropshire
Let’s say you are looking at a drawing of a special bolt that your company makes. You need to make a change so the bolt is longer than it is now.
Do you know which other drawings have this bolt listed in their bill of materials?
Now you do.
Drawing Navigator shows a list of every drawing that mentions this bolt in a column on the right side of the drawing. Do you want to see one, or all, of those drawings? Then just click on them and they instantly load.
Don’t worry about losing track of that original bolt drawing. It is listed in the newly opened drawing. Just click on the bolt’s part number again to re-open its drawing. And if you stray too far up the drawing path, there is a handy history listing every drawing you have opened so you can easily get back.
Using this click to open method you can start with any random drawing in a machine and find any related drawing in a matter of clicks. I use this feature constantly to find a subcomponent drawing when I only have the top-most part number of equipment.
Once you have found the drawing you are looking for, you might notice that it has been revised many times.
Why was this part changed?
You have probably asked yourself that question a lot. Better yet, how was this part changed? Or, what was the last engineer thinking when they updated this drawing? They probably weren't.
No more questions. No more digging through archive folders. Just select which drawing revision you want to look at, and presto it loads. See every revision of your drawings quickly and compare changes fast.
Now let’s think back to that custom bolt drawing we were looking at earlier. When it is used in harsh environments it needs to be coated. Where should the coating specification be located for easy reference? Well, a link on the drawing would be nice.
And it is nice.
Just click the coating specification name in the document list and it opens right up. And it’s not just for specs either, you can link any document you want to the drawings. You don’t have to hunt for outside documents when you just need to read them quickly.
Earlier on, I mentioned that Drawing Navigator was like a browser for PDFs. You have a familiar search bar at the top of the screen that you can simply type a part number and the drawing loads. The program automatically knows where each drawing is located so there is no waiting on a search to finish.
You know that drawing that you are constantly looking at? You can just bookmark it to always be a click away from having it open.
There are even wonderful forward and back buttons near the search bar. You can
At last, my newest project is ready. My purpose for writing this is to tell you that I have decided to launch new engineering software called Drawing Navigator. It allows you to do more of the real engineering, and more fun, work by saving you time dealing with slow PDF drawings.
Ever since I started working as a design engineer, which was over ten years ago at this point, I have been dealing with the hassle left to me by past engineers. Now it is time for me to do something about it.
This has not been done before, by me at least, and usually requires a great deal of money from outside people to get started. The reason for this is how software companies typically operate. They want to hire as fast as they can and grow larger twice as fast as they hire.
The money from outside people is what makes this growth possible for a bunch of newly formed companies. I am not doing that.
I wish to avoid losing control over the company, and its software, that comes with accepting money from outside people. I want to avoid this if at all possible.
My hope is that my small company can find enough engineers, like you, willing to take a chance on us by signing up for a free trial to test Drawing Navigator. This will allow me to get the feedback required to develop this already helpful software into something even greater. This way of doing things lets me avoid the outside control of people who do not prioritize helping the engineers who use this software.
So I have decided to put this hope to the test in the most direct way possible. I am asking engineers, you for instance, to give Drawing Navigator a free trial run where they work. To really put the software through its paces and work out all the kinks. I am happy to say that so far the response has been nothing short of wonderful. As a result, I am opening the trial runs to a larger audience starting today.
The problem that I have spent over ten years of my career dealing with and trying to solve is working with PDF drawings. The most common output of all engineering software I have seen is the PDF. No matter the CAD program, the drawings end up as PDFs to be sent to machine shops and assembly people.
These files are hard to work with because, as you already know, they have lost all of the links to other drawings that contain them. The parts shown on these drawings don’t exist by themselves when the machines are put together. But on these drawings, they appear without reference to the other equally important parts that they are built together with. I have changed that.
Now for the software itself. Drawing Navigator is a browser for your PDF drawings. The software re-links all of the drawings together by part number so you can move between them with a simple click.
go back and forth between drawings just like you do with websites. Using drawings has never been easier or less of a hassle than it is now.
You are probably thinking that this seems too good to be true. Well, that’s what I thought myself as I was putting together the very first prototype. But I was amazed at how quickly and well it worked in actual practice.
When I revealed the first prototype to my boss and coworkers at my day job they stood around for the better part of an hour excitedly trying it for themselves. We could now find a single drawing among the thousands created over the last forty years effortlessly. When someone needed a change made to a twenty year old drawing it was now easy to see all the consequences of the change.
I get to do more of the fun design engineering work now because I spend less time hassling with old drawings. You can too.
You can now check out my new software for yourself and decide if it is all hype or something that is actually helpful.
I don’t want any money now. That can come later, after you have tested Drawing Navigator yourself to make sure that it is as helpful to you as it is to me. All I need now is an expression of your interest.
As I said above, I am inviting you to join me in what I hope will be a revolutionary new way that engineers work with their PDF drawings. I realize that I am asking you to take a chance on us and the new software.
I have high hopes that I will meet that confidence. If the other people who are already using Drawing Navigator are any indication, you will be wowed by the way it works.
The process begins with signing up for a free demo below.
P.S. There is no cost or obligation for the Drawing Navigator demo. And if you become unsatisfied with it and wish to cancel during your first year of paid use, I will refund your entire payment quickly and without hassle.