6 (More) Productivity Tools Engineers Should Be Using

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Nov 8, 2016 9:55:00 AM

    coins-1523383_640.jpgBy implementing more efficient design and collaboration tools to boost engineer productivity, companies can save up to $50,000 per month in labor costs. And with the help of such tools, CAD users can improve their designs faster and easier than ever before. Below, we’ve highlighted six of the best productivity tools to save time when working in CAD.

    Collaboration and Creation Tools 

    FeatureScript by Onshape

    FeatureScript is a language within Onshape that lets engineers and designers create custom features that integrate seamlessly with the software’s preprogrammed ones. This means you can build any feature you need to speed up your work. Some examples given by Onshape include:

    • A feature that fills an entire pocket by selecting only a single face.
    • One that instantly creates a spiral pattern along an object’s surface.
    • A feature that automatically generates a gear when the user inputs a few values.

    The options are limitless. Almost any feature can be created using the robust FeatureScript language. And if you don’t want to create one yourself, you can use any feature made public by other designers—without knowing a single line of code. In this way, FeatureScript eliminates the need for CAD users to keep recreating the same command, ultimately saving them time and streamlining their workflow.


    Dropbox allows its users to store and share documents like measurements, manuals, archived emails, photos and more, all accessible on mobile and desktop. This streamlines business and administrative functions, which helps engineers free up more time for design and production work.

    With the Dropbox desktop app and mobile app, users can upload files to fill 1 TB of space with the option to upgrade their accounts to add more. Once files are uploaded, they can also be synced across different devices to make sure you’re looking at the most recent version. 

    The service allows engineers to share entire folders with teams, as well as comment and collaborate on files. In this way, Dropbox reduces the hassle of searching for files in multiple places and eliminates the risk of losing them. It also creates automatic backups—just in case someone accidentally deletes an important folder or file.

    Communication and Project Coordination Tools


    For easy ongoing communication between coworkers, look no further than Slack. Slack is a real-time messaging app that allows for quick communication between team members. Slack has picked up momentum across the business world, boosting teams’ productivity by an average of 32 percent, according to the company.

    Searchable conversation threads, smart notifications and real-time group chats are just a handful of Slack’s popular features. Users can also organize their conversations into channels for specific teams or projects, and create private channels for more sensitive information. The app also allows file sharing and can be integrated with other applications, like Google Drive and Dropbox.

    It may be just the communication tool you’re looking for to give your team back more time for designs each day. Using these features, Slack users reported a 49 percent reduction in emails and a 25 percent reduction in meetings, both of which often take up valuable time throughout the day.


    Join.me is an audio and video conferencing tool that can host up to 250 attendees in one call, including those in more than 40 countries. With easy-to-use videoconferencing and presentation features, Join.me allows for smooth communication, even when an in-person conversation isn’t possible.

    Join.me features include:

    • Whiteboarding, where meeting hosts can use a canvas on a laptop, smartphone or tablet to help attendees visualize their ideas.
    • Screen sharing, where attendees can see your desktop display in real-time, making virtual presentations easier to understand.
    • Presenter swap, for multiple presentations or discussions lead by different people.

    Join.me can also be accessed on a smartphone, tablet and smartwatch. Meetings can be a major drain on time and human resources, but with Join.me collaboration becomes easier, meetings move faster and more information is communicated in less time.


    Asana is a project management tool that lets teams create to-do lists for themselves and others. With the ability to easily keep track of progress for any project, Asana helps engineers cut down on emails and meetings to instead focus on immediate tasks. In fact, Asana users reported a 65 percent decrease in the number of emails and meetings with their teams after implementing the tool.

    With Asana, users can set specific date and time deadlines for tasks, add attachments to tasks and communicate about the progress of any given project. Teams can review past conversation threads to then create actionable to-do lists and projects. Asana also has its own mobile app, so you can keep track of workflows and manage your projects no matter where you are.

    Design Tools

    SpaceMouse Enterprise Kit

    One of the most effective ways to achieve more in less time is to reduce obvious bottlenecks. For example, when using CAD without a 3D mouse, the “regular” mouse is used for pretty much everything, including model positioning, selection, activating commands and so on. It’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that while it’s doing one job it can’t be doing another. Cue the balanced and co-operative two-handed work-style employed when you add a 3D mouse like the SpaceMouse Enterprise to your desktop setup.

    The SpaceMouse Enterprise is the most advanced 3D mouse ever produced, with high-performance features that give engineers an unprecedented real-time understanding of their designs in SOLIDWORKS and most other popular CAD applications. The unrivalled ability to position parts and assemblies as if by thought alone (thanks to the remarkable 6-Degrees-of-Freedom sensor) plus a comprehensive array of large, keyboard-like buttons, including QuickView Keys and a full complement of keyboard modifiers, means less hand travel to and from the keyboard while you manipulate your SOLIDWORKS models. That means greater productivity (on average, users increase their output by 21 percent), improved creativity and a more comfortable design experience.

    And the SpaceMouse Enterprise provides even greater ROI when paired with the CadMouse, the first mouse built specifically for 3D professionals. They work together perfectly: the SpaceMouse Enterprise smoothly positions your object or view and the CadMouse selects and creates with ease.

    The SpaceMouse Enterprise Kit includes both the SpaceMouse Enterprise and CadMouse, as well as the CadMouse Pad designed for the smoothest mouse movement possible and a twin-port USB hub so you can connect both devices from one workstation USB port.

    Get the SpaceMouse Enterprise Kit here.

    Tags: 3D CAD, Productivity, Communication