CADDManager on June 9th, 2005

Many times I have asked myself “Why do I care so much about getting CAD done right?” “Does good CAD really matter?”

Here is what I tell myself when I answer back…

1. I care because CAD Drafting matters. It matters to your bosses and your firm. They are counting on getting the job out the door and being productive. It use to matter how well I could spin a mechanical pencil so I would maintain the width of my lines when I was drafting (I am dating myself). It use to matter what my hand lettering looked like. I use to matter that I knew how to combine my triangles to get the right angle. I use to matter how I used my French curves. Now it matters how I define my layer names and pen tables. It matters how I set up a file so others can work with me. It matters how I divide my files up and create references. It matters because others need to share my workload.

2. I care because CAD Design matters. It is imperative that I get my designs out of my head and into the machine correctly. So others can know what I visualize. So I can take my ideas and make them reality. The chosen tool today is CAD and BIM.

3. I care because CAD Models matter. BIM is here and it is here to stay. If you have not worked on a complete BIM model no matter what tool you use, then you are not getting a good feel for the future. File based CAD is soon to be a thing of the past. Oh sure we will have hold outs and 2D Drafting based tools (like AutoCAD) will be here for a long time, but this is the dawn of a new perspective on design tools.

4. I care because I am a craftsman. I take pride in what I do. I like to know that when others look at my product, I can rest assured that it will stand up to review. I have seen a lot of weird and strange CAD files. I strive to not let mine be counted among them.

5. I care because I am paid to care. My company has invested time and money in my education and training. They expect me to produce and manage well. I do not want to let them down.

6. I care because I love this stuff. Sound strange? Not to most of you, I hope. You love it also. You like new tools. You like technology. You like learning. You like sharing your knowledge.

More to come…

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6 Responses to “Does Good CAD really matter?”

  1. Amen!!
    Too many people trained in CAD don’t know that there is an art to drafting (hand or computer). Just because someone is fast and know the software doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. I too started out with hand drafting (remember pen and mylar?) and quickly learned that you needed to have they drawing laid out in you mind first.
    It’s a matter of personal and professional pride to make sure that anyone of any skill can easily read and work in the drawing after you. It also saves your company money (they love that part).
    I also love my job and I’m still learning from seasoned pros and green rookies (I myself started with version 2.18 on a 286 – now don’t call me “gramps”, I started young…lol).

  2. Thank you for saying what I have been thinking for so long. I work in an environment that stresses production so much that most CAD drafters/designers don’t care about anyone that comes after them. The work is sloppy and unprofessional in my opinion. When I work on a drawing that someone else started I feel like the janitor. I will spend three hours repairing a drawing to do one hours worth of editing. I feel like screaming! I also am tempted to give up. No one apparently cares about the quality of the drawing and if it is constructed properly. Once the product goes out the door we think it is done. Then two years later someone else copies the drawing for another project and the nightmares continue. Should I just leave my conscience at home when I go to work?

  3. Amen and thank you, to paraphrase the last two comments.

    I was at the tale end of the pencil age and just that brief moment convinced me of the importance of a well crafted drawing–from line weight to layout. Trying to teach and/or convince those new to drafting is very difficult. Most are convinced that the computer generated drawing cannot be manipulated and that all drafters are on the same level–speed is the only imperative. How wrong!

    And don’t get me started on the accuracy of details with the cut and paste generation!

  4. The art of hand drafting has almost been lost. Althought I’m still a big fan, I wouldn’t be so dissapointed if it weren’t for the fact that many CAD draftspeople do not know what a final set of documents is supposed to look like (and the fact that it costs so much money for equipment and software upgrades…but that’s a gripe and a lost cause).

    I am trying to train my staff to develop drawings that make sense and not just make them easy (for instance, it is easy to xref a floor plan into the site plan because it is already drawn, but the information needed in this type of drawings is substantially different and the line weights are not appropriate at the different scale).

    You have the right outlook. Do you know of a book out there that can help me teach people how drawings should look…not just how to draft?

  5. I to have gone from hand-manual- drafting to CAD. A drawing is a legal document. Do not make a drawing a mystery. Other people have to read this document to make their work easy. If this worker has trouble reading this work it make it harder for the the worker, and some times the worker gets discouraged and starts inserting his own ideas and disregards the drawing.In the old days one could pick up a drawing and say “Joe” made this drawing.We could identify who made a drawing. Yes CAD is great and it makes drawing faster. It is the behind the drawing that makes a great draftsperson.I worked with one that “he knew everything about CAD” however he had now idea how to use it in makeing a complete drawing.

  6. Architectural Ed
    March 5th, 2009 at 10:34 PM

    I too am from the ink on mylar generation. Anybody remember pinbar? I believe that a manual drawing has a “depth” and “life” to it. CAD drawings seem very flat and lifeless. I am told that it takes too much Memory and RAM to do any real poche’ or stylized lettering. What a loss for the sake of technology. The only good thing I have seen from CAD is that you can make twice as many mistakes in half the time. I have seen too many CADaholics that can make the computer do somersaults but don’t know how big a brick is.

    I feel that the “slowness” of manual drafting allowed the drafter to visualize and contemplate what he was drawing and understand how his piece fit into the overall project.

    Learning manual drafting in the early 70’s helped me organize my thought processes much the same way a drawing has to be organized and thought out before the first line is drawn. I will never give up manual drafting as I believe it is a dying art.

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