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When do CAD Habits become Bad Habits?

New Users learn the best and worst from others. What are you passing on?

People seem to pick up the bad habits and not the good habits.  Some get the good habits and define the bad ones that they do not want to mimic.  Which ones are you passing on to others – the good or the bad?

What defines a bad habit?  Is is just something that you like doing that others cannot see the productivity in?  Is it the old way of doing things that is not wrong, just “older” than some of the new methods?  Is a bad habit wrong if it gets the job done?  When do bad habits move from just annoying to being productivity killers?

I have learned a few things along the road of CAD and have jettisoned some bad habits as well as picked up good ones.  My bad habits, as defined by you, may differ from my definitions.  Using outdated dialog boxes or avoiding the ribbon – bad habit or dangerous?  Using the command line in place of the a screen menu – bad habit or productivity drain.

I have specific ways of getting my job done in CAD.  I learned them from others, or tutorials or books or screen casts or wherever.   I have settled into doing things a specific way and it may differ from your work patterns.  I think I am being efficient and you may think I am missing the point.  Either way, we both get the job done and the product meets the CAD Standard.  So we are all good – correct?  My way or your way does not matter as long as we produce the output needed.

If it we on a construction site, I could say that using a screwdriver as a chisel is not acceptable.  Using a hammer to drive in a screw might force the screw head to be level with the wood surface, but it might not hold for long.  But who is to say that some CAD Habits are bad and some are good.

Let me take a stab at it…

When do CAD Habits become Bad Habits?

When they impact others in a negative way.

You may be very comfortable having layer names like Front1, Front2, Wall2, A25, A26 or whatever.  I have seen people name their layers after their kids or dog or whatever, thinking that they are temporary and will be changed later but never come back to change them.  When someone else looks at the file, they cannot figure it our and spend time renaming the layer to be something standard.  You have moved into the bad habit zone.

When they cause files to become corrupt.

Bad hatch patterning, multiple dimension overrides, creating in-place linestyles, fancy xref rotation, attachments from nowhere, and on and on.  Compounding creative creations can cause conundrums.  When you are focused too much on the look of an object and fail to think of the method of creation, it becomes a bad habit.

When a file cannot be output by everyone (only you can get it right).

If you are in the habit of adjusting your personal pentable to get perfect plots then that is a bad habit.  Making fine tuned pentables that may only work on your machine or your office or your hardware impacts the next person down the line.  Don’t do it.  Break the habit.

There may be more that I have not thought of yet, but you get the picture.  Generally when it hurts someone else – it is a bad habit.  even if others are not impacted – it still might be a bad habit.  Think before you act.

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2 Comments (Open | Close)

2 Comments To "When do CAD Habits become Bad Habits?"

#1 Comment By Allan On July 28, 2010 @ 4:13 AM

I worked for several architectural offices in Canada that don’t use xrefs because they cannot see the benefits in xrefs. The office that I currently working for have not heard of the scale command and they have created block symbol for know scale. This applies to text style too. I tried to teach them but they refuse to learn. Offices in Canada are way behind with CAD software technology. I don’t see Canadians every using Revit or ADT. They should go back to hand drafting.

#2 Comment By Kenneth Hayes On July 28, 2010 @ 6:31 AM

Is it a bad habit if doing a project the old way and knowing that it is correct worse than doing a project the “new” that you are not quite sure if it is right, and sometimes longer to complete. I always say do it the way you feel most comfortable with. Once you have mastered it, then proceed with the new way.