CADDManager on October 12th, 2011

As some have commented, there may not be a need to learn hand lettering, mechanical pencil manipulation or how to use a protractor, but there are some things that I think were matured during the hand drafting and document preparation days that should not be forgotten.

Here is what I think should not be lost.  The things that should be passed from one generation to the next. The items that make for great sets of drawings.  These may be the things that the software may not be able to do at this time and may not do the best job of in the future.

Here is the start of my list.

Seeing and Thinking in 3D

When looking at a 2D drawing or sketch your mind needs to see it in 3D.  There may be no greater gift that the old 2D world of interacting with the 3D of design can pass on than the ability to think in 3D.  It is the ability to look at a two dimensional representation of a 3D object and actually picture it in your mind in 3D.

Some can seem to do it naturally. They just look at a sketch or drawing and see the built design in their mind.  Others may never get the knack.  I have been in front of clients, who are not use to seeing a whole lot of 2D representations, who cannot seem to get it.

The reason I think that drafting assists in this process is that the original designer had to translate their 3D idea into the 2D world.  They were forced to flatten it out into 2D and the observer was forced to fold it back up into 3D.

You may say that this ability is no longer needed when we can easily just show them a 3D image and spin it around.  I agree that this new ability is assisting with those who cannot see in 3D.  But there are plenty of times when all you have is a sheet of paper and a pencil in your attempts to convince a client or owner of your design ideas.  While seeing 2D thru a 3D eye is not as critical as it used to be, it is still needed, even if it is only to orientate the person in the three dimensional world that we are growing into.

More to come…

One Response to “The Art of Drafting – what do we need to hold on to?”

  1. I appreciate this blog so much. I never had a wish to be an engineer, and I will deny being one if anyone regarded me as an engineer. I liked to draw, and I chose a career in Industrial Design, but soon landed at a drafting table. I found that this introduced me to a wide world of exactitude that I had never appreciated before, but since, for professional purposes, I have warmed to it and appreciate it immensely. Having moved from the boards to CAD, I find that I still insist on the standards I learned: cutaway and section outlines are very heavy, object lines are heavy, text is medium and leader lines are light and may cross object lines, but should break for other leaders. Hidden lines are light and dashed no matter if you draft widgets or HVAC, and, yes, you have to think 3D on all layouts ( the most challenging for me was roofs).
    2D CAD drafting and 3D parametric modeling are fascinating. The programs vary and it’s intriguing to note the difference between the way each of them achieve their functions. They are whetstones for a techincal mind; however, as much as they fascinate, they have, in view, yet to surpass the anticipation of an pencil in my hand, and a clean sheet of vellum on the table in front of me.

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