Thursday, October 23, 2008

Drafting/CAD Tools - What do you use to help?

Many of us started off as board drafters. I sort of did. 85% to 90% of my work has been done in CAD over a 15 year period. My first job was taking board drawings and redrawing them into CAD. One of my other jobs involved revising board drawings. Many of them were on linen!! I've used bond, vellum, sepia, mylar, and linen. Mostly bond and mylar. Over the years I took advantage of many different tools to help me draw.

On the board I used scum bags (one of my favorite), planemeters (did I spell that right), lettering guides, templates, and electric erasers (another favorite of mine). As a CAD Drafter I have used many tools to help me do my job. I used some of them in board drafting too, like a scale for example. When I first started CAD Drafting I was using AutoCAD release 10 in DOS! I think the workstation was a 386 processor with a math co-processor, 75 megahertz, 2 Gig hard drive, 15" CRT monitor, DUAL 5.25" flopy drive, SCSI Zip drive (high tech back up system), and a tablet with a 16 button puck (12 button number pad-like a phone, and 4 buttons at top.)

Back then we had a pen plotter. That was fun to watch. It took about an hour per D size plot, but it was fun to watch. It was always amazing to see the rack move back and forth, grab a pen from the carosel, move the paper (or mylar or vellum) and draw, one line at a time, pick the pen up, put it down, etc. I don't think there was a ryme of reason to the way it processed the drawing because it would often draw part of a line, switch pens, then go back to that pen a draw the rest of the old line. Why didn't it just draw every line,text, and object with that pen that it needed to before it switched pens?

In Release 10 we didn't have paper space yet, can you imagine???!!! No paper space? We had to scale everything, text, dimensions, borders, title blocks, what ever. I found a tool that helped me. The CAD Card. I still have it. In fact, I got a new one a few years ago. Honestly, I think I like the older one better. The CAD Card still lives by the way. They have even produced a metric version, and a mini version too!!

The CAD Card is a slider card that users can, well, use to help them find settings for text, scales, borders, and more for their cad drawings. It's a great tool that I am going to be talking about more. Keep your eyes open.

In the mean time, what types of tools do you use to help you draw? I still use machineries handbook as a refernce tool. How about you? Let me know.

9 comments:

  1. I used to use a CAD Card, but I started using a crib sheet with the scale factors for the various scales that I use, and just multiply/divide the printed size size as needed?
    As to the pen plotters, I started working with a Calcomp 960. I learned from the Service Tech that it drew the lines and such in the order they were added to the drawing.

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  2. We had the same theory, because the plotter tended to draw the lines in the order they were drawn in CAD. So, being the CAD Geeks we were (still are) we tested it. Each of us, 3 in all, drew a series of lines and kept track of the order, then plotted. Three different people, three different machines, the same plotter. It didn't always plot the lines in that order. BUT it tended to. I think it was a Calcomp plotter.

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  3. Hey I also started on R10, back in 1991. A 2 GB hardrive sounds wrong for the time period for R10 and a 386 processor. 200 mb would be more plausible.

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  4. you might be right on that hard drive, but we were a little behind on the release. we weren't on ten long after we got that work station, and I might have the info wrong. Maybe that 2 gig hard drive was on our first pentium.

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  5. I learned on r10 in 1990. 386-8m ram-500m hd.

    I did board drafting too. By about '99-'00 my most useful tool became the electric eraser. It was the best way to clean the rollers on a mouse. Thank goodness for optical mouses. Electric erasers are getting hard to find.

    I do not miss pen plotters when I think of all the productivity lost watching the damn things.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hate Ball Mice! Never used the electric eraser to clean them tough, should have! Where were you 15 years ago? Remember when AOL would mass mail their software on 3.25" floppy, and you would get one every other week? promising thousands of minutes/hours online for free?? I remember when the only plan for the internet was per hour!

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  7. There was a period of time where I never had to buy 3 1/2" floppies, thanks to AOL. When they went to CD's a friend adapted a skeet launcher to use on them. Didn't work though - not heavy enough.

    Back to the topic at hand, we keep a Rapidograph pen, triangles and scales on hand to fix those last minute "oops'es" on plotted sheets. The new "tape style" white out applicators are great too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Kaylee

    http://www.thinkpadonline.info

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks Cristina, I'm glad you like CAD-a-Blog. Have you signed up for the RSS feed or for the E-Mail alerts? You can do that at the top right of the blog. There is a place to sign up for either one, or both if you'd like. Or, feel free to e-mail me if you ever have any questions. Thanks again.

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