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.
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