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December 12, 2006


Norman Campbell

As a furniture and hardware manufacturer, specializing in both custom and stock work, I really hope 3D never comes to pass as an industry standard. There's so many things both software designers and architects/designers still need to work on. As for the arch/designers, furniture is measured in inches, never, ever, ever feet, especialy if we [metal workers] need to coordinate w/ wood workers.
As for software designers, better means of evenly dividing up screw spacing and other such mathematical stuff, I mean I know it's in there, but I need to be a generalist to run my bussiness and really don't have time to learn mathematical expressions, Besides if I was really all that good at math I would work on Wall Street. Can they say intuitive, off course they can. Also how about a ruler on top and side of the drawing window as in painting programs, or better yet a little graduated square you could move around your drawing to measure and layout stuff as you do in real life, I find it hard to believe no one has come up with the virtual drafting arm. We use Ashlar-Vellum Graphite so I don't know if this exists in AutocadLT.
Oh yeah, and how about having a computer station at every machine, and every non college educated worker I hire learning to discern a 3D drawing to do their job. A lot of my drafting work is involved in breaking down large jobs and simplifying things so my workers don't make mistakes. I'm not looking forward to doing that with someone elses fancy 3D drawing.
Also, we recieve a lot of jobs from said architects/designers in sketch form and we do the drafting, obviously a lot of people in the industry find it either difficult or time consuming to do Cad as it is.
And don't even think about designing scrolls with a CAD, gracefull curves don't exist with my skills. These are the things that are on the top of my head right now, I'm sure during the day I will think of enough more to fill a small training manual.

Donald  Beams

Food for thought from the Ice Age. I tiptoed into the Computer Aided Design age about 1992 after years of resistance, having noted that most of the early computer drawings that crossed my desk were virtually unreadable at first, (had no one ever told these folks about the virtues of line width or weight?) Additionally, I justified my resistance by the arrogant, technologically ignorant (although pretty much true) observation that most of the work product depicted was unimaginative unadulterated crap from a design viewpoint.

I cruised along for years with pencil in hand, confident that computers only allowed the incompetant to churn out crap at ever- enhanced speeds. What a boon to mankind that is!

Then I got the chance to play with a Mac loaded with ClarisDraw. With no instruction and no manual, I completed an orthographic drawing of a wood, metal & glass cocktail table in a couple hours, in full color with excellent rendition of gradients depicting curved surfaces and materials. This was accomplished by the "I wonder what this tool can do" educational method. The learning curve was amazing. Within two weeks I learned 95% of what could be accomplished with this wonderful tool and have never picked up a pencil, even to sketch, since then.

My customers, mainly interior designers, loved the full-color presentation version of the drawings that they could sell from, and that neither of us could have afforded if hand-colored, and my vendors loved the production drawings, which were the original minus color with more dimensions and details added. I loved the capability to depict the same piece in mahogany instead of maple with about 5 minutes of work or to convert a presentation drawing to a production drawing in about 30 minutes or less.

Thoughts of expanding my knowledge and presentation capabilities led me to investigate other CAD systems and operating systems. Oy... Working the same ClarisDraw program on my wife's PC led me to the inescapable conclusion that PCs were an awkward, slow, counterintuitive pain-in-the ass, appealing to masochistic technophiles who love to brag or bitch about their toys in a worldly "I'm better than you" fashion. These guys would look at prints of my presentation drawings and ask with real excitement what software I used to produce them. When I told them it was ClarisDraw their excitment would intantly turn to a sort of disdain and they tended to turn up their noses and wander off shaking their heads in that wonderful superior AutoCAD student way. Or perhaps it was chagrin that they had wasted many thousands of dollars and hundreds of educational hours and still couldn't produce a decent design or a realistic depiction of same. C'est la Vie.

16 years later I still sketch, do presentaion and production drawings, design houses and produce multi-layered construction/permit sets in the totally out-dated and unsupported Clarisdraw because I can do it incredibly fast and there is no discernable difference in quality from the work product from obviously "superior" CAD systems.

Still I yearn (slightly) to update myself into the 21st century because it just SEEMS LIKE I SHOULD. Instant 3-D conversion would be nice, although in 15 years, I encountered only a couple of "Graphically Dyslexic" souls who could not mentally merge a front, side & top view of something into a perspective view in their head. I usually have a completed design picture in my head before sitting at the keyboard and am simply reversing the process in order to depict the product for the customer. Software is less a "Design" tool for me than it is a "Depiction" tool. I have almost never heard the dreaded post-delivery adenoidal phrase " I didn't know it was going to look like THa-at." Maybe I was just lucky...

At any rate, I am excited about the possibility of purchasing Vectorworks this year. An architect friend gave me a brief demonstration and I noticed that most of the tools and the graphic interface have an uncanny resemblance to good ol' ClarisDraw. Is this an accident? Who knows the answer to this question, cause my curiosity is getting the better of me.

Reinaldo Martínez

3D CAD is a great tool to show the non-especialist (customer) what a design will look like in the end. But we architects still have to prepare a great deal of paperwork for permits and construction docs in 2D. No engineering office that I know of will accept a CD with lovely, costly, time consuming walkthroughs, flyarounds and photorealistic renderings for permit purposes. The reason is simple, you would need highly especialized staff to revise, inspect andreview such virtual docs. Instead you can use any skilled AA to check a whole pack of paper drafted 2D blueprints.

Another good reason is that not all 3D CAD packages can easily turn 3d models into 2d bluprints and we still need the latter. I can't visualize a contractor sitting on a bunch of bricks in a concrete splashed site with a $2,000 laptop checking the stair threads on the screen to instruct the bricklayer. Can you?


Franco Folini

Mike, I agree with you. Many CAD companies are investing mainly in 3D systems with a minimal development on their 2D systems. IMHO, there still space for huge improvements on current 2D CAD systems to speed up the drafting process and to make designer’s life easier. On the other hand, the price of the average 2D system is now so low, that is becoming more and more difficult to justify any further development and investment.


At the end of the day, we still have to make 2d drawings to give to the floor, even if we have 3d solids for cutter paths (not enough $250 000 CNC machines, and a lot of $2 000 bridgeports). On top of that we have Software companies working against us and developing 3D GD&T, and fancy PLM solutions instead of improving the drafting commands that would let me produce a 2d drawing faster from that solid. Catia is a great software, but good luck sketching something up fast just to show the customer. I can do a better (and 10 times faster) job in Cadkey.

Even though, 2d drawings are getting easier and easier to create from solids, it's still not at a point where it's negligible. It's almost like doing the work twice. I'm a Mold designer, and I have patterns saved for all the components that we usually get. Lot of business do similar things. It's not like we do the whole thing from scratch, line by line.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I just can’t see all those architects, doing basic house plans, drawing bricks and shingles in 3d software, constraining all of it together and all that jazz.

I see the guys next to me (who do surfacing) struggle on how to do things (proper procedure) to get their parametric right so that it’s editable and simple, while concentrating half as much on how the darn thing is going to look at the end.

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