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CAD or Old Style Drafting???

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  • #16
    just what i suspected! most of these programs are too complicated for me to learn in the hour or two of playtime i have at night. i tried sketchup but uninstalled it out of frustration. i would love to produce some CAD drawings to impress my friends but just dont have the time.

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    • #17
      I am 48 years old, took drafting and architecture in school. When I served my apprenticeship I was still using a board to draw on, stayed this way till about 1996. Had a customer that didn't liek having prints, wanted everything stored on disk and supplied part prints on disk in wireframe. I tried autocad, anda host of others, hada hard time learning them and they were horrible at being intuitive. A friend from another company told me to call and geta demo of Cadkey (Key creator now) Learned the program withing 2 hours, was proficient with it in a couple of days and pretty much an expert with it in about 2-3 weeks. I still do all my drawings with it tothis day, both home nad work. I can design and draw an entire injection mold and all layuts in 16-24 hours, would take me 60-80 hours before and then the prints were not to scale and there was no data for the CNC machines or anything else.

      Autocad was suppose to be the industry standard for cad years ago, it may have been the standard but it was clumsy, cumbersome and crude compared to Cadkey, not to mention hard to learn and cost 3-4X as much, I still tell anybody that wants to learn Cad, geta copy, you will be hooked and never look back.

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      • #18
        I took mechanical drawing (mandatory for boys at that school) in eighth grade. A very good course and teacher. I then moved to another school where they offered mechanical drawing. I took the course in ninth grade and the teacher soon discovered that I was WAY beyond the rest of the class and had a natural aptitude for the subject. I was offered the opportunity and served as teacher's assistant for the next three years for course credit.

        As to CAD, I picked up an early inexpensive 2D CAD program that I used for some time doing electrical drawings when I was self employed. That early system lacked a lot of features, but I learned it so well that it has become reflexive to me. Faster than a pencil, more accurate, cleaner drawings. Faster (for simple drawings) than other designers using the high-powered programs requiring multi-core processors.

        I still primarily use that 20 year old program, even though I have others. The reflexive nature of my relationship with that program, while serving me well with it, has handicapped me in using other CAD programs. Perhaps that is OK - while I think in 3D, most of my work needs to be presented in 2D.
        Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
        ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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        • #19
          For my hobby stuff I just use Deltacad, a 2-D only program that is $40 and extremely easy to use. It is mostly mouse-driven, so you don't need to remember five hundred keyboard commands to TYPE IN just to draw a dang circle or square.

          I have tried a few others, even paid for a couple $50-$150 3-D/2-D programs over the years but always went back to Deltacad. I don't feel learning any 3-D program is really worth the hassle unless you need files for running on CNC equipment, or unless you do complicated drawings and pay $$$$ for one of the programs that can do collision detecting.

          Originally posted by Mcruff
          .... A friend from another company told me to call and geta demo of Cadkey (Key creator now) ,,,,,, I still tell anybody that wants to learn Cad, geta copy, you will be hooked and never look back.
          How much did you pay for it? Their website does not say, only "request a quote".

          The basic full/professional license of AutoCAD is like $3500, is it not?

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          • #20
            I've been a woodworker a lot longer than I've been dabbling in metal, and I draw everything. Even simple things like doors - it's too easy to forget to add the extra material for the overlap with the cabinet face frame or the tenons on the styles & rails. In metalworking it's even more important because I often need to find dimensions from an odd datum or in a non-orthogonal direction and CAD makes this a piece of cake. Just last weekend I needed to find the center of a radius where the centerpoint wasn't on the part then get the dimensions I needed to set it up in a rotary table. That wouldn't have been easy to do in my head.

            I started out using 2D and finally moved to 3D a few years ago. I tried Sketchup but it didn't click. I broke down and bought a copy of Alibre when they were offering it for $100 a couple years ago. There's a big learning curve, but it's worth it. Within a few weeks of buying Alibre for home I ended up having to learn Solidworks for work, so now if I need to draw something I bring my work laptop home and use Solidworks.

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            • #21
              3D CAD? Oh yes, just put in a bend or two!

              It does stand for Cardboard Aided Design doesn't it?
              Paul Compton
              www.morini-mania.co.uk
              http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

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              • #22
                I use Alibre Expert and I like it. Much better and much easier to do things in the Expert version vs. standard version.

                For fabrication I like the 3D modeling. adding angles to the ends of struchual steel parts is a couple of clicks of the mouse with Expert. With the standard version you have to go through a bunch of bull**** steps and workarounds. That is why I upgraded to the Expert version.
                Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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                • #23
                  If documenting what you did is your issue then scan your notes and hand sketches and photo your set-ups. File it all electronically, alternatively file it all in a shoe box in envelopes.

                  Drafting or CADing your parts, including details of the manufacturing process/setup is extremely labour intensive. If you don't have a need to do it when making the part and don't have a strong inclination for such a high degree of order you will never ever maintain it.

                  Phil

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                  • #24
                    I use progeCAD 2009 Smart! for 2D drawing. It is (or at least was, I assume it is still available) a free download. The GUI looks a LOT like AutoCAD LT. Not 100%, but if you know one you can figure out the other with no difficulty.

                    I draw nearly everything, even re-drawing published plans to get a better feel for what the part is and to add extra dimensions to make machining easier.

                    I do only 2D, and I'm sure I don't do "correct" drawings, but they serve my purpose.

                    The learning curve...no getting around it, there is one. I solved it quite a few years ago when I bought AutoCAD LT (back when it was semi-affordable) and a "How to Use AutoCAD LT" book. I started at page 1 and worked my way through the book until something clicked and I "got it." I saw the AutoCAD view of the world and how to think about the commands. I never did finish the book.
                    ----------
                    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                    Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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                    • #25
                      I've used Alibre from there day one when they gave away 100,000 copies when they launched.
                      I think that for the HSM the standard version works just fine. Most can't justify the added cost of expert or pro.
                      For $199 you can have a copy of the standard version and be up and running in a matter of hours.

                      Try it you'll like it

                      Dave

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                      • #26
                        Another 2D guy here.
                        Point is no one pays me for drawings, if I need a drawing I need it ASAP and as simple as possible, 3D pretty pictures are nice if you get paid or have time to burn.

                        A lot of mine is just to get the DXF for the CAM system to talk to the CNC and often the 'drawing' is hardly anything like the part. For speed i often draw the tool in and out paths instead of defining it in CAM.

                        A lot depends on the program as regard commands and how you were brought up.

                        Modern users with no board experience can easily get their head round the co-ordinate system where everything is taken from an origin point.

                        The old wrinkleys with bags of board experience would be better off finding a program that can handle offsets better.
                        Then you draw a vertical line and a horizontal line then offset lines from that, just like we did with construction lines.
                        Then again if you have a decent program with plenty of trim options you can edit the construction lines so you finish up with the shape you need, just like board experience but faster, more accurate and mistakes are easily rectified.
                        .

                        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by John Stevenson
                          Modern users with no board experience can easily get their head round the co-ordinate system where everything is taken from an origin point.

                          The old wrinkleys with bags of board experience would be better off finding a program that can handle offsets better.
                          Then you draw a vertical line and a horizontal line then offset lines from that, just like we did with construction lines.
                          Then again if you have a decent program with plenty of trim options you can edit the construction lines so you finish up with the shape you need, just like board experience but faster, more accurate and mistakes are easily rectified.
                          The beauty of Cadkey, it doesn't need to use coordinates at all, it draws in CAD just like you would on a board, thats the main reason I always recommend it. It cares not where something is, only its relationship to everything else. It will literally run circles around Autocad with less key strokes to boot.

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                          • #28
                            I use a macintosh/apple program,2D. Very easy to draw in, and I use it a lot for projects. It's really nice to import a picture in the background layer and trace it out and rescale it to a smaller or larger size. I have printed out templates on an ink jet printer, glued them on with spray sticky glue. (for wood work) and have had very nice results. Printers are very accurate. Really handy for that type of work. It seems like when I can see it on a screen, and move parts around to fit, It's faster than paper.

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                            • #29
                              I still use the old methods - Rapidograph or Rotring pens and ink.

                              I last did a series of scale drawings this way about 4 years ago. The drafting paper is taped to a large light table with "drafting dots." A preliminary drawing (also in ink) is done to scale, 1-1/2 times the finished drawing, and placed on the light table under the drafting paper. A finished drawing is then done to the 1-1/2 size by "tracing" the lower drawing. The sole purpose of the lower drawing is to provide correct dimensionality - the upper drawing is then drawn in much more detail using drafting instruments, etc.

                              I even used a Kroy 80 lettering system for the text! I will use computer-generated lettering next time - cannot find the tape cartridges for the Kroy any more.

                              The finished drawing is then photographed with a stat camera, producing a 12" X 8" photographic negative reduced 33.33% to the correct size of the finished drawing. The negative can be contact printed (wet process - another old "analog" process) to produce finished drawings with essentially no distortion - not really possible with a photocopier.

                              I am having a hard time finding a stat camera now - last one in town here was scrapped, and I had to go 140 miles round trip to find one...

                              These latest drawings were for a series of six different railroad tank car models to be made in China out of brass. All details on the drawings were to scale, since I had never done anything for a Chinese builder before, only Korean and Japanese guys years ago. Had no idea whether they wanted dimensions in metric or what??

                              After seeing the drawings, the builder asked for full dimensions in feet and inches for everything depicted! A couple of weeks later, the builder emailed a series of excellent CAD drawings to us - done by a 23 year old girl in China!! I knew right then that we were in trouble as a country - where could we find a girl that age to program such things here??

                              As for time required, I can produce drawings of equivalent quality to CAD drawings of the same subject in about 75% of the time as a friend (former NASA computer guy) can. I had one 3-hour mandatory drafting class in college 48 years ago...

                              A.T.
                              Last edited by ttok; 09-16-2011, 11:29 PM.

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                              • #30
                                I learned to draw when I was in school and that's all I know how to do. I've never tried CAD, but have been fascinated and impressed by the work some of my friends (especially the young folks) have done with it. Posting messages on a discussion forum like this is about the pinnacle of my computer skills. My wife always tells me I'm a dinosaur, I guess she's right.

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