I very nearly doubt that, Steve.
I can still draw with a stylus in hand, but after years of drawing with
CAD, I sketch with a mouse - pretty quickly.
Mostly that's because I don't use Autocad (which as Andrew rightly pointed out
creates a high quality vacuum!)
Beg to disagree. It is also intrinsically more accurate, its ability
to do geometry and trig can be a huge convenience, and one need not
be a professional CAD operator for it to be significantly faster.
I've used and still have the traditional drafting tools and skills. I
worked as a draftsman/detailer at Chevy Engineering back in the '60's,
white shirt and all.
I find CAD both faster and more accurate, even when making
orhtographic projections, true views and suchlike. I use an ancient
version of AutoCAD (R-14) because I invested the time to become
fairly facile and comfortable with it years ago. I agree with others
that ACAD has its warts and is not easy to learn, but it's as
familiar as a pencil to me.
The fastest pro operators do much or most of their work with keyboard
rather than mouse, or at least that was once the case. People can
type a hell of a lot faster than they can mouse. Watching a real pro
make a drawing "happen" with ACAD is quite a show. I seriously doubt
that anyone could do it nearly as quickly with conventional drafting
tools. It would take a fast sketcher to keep up.
Don, it pains me to say it, but this thread proves we are turning/have
turned into a bunch of old farts, lamenting the "good old days"........
(I include myself in this, just had my 56 birthday)
On Tue, 23 Jun 2009 21:08:45 -0700 (PDT), Andrew VK3BFA
I'm definitely a card-carrying cardiac-implanted, creaky,
grandfatherly old fart, kid, but I don't lament the retirement of my
old drafting tools in favor of CAD software. I haven't used my old
Vemco drafting machine in more than a decade.
I keep learning new skills. That takes longer than it used to, but we
retired guys have time to spend on learning slowly. Five years ago I
could barely hit the inside of an outhouse with a 1911 .45. I've
practiced and improved some since then. Selecting a gray head as prey
can be risky to a predator in Minnesota USA, perhaps less so in Oz if
you have fewer predators and no predators have firearms in Oz. I
suppose that depends a lot on where in Oz, as it does here.
In the "good old days" in the U.S., young men didn't expect instant
gratification, gov't handouts or easy paths paved by "others" and we
didn't have to lock our doors. I do lament the passing of that era.
This reminds me of a contest reported when electronic calculators first
came out. The contest, in Japan, pitted an 80-something with abacus
against a 20-something with calculator. The geezer won hands down, of
course. He'd been practicing longer than the kid had been alive.
But if they had been asked to compute the sine of 27 degrees or the log
of 7689, the kid would win (if he had the right calculator).
It seems that the later versions of ACAD have emphasized selecting tools and
menus as opposed to keyboard shortcuts or entering commands or coordinates
by typing. Most commands still work, I think a few old ones don't, but the
tutorials point you towards navigating the menu structure.I guess that's
true with most software, but it seems markedly less efficient to use ACAD
that way. It's still a tremendously complex program that is not going to be
made user-friendly with some tool palettes.
Right, and that may be why it continues to be a de facto standard
drafting program for professionals, particularly architechts. It
doesn't compromise speed and efficiency for skilled users to be
"user-friendly" to casual users. CAD technology and software has made
huge strides in the past two decades as regards design and 3D
parametric modelling e.g. ProE, SolidWorks, Alibre, etc, but drafting
is still pretty much drafting. ACAD does drafting and geometry with
almost arbitrary precision, and with mindboggling speed at the hands
of a skilled operator. It is possible (and easy) to make a drawing
with scope of precision like a drawing of a state-wide railroad
network that can zoom in on the winding stem of a brakeman's watch
dimensioned in microns.
My Dad cut a square of upholstery foam and put a hole partway through
the center the size of the Mars sharpener and put the sharpener in the
hole. Then you stick the sharpened point in the foam to clean the dust
Ed, standard practice also used to be to simply wipe the excess graphite
under the armpit or your white shirt. You put on a clean one everyday so
made no difference.
I remember rows and rows of draftsmen all wearing white shirts and ties.
All facing in the same directions to cut down on the chit-chat. Oh, those
were the days.
I've seen those drafting departments. I wish I had the local laundry
Somebody (Gerry, I think) mentioned cigarette filters. My Staedtler
sharpener has one in a pocket in the top of the device. One filter is good
for a year or two. I still use those lead holders when I'm editing in
pencil; they're especially good in red and blue.
I used to love the craft of it. I did a lot of architectural drawing around
35 years ago, and I spent endless hours practicing architectural
lettering -- a limited enterprise, because only certain architectural fonts
are practical for lefties. My pre-war Dietzgen drafting set was the envy of
However, although I'm strictly an amateur with CAD (I've used GenericCADD,
Cadkey, AutoCAD, Vellum, Rhino, and several others), I wouldn't trade my
computer for the best traditional drafting equipment ever made.
I haven't, but I'm a registered Rhino user and I've settled on that for the
little bit of work I do with it these days. I did try an early version of
Spice for electronic design, but it's been years since I was involved in ham
I was one of the first beta testers for Rhino and I've stuck with it.
Second the motion. LTSpice is the best kept secret on the web.
It is free and works nearly as well as the $K simulators like Cadence
PSpice (Which I love but cannot afford.)
I've designed and simulated several circuits in LTSpice including
some that required importation of 3rd party models.
It's so easy, even Winston can do it!
Try LTSpice Ed! It's way different from the User Vicious (SM) Bad Old Days.
Very fun and user friendly. It is dangerous because you could find yourself
losing a few hours just noodling around with it.
I'm interested in your reaction.
Notice how your mouse cursor changes from a voltage probe to a current
probe during simulation, depending on where you place it on the part.
Click to take a reading and the results show up on an oscilloscope -
LTSpice lets you create definitions for simulation measurements
using the Expression Editor.
You can, for instance dynamically calculate power in R1, for example by
editing it's current reading from: 'I(R1)' to: 'I(R1)*(V(n002)-V(n001))'
where the voltages are taken from each side of R1 to ground.
Notice how LTSpice automagically changes the display from 'amps' to 'watts'!
You can copy the equation and paste it into your schematic as a comment,
so it is handy for future simulations when you paste it back into the
Sorry I've been offline for a while. I did get to try the program and it is
impressive -- 'way more capable than the early versions of Spice I fooled
with years ago.
If I still played with radio, I'd be hooked. Thanks for getting me to try
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