My Affair With CAD


Back in the 90s, I lived life as an ordinary draft. Sketches would be given to me on paper, I would pull out a sheet of drafting paper and copy the sketches onto them using special-purpose ink pens made by the likes of Staedtler and Rotring. My only automation was a mechanical, jointed drafting on that clipped onto the edge of my drawing board.

When I started off as a drafter, I was excited about this procedure. But as the years rolled by, I became jaded about it and began to look outside of the procedure for a method more interesting, one that would delight me and again make me excited.

I noticed this program called AutoCAD, about how it immediately understood drawing commands that you gave it, about how contemporary it was, about how responsive it was and about how easy it was to work with. It was, in short, utterly beautiful and fascinating. I wanted it and I wanted it bad.

But could I just put down my drawing pen and throw away my drawing paper? I had, after all, been working with them for more than a decade. Was it all right to simply throw away a skill with which I had developed so much expertise?

I decided to take the plunge. I threw away my drawing the ends, drawing sheets, drawing board and drafting arm. I invested in AutoCAD and began to spend entire days with it, interacting with it, playing with its various tools and delighting in its responsiveness.

I had also looked at other CAD programs such as ArchiCAD, MicroStation, SolidWorks and Vectorworks, but perceived immediately that AutoCAD was far superior to them. One could effortlessly draw lines, rectangles, circles, arcs and curves with a few mouse clicks. In addition one could draw and edit basic solid shapes, as well as extrude them, embossed them and loft them.

An Autodesk video about animation platform Maya

But working on all the drawings myself again left me jaded.I began to feel that there were better ways in which I could spend this time.just around then I noticed that several companies offered to perform contract drafting on a per drawing basis. These CAD services did not demand monthly salaries and could be hired out on a monthly basis with no long-term obligation. Shazaam, my need was fulfilled!

Of course, finding a satisfactory CAD service took due diligence, which I did perform. I finally landed on a very good provider (click the above link to see them) and have been dealing with them for years without so much as a blip.

I suggest you either use the same firm or find one on your own. Whatever the case may be, if you plan to hire your own staff or extra staff, be aware that your competitors are outsourcing their work to Asian subcontractors and will blow all your quotes out of the water.

Stay tuned for my further thinking on the subject —

Michael Ead