Former AutoCAD instructor
Here are a
some tips to make your CAD work easier to perform and better in result.
- Pick up a
textbook on drafting. The sad thing about CAD as typically done today is
it's so awfully sloppy. The reason is the people using CAD are usually
clueless about drawing standards.
- Always draw on grid. Close is not good enough. Be
- Use blocks,
objects, and shapes. You can build your own library, or buy one. Doing so will reduce the
time and effort it takes to do the job right. It will also standardize your
- Keep learning. Those books at right, for
example, will help you be a faster, more accurate, and generally more competent CAD
See this excellent article,
Makes a Good Working Drawing.
Define standards at the start of a project. Make it
part of the project initiation. Distribute these standards to anyone who might
be contributing to the drawings. Where the customer is engaged in design or
construction, this is vital. Don't wait until the job has progressed past
initiation to do this. That's how you end up eating the high costs of rework.
What should the standards include? Here's a partial list:
- Hatches, fills, and related items.
- Line types, layer names and colors.
- Taxonomy for filenames.
- Taxonomy for names of objects, blocks, and other drawing entities.
- Text styles, fonts, and heights.
- Title blocks and borders.
The practice of linking drawings can save massive amounts of time, while also
improving standardization. It replaces the practice of reproducing the same
drawing or generating nonstandard versions of what should be the same drawing. A
related practice is templating.
If you don't understand linking and templating, you owe it to your employer
(and to your own career) to "CAD up" on that and understand these practices.
you can do just that. See to it that you do, and you won't regret it.
Just to give you some insight as to what these do, consider what happens when
you need to move a door or add a window. But you have dozens of drawings with
that very wall. Yegads, there goes the budget! Ah, but with linked drawings you
can save the budget from a premature death. You just change the base drawing
(or, depending on the CAD software you have, in one of the linked drawings such
as the floor plan drawing) and that change propagate through the other linked
In a previous era, not everybody liked linked drawings because for this to
work you had to send the other parties (using those drawings) the entire set of
linked drawings. You've probably received an Excel workbook that links to an
outside data source and thus could not see the data, right? Similar thing.
Today, this is much less of a problem because typically the drawings are
stored on a central server. They are in the cloud. Somebody in the field can
access the drawing on a mobile device, without needing to download all the
linked files. And anyone working on the drawings will typically not create
information silos by creating local copies; the actual drawing remains on the
server. With this kind of arrangement, linked drawings are even better and there
is no danger of encountering the dreaded "must send all affected files" problem.
The files are already there.
Now, the above may seem like an eclectic collection of CAD tips. Well, that's
because you can get "normal" information anywhere. We wanted to give you some of
the less common stuff. It's up to you to really sharpen your virtual drafting
pencil and take your CAD to a whole new level. Most people grossly undervalue
what this can do for your career. Don't make that mistake. Sloppy CAD may be
enough to "get by," but it's never enough to make you shine. Get the details