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Re: Re: Structural Engineering as Art

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seaint(--nospam--at),Internet writes:
I appreciate Mr. Ketchum's philosophy as it was relevant for the times. I
think that if electronic drafting were available to Ketchum, he might
recognize it only as an instrument or tool and develop its use to most
aesthetic means possible. However, I think he would recognize how electronic
accuracy can make short work of difficult problems when properly understood
and creatively used. How we use the tool is the trick.



I think you are a bit bias towards use of computers, and it shows by your
comments.  I have been watching this discussion from afar and I just can't
stay out any longer.  I do not think, or at least I did not take it that way
from Mr. Ketchum's original post, that he thinks we should be using hand
sketches instead of computers.  Maybe he could correct me if I am wrong.  The
way I took it was that we need to think before drawing the solutions and look
at the big picture.  At least that is how I took it.  I am a big proponent of
the use of CAD.  I do 100% of my production drawings on CAD.  But I make many
sketches to think through what it is that I will eventually do on CAD.  The
main reason is for speed.  For brainstorming it is a lot quicker to get some
1/8" grid paper, trace paper and sketch sections close to scale, rather than
putting in exact dimensions at a computer.  I can then erase, scribble or
trash as I think it through.  But it is invaluable to sketch something out
rather than just think about it in my mind.  As you stated above the computer
is very accurate.  And I am a stickler for accuracy on CAD.  I hate it when
people do not drawing objects in CAD to actual sizes.  But for the thinking
process exact sizes are not required and a sketch pad will suffice and
usually be more cost productive.  I think this philosophy is still relevant
for the current time.

I guess I come at this bias based on my experience with a previous employer. 
I worked for a brilliant engineer.  I really admire his talent.  I used to go
into his office and ask him questions about the design I was proposing.  His
first response was always "have you cut a section through there yet?  Let me
see it."  All too often I would have to say no and go back and do it. 
Usually the answer would pop out at me while I was sketching it.  I think, at
least that is how I took it, that this idea of sketching is what Mr. Ketchum
was referring to.  Unfortunately I do not have his original post to verify


Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team

The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.