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Re: Schooling (was Connections)

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Cliff:

For my own personal use, I agree with you.  Many times it is much easier
for me to draft a detail in CAD than by hand only to give to a CAD tech.
I can do it more accurately and actually even faster in CAD than on paper.
The "best" solution is for me to at least start the detail/section on CAD
and then fill in some pertenent details for the CAD tech to complete, but
often it is just as easy for me to draw the whole things myself with the
notes and everything.

And I also generally can/like to setup the files (including X-refing and
viewporting) myself.  Many times I am also the one who deals with the FTP
transfer to clients and/or other consultants.  I type my own letters (much
faster than me hand writing to give the an admin assistant, assuming that
there is one).

My contention is, however, that learning such things is no for college
education.  I learned most of my computer stuff on my own (being a lovely
computer nerd/geek who picks such stuff with easy).  I learned the extreme
basics of CAD commands during my one elective CAD course in school (which
was on AutoTrol...how many have even heard of such a CAD program,
eh?...probably not many...only saw it used while I worked as a summer
intern at Ford...so I still had to learn how to use Microstation and
AutoBAD).  Everything else CAD related (how to reference [Microstation] or
X-ref [AutoBAD], paperspace/modelspace [ala viewports], proper
levels/layers, etc) I learned on the job.  On the job or in spare time, to
me, is where such things are to be taught and learned.

As to having engineers draft, I don't really care much one way or another.
I have worked at companies where there are NO CAD techs and engineers do
all the drafting themselves.  I have worked at companies where CAD techs
do ALL the drafting.  And I have worked where it is somewhere in between.
It is all is what works for that company.  Personally, I think if an
engineer is spending the bulk of their time in CAD, then resources are
being wasted.  So, I am NOT really a fan of engineers doing all their
drafting (obviously, this assumes a company with a "number" of people as
oppposed to one man shops where the engineer MUST draft everything).
Neither am I really a fan of CAD techs doing it all (at a minimum, I like
to go in and fix stuff myself in for no other reason than I can't get a
CAD tech at that time to do it for me...why should I wait a day to get
someone to change a typo in a note that I can do myself).  To me,
somewhere in the middle is the place to be.

Regards,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI
(whose AutoBAD is a little rusty right now)


On Fri, 5 Dec 2003, Clifford Schwinger wrote:

> Since the species "structuralus draftersaurus" has
> been extinct for approximately twenty years (I do
> occasionally hear rumors of sightings), I decided to
> learn AutoCAD myself and whenever possible I do my own
> drafting. CAD operators are useful for setting up
> drawings, get the plan xrefs in order, downloading and
> uploading drawings on to project ftp sites and a host
> of other mundane repetitive tasks, but I’m of the
> school of thought that structural engineers should be
> proficient in structural drafting as well as being
> well versed in the use of AutoCAD.
>
> I also enjoy doing my own structural drafting – I find
> structural drafting relaxing and fun (ok, so I’m a
> little weird).  The details go right from my brain
> onto the drawing and they are drawn correct the first
> time.  Engineers who think it's a foolish and
> inefficient waste of time for them to do their own
> drafting are probably correct – but they shouldn’t
> make generalizations that all engineers are wasting
> their time if they do their own drafting.  I’ve tried
> it both ways.  Until about ten years ago I was “locked
> out” of the structural drawings on projects that I
> designed. This was because I didn’t know how to use
> AutoCAD. It was a frustrating and slow process for me
> to get my ideas onto paper. Draw sketch, give to CAD,
> wait for CAD to get around to drawing it, plot check
> plot, backcheck drawing and bleed all over it, give
> markup back to CAD, wait again for red marks to be
> picked up, plot another check plot, red mark it again
> (usually), give to CAD, and so on….  What’s wrong with
> this picture!  Since I was proficient at structural
> drafting, I was pulling my hair out in frustration
> because I couldn’t even get into my own drawings to
> fix typos the last minute.  Project schedules these
> days DO NOT allow for the inefficient methodology that
> I just described.
>
> How many engineers remember the days when you hand
> wrote all of your correspondence and then gave it to a
> secretary to type up on a typewriter?  Those days are
> GONE FOREVER. I think most engineers are now
> proficient typists and type much of their own
> correspondence. Secretaries still do some typing – but
> no where near as much as they did thirty years ago.
> The same I think will eventually be true about
> engineers doing much of their own drafting.  This is
> especially true due to the use of computers that free
> up engineers from having a lot of time doing
> repetitive manual calculations. We are now freed up to
> focus more on the details!  Depending on the type of
> building structure one is designing, I think
> structural engineers should never spend more than 30%
> of their design effort on calculations – with the
> remaining time being spent getting on producing the
> details and getting the contract documents “right”.
> In reality I think a lot of engineers spend 80% of
> their time beating their designs to death and pay
> scant attention to the details and the completeness of
> their drawings.
>
> We will always have a need for CAD operators, but most
> engineers will eventually (I think) play a much more
> active role in actually producing structural drawings
> in the future.
>
> Cliff Schwinger
>
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