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Mon May 3, 2021, 11:46 AM

Another obsolete job - design and drafting before AutoCad



One of my fondest memories of High school years (way back when) was drafting class with that big, tilting drawing desk, rulers and oversized brown drawing paper.

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Reply Another obsolete job - design and drafting before AutoCad (Original post)
packman May 3 OP
mahatmakanejeeves May 3 #1
genxlib May 3 #2
exboyfil May 3 #3
IowaGuy May 3 #4
exboyfil May 3 #5
OAITW r.2.0 May 3 #6

Response to packman (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 11:48 AM

1. A friend who teaches in middle school tells me Autocad is taught starting in the 6th grade. NT

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Response to packman (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 12:17 PM

2. It's still a job

Just done virtually. You still need people to create plans in cadd.

Like many jobs, it has increases in complexity that requires more tech savvy and educated people. The current state of the art is to build 3D versions of the project in the computer such that the plans are just byproducts of that process. Once you have the model constructed in virtual space, floor plans, sections and elevations are just a matter of viewing the model from the right angle. The net result is that a lot of the design takes place within the cadd drawings so the draftsman has to have a higher level of understanding. In fact, we have replaced many of our draftsmen with young engineers.

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Response to packman (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 12:38 PM

3. I was on the cusp of the change

My first employer was still doing hard drawings on a board when I started in 1985. Within a year we had our first Autocad PCs. Autocad was used for plant drawings as well as product drawings.

Stayed with Autocad until I moved to my next employer. Still lots of drawing tables around and occasionally engineers would still use them.

At that employer we had a system called Medusa. Plant drawings were done in Autocad. Lots of engineers still used drawing tables as informal desks.

When I changed locations with my employer, we used Pro/Engineer for product (fully 3D parametric modelling). Autocad still for plant drawings.


I changed employers, but my new employer also used Pro/Engineer

Eventually Pro/Engineer became Creo. Still never understood the switch in names. I haven't a clue what our plant people do now.

A lot of Creo has been integrated into our high end analysis software.

I have three monitors at home, and I can Remote into my work computer to use Creo and my other engineering softwares. It really is like just being in the office.


My dad taught me the slide rule before the start of 6th grade. In 6th grade my teacher brought some electric calculators in class. That was my first exposure to them.

By the time I left high school in 1981, TI-35s were ubiquitous. In college HP15Cs were dominant for engineers (1984).

In grad school seven years after high school, I had a T1-81 graphing calculator (1992).

My daughter went off to engineering college in 2014 with a TI-85 graphing calculator which she had been using in high school for two years already.

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Response to packman (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 12:41 PM

4. I started out being a manual draftsman...then evolved into using CAD.

Over the years the overall impact of CAD technology on the AEC business has been profound.
When I started there were generally about 5-8 drafters per engineer/architect. Since then that ratio has flipped and there is now about 1 full time CAD person to every 5-8 engineers. Design schedules have also compressed significantly on top of that. The transition has been of great cultural and operational upheaval and chaos within the industry. Even so, I would never go back to the old drafting board days.
Some say it has led to less creativity in design, which to some extent could be a valid argument. On the other hand, to a skilled designer it can create more possibilities. Since you don't have to invest in having legions of people bending over drawing tables to create a set of construction documents, a skilled designer can spend more time on designing rather than running people. There is a yin and yang to it all. I'll be retiring in a few months, however I will still be using my CAD skills in designing projects for my woodworking hobby.

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Response to IowaGuy (Reply #4)

Mon May 3, 2021, 12:52 PM

5. At my first employer a number of our draftsmen

eventually became Engineering Technicians that were involved in other aspects of engineering (parts running, prototyping, and testing being some of the jobs).

At my first employer our BOM and ordering system was far from state of the art so parts running was a thing.

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Response to packman (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 01:42 PM

6. It's also disrupted tool building.

You can import the CAD file directly into the machine tools that create the molds/dies to produce the parts. Tooling LT's and costs have dropped significantly since the 80's. I remember when a typical mold leadtime was 20-24 weeks with correction/adjustment times need to fix deviations on the 1st article inspections.. Now the time to tool has dropped to a few weeks and eliminates the chances of having have a tool builder introduce errors into the new tool.

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