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The Influence of Cad on Society

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Before computers there were hands and tools. Before hands and tools there were just hands. Humans have always been designing and throughout human history drafting is what became of it. With new technology in building during the earlier years drafting needed to be changed to accommodate it. Humans have always been able to find better ways to accomplish things. Drafting is no different.

Before people used tools to draw something they went to what we call now a "General Contractor" with an idea and he had to come up with the rest. After a while the contractors wanted more. Just an idea wasn't enough for them. Their clients sometimes wouldn't like what they had built for them. So eventually the contractors asked the clients to tell them exactly what they wanted. Since it was hard to sketch accurately, tools were developed to aid them in drawing. This enabled the client to show the contractor exactly what he wanted.

As the population grew rapidly the demands for faster and more accurate plans did also. Once again drafters looked for a new way to draw. They decided to turn to the computer. In the 1950s MIT discovered the capability to display a computer-generated image on the screen (Zandi, 5). Up until the mid to late 1970s drafters used this technology just for mathematical calculations (Goetsch, 23). Then they discovered that the computer could be used to display more than just numbers. They found that they could use it to draw on. It wasn't until the early 1980s that this new technology caught on (Goetsch, 23). Drafters found that using computers was much quicker, more accurate, and much neater than hand drawn plans. They had found their solution, Computer Aided Drafting and Design or CADD.

Now that CADD has found it way into drafting it has been improving upon drafting greatly over the past 20 years. Today nearly all firms use CAD (Friedman). It has changed the way people go about their drawing and designing process. The variety of new programs has made everything more accurate, there are many more ways to think towards a problem, and the process of fast tracking has come about. It has changed the society in many ways.

Whether using CADD or drawing a project traditionally, drafters always start off with a sketch. When brainstorming ideas it is much easier to do it with a pad of paper and a pencil than on a computer. A sketch of an object is a drawing that is inaccurate that has just ones ideas on it (Friedman). It is difficult to sketch on the computer because the computer is so accurate (Friedman). It is not a good idea to draw a sketch accurately because between a sketch and the final drawing things change drastically (Friedman). So it shouldn't be perfect. It should be something a drafter can interpret in different ways.

To sketch a drawing an idea must first be thought of. Then once the idea has been thought of the drafter begins with a piece of graph paper and a pencil. There are no tools needed for a sketch. The boxes on the graph paper can be used as a guide and a scale (Friedman). A sketch is just an estimation of the real thing. So one just estimates, nothing else.

CADD is very hard to sketch in. Some of the more sophisticated programs have a function where the mouse can act like a sketch pencil (Bethune, 13). Although this seems like it might be like the pencil it is not. Mice are harder to keep straight and even the lightweight drawing tasks may make the hand tired (Bethune, 13). Other ways of getting a sketch on the computer are scanners, electronic pens or touch pads. With the electronic pen, just point at the screen and that is where the dot, line or shape shows up. However one moves the pen is what shows up. This can be hard because a screen is at a weird angle, which makes drawing awkward. The touch pad however can be bought to the size of the screen. These are the best method because they recognize where one puts his pen on the pad is where the pen shows up on the screen. But it still isn't as responsive as a regular pencil (Zandi, 26). These are all good methods but the fact remains that it is still easier and quicker to sketch with paper and pencil that on the computer. Once the drawing phase has commenced CADD is much easier.

Once the sketch has been made the actual measurements need to be thought of. These measurements may be changed later. Then the measurements go onto the sketch. These measurements are not estimations but the sketch also does not have to be in scale with these measurements. Now the actual drawing can be drawn. The tools are used to make sure the measurements one chose are drawn to scale. Some of these tools are a drawing board, t-square, triangles, a scale (drafters ruler), and a compass (Spencer, 6). The process of completing this drawing is a long and tedious one. The lines that are drawn must be gone over many times so that they are dark enough and thick enough. Many steps must be taken to make a perfect square. All the tools mentioned above are used also (Spencer, 8). The one square may take about five minutes. And the square usually isn't perfect. Some times it may be, give or take 1/32 of an inch off (Goetsch, 32). This may not seem like a lot but it really is when it comes time to build the object. The drawing may have a series of lines, squares, circles, and many other shapes. The more complicated the shape the longer it takes to make it.

There are many different programs to draw a sketch on. Which one the drafter chooses is dependent on the type of drawing being created. The most widely known program is AutoCAD. The new version of AutoCAD can do just about anything. It can handle architecture, engineering, mechanical drawing, and some animation. Most firms use this program. There are also various interior design programs with which one can design the inside of a house complete with electrical, phone, water and heat systems. Most architectural programs use this as well as AutoCAD. There are also programs where it is possible to create a virtual building and examine the heat flow system to make sure that the building is getting maximum efficiency. Other programs animate a building or object so one may simulate what happens with the building. All of these programs are very good for the field that they are used for.

Although the process may be a long and tedious one traditionally, the drafter takes much pride in his work. The way he feels about his job shows up in his drawings. If his drawings are sloppy a client can tell that he probably isn't thrilled with what he does. But on the other hand if his drawing are neat and accurate then the client can tell that he does take pride in his work and he likes what he does for a living. If a client doesn't



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