CADdirect 2020 greatly reduces the time and effort it takes to create and revise drawings. Not only can you produce accurate drawings faster, you can also reuse the information in your drawings. These are the primary reasons for making the transition to CAD from traditional, manual drafting on paper.
As with any tool, however, to use it effectively, you need to be familiar with some of the specific features, functions, and concepts of CAD. If you are familiar with manual drafting, you’ll find some conceptual similarities in CAD as well as some differences.
In traditional, manual drafting, you usually determine the scale of the drawing before you even begin to draw, because you are working with a sheet of paper of a fixed size. You may have to reduce or enlarge the entity you are drawing to fit within the confines of the paper.
When you create a drawing in CADdirect 2020, you draw everything full-size. You determine the type of units in which your drawing is measured. If you are drawing a building, 1 drawing unit might equal 1 inch. If you are drawing a map, 1 drawing unit might equal 1 mile. Your drawing environment and the CAD drawing file itself are not limited to the size of a sheet of paper. As you draw, you can use commands such as Pan and Zoom to work on different portions of the drawing and to magnify the display of the drawing to view intricate details. These commands have no effect on the actual size of the entities in your drawing; they affect only the way the drawing is displayed on your screen. Only when you print or plot your drawing do you need to set the scale so that the printed drawing fits within a specific paper size.
In manual drafting, you use tools such as pencils, rulers, T-squares, templates, erasers, and so on. When you create a drawing in CADdirect 2020, you use a mouse instead of a pencil, and you use the mouse to select other tools-commands you select from a menu or a toolbar. You use some tools to create basic entities, such as lines, circles, and arcs, and other tools to modify existing entities (for example, to copy or move them or to change properties such as color and linetype).
In traditional drafting, you often separate elements such as walls, dimensions, structural steel members, and electrical plans onto separate, translucent overlays. When you want to print the working drawings, you can create several different drawings by combining different overlays.
When you create a drawing in CADdirect 2020, you use layers to organize elements in a similar manner. However, the layers feature in CAD offers numerous advantages over physical transparencies. The number of overlays you can combine to print a manually drafted drawing is limited by the printing process. There is no such limitation in CAD. With CADdirect 2020, you can define an unlimited number of layers, any of which can be visible or invisible at any time. You can name each layer and assign each its own color, linetype, lineweight, and print style. You can also lock individual layers to ensure that information on those layers isn’t altered accidentally.
In paper-based, manual drafting, you often have to redraw the same entity several times at different scales or from different vantage points. You may also need to redraw the border and title block on each new sheet. One of the most powerful features of CADdirect 2020 is that when you create a drawing, you can reuse individual entities, borders, and title blocks as often as you want. You need draw an entity only once; the final printed drawing can show the entity at several different scales and viewpoints. You usually begin drawing in model space on the Model tab, creating the drawing (a floor plan, a map, or a three-dimensional part) without regard to the final layout on paper. When you are ready to print your drawing, you have the option to switch to paper space on a Layout tab, where you lay out the drawing as you want it to appear on a sheet of paper. For example, you can insert a drawing file that contains the standard border and title block that you created. You can define and arrange multiple views of the drawing at appropriate scales and with specific portions visible or invisible—again, without having to redraw the border and title block for each view.