All things CAD!

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by McCormack, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    The real workhorse and money maker at our company is Bentley PowerSurvey. It is (or was) less than $2000 and does 90% of full blown design packages like Microstation/InRoads or (God forbid) AutoCAD/Civil3D. The older versions you load to run in either Geopak or InRoads mode. The current version integrates both.

    Our surveyors use it for mapping, civil engineers for road design and structural engineers for drafting. With the cheap buyin price and cheap annaul subscrption rate it is our money making software. We have one AutoCAD seat, two Microstation/InRoads seats and all the rest of our CAD seats are PowerSurvey.

    For AutoCAD people think of it as AutoCAD LT done right.
    #21
  2. McCormack

    McCormack Cronkite of CSM

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    Anyone here ever use VectorWorks? I used it for a year at my last job and really started liking it. It seemed geared more towards presentation results than engineering drawing (or I could have been using it wrong). One thing I loved was that there was only one way to do something, versus the 101 ways AutoCAD allows you to do something.
    #22
  3. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Great Idea autocad thread.

    I've been using 2002 Land Desktop for the last 10 years. I can pretty much make it do whatever I want, drafting wise. Still looking for something to add to it for surveying, though. I know there used to be programs available, but I'm not sure if they still produce them for something that old.

    I'm scared of Civil3d. Way more than I need.
    #23
  4. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    You're going to have a really hard time getting any sort of add ons for Land Desktop. It is (was) a really great product but they've pretty much retired it and all support. You'd need to find legacy stuff. I remember there was a lot of regeneration for contours and points every time you did mods and such but by the end it was a completely stable product. then they hit us with Civil in 05/06 and it's days were numbered.

    I jumped in from Land to Civil 2006 and I I honestly think that Autodesk should have suffered a class action lawsuit from the firms that were suckered into using it. It approached Release 13 territory. I have to grudgingly admit that since 2011 it's really been a great platform but 2006 and 2007 were awful. I even had a developer more or less admit to me that it was rushed out to compete with Geopak as they were falling too far behind. I don't know why they just don't abandon the .dwg format for Civil (like inventor for example) and do it it right.
    #24
  5. wncbmw

    wncbmw nOOb in post count only

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    I moved into the CAD world back in the early 90s from the old board. I think it was called ProTerra. We went to AutoCad eventually and I was happily using 14 with Land Desktop software for sewer and water design. Resisted the move to Civil3D but after taking a 3 day class, I jumped into it full time.

    I seem to be the minority (maybe it's just my lack of experience in other products) but I have grown to like 3D. Especially after we got our templates and styles set up, I can really put out the work quickly. From survey to finished sheets in no time. With a nice profit margin! And revisions (there are always revisions) are usually quick.

    We have one seat of Microstation for government contracts and such. That's all we need, since only one person knows much about it! :D

    My minor forays into Microstation have ended poorly! :rofl
    #25
  6. GSWayne

    GSWayne Old Guy nOOb

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    For folks that might want to try CAD at home there is Alibre PE at $200 which has 90% of the functionality of the multi-thousand dollar packages at less than 10% of the price. http://www.alibre.com/products/hobby/ My only problem with it is that because I don't use it every day it takes me longer to draw the part than to build it. I have used it for a few home projects though. I makes neat 3D pdf files that anyone can view and manipulate. It used to be really cheap (less than $100 I think and maintenance was not as expensive as buying it every couple of years) but unlike Google they haven't figured out how to make billions while giving away their product :D.
    #26
  7. Blakebird

    Blakebird r-u-n-n-o-f-t

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    Like some of the others here, I started off board drafting in the early 80's, and started with AutoCAD in '85 on a 286 with 20mb hard drive and 2mb RAM. (RAM was $1000 per mb back then)

    I've worked for a large global consulting engineering firm for the last 26 yrs....we were an AutoCAD shop until the Bentley bros. ported Intergraph to the PC (Microstation) in the late 80's. We still support AutoCAD where clients require it (mostly translated deliverables) but have been Microstation based since around '90.

    The two platforms are essentially turning into each other the last few years with all the file format changes (integer based vs. floating point), cross-platform compatibility, and user interfaces.
    I love working in Microstation and all the other packages (Building Suites, PlantSpace, etc) and am not a huge fan of AutoCAD, but as someone said.... they make the money and have the market share.
    #27
  8. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    I'd like to use AutoCAD a bit more because it's so popular. In school we used SolidWorks and in the industry I've used Catia. I really like Catia.
    #28
  9. AZbiker

    AZbiker Crunkin' with crackers

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    Subscribing because I want to get back into drafting after taking a job as a utility mapper (:puke1).

    Played around with DraftSight a little at home. Runs on Linux and it's free. :clap

    Short term goal is to get the hell out of Prescott and back home to Phoenix. Been out of drafting long enough I'm probably going to have to audit some classes @ ITT so I can use their seat and plotter. :lol3

    I'm working as a PC Tech right now. It beats cleaning toilets or digging ditches.
    #29
  10. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    If I had any new or advice for aspiring CAD techs it would be this. Find the work that blalnces out between interesting and good pay and go specialize in whatever platform caters to it.

    For example if you want to get into large scale transportation roadway work (which is nice because it suffers less from a down economy) then it's microstation all the way. If you like site development or water/sewer/stormwater (this is another recession resistant field since there's a lot of municipal money involved) then autocad Civil 3D.

    I was talking to a few of the Autodesk reps and they were telling me that in a lot of European countries they don't even teach plain old Autocad anymore. It's all packages. Civil, Solidworks, Inventor etc.. The plain Jane program is far too limited for a career.

    Also, IMHO the most up and down field (for pure drafting) is probably architectural because A)it's vey dependent on the general economy and B)most of the drafting is really just handled by the architects themselves. Now in a perfect world I'd be working for a mechanical firm with access to 5 axis mills and sneaking in my own pet project once in a while. I actually know a guy who does this. Now THAT's a sweet gig.

    Anyone else have a take on this?
    #30
  11. Hughlysses

    Hughlysses Long timer

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    My CAD experience started on Computervision equipment (a big dedicated mainframe system) back in the mid-80's at a Navy shipyard. We were doing 3-D system process system piping back then. You inserted stuff with a wireframe appearance, then ran the "generate detail" command, and came back and hour or so later to see the 3-D appearance of what you'd done. Pretty cool stuff but achingly slow. I read later that whole system ran on about 4MB of ram. We'd have 6 or 7 terminals running off of that mainframe; no wonder it was slow. It had these tremendous stacked hard disk packs that you could swap out. Cool stuff at the time. Info here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computervision

    Because the Computervision system only had so many terminals and we had people waiting in line to use it, we got Autocad (R10 I believe) installed on a couple of 286's (much like the original poster's equipment), and I gradually picked Autocad up from using those. I remember discovering the first zip programs so that you could save a drawing that was larger than 360k onto multiple 5-1/4 floppys. Holy crap what a pain.

    Around the early 90's the Navy decided to make a wholesale switch to Intergraph (also a mainframe system), but I was only involved briefly with that.

    After a few years I moved to a new job where we flirted briefly with Microstation mainframe equipment (which was apparently what Intergraph became). I took about 3 training courses before management decided Autocad was the way to go so I moved right back to that and have been using it ever since. Oddly enough my present employer still uses a lot of PC-based Microstation.
    #31
  12. river_rat

    river_rat Perplexed

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    Haven't been involved in CAD for as long as some of you, but I cut my teeth using A-CAD to design progressive stamping dies, then Solidworks before transitioning into product design. Did that for a few years now I'm designing heavy military vehicles in CATIA.....SolidWorks seems much more user friendly, but Catia has some cool features.
    #32
  13. McCormack

    McCormack Cronkite of CSM

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    I began CAD back in 2000 at school. My first job in this field was January 2001 using Autodesk Land Desktop.

    I now manage the CAD department of a design/build firm specializing in tall structures. We use plain old vanilla CAD.

    About 95% of our work is just simple drafting. Increasingly, we use 3D modeling to identify conflicts. Given that, the only item AutoCAD is lacking for us is the ability to produce production drawings of a 3D modelled plate assembly (picture a steel plate assembly with curvature and having to flatten that out for manufacturing drawings).

    Otherwise, vanilla CAD works great.

    I have one seat open and am trying to fill, but there just does not seem to be candidates in this area looking for CAD work. I really don't get it.

    As to specializing, I kinda agree. However, I'd take someone who can efficiently produce readable plans over someone who knows the software in and out any day. I started by taking classes in architectural design and had it hammered into me that even the best and most accurate plan is worthless if the person building off it can't understand what is being presented.
    #33
  14. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer

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    I use Solidworks every day at work. I bought a copy of Alibre for home and it's OK, but it's just too frustrating for me to use because Solidworks is second nature. If I were only using Alibre I'd probably be happy with it. I think Alibre would be better than Solidworks at the kind of parametrics I'd like to use for designing furniture for my home wood shop.
    #34
  15. Gas Hog

    Gas Hog Two Wheel Fanatic

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    Steve,
    Cant speak to any of the applications you spoke of except mechanical. If a person was looking to break in or slide sideways in metalworking/cad-cam, my suggestion would be run as many different programs as possible.

    In the upper middle class cad-cam such as Surfcam, Gibbs, Mastercam,ect.. they all are different but not completely foreign. I see a lot of people declaring that one or the other is king, and all else is shit.
    Truth is they all suck..they just suck in different areas.

    You never know which of the packages a shop might be running, so to have some keyboard time with any of them would be helpful...and make you more valuable.

    I see a lot of cheap cad cams that that beginners, and or home machinist are using. The problem with them is if you want to grow that experience into a job for someone else..its not very helpful.

    The ones that make shops money..cost money..for a reason :wink:
    Gary
    #35
  16. morini-ford

    morini-ford Adventurer

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    used autocad before Bill Gates turned up, DOS - version
    the last 3 years i used cocreate, inventor and solid works.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #36
  17. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    I first started using AutoCAD right after it was introduced. Before that there were a few surveying programs designed to run on Trash80's and such. But they weren't graphical except for maybe displaying points. I went straight from a Wang calculator and HP67 to a real computer when my DPW got AutoCAD. They bought a PC with an honest to God hard drive, an unheard of amount of RAM (like may 4MB) plus a pen plotter and "D" sized tablet. But, unfortunately, there were no AutoCAD drivers for either of those yet.

    That was total immersion because I had to write my own digitizer and plotter driver. It was actually relatively easy if tedious coding. I think I even got credit for it in my Basic computer class. But back in the DOS days 9/10's of knowing AutoCAD was setting up a batch file that loaded all your drivers correctly anyway. The software itself did little more than plot coordinate points and draw lines and circles. I still remember the Solar.dwg demo they had out. But that is about all I remember about that early version.

    Believe it or not, I credit being left handed with making me an early CAD adopter. I was willing to learn ANYTHING that kept me from drafting and especially lettering. Lefties were just not meant to draft or use scissors. It is funny that I still think in AutoCAD even though I prefer working in Microstation. I guess it will always be my native language.
    #37
  18. 666

    666 Agnostic and Orange

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    #38
  19. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    My mom worked and supervised on an Intergraph system for quite a few years at BellSouth "back-in-the-day". Impressive workstations but really slow. Especially for how ambitious they were trying to be. A lot of folks probably don't know this but Intergraph later split into 2 companies . The Software became Microstation and the Hardwayre stayed Intergraph which built some really top of the line workstations for quite a few years back in the early 90's. Nt sure if thy're still aroun but I wouldn't see the competitive edge anymore in hardware.
    #39
  20. FloridaSteve

    FloridaSteve Long timer

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    I find that astonishing that you're still in plain Autocad. By tall structures do you mean thing like tanks and platforms or actual architectural buildings? I could see the former but def not the latter. I hear you about finding good talent. Forget good. I'd settle for bright eager and interested. I've been put in situations many times where I've been forced to train some managers or important clients disinterested and idiotic relative who thought it was all just entering stuff into a machine all day. How hard is that? Thankfully I've got last word on talent these days.
    #40