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Help needed with CAD drawings

I need a kind soul to covert pencil drawings to 2D and 3D CAD files

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John Fielding01/03/2016 09:01:16
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I wonder if there is some kind soul who would be able to help me with a current project?

I am compiling an article for ME which involves a lot of part drawings for a simple engine that a beginner could make. Although my back of envelope sketches do all I need to build one for myself they are not in a format suitable for publication. To draw them on paper by hand could be done but then they would still need to be redrawn again by the ME staff and this is where errors can creep in.

It would be nice if a 3D rendering of the finished article could be made so the prospective reader could judge the project. In publishing pictures sell printed matter.

Although I could get into this topic by purchasing a simple CAD package and teach myself how to use it, I don't have the time or the inclination at the moment to go this route. And at my time in life there are plenty of other things I could be doing with my limited time!

Emgee01/03/2016 09:18:30
2194 forum posts
272 photos

John

Although I hear what you are saying, with the "Draftsight" package you can do the drawings as quickly as by pen and paper, it really is simple to learn and use plus it is FOC. I think there are other packages available but I have no experience with them, others may suggest alternatives.

Emgee

JasonB01/03/2016 14:41:40
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They will still be redrawn to the magazine "look" even if you send in CAD drawings so may as well send in your hand drawn ones at least then its one less person in the chain so less likely to be errors.

Have a word with Diane to see what she can use

John Fielding01/03/2016 15:49:13
235 forum posts
15 photos

Hi JasonB,

That is what I hoping to avoid. Many errors creep in and are not spotted before the magazine goes to the printers. In all the other magazines etc I write for only ME and MEW do not send pre-print gallies to the author for checking!

My thinking was that good, checked DXF files could simply be imported into the DTP program. I have been involved with books, magazine etc for over twenty years and they all use this method. Why redraw it if it is already good and checked by the author?

I tried to download the Draftsight free CAD software this am, but gave up after over two hours. The problem is we have a really pathetic Internet speed here, like 68kB/sec at the best of times as the local Telco has only got about 1MB links to the local exchanges. Finally found another free CAD package, QCAD, which is a bit smaller and I did manage to download it in about 45 minutes, but it is next to useless. You cannot move a line or a circle, for example, once it is on the drawing sheet.

JasonB01/03/2016 16:01:39
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DXF and PDF can be imported into the mag software but the illustrator may still alter size, font etc. Its very rare that a drawing will be reproduced in the mag as submitted, I think the last time that was done was with the Firefly.

You will need a 3D program if you want to add the rendering sbut photos of teh finished engien will allow prospective builders to judge what the engine is like so 2D drawings would suffice.

What sort of size/type engine is it and how many parts? The 3D modeling is usuallly the quiker part of the job, its producing the dimensioned 2D drawings that takes the time

Michael Gilligan01/03/2016 16:06:28
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Posted by John Fielding on 01/03/2016 15:49:13:
Finally found another free CAD package, QCAD, which is a bit smaller and I did manage to download it in about 45 minutes, but it is next to useless. You cannot move a line or a circle, for example, once it is on the drawing sheet.

.

John,

I posted the following note on a previous thread.

[quote]

In ecumenical spirit ... I recommend the first video in this series:

**LINK**

She uses QCAD for 'pattern-making' ... but not as we know it.

It's one of the best 'introduction' tutorials I have seen for any software.

[/quote]

If your connection speed will stand it ... I heartily recommend the video.

MichaelG.

Neil Wyatt01/03/2016 17:32:22
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John,

If the the author wishes it and I agree they are of the complexity that makes it worthwhile, I can send them for checking, but this is exceptional as the production timetable can't normally stand the risk of me sending files to an author unless I can be 100% sure they will be turned round very quickly. Bear in mind that sometimes I only have a couple of days to check the drawings myself, and an author check eats into that time, so i really need to be able to send them with expectation of a reply overnight.

So, yes we can send drawings for checking, but I have to be sure the author will turn them around in a day or two which will probably be during the week before we go to press AND that they will accept that we will use the unchecked drawings if they don't respond in time.

We have to redraft all figures to fit the size of reproduction and to use consistent fonts, line weights etc.Also, bear in mind we use certain fonts and these may not be available to authors.

An author can't know in advance at what size we will print his drawing to fit the composition of the page, so how can he know what size of font or line weight to use?

The only exception to this was the recent designing springs series, where we agreed the published size of each diagram in advance and they were all produced to size and scale at a fixed resolution. Even then we still had to convert them for a four-colour process.

Another issue is that, although our draughtsman can edit DXF and DWG files, the design and composition of the magazines is done in Indesign, which requires either PDFs or bitmapped images. As bitmaps are no use for diagrams as they don't scale well, all drawings end up sent to the designer as PDFs. (Note the distinction between our draughtsman and our designer).

We do, however, treat rendered images as photographs, but we haven't had a situation with dimensioned AND rendered images.

One irony, the PDFs I produced for the boring head in issue 239 wouldn't edit properly*, so i had to send them to the draughtsman as DXFs. Of course this meant that the hidden line suppression no longer worked properly (because the 2D drawings were all really views of 3D objects) and it was a big task to then clean them up!

So, in summary, we will edit all diagrams to fit the magazine's house style, but I can send proofs tor checking IF the author can guarantee a fast turnaround.

Neil

*This appears to be, again, because they were 3D not 2D files.

.

Neil Wyatt01/03/2016 17:39:46
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Just for the record - although articles are prepared in advance the design and setting of each issue of MEW, which includes four rounds of proof checking (corrections, checking, internal proofs, printers proofs) takes place in just five working days. ME goes to print one Friday, we follow the next.

it just isn't possible to incorporate author proofing into that sort of timetable.

Having written a book recently I was incredulous to be given a month to read the proofs!

Neil

John Hinkley01/03/2016 17:40:29
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I have to correct you, John, re QCAD. I use QCAD Pro for all my drawings and find it superb (and by that I also mean cheap!) Of course you can move anything, by selecting it and using the move/copy command or copy and paste. I think you just need a bit more practice with it.

John

ega01/03/2016 17:59:02
2323 forum posts
190 photos

Michael Gilligan:

Thanks for the QCAD pattern-making video link which I will pass on to a friend who is an avid quilter.

I didn't look at the previous thread you mentioned which, perhaps, explains your "ecumenical" reference. Was the point that CAD software users constitute a surprisingly broad church? Difficult to be ecumenical today if one has a slow broadband connection!

Swarf Maker01/03/2016 18:47:39
115 forum posts
5 photos

QCAD does all that anybody is likely to wish to undertake in a 2D drafting environment. Like all packages, there is a learning curve, but QCAD is quite intuitive if you are used to manual drafting.

I don't think that it is fair to damn it if you have only spent such a short time trying to use it. Give yourself a bit more time playing and using the help.

Michael Gilligan01/03/2016 18:50:03
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Posted by ega on 01/03/2016 17:59:02:

Was the point that CAD software users constitute a surprisingly broad church?

Difficult to be ecumenical today if one has a slow broadband connection!

.

  1. Yes that was my point
  2. Agreed ... that's why I mntioned connection speed

MichaelG.

David Jupp01/03/2016 19:11:38
790 forum posts
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Just a thought - most complaints I see about drawing errors on the forum involve incorrect dimensions. Surely if author provides checked CAD files (whether actually as DXF or a PDF) it should be perfectly possible to scale and to change fonts but NOT alter the numbers during the magazine production process. So I can see some potential benefit in what the OP was trying to achieve. Remove one potentially error prone step from the process.

Mark C01/03/2016 19:21:34
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If you are getting drawings done by a professional using half decent CAD then there is no problem in any of the requirements. You simply draw the thing setting the fonts and line weights as required and then set the scale to suit the page size required. When you have the drawing layout desired, save as pdf or whatever else and away you go - perfect drawings! Certainly using Solidworks as I do the problems with dimensional errors go away as it is always current with the feature.

Mark

JasonB01/03/2016 19:26:49
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Mark the problem is that Neil or Diane won't know until they start laying out the article if the supplied drawing of the particular part will take a full, half or 1/4 page so line weights can't easily be set on the original

Neil Wyatt01/03/2016 20:17:42
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> it should be perfectly possible to scale and to change fonts but NOT alter the numbers during the magazine production process.

We don't delete and retype all the dimensions - dare I say it, but errors in dimensioning are usually - on the original. We try to check, but without actually building the parts its is hard to be sure. Many contributors don't use automatic dimensioning.

> If you are getting drawings done by a professional using half decent CAD then there is no problem in any of the requirements. You simply draw the thing setting the fonts and line weights as required and then set the scale to suit the page size required. When you have the drawing layout desired, save as pdf or whatever else and away you go - perfect drawings!

Most of the original drawings are being done by hobbyists, in a bewildering array of packages. The only way to achieve this would be to supply a template and probably insist they all use the same package, which is clearly not on.

It also needs to be borne in mind that contributors have a vast range of proficient with CAD/technical drawing. It's not just scaling (and they can't know what scale we will print at), but the way figures are laid out on the page. Very often drawings need to be grouped or re-arranged .Usually all parts are drawn the same scale, but we may need to enlarge small complex parts etc. etc.

The approach we take allows people at any step of the skill ladder, including those who would rather sketch on an envelope, to submit drawings whilst also allowing us to produce the magazine to a consistent standard in a tight time-frame.

One of the builds in MEW 239 was submitted with hand-drawn diagrams and another was with all the drawings as jpegs. Can you spot which ones - I'm not telling.

Neil

Mark C01/03/2016 20:58:50
707 forum posts
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Jason, the line fonts are fixed and the scale makes no difference to them (the same for the font). If you have your drawings done but not a fixed layout, you simply move the drawings around to suit the layout and everything moves with them. I had a notion that you used solidworks but cant be certain? When I detail a part, I lay out my views and then (including setting the view scale etc.) and then dimension the drawing. If I later change the paper sheet size for any reason I just need to change the view scale. Obviously going to a smaller sheet requires the layout to be altered sometimes and often the dimensions will need tweaking accordingly but it is a very quick job (just a few moments as long as it is not a complex drawing).

Mark

Mark C01/03/2016 21:04:16
707 forum posts
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Neil,

I did not mean the author should do it - I am suggesting your draughtsman should be doing it like this and then you won't (not as often at any rate) get people complaining that the drawings are wrong. The problem will be if he/she is using some sort of non engineering package to do the drawings (an art orientated software package). That is a different case altogether.

Mark

Mark C01/03/2016 21:07:55
707 forum posts
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Just to add to that, in a commercial cad system, the lines, types and weights are all set according to the drawing standard you are using or some custom standard. This way it matters little if you are drawing the Titanic or parts for a tiny watch - the lines are all the same thickness on the page and the system treats them as zero thickness no matter how thick they appear.

Mark

Jonathan Mead02/03/2016 13:56:58
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John, I have sent you a message.

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