Author Topic: CAD Standards from the ground up  (Read 15145 times)

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Birdy

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CAD Standards from the ground up
« on: May 18, 2012, 12:32:11 PM »
For the sake of argument, assume vanilla AutoCAD (as opposed to C3D, Revit, MDT, etc.):

If you were to develop CAD Standards from square one, what would be your first order of business, second, third, etc. and why?

Try to keep this independent of discipline..... if you can.
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deegeecees

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 12:48:58 PM »
First order of business should be file/part naming and directory structure. A logical order will ensure a good foundation to build on.

After that:
Layers
Text/Dim scaling
Block Creation
etc.

Krushert

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 01:07:09 PM »
First order of business should be file/part naming and directory structure. A logical order will ensure a good foundation to build on.

After that:
Layers
Text/Dim scaling
Block Creation
etc.
Agreed but I put one item before all that.  The cad manager and manamgement should sit down and discuss on broad terms the process for creating and distribution of a standard for a particular item and the enfrocement of the said standard.  With out buy in and enfocement you are wasting your breath time and energy. 
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TimSpangler

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 05:00:20 PM »
First order of business should be file/part naming and directory structure. A logical order will ensure a good foundation to build on.

After that:
Layers
Text/Dim scaling
Block Creation
etc.

I would agree. 
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Drafter X

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 09:20:47 PM »
First order of business should be file/part naming and directory structure. A logical order will ensure a good foundation to build on.

After that:
Layers
Text/Dim scaling
Block Creation
etc.
Agreed but I put one item before all that.  The cad manager and manamgement should sit down and discuss on broad terms the process for creating and distribution of a standard for a particular item and the enfrocement of the said standard.  With out buy in and enfocement you are wasting your breath time and energy.

As a follow up to that, a reminder that the standard should fulfill more then one goal, of course there is the efficient standardization and presentation of information..  but of nearly equal importance is a standard that makes sense with regard to how people work. I have seen so many standards that got into such minutia that they made the process slower and more cumbersome then any gain they got from having it all consistent.  Keep dimstyles and layering as simple as you can for your discipline, think about sharing the files outside your firm (if that is a possibility... i.e. dont redefine 'standard' dimstyles, textstyles, plotstyles and such).

Sit down with some of your better drafters and watch them work for a few hours.. long enough to see how they really work. Do it with a few of your best folks and make sure that standard will help them, not hinder them and you will end up with a much more likely standard to be followed. 

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JNieman

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 09:23:10 PM »
Establish that there is repercussions for not conforming, and that someone who cares, has the authority to enforce it, or it's not worth wasting time developing it.

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2012, 12:34:29 AM »
I agree with the order of standard defining, but disagree with it being defined outside of discipline.

On a previous job, we had every layer predefined, even if you didn't need it, you had it available in the template. It could be purged out later if you didn't need it.

I know lots of folks lament how blocks are defined, especially concerning layering, but, on my last job, every component of every block was created on the layer it would be on if the block were exploded. Nothing was defined on layer 0. the standard even went as far as to state that the use of layer 0 was prohibited. the reason for this was due to our block management software. Every block was forced to a specific layer to enforce standardization and automation.

I understand the problem of getting to the minutia of standard defining, however, compliance is not only enforceable when that happens, but it also allows for better automation and easier compliance because the designer does not have to make a decision on what to do in *this* situation ... it is already made.

Also, you should understand that standards MUST be open to revision otherwise they become unmanageable as needs change and new developments are incorporated.

One company I worked for had standards defined down to where the centermost point of the model must be located in modelspace and the offset location of dimensions from the item being dimensioned ... however, in that office we were highly automated .. to the point that we could take someone with absolutely no knowledge of AutoCAD or our design standards and teach them how to use our tools to design. Even the most novice person could be an effective designer within a week ... and they didn't need to know anything about the drawing standards.
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Daniel J. Ellis

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 03:32:14 AM »
One company I worked for had standards defined down to where the centermost point of the model must be located in modelspace and the offset location of dimensions from the item being dimensioned ... however, in that office we were highly automated .. to the point that we could take someone with absolutely no knowledge of AutoCAD or our design standards and teach them how to use our tools to design. Even the most novice person could be an effective designer within a week ... and they didn't need to know anything about the drawing standards.

Wow, Keith, that's a bit extreme :)  What discipline was that in?

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Keith™

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 09:58:05 AM »
One company I worked for had standards defined down to where the centermost point of the model must be located in modelspace and the offset location of dimensions from the item being dimensioned ... however, in that office we were highly automated .. to the point that we could take someone with absolutely no knowledge of AutoCAD or our design standards and teach them how to use our tools to design. Even the most novice person could be an effective designer within a week ... and they didn't need to know anything about the drawing standards.

Wow, Keith, that's a bit extreme :)  What discipline was that in?

dJE

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Over the course of 10 years I had developed the entire suite of tools used by the company. The designers who knew how to use the tools effectively could do a complete home design from foundation to rooftop in under eight hours, including framing plans for every wall, cut lists for every piece of lumber, cut lists for water and waste pipes, material lists etc. Those with less knowledge could do it in 12-14 hours.

That was the beauty of having such a well defined standard. Software could be written to handle just about every scenario. When we couldn't code a solution to an issue, we revised the standard to allow for that ability.
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cadtag

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 01:13:09 PM »
First order of business should be file/part naming and directory structure. A logical order will ensure a good foundation to build on.

After that:
Layers
Text/Dim scaling
Block Creation
etc.

And add  questions at the beginning:  What are the goals, and which of the goals takes priority?  Is inter-organizational collaboration a 'higher' goal than minimizing keystrokes?   Repetitive work, or is each job wildly diverse?  A lot of standards seem to be defined on the idea that the company needs cad standards, and sometimes the end result is a standard that does not fit either the projects being done, or the organizations doing them.  But theya re 'standards', so the check list item for that can be checked.
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KewlToyZ

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2012, 09:34:58 PM »
I found the biggest issue of all was publishing.
It doesn't matter whats in the PC only what makes it to paper and on time.
No matter what platform, publishing the content is the product that gets the company paid.

Krushert

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2012, 09:45:36 PM »
And add  questions at the beginning:  What are the goals, and which of the goals takes priority?  Is inter-organizational collaboration a 'higher' goal than minimizing keystrokes?   Repetitive work, or is each job wildly diverse?  A lot of standards seem to be defined on the idea that the company needs cad standards, and sometimes the end result is a standard that does not fit either the projects being done, or the organizations doing them.  But theya re 'standards', so the check list item for that can be checked.

Good Point!  Very Good Point!
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Krushert

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2012, 09:49:22 PM »
I found the biggest issue of all was publishing.
It doesn't matter whats in the PC only what makes it to paper and on time.
No matter what platform, publishing the content is the product that gets the company paid.

Yes and No.  You are right about the "what is on paper gets you paid"  But if you can look at through the eyes of standards, then you might be able to reduce your going to print time and increase your quality/quantity using standards, then you increase your $$$.  Like Keith has stated.
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KewlToyZ

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2012, 10:27:17 PM »
I found the biggest issue of all was publishing.
It doesn't matter whats in the PC only what makes it to paper and on time.
No matter what platform, publishing the content is the product that gets the company paid.

Yes and No.  You are right about the "what is on paper gets you paid"  But if you can look at through the eyes of standards, then you might be able to reduce your going to print time and increase your quality/quantity using standards, then you increase your $$$.  Like Keith has stated.

I agree, but as so eloquently stated, it really does depend on the scope of business performed as well. So I digress  :wink:

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2012, 09:11:57 AM »
I found the biggest issue of all was publishing.
It doesn't matter whats in the PC only what makes it to paper and on time.
No matter what platform, publishing the content is the product that gets the company paid.

That is the kind of thinking that would have never worked in my previous company. Sure the documents are what the client ultimately pays for, but the process getting to those printed documents is how we made our money.

In architecture, there are many times that someone wants something that has already been defined elsewhere. With our system, we could make those changes very quickly due to the automation .... automation which wouldn't be possible without the strictest of standards being enforced.

As a designer, I always thought of the electronic document as the product of my job, not the printed product.
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M-dub

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2012, 10:24:20 AM »
As a designer, I always thought of the electronic document as the product of my job, not the printed product.

We're in somewhat of a "new beginning" phase here where I work and that's one of the ideas I'm trying to get across...

All drawings in this place used to be manual... because the place was built before computers were invented.  The drawings were all kept in tubs in an age where there really WAS one TRUE master.  Eventually, drawings were made electronic and then printed with each updated.  Some time after that, all of the manual drawings were scanned and while we kept the tubs, all drawings were then printed on 11" x 17" yellow paper and kept in dozens of different binders, so everyone sort of thought that the "masters" were now kept in these binders.  As far as I'm concerned they are all just prints or copies of the master drawings.... which reside on the network... in an electronic format.

This is going to be a very interesting thread for me in the coming months....

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2012, 10:54:03 AM »
One thing is certain, if you have well defined standards that are easy to follow because of automation. People will adopt the standards quickly and the office will become more efficient ... allowing for more automation and even better compliance with standards.

For example, we had a plotting application that would plot all the files and layouts for a job. If the user did not name the layouts or files correctly, the plotting application would fail. Initially, the users would complain that the program didn't work. After explaining to them a few dozen times that the filename must be CustomerlastnameCustomerfirstname_diciplinechar and that the sheet names had to be named diciplinecharTwodigitSheetnum they would finally understand i.e. BlackieKeith_A.dwg and A01, A02, A03 etc.

Plotting the all of the plans manually would take about 20 minutes as opposed to one minute programmatically .. plus a plot log sheet would be printed automatically, where the user would have to manually enter the information in a document and print it out.
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Krushert

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2012, 12:58:24 PM »
The slickist automation that I saw was BOM generator that got its information from an ERP system software and recreated the BOM in Microstation file.  The engineer created the BOM on the ERP software and push a button.   Before the purchase of the ERP software the engineer created the BOM in Microstation and then a clerk manualy copied the data in older ERP software. 
The old way created lots of errors from miskeying and also created duplicate parts becuase the engineer did not dig deep enough to find an existing part.  And it was time consuming.

My point is automation can be outside of cad box as well.
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cadtag

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2012, 08:56:59 AM »

One thing is certain, if you have well defined standards that are easy to follow because of automation. People will adopt the standards quickly and the office will become more efficient ... allowing for more automation and even better compliance with standards.

Very true,  when the tools make it easier to follow the standard than work around it, hat's a good approach.  But that's part of what I was trying to get at with the 'questions to ask'.  What is to be accomplished with the standards?  If it's a residential builder pushing out variations on sheet rock ranchburgers in cookie cutter subdivisions, then there's one approach to standards.  If the jobs are dependents on multi-organizational collaboration juggling archies, meps, and civil, there's a different approach to standards needed.  If the work varies wildly, from multi-story ADA ramps to constructed wetlands to residential decks, there's yet another approach needed.  All are valid, but with different goals and purposes, what is important in one is less than trivial in another.  A standard that calls for plotting by 'client last name' is non-workable when the client is a utility compnay and the project is headworks renovations on a 16 MGD WWTP. 

As a designer, I always thought of the electronic document as the product of my job, not the printed product.

I think about it differently; as a designer, the product of my job is the thing that gets built.  The digital and paper documents are tools to get there, but _only_ tools to communicate design intent and guide the construction of what was designed. 
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TimSpangler

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2012, 10:20:54 AM »

As a designer, I always thought of the electronic document as the product of my job, not the printed product.

I think about it differently; as a designer, the product of my job is the thing that gets built.  The digital and paper documents are tools to get there, but _only_ tools to communicate design intent and guide the construction of what was designed.

I think that there is validity in both.  As a designer for a residential big builder the e-docs are a product of the job, but they are also a tools for the next jobs.  We often use old project to create new projects. Everything from copying a bath to and entire wing.  This leads to the point, the standard should make it easy for those dwg's to be accessed easily, as well as all of the product info.  Good sensible folder structure is key for this.

Also as Keith pointed out automation can make adopting standards much easier.  If the user doesn't have to think about it, the less likely they will be to complain about it.  However the automation has to be almost seamless or effortless.  Where I work they like to make pull down menus for everything, not everyone uses pull downs (me included).  Also the pull downs are very dis-organized, that makes it hard to find things.  Kind of defeats the purpose.


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Rob...

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2012, 10:59:12 AM »
In the design world, I've heard that the best jobs are the ones that don't get built. Thus the final product is the documentation.
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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2012, 11:00:16 AM »
... Where I work they like to make pull down menus for everything, not everyone uses pull downs (me included).  Also the pull downs are very dis-organized, that makes it hard to find things.  Kind of defeats the purpose.

Yeah .. you kinda need to have keyboard shortcuts to be most efficient
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BlackBox

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2012, 03:46:22 PM »
... Where I work they like to make pull down menus for everything, not everyone uses pull downs (me included).  Also the pull downs are very dis-organized, that makes it hard to find things.  Kind of defeats the purpose.

Yeah .. you kinda need to have keyboard shortcuts to be most efficient

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2012, 05:12:29 PM »
Yeah .. you kinda need to have keyboard shortcuts to be most efficient

fast is good, if the design works. Blinding keyboard-whacking speed is only efficient when it's right the first time.
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bchapman

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2013, 09:59:52 PM »
Make money...don't screw up.

MeasureUp

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2013, 10:09:39 PM »
Make money...don't screw up.
I would like to see how far you can go without a CAD standard.  ;-)

MeasureUp

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2013, 10:45:26 PM »

As a designer, I always thought of the electronic document as the product of my job, not the printed product.

I think about it differently; as a designer, the product of my job is the thing that gets built.  The digital and paper documents are tools to get there, but _only_ tools to communicate design intent and guide the construction of what was designed.
IMO, the statement of product, alternatively, is:
To Drafters -The product is the electronic or paper documents.
To Designers - The product is the thing built as it is designed.

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2013, 10:00:09 AM »
I agree with most of what has been written here.
 
My two cents:
 
After you've gained the backing of management and you observed your power users in action so you know you won't be hindering their performance...
 
I know we didn't want to talk about specific disciplines but:
It depends on your business and company type.
 
Are you a company that produces wigets and sells them to outside sources, and so all your drawings and cad work remain internal?
 
If so, a nice basic easy to follow cad standard that meets your industry needs, that you create for your company should suffice.
 
Are you a company that designs buildings and construction projects for it's own clients, as well as consulting for other clients using other cad standards such as GSA, ACOE, VA, USCG, etc?
 
Well then it's in your best interest to streamline everything you can to the most common cad standards. For this type of business (atleast in the US) seems to be National Cad Standards (NCS) because most of these orgaizations use this as a basis for their standards.
 
With all that said, there are common standards that I feel everyone should be following, most of them mentioned already (and don't make it any more complicated then it needs to be):
 
File structure / File naming /layout naming (and procedures to be followed)
Layer names and mangagement (A layer for everything and everything on it's layer)
Named dimstyles and textstyles for your company standard (keep names genaric)
File Templates
Block Libraries
 
Basics:
All entities ByLayer: color, plotstyle, lineweight, and Linetypes
Block entities created on layer zero, (or block defined on layer zero if entities are on specific layers)
Common coordinates/insertion points for all files (blocks, title blocks, base plans etc.)
Ortho, Object Snaps, Accuracy.
 
I feel that my cad files and my printed drawings are my product.
My drawings should look good, be accurate and complete, easy to read and follow whatever the standard is, and my cad files should be set up in a way that someone can follow behind me and edit the drawing in my absence.
 
Everything sould make sense, clean cad work without extra garbage around in MS or PS if possible.
 
Have you ever gotten into someone's drawing to edit it and say WTF??
That is why standards and procedures are important!
 
 
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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2013, 01:06:50 PM »
^^  Way too complicated. ^^ 

All objects on layer zero and all text and dim styles on one named style.  STD or ACAD works very well.

The only way to draw.

 :-P :lol: :evil:  <Stick-Poking-Smilely>
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tedg

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2013, 01:22:17 PM »
^^  Way too complicated. ^^ 

All objects on layer zero and all text and dim styles on one named style.  STD or ACAD works very well.

The only way to draw.

 :P :D >:D  <Stick-Poking-Smilely>
You forgot to mention to explode all the dimensions and hatch patterns, especially sand or concrete.
 
 :ugly:
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BlackBox

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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2013, 01:43:21 PM »
^^  Way too complicated. ^^ 

All objects on layer zero and all text and dim styles on one named style.  STD or ACAD works very well.

The only way to draw.

 :-P :lol: :evil: 

FTFY
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Re: CAD Standards from the ground up
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2013, 01:58:08 PM »
Object colors and linetypes should be done by the toolbar pulldowns.  "ByLayer" what's that mean?  I want it orange.  There's a reason those pulldowns are right there..