Small Project Design

Community HTML

BI(h)OME (by Kevin Daly Architects)

Quick Links

Who we are

AIA Small Project Design (SPD) Knowledge Community supports, celebrates, and promotes small projects by engaging designers and the public.

Expand all | Collapse all

Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

  • 1.  Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-17-2016 04:22 AM
    Is there anyone else out there, using Manual Drawing for Project delivery?
    My practice is a solo, home-office operation.  Including co-op in Architecture School, I worked-around for about 18 years.  When the large firm I was with in '84 closed its office here (Springfield, MA), I decided to go out on my own.  Pin-drafting was early, crude, but up-and-coming; then it died a worthy death.  CADD (yes, w/ 2 "D"s) was in its infancy.
    So, so far, no problem.  In the late '90s, I was convinced I'd go to CADD.  Then, a good friend, a Surveyor, gave me a "tour" of his home office.  He went over the large costs of Autocad, w/ annual renewals, 4-month learning-curves for each year's changes, along with printers / plotters, etc., etc., and I was sold! 
    Manual it is!!
    North of here, there's more wealth and "energy-conscious, Design vision", where people will pay the price of a car for Architectural services for a house, or even a well-done addition or retrofit.
    In this area, I'm working for middle-class people, whom I actually prefer.  Full houses are rare.  Additions are large or small, and work includes the occasional commercial / institutional project.  The small, local G.C.s who build my work are usually great to work with:
    1.     Sometimes, they "come with" the job.
    2.     They are involved mid-to-late in Design or C.D.s, pricing as we proceed.
    3.     They much prefer my basic sheet-specs over a "spec book".
    4.     If field visits are involved, it's easy to resolve details, w/ the Owner as needed. 
    This is a modest-living way to do things, and I'm enjoying the hands-on work.  At age 70, I'm riding-it-out with a "B" lead in a Pentel 0.7mm pencil.  And as I say, "Most Architects never retire, we just draw to a conclusion". 
    There have been 3 referrals in the last few weeks (typically from Clients, friends, G.C.s...).  My other main marketing effort is the 4-day Home Show in late March.
    Anyone else?
    Thanks ---
    Bill Devlin    william j. devlin aia, inc., ARCHITECT    Springfield, MA

  • 2.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-18-2016 05:26 PM

    My 2-person firm is also still drawing with pencils on vellum. I can get PDF's made at the print shop for any jurisdiction that prefers electronic copies. At 73, we are only taking new work from the 3 "F's": friends, family and former clients, and the now-grown children thereof, who were newborns when we started.

    You are right about retiring! They will have to pry my cold, dead hands off my drafting board.

    Judith Wasserman, AIA

    Judith Wasserman AIA
    Bressack & Wasserman
    Palo Alto CA

  • 3.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-21-2016 05:54 PM
    You rock, girl!
    I'm about 8 years your junior and I still use a pencil- Ticonderoga 2HB- mainly for plan and elevational concepts and for one-of-a -kind details which flow directly from head to hand.
    We turn them into pdfs, beam them into the drawing and presto: BobCAD
    It also compels?? me and my computer savvy junior of 16 years to coordinate our work
    Thing is, I hate working a keyboard and with all the other things I'm responsible for - I haven't the patience- but I know enough to make corrections and move things around as needed for last minute issues
    But I do?? have the utmost appreciation of CAD and the 3D programs like Sketchup that do a marvelous job of illustrating, conveying the design to clients who?? have trouble reading/understanding?? plans and the time-saving aspects of it all.
    Wrestling also with retiring.
    But keep putting pencil to paper and let the younger generation put the mouse to the pad.


  • 4.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-28-2016 01:16 PM
    I grew up hand drafting, and in many ways kind of miss it.  About 20 years ago, I transitioned to 2d CADD, using a Mac based program called PowerCADD.  I still use it.  It is very similar to hand drafting (drawing at scale, line weights, etc), except I don't have to worry about erasing through the velum due to too many changes!  Although I can import and export DWG and DXF files, I mainly stay within my clean neat PowerCADD world.  I frequently get complements on the readability of my plans.  If anyone is interested in a small step into the CADD world, you might consider PowerCADD.  I am both an architect and civil engineer (specializing in structural design) and do structural engineering for other clients.  If someone sends me a copy of a hand-drawn plan, I have it scanned and drop the scanned image into my plans, using it as a half-tone background and draw my structural plans atop it.  If someone sends me a plan from AutoCADD or some other CADD software, I can either insert a PDF copy of their plan into my plans, or import a converted plan into my drawings, depending on the complexity, etc.

    best wishes,

    patrick marr, aia pe  architecture + structural design
    2105 gillespie street
    santa barbara, ca  93101
    p:  (805) 898-2096

    proud member of 1% for the planet

  • 5.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-28-2016 01:17 PM
    It is nice to hear there are people out there still doing real drawings.  Tried CAD once and couldn't take it.  In a recent chat with an old high school friend (Architect) he mentioned that when he first started (early seventies) the office still used linen and ink.  That and seeing an original linen drawing at my structural engineer's office, it got me thinking of trying linen out.  Can't seem to find any.  Anyone know a source?  Or maybe some office still has some in the back room they would be willing to sell.  Please let me know.   As far as CAD goes, I also maintain a Woodworking shop that fabricates doors windows and any interesting parts of my projects.  Sometimes for other Architects as well.  I am always surprised by the the lack of subtle information conveyed by CAD drawings and how much flavor and information hand drawings convey.  A good hand drawn drawing conveys a 1000 words, a CAD drawing often needs a 1000 words to describe what you really what.  OK I'm off my soap box, but if you know a source of drafting linen, please let me know.  As for me, a BS in Industrial Design and experience got me here, probably one of the last to do it the old way.

    Andrew Peklo III AIA
    Peklo Design & Joinery pc
    Pomperaug Hydro  P-12790
    cell- 203-233-9258
    29 Pomperaug Road
    Woodbury, CT 06798

  • 6.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-18-2016 05:37 PM

    Well, I'm 71, and after teaching myself Autocad, Autocad Architecture, and then Revit, whenever I start taping a sheet of paper onto my drawing board, I find myself slapping myself up alongside my head exclaiming "What the heck am I doing ?  This would be a lot easier on the computer !"  I could never produce as much as I currently do if I were drawings manually - and I'd never be able to generate the building sections, elevations and 3d color renderings I can with Revit. I guess I've gone over to the "other side" !

    Robert Larsen AIA
    Robert R. Larsen, A.I.A.
    Denver CO

  • 7.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-18-2016 05:42 PM
    I like to use hand drawing for concept/preliminary phase so that they represent its not a hard-lined finished product, but rather an evolving idea.  The "sketch" appearance helps them understand that, and its more enjoyable and easier to solve design issues that way - at least for me.
    Adam J. Trott Architect
    1001 State Street, Suite 205
    Erie, PA 16501
    p. 814-456-8667
    f. 814-453-4978

  • 8.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-18-2016 08:46 PM

    I have tried  all kinds of CAD classes and it just won't go in my head right, plus you need to practice...a lot. I was licensed in 1980. My practice is 100% manual..BUT...I ONLY do schematic design, and have numerous contract Architects, Engineers, Building designers and draftspeople that work with me to put in CAD format, be it Revit, AutoCAD, Vectorworks, etc. Plus I have a few illustration modeling companies that do modeling and illustrations. Specialize in facilitating design charrettes, masterplans and schematic design enough to start entitlement work. This is for ALL kinds of projects. Masterplanned communities, casinos, Hotels, house, offices, Apartments, (No condos) Retail, name it. I do not seem to be short of work over the last 30 years. Ever. I do wish i could do some CAD/Sketchup plans, but...I do not have time to learn..too busy drawing...and clients love my ability to do that in front of them, and in collaborative meetings. (public or private.) I used to be in and owned larger firms..but it was maddening to deal with the ups and downs in order to keep good people.  When I was in a large firm, and brought in work, I had to give the client a fixed fee, based on estimates from staff. But..when the timesheet came in over was a problem. Not the clients problem. ..mine. No more. Tripled my income when I left. A good Schematic design gets a good scope and fixed contract. I need to check them thoroughly, , but....It seems to be the path I am on.   You have to be a good fast draw-er, of course... so..yes..some people still hand draw. But not CD's. Unless something small for a friend..or my own house, in my spare time. Ahh..the Tailer's son has no shoes....I am hiring some contract VR dudes now....from my hand sketches... The world can change around me and i will contract out as needed. We'll...see...

    David Christensen AIA LEEDap
    Christensen Design Management
    Bellingham WA

  • 9.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-19-2016 06:11 AM
    You are not alone: I’m a solo practitioner and I also draw by hand!

    I used CAD in the early 90s in a larger office, but as I did larger and larger projects and became more of a project manager and did less and less drafting, I lost any facility at it. When I went out on my own (2000), I stuck with/went back to pencil and paper. Despite frequent intentions to switch, the learning curve time never seems to match the time available on any one project. I have hired people to do CAD drawings on my large projects. I may yet switch; despite enjoying the physical skill and not wanting to spend even more time looking at screens, I hate re-drawing backgrounds, shells, details, etc.

    I was talking to a local architect who is also on a local Planning Board I often go before. She said I stood out because of the quality of my work (thanks!) and because I was one of, if not the only one, still submitting drawings done by hand. Not sure if that's fame or notoriety!

    Philip Kramer, AIA
    Brookline, MA

  • 10.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 11-19-2016 02:26 PM
    Two of us hang out in my office in Kalamazoo, Michigan downtown. We are both hand drafters. I do mainly Commercial: additions, remodel, adaptive reuse of old and historic buildings.
    The Contractors don’t mind a bit. IN fact they say they can read them better and there are more rtes on the drawings. Our Engineers redraw a background in CAD. So, it all works.
    I still use a lead pointer, E2 lead, mylar, and blue line prints for everyday use. Nathan© nice goes to the Kal-Blue print shop including job sets.

    Nelson Breech Nave, AIA, Architect

  • 11.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-02-2017 04:05 AM
    Computer all the way for me although the first office I worked in was hand-drafting - but I only worked there for a year while I was still in school (and being the only one that knew ACAD I started drawing the office standard details in ACAD for them!).  But I want to point out that the learning curve for the yearly update is pretty much non-existent.  If you want to learn the new features there is a little curve there - maybe a day or two with tutorials or something but you don't have to learn the new features for the most part.  But you don't have to learn the new features - you can continue to operate as you've operated since V14 came out (NOT 2014).  Now it is true that the ribbon was new and confusing a couple years ago - but you can close it or learn it.  I think I'm way faster typing one and two letter commands with my left hand and clicking out lines and things with my right hand than anyone can ever be having to move the mouse up to the ribbon to different tabs and options and then back into the work area.  I do use the ribbon for the newer features as I do like to explore and learn them.

    Thomas Fallon AIA
    Benner Stange Associates Architects, Inc.
    Portland OR

  • 12.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-03-2017 07:32 PM
    Manual drawing only for me.   Tried the electronic drafting stuff and decided I needed to be in complete, not partial control.  There are so many aspects of any drawing if it is viewed as an illustration of a designers' thoughts which a computer print-out could never express.  Because of this I abandoned the keyboard and mouse and keep on rendering the thoughts that my endless imagination will create for me and my clients.  I cannot envision any advantage to letting a mouse be my expression messenger.  It cannot do it.  We need line weight, shading of perfect values, spaced line beginnings and endings sometime with fade out features, we need natural clouds which express the direction of wind paths, we need to say something that is not tangible and express a feeling of permanence, of stability, of uniqueness, most times of warmth and of strength of shelter.  None of this is possible with any CAD system.  I have a BFA degree in Industrial Design but have been a registered architect since 1981 and hand drawing, especially in the schematic phase is very satisfying because what I feel shows in what my hands produce and my clients are in awe of what I present to them.  I always preface my initial presentation with the phrase "this is what I think you asked me for" and fortunately I have the mindset to get it daggone close.  Of course, during my initial interviews there are many aspects which clients tend to disagree upon, usually questioning anothers' preference with "I didn't know you liked that " (My favorite).  My approach at that point is to perform the problem solver facet of design and include the softness of feeling and understanding all viewpoints and working them into solutions that please.  I love doing this and most time my solutions come to me in the wee hours of the morning, just as it must for all dedicated creative designers.  I have been a designer for over sixty years and have trouble turning work away because of the challenges presented.  I can almost always spot a design that has been created on a monitor and I am sure y'all can too.  Seriously, though, at 84, although as sharp as ever, I know I'll be drawing to a conclusion also (as a previous contributor suggested).

    Robert Stirling Morris AIA
    Morris Architecture/Planning
    Canterbury CT

  • 13.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-17-2017 05:38 PM
    Robert, you are so right about being able to see it when some buildings are designed in cad. (not all)
    You can also tell from people's grammar that they text a great deal.

    Patrick Espy AIA
    Avon CO

  • 14.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-20-2017 08:28 PM
    Morris is my man. When I started in 1958 my first job was to replace draftsmen's paper on the plywood boards. We soaked it and stapled it on the underside. Whe the water evaporated it became taught; unless with too much water the board would bend like an Assyrian bow. The we graduated to linen sheets; took the title block stamp, inked it and placed square (using a cardboard template) in the lower right corner. Next, with a bow pen, the kind with a screw at the top, you filled with ink from the bottle, and drew the two sets of border lines. If you ruined a shett it was taken out of your pay.
    Only later were we allowed to trace in ink the working drawings generated by senior men.

    I became registered in 1968 and worked in pencil and ink for 20 years. Even on mylar my ink work was better than pencil. I finally got a computer and a free AutoCad light program and finally mastered it.
    But CAD drawing is hideous. It is unbelieveably timeconsuming and tedious to gave every line it's proper weight. So long as one doesn't mind that every line is the same value, then it may be quicker. There is nothing so fine as a pencil drawing.

    Maybe today we are close to have full color printing; although my recent experience suggests this is still too expensive.

    William McCullam AIA
    Newbury OH

  • 15.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-20-2017 08:29 PM
    Morris is my man. When I started in 1958 my first job was to replace draftsmen's paper on the plywood boards. We soaked it and stapled it on the underside. Whe the water evaporated it became taught; unless with too much water the board would bend like an Assyrian bow. The we graduated to linen sheets; took the title block stamp, inked it and placed square (using a cardboard template) in the lower right corner. Next, with a bow pen, the kind with a screw at the top, you filled with ink from the bottle, and drew the two sets of border lines. If you ruined a sheet it was taken out of your pay.
    Only later were we allowed to trace in ink the working drawings generated by senior men.

    I became registered in 1968 and worked in pencil and ink for 20 years. Even on mylar my ink work was better than pencil. I finally got a computer and a free AutoCad light program and finally mastered it.
    But CAD drawing is hideous. It is unbelieveably timeconsuming and tedious to gave every line it's proper weight. So long as one doesn't mind that every line is the same value, then it may be quicker. There is nothing so fine as a pencil drawing.

    Maybe today we are close to have full color printing; although my recent experience suggests this is still too expensive.

    William McCullam AIA
    Newbury OH

  • 16.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-03-2017 06:13 PM
    The more I practice I realize....Hand drafting (can be) good...CAD is better...BIM IS BEST!

    I started out hand drafting in the mid-eighties.  I saw firms begin to transition to CAD in the early 90's.  by the late 90's most firms did not have drafting boards, and if you wanted a job, you had to know CAD!  I met a lot of seasoned architects who said they could draw "just as fast" by hand.  I don't doubt them. However, most cannot modify a drawing quicker by hand; most cannot use base plans for reflected ceilings and framing plans with out creating some type of reproducible to mail to consultants, etc.  There are many other reasons, but simply put,  feel CAD IS BETTER

    Although I began using CAD in  about 1995, when I began my practice in 1999, I was using plastic lead on mylar (do they even make that stuff anymore) In 2000 I purchased Autocad LT.  I had to do a lot of set up, but then realized I could use schedules and such as templates to be a little more productive.  It is important to note that the time I spent on projects did not change significantly.  The thought that one can cut their production time by 2/3 is a myth, plain & simple!

    In the early 2000's my clients began asking me for 3-D drawings.  in fact one client (an engineer)  went out and bought a cheap 3-d Home architect programs so he could show his wife what their project was going to look like.  It got me thinking that I should look into something beyond AutoCAD LT, which was just 2-D drawing.  I researched it for a few years and settled on SoftPlan - a BIM program for residential and light commercial design.  I could now create 3-D models, but most importantly, was the information while documenting.  Door s and windows are automatically scheduled.  When you change a window, it updates the elevation.  SP has a great "area" mode that allows yo to do quick take-offs - and it is kept in a data base.  A sole practitioner, I taught myself this program in 6 weeks!

    I have also used Revit, which I find harder to learn and manage and better suited for commercial buildings.  Still it is a powerful tool.  I have been doing consulting work for other architects and have to go back to Autocad LT.  Working with another architect there were many discrepancies and changes that did not get followed through.  Most of these could have been avoided with BIM.

    Most of the time we send pdf's to builders and clients.  I cannot imagine making diazo prints or large format copies  and having to distribute these!  This is an electronic age where information can be shared quickly.  Are these programs faster than hand drawing?  Slightly.  Are they better?  Definitely!

    Edward Shannon AIA
    Des Moines IA

  • 17.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-11-2017 02:01 PM
    I suspect I'm among the last few in the profession who started hand drafting, but I was lucky enough to work a couple years for a small architect in Berkeley who did (still does?) hand drafting in 2002.  I've since gone through Vectorworks and AutoCAD as 2D drafting systems and am now in ArchiCAD as a BIM system.

    I love some of the features of BIM and 2D drafting in AutoCAD is blazingly fast, but the big downside in going to computers is that there is a lot more copy-paste mentality when it comes to detailing.  And a big part of the problem is not the interns who don't know what they are copying and pasting details from previous projects, but the PM's who create such tight project deadlines that no one (PM's, Job Captains, interns) has time to really double check standard details to ensure they are applicable to the new project.

    But yeah in spite of the ease of document coordination and cool 3D views from BIM, I really miss the act of standing at the drafting table and actually drafting.

    Justus Pang AIA
    APTUS Architecture
    Las Vegas NV

  • 18.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-12-2017 06:06 PM
    As a one man shop, I don't think I could ever compete if I had to draw everything by hand. I'm 71 and I plan on working until I croak.
    I made the decision some years back to learn Revit because I knew the industry is going that way and if I was going to keep up I had better learn it. 
    When I look back at drawings I did by hand years ago I'm amazed at how beautiful they were.  But after dragging my feet and being in denial about learning CAD and then Revit, now I have to say I'm sold on computer drafting. Anymore I get as far as taping a sheet of paper onto my drawing board when I stop and slap myself up alongside the head and exclaim "What The Heck Am I Doing ?  I Can Do This Much Faster On The Computer!!!"
    I do almost exclusively residential projects. Revit saves me so much time and allows me to produce much more detail with much more accuracy. Just being able to generate quick building section views helps me to understand how the building goes together. To construct section views by hand used to take forever. Revisions used to take forever too - now they are almost painless.  When I finally have the computer model constructed, I can quickly create multiple colored 3d views of the building to show my clients. To draw so many views by hand would be virtually impossible in terms of billable time. Yes, the final drawings aren't as "pretty" as my old hand-drawn ones, but I feel I'm giving my clients better service now.
    I really sympathize with my peers who are still drawing by hand, and I admire the artistry involved. But I'm not going back. This old dog is glad he learned new tricks.

    Robert Larsen AIA
    Robert R. Larsen, A.I.A.
    Denver CO

  • 19.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-12-2017 06:11 PM
    I just realized I had already addressed this last November.  I apologize for hogging the space.

    Robert Larsen AIA
    Robert R. Larsen, A.I.A.
    Denver CO

  • 20.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-13-2017 12:05 PM
    I am a 73 year old architect. I continue to sketch out concepts at beginning of a project. I no longer draw construction drawings by hand.

    It is fun to reminisce about the old days all the way back to drafting on linen with ink using erasing shields,, scum-x, erasers, lettering guides, Leroy sets, French curves, blue prints, plotting perspectives and so on. To draw a plan, section or detail one had to know how elements fit together. Once drawings were completed, changes often occurred. I often had to use the note "NTS" (not to scale) rather than having to redraw the plans, sections or details, and hope nothing was missed. I do look, with fascination and admiration, at those hand drawn sets as artwork from another time.

    I am glad we now have computer software (AutoCAD, Revit, Archicad, etc.) to manage the task of creating and coordinating architectural drawings. Change is good and I can not wait what tomorrow will bring.

    Juris Laivins AIA
    Juris Laivins Architect
    Dallas TX

  • 21.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-13-2017 06:09 PM
    Robert, some things bear repeating - so I'm always glad to hear what others (in our age bracket are doing). I use VectorWorks Architect for the same reasons; I chose it because it allows me to approximate the graphic qualities of my hand drafting with the benefits of BIM. I still have my trusty drawing board which I use for conceptual sketching (which I have never been able to approximate on computers), but do all of my production and design development using CAD/BIM.

    Don Leighton-Burwell AIA
    DLB Architect
    Austin TX

  • 22.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-13-2017 09:01 PM
    I am 69 and taught myself Revit several years ago and agree with you. Although I hope to quit as least 10 minutes before I croak. I can give you another reason for being happy to have learned. I have started using virtual reality with both Iris VR and Revit Live from Autodesk with an Oculus Rift headset. The Revit file converts quickly into a format using the Rift and it is really helpful in analyzing and polishing the design. I recommend it highly.

    Douglas Mayo AIA
    Doug Mayo Architect
    New Orleans LA

  • 23.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-15-2017 02:49 PM
    ​Count me among the dinosaurs!  And I'm still a  relative pup.
    My architecture degree was inked in 1988 and CADD was a 1 semester offering.  The software and equipment was not something a small office could usually justify.  The architect I briefly interned with was entirely old school.  Then I got into construction for 3 years to learn more about how to put together the pretty lines we were placing on the page.  Hand drawing allows me to think about how to construct the entities that get presented on a page instead of thinking how to make the computer understand what my hand and brain can put onto the paper. Every mark on the page is intentional.   And it is tiring to see how many plans get generated with the cut and paste mentality where the people drafting need basically no comprehension of how their computer generated lines need to come together to make a building; or a dimension string is just a series of clicks instead of a mental evaluation of placement of members.
    CAD is great when I am doing a project that involves repetition or a larger project that will need to get presented in multiple scales.  3D presentations are wonderful to help clients visualize what we already can see in our minds.
    But just as cool are the oohs and aahs, and "how do you even do that!?" when you roll out a true blueprint in front of your clients -- especially the younger ones that grew up with an iPad in their hands.
    I will continue to be lead on mylar as long as they keep selling it!!!

    Rene Lusser Assoc. AIA
    Better By Design
    Driggs ID

  • 24.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-17-2017 05:39 PM
    Rene, I'm in your camp.  I need a pencil in my hand for the thought process.  My personal theory is that for me this has a distinct neurological basis; the different physical motions involved with drawing lines of different lengths, textures, and weights is a virtual building process, and for me clicking a mouse repeatedly just doesn't complete the circuit.  Also, working with my hands and creating a drawing makes me happy.  Since mine is a solo practice with small projects, the need for repeating modules isn't there.

    Maybe if a person learns to draft only using a computer it's a different synaptic pathway that can be meshed with 3-D images in the brain. I do wonder, though, if the only way an architect creates a 3-D image is with a computer (rather than drawing an iso or an axo or even a perspective), is the ability to conceive three dimensions conceptually as internalized as it became for me after drafting for a few years?

    No one will ever do a study to investigate this question, I'm sure.

    Leah Greenwald
    Leah Greenwald, Architect
    Lexington, MA

  • 25.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-19-2017 06:14 AM
    Hello, Folks ---
    What the hey ---
    I just did a long bit on CAD and Manual Drawing, so, I'm on a roll (of yellow trace)!  In all these discussions of Manual Drawing, many different methods-and-materials have come out.  So, I'll take the liberty of explaining how I do it, in case there's something there that could be of use to someone else.
    The set-up:
    Base table:
    Years ago, I had a large "base-table" made.  It's 7'-0" long by 3'-6" wide, by 2-1/2" thick, 1/2" plywood top-&-bottom, on a flat-2x frame.  It's covered w/ plastic laminate all-around (preventing warping), and sits on 2 Charrette table-horses.  Or, 2-drawer file cabinets would work. 
    Drawing surface:
    The base is a simple piece of 3/4" plywood, 3' x 4', covered in drawing vinyl.  At the back, it sits on a loose 2x3, to give it a slight tilt (I don't like runaway tools).  On top is a 4-foot parallel-rule, which "rides" on 2"-wide strips of chip-board at its ends, as an anti-smudge measure.
    The "Over-shelf":
    Along the far edge of the base table, I have my (loose) "over-shelf", which is 6-ft. long.  It's 2 - 1x8s, with 1x2 spacers at its ends, and 2 - 2x2 spacers, about 1-ft. apart, at its center.  Underneath, it stands on 1x4s on-edge, ("legs") about 5" in from each end, so it can span the drawing board.  At its left end, another 1x4 on-edge is on top, directly over the leg.  Screwed to that are 2 heavy cardboard tubes, covered in decorative roll-vinyl, to hold rolls of yellow-trace paper.  At the 2x2s at the center, I drilled 1/2"-diameter holes, for my drafting lamps.
    The shelf holds my (great!) collection of templates, then the triangles, on the left, scales/pens/pencils/lead-holders/X-acto knife/etc., in the middle, and drafting brush, compasses, etc., on the right.  For the small items in the middle, toilet-paper tubes fit just-snugly in the 1-1/2" space, and keep the small items in place.  As I draw, everything is "right there"...
    It stayed fairly straight as a seat-of-the-pants "stressed-skin panel", until I loaded it with 2 piles, 18" tall, of paperwork, plus miscellaneous other burdens.  Even like this, it's only deflected about 1/2".
    This is all a sit-down set-up.  For my new office (within our new condo unit) later this year, I want to have a stand-up-drawing option.
    I've got 2 of the usual 2-source drafting lamps, old-&-tired.  I'll treat myself to new ones after the move.
    Doing Architecture:
    (I wrote about how I get my small projects, last year.  The same goes for the Design process I use.  Anyone interested in a re-run?),
    Measuring / Photographing:
    After I've been retained as Architect, there's usually a building, generally a house, to be documented (or, rarely, a site).  For measuring, I use an actual tape, for the hands-on feel.  It gets hooked-on securely at some good point, then I keep it taut as I walk, and note dimensions, in pencil on the structure, as far as the tape will go.  This minimizes cumulative errors.  Then, after free-handing an outline on my narrow-lined, yellow pad, I write-in the dimensions.  A similar process works vertically.  For, say, brick, I'll measure 9, or 12, courses, not just 3, and similar w/ lengths.  Old clapboards were proportioned to suit the openings, so there are few "typicals".  Much as I hate vinyl siding, etc., its regular spacing makes things easier; I just stand-back and count!  Roofs are easy if 3-tab (5"/course, 1-foot length per tab), tougher on "architectural".  For metal roofs, if I can get to a typical pan-width (out a dormer, etc.), I'm golden.  Otherwise, I can count to known stretches of wall, or, whatever...
    Open Site:
    For a "naked site", I get the legal plot plan from the "county" (long story) Hall of Records, and/or the Client.  Usually, I'm asking for more, from the Owner/s Surveyor, especially for topo, any easements, etc.  And of course, I walk-it, with and without the Client.
    For photos, I "shoot first, ask questions later", from overalls to details.  I have them printed (with date shown), so I can spread-'em-out as needed.  If I need to go back, so be it.  With a good supply of old-time album pages, I can have them handy and in order.  My amazing, local, pro-photographer-with-(a real!)-photo-shop, I run my shots at 3-1/2"x 5", so I can get 4-up on each page.  Each job should have its own CD/s on file.
    Drawing existing conditions:
    If there's no addition, or such location/s are "obvious", I'll lay-out the "existing" as the shell of the final sheet.  On a more wide-open job, I just do it, to be traced later if needed.  Plans, elevations, and section/s are printed, and used as bases in Design.  The left-most 1-1/2"-or-so of the sheet is binding space, so --- for "Existing-conditions" presentations, I do a separate, informal "title block" off to the right, and print to the right, not needing the binding-space yet.  Ah-ha!  Yes, I draw on roll-stock, as below.  Rarely, very rarely, I might need to have an existing-only sheet in a set, so --- I punt as needed.
    Drawing sizes:
    The great majority of my work is on 24" x 36" sheets.  Tiny jobs might go on 18" x 24", but that's very unusual.
    Drawing paper:
    One large church-addition, years ago, was done on 32"x40" Mylar, but --- all my other work is on yellow trace, all of it.  Why?  Mylar smudges too easily, and needs mylar leads.  With careful erasing, I usually avoid "going bald" on Mylar, but it has happened.  Vellum gets too grubby, too fast, and is not as transparent as I'd like.  Yellow trace is fine, if treated with care, is forgiving in erasing, and stays clean with minimal effort.
    Drawing the Drawings:
    For yellow trace, graphite is best for me.  So, I use a regular "mechanical pencil" a Pentel 0.7 mm size, instead of an actual lead-holder.  My lead is a "B", for dark lines, and the skinny lead never needs "sharpening" per se.  If I keep it fairly well "choked-up", I rarely have it snap-off.  I'm adamant about line-weights, easily done with multiple strokes as needed.  Erasing, with white-vinyl, is safe on the yellow, with suitable care.
    Sheet protection:
    Drafting powder (crumbs of erasers) does not work for me.  With all the tool movements, it erases lines I want to keep!  It also gets in the way of making the lines, and can even cause minor issues of parallax.  So, I have "elbows", named from when I was protecting sheets from my sweaty arms, back before air conditioning.  These are just pieces of yellow trace, from ends-of-rolls, mis-torn sheets, etc.  I mask-off areas as needed, and keep drawing.  For long-term use, I tape 'em down (never to the work-sheet),  Most of the time, they're OK loose.
    Printing with yellow trace:
    It's scary, yes, but I have never lost a sheet!  I still have an ozalid machine, and a great local shop to care for it, and provide ammonia and paper.  The problem is the paper; we're down to 1 manufacturer, where "quality control" is, well, casual.  To print, I align the yellow trace & blueline paper, and feed-em-in carefully, watching as they go, and listening for any crinkling.  The machine needs an hour-or-so to warm-up, but, any time of day or night, I can run prints before bolting-out to a Client meeting.
    No paper:
    If the paper is discontinued, I could do what the big copy-shops do (I've got a great, local one of those, too); put the original in a folded clear plastic "envelope" and run it.  The major drawback to that is, it must be done during business hours. 
    Spend money:
    And, if the above doesn't work, I'd need to break-down and buy a modest machine.  From what I've seen for available models of printers, I'm guessing 2K to 3K should get me a basic, modern printer.
    Drafting supplies:
    Fortunately, I also have a real, art-supply, drafting-supply, store about 20 miles North of me.  Charrette used to have a good on-line site, which came-up as a different name, but it's been a long, long time since I checked that.
    For starters...
    Thanks ---
    william j. devlin aia, inc.,
    Springfield, MA

  • 26.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-26-2017 12:50 PM
    Re:  hand drafting:  Who has solved the problem of eraser strips for the old electric hand held machines?  Some time ago i went onto ebay to find that some characters were trying to sell those old boxes of erasing strips as antiques, for say, $30.00 per. Crazy, no?

    Michael Bengis AIA
    Michael Bengis Architect PA
    Hopatcong NJ

  • 27.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-27-2017 05:40 PM
    The Mars #528 sticks don't fit?

    Stephen A Wanta AIA
    wanta-architect PLLC
    New York NY 10012

  • 28.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?

    Posted 07-27-2017 05:48 PM

    LOL. $7.50 per strip, or 12 for the Low Low price of $80.76






    Wishing you prosperity in 2017

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Lisa Stacholy, NCARB, LEED ap BD+C

    LKS Architects, Inc.

    1848 Independence Square, Suite D

    Dunwoody, Georgia  30338

    ph 770-393-1125, fax 509-461-0053, Cell 404-247-3335

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


  • 29.  RE: Manual Drawing, Anyone ?