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resullins

CAD Standards Manual

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resullins

Let's see, to answer some of the issues that have been brought up.

 

I am in AV contracting. So our drawing sets consist of everything from 3D structural details to system schematics... which is part of why this manual is already bloating in my head. Our different drawing series all have different standards that need to be taken into account.

 

We use ONLY AutoCAD. I and one other engineer have copies of Revit LT for the sole purpose of creating backgrounds from architect's files, but we don't use it to create our drawings, so that's not a problem.

 

@BB: Thanks for all the input. I'm trying to not come down like a tyrant about all the stuff that needs to happen... but at the same time, I currently have a lot of engineers that can not or do not understand that making a drawing legible also makes it more useful. Yes, it seems Machiavellian to state that columns of system schematic symbols should be 5" apart... but if I don't say things like that, I get a lot of files that are so unreadable I might as well thrown them out... so I'm not sure how to best handle all those little uber-picky things. I'm also trying to make it so that all the drawings that come out of our company look like they were made by people that are at least on the same page.

 

@Styk: I would love to take a look... I'll PM you my email?

 

@Tuns: I'm not asking for what standards to incorporate, I'm asking how to write a technical manual. I'm an engineer, not a textbook author. And it's a vague question on purpose... if this were a cut and dry issue, I probably wouldn't need the help.

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BlackBox

You're welcome, resullins. :)

 

Unfortunately, CAD Standards are nothing but that... The production standard to which CAD users are expected to perform their duties... One is unable to 'will' a given CAD user to adhere to said standard, without the appropriate management/supervisory support, and built-in consequences such as employee review, etc. (if it were to come to a thing like that). When a supervisor allows a given CAD user to not adhere (or turns a blind eye when they don't for the sake of getting 'something' when they want it), the entire system short circuits.

 

The best way, in my limited experience (I'm no expert), to get both management to support the effort, and provide the necessary authority to implement such a system, has multiple facets....

 

First the standard needs to be clear, and concise, providing examples where possible.

 

Next the CAD users (or their representatives, if too many to include all) are participants in the crafting of the standard - people are more likely to adhere to something they feel a sense of ownership about; makes them want it to succeed.... Purposefully, when you're not conducting scheduled meetings, go around the office (or make a point of going to other offices, where possible) and talk to users at their desk, or while getting a cup of coffee... Ask open ended questions, and do more listening to their responses, than commenting. Allow awkward pauses after they give what you think might be a canned answer, prompting them to continue... That tends to be when you might find out what they really think.

 

Lastly, you need to make it simple for the end user where you can, by way of a well working implementation (no error messages), etc. It should be streamlined for efficiency, and standardized (to an appropriate level) to allow for consistent productivity... Even when a user's computer goes down.

 

 

 

For the end user, one who is not participant in the crafting of the standard, they need training... Numpties don't adhere to (let alone care about) what they don't know, or understand... And that's given support from everyone above them in this organizational chain. More often than not, with all of the other things in place, 'training' is the keystone.

 

... More on to paraphrase SunTzu, On the Matter of Training:

 

...

In [CAD Standards], everyone is expected to obey the rules and regulations or he will be punished. To this, the [Cheif Operations Officer (COO)] assented.

 

Then he ordered that one hundred and eighty [numpties] be selected from among the [company numpties] to receive [CAD] training under [The CAD Manager] who divided the [numpties] into two [production teams] and made two of the [COO's] most favorite [numpties] their [Supervisors]. [The CAD Manager] then said to the [COO], "A good [production team] cannot be built without strict discipline. Although those [numpties] are [company numpties], discipline must be enforced without exception. So please send me two [Senior numpties] to enforce [CAD Standards]. " The [COO] consented.

 

The [CAD Standards we soon implemented]. [The CAD Manager] first [must make] known the rules and regulations to be obeyed and then explained to the [numpties] how to execute such commands as "[Use proper Osnaps]", "[Purge All]", "[Copy Objects]", "[Save the drawing]", "[Create a New drawing]", "[Archive the project]" and so on.

 

After he was finished with this, he asked the [numpties], "Is it all clear now?" "[Sure, man]," the [numpties] replied. But [The CAD Manager] explained the rules and regulations once again and then had the drummers beat out martial music.

 

At this, he shouted commands such as "[Use proper Osnaps]" and "[Copy Objects] " Instead of carrying out his commands, the [numpties] started giggling. [The CAD Manager] said, turning very serious, "It apparently is my fault not to have made the rules and regulations and commands plain enough. " So he reiterated what he had said before, explaining very carefully the rules and regulations and the way to carry out the commands.

 

After that he once again had the drummers beat out martial music and started giving commands. However, he met with only rings of laughter. Now [The CAD Manager] looked very stern and said seriously, "If I had not made sufficiently clear the discipline and the commands, it would be my fault.

 

Now that everything has been made clear and still you have failed to execute my orders, the [Supervisors] must be held responsible. " He ordered that the two [Supervisors] be beheaded immediately in public, as a warning to all.

...

 

Cheers

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tzframpton

PM away, Sullins.

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RobDraw

In order to emphasize the importance of the manual(s), require everyone to sign for their copy(s).

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stevsmith
Ok... back fresh from maternity leave, and my first project is to write a CAD standards manual for the company.

 

Has anyone ever taken on a feat like this before? Does anyone have any tips or tricks? Examples? There just seems like SO much information to squeeze in, and I don't know where to put it all.

 

I'm working on company standards too, pm me your email address and ill send over a copy of what I have.

I's just a first draft, but it's slowly getting there. :D

 

Stevie.

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Mike_Taylor

Here we have a basic CAD manual (which I am essentially re-writing). For our standards for schematics we are working on a design standards booklet for each sub-discipline we do (plumbing/HVAC/Lighting/Site Lighting/Roadway Lighting/Fire Alarm etc).

 

When ever the need for referring to the different standards specific to the discipline we are going to insert a link to the page in the booklets (we want everything electronic).

 

The first section is all about file management, all of the separate locations on our server, what they contain etc. We also have a short introduction to our file organization software.

 

As for the actual CAD standard, I have included a section for the setup of the UI (we have 3 custom menus we load and the rest is up the the user), plotter configurations, our STB and CTB file setups , support file locations, instructions on how to properly load the palettes etc. (I mantain this all, but if I am on holidays this could be an issue so we want it documented).

 

All of our drafting standards are next (text heights/ font types, page naming/numbering conventions).

 

From there we go into drawing setup (proper background set ups, layer naming conventions, etc). We have included specific ways to set up certain backgrounds for different clients as the way they do things are polar opposite and not that great in some cases.

 

Thats about as far as I have it for now, but there will definitely be some more stuff added, especially once we get the design standards completed.

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Patrick Hughes

resullins,

 

Good luck on your daunting task. If you are in the process of creating or modifying the standards (as opposed to documenting them) you might have a look at a blog article I wrote.

 

I take a wholly different approach from what many advocate. I think many suggestions that are made are based on original CAD capabilities from 25 to 30 years ago and don't fit in today so well.

 

Here's the article link:

 

http://cadtempo.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-return-of-doctor-who-and-cad-manager.html

 

 

And congratulations on your new addition.

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BlackBox

I take a wholly different approach from what many advocate. I think many suggestions that are made are based on original CAD capabilities from 25 to 30 years ago and don't fit in today so well.

 

... I may not have even been conceived that long ago. :P

 

I'll still be giving the article a read; thanks for sharing. :beer:

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Patrick Hughes
... I may not have even been conceived that long ago. :P

 

I'll still be giving the article a read; thanks for sharing. :beer:

 

I hope you find it worth the read. I'm an advocate of simplicity and while the basis for many current "standards" are simple enough they can also be simplistic and may not take advantage of later technology or methodology (automation, customization, newer tools, etc.) :beer:

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bennyboy86

all i can say is good luck, no matter how good a standard is you will always came across drafters who will still do parts how they want.

 

i wrote my companies standards, 2 yrs later and everyone pretty much uses them, with some helpful nudging from time to time.......

 

make it simple so theres no way they can ***** that they didnt understand......

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wsucad

ugh - I posted this earlier and got an error, said it was to short? seriously??

 

 

Anyways, about ten years ago I wrote some CAD Standards that really need to be updated but here are some of the links I used:

 

http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic1166718.files/CAD%20Standards_092911_FINAL.pdf

 

http://www.gobookee.org/us-cad-standards/

 

http://www.in.gov/indot/3084.htm

 

http://www.in.gov/indot/design_manual/files/INDOT_CAD_Standards.pdf

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resullins

Thanks! I'll take a look at those. I've gotten sidetracked by projects and haven't gotten to work on it lately. But hopefully I'll get back to it soon!

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resullins

Well, I finally got my draft done. It's like 55 pages... and still could stand some major additions. So I think I'm going to be reviewing other engineer's drawings for a while so I can see what else needs to be standardized.

 

Thanks for all the help guys.

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PotGuy

55 Pages. :ouch:

 

Must be pretty darn comprehensive! I assume this isn't going up for us to see? o:)

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resullins

Ok... I guess you can take a look!

 

It's really comprehensive. It borders on instruction manual... since a lot of our Engineers are borderline useless.

 

Well, it seems it's too large at 5Mbs. What's the size limit for these things?

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Tuns

The size limit for this site or for the file? I think it should be possible to make the file take up all your memory if you wanted... but that would be dumb and take forever to do. I think the limit for this site is 1000 KB or something like that.

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resullins

Yeah, I meant for the site. It's way too big. I'll try to break it up.

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PotGuy

Alternatively, you could use a dropbox link.

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