Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Graphite Fingers

Congratulate me. I've just nearly-finished my first bit of architecture work in over two years.

"Bit" is the operative word. It is the slightest, the lightest of projects. A whim, a wisp, a trifle. A mere scribble done to edify the fabricators of a new structural beam, that will be installed to replace an existing bearing wall in a local residence. No design, no actual calculations on my part, just documentation of existing conditions with notes on the distance to be spanned by the new support.

Nevertheless, it might prove important for me, since it's for the Executive Presbyter of my presbytery, and if any of our churches need renovation work, it would be nice to be referred.

I did the drawing by hand. Even if my AutoCAD program hadn't expired last December, I wouldn't have used it for this project, since it was a student version and everything you printed out from it bore the scarlet letter of "PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT." In other words, "Naughty, naughty, you've used this relatively-cheap student version for your professional work, instead of paying us for the full version that costs ten times more!" Nope, that'd look bad.

There are free computer drafting programs available on line. But I've already learned AutoCAD and why do I want to confuse myself learning a different one? At least, a different one that nobody uses in any professional office.

So it's drawn in my old pencil-on-vellum style, barring a couple of things on which I need more information from the owners. On things like this, hand-drafting can be faster in some ways.

Still, it'd be nice to have my own full version of AutoCAD, even without 3-D. But at well over $1,000 for an individual license, how can I manage that?

Well, maybe, by way of eBay . . . I'm watching an auction for a full version of AutoCAD LT . . . which ends tomorrow at 12:51 my time . . . which is ten minutes before I'm due at the final planning meeting for the local committee for the North American Festival of Wales that's taking place here in Pittsburgh over Labor Day weekend . . . a meeting that's fifty minutes away and that I must attend . . .

Hmm. I guess I'll watch it till I have to leave, throw in a bid if the spirit moves me, and let the results take care of themselves.


Mile High Pixie said...

eee! did you score the copy of AutoCAD LT on eBay? I know everyone's going to Revit, but for doing the small stuff you're doing, it makes sense to continue using a 2D program.

But do you feel a little different having drawn something again? :-)

St. Blogwen said...

No, I didn't put in a bid on it. The seller had a Reserve, and I was waiting for some other bidder to burst the barrier before I jumped in. Nobody ever did, so who knows-- maybe the seller will relist with a lower reserve.

Yes, it was nice to do some architectural drawing, of any sort, in any medium. Have to say that while hand drafting is better for fudging busts in one's field measurements, with computer drawing software you don't have to worry about p-bar smears on the vellum or mislaying your bloody eraser shield.

I'd be interested in learning Revit, but so far, can't find a tech school around here to teach it to me. Might be worth checking again, for this Fall.

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