Cad On Society Essay, Research Paper
CAD on society
Before computers there were hands and tools. Before hands and tools there were just hands. Humans have always been designing and throughout human history drafting is what became of it. With new technology in building during the earlier years drafting needed to be changed to accommodate it. Humans have always been able to find better ways to accomplish things. Drafting is no different.
Before people used tools to draw something they went to what we call now a “General Contractor” with an idea and he had to come up with the rest. After a while the contractors wanted more. Just an idea wasn’t enough for them. Their clients sometimes wouldn’t like what they had built for them. So eventually the contractors asked the clients to tell them exactly what they wanted. Since it was hard to sketch accurately, tools were developed to aid them in drawing. This enabled the client to show the contractor exactly what he wanted.
As the population grew rapidly the demands for faster and more accurate plans did also. Once again drafters looked for a new way to draw. They decided to turn to the computer. In the 1950s MIT discovered the capability to display a computer-generated image on the screen (Zandi, 5). Up until the mid to late 1970s drafters used this technology just for mathematical calculations (Goetsch, 23). Then they discovered that the computer could be used to display more than just numbers. They found that they could use it to draw on. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that this new technology caught on (Goetsch, 23). Drafters found that using computers was much quicker, more accurate, and much neater than hand drawn plans. They had found their solution, Computer Aided Drafting and Design or CADD.
Now that CADD has found it way into drafting it has been improving upon drafting greatly over the past 20 years. Today nearly all firms use CAD (Friedman). It has changed the way people go about their drawing and designing process. The variety of new programs has made everything more accurate, there are many more ways to think towards a problem, and the process of fast tracking has come about. It has changed the society in many ways.
Whether using CADD or drawing a project traditionally, drafters always start off with a sketch. When brainstorming ideas it is much easier to do it with a pad of paper and a pencil than on a computer. A sketch of an object is a drawing that is inaccurate that has just ones ideas on it (Friedman). It is difficult to sketch on the computer because the computer is so accurate (Friedman). It is not a good idea to draw a sketch accurately because between a sketch and the final drawing things change drastically (Friedman). So it shouldn’t be perfect. It should be something a drafter can interpret in different ways.
To sketch a drawing an idea must first be thought of. Then once the idea has been thought of the drafter begins with a piece of graph paper and a pencil. There are no tools needed for a sketch. The boxes on the graph paper can be used as a guide and a scale (Friedman). A sketch is just an estimation of the real thing. So one just estimates, nothing else.
CADD is very hard to sketch in. Some of the more sophisticated programs have a function where the mouse can act like a sketch pencil (Bethune, 13). Although this seems like it might be like the pencil it is not. Mice are harder to keep straight and even the lightweight drawing tasks may make the hand tired (Bethune, 13). Other ways of getting a sketch on the computer are scanners, electronic pens or touch pads. With the electronic pen, just point at the screen and that is where the dot, line or shape shows up. However one moves the pen is what shows up. This can be hard because a screen is at a weird angle, which makes drawing awkward. The touch pad however can be bought to the size of the screen. These are the best method because they recognize where one puts his pen on the pad is where the pen shows up on the screen. But it still isn’t as responsive as a regular pencil (Zandi, 26). These are all good methods but the fact remains that it is still easier and quicker to sketch with paper and pencil that on the computer. Once the drawing phase has commenced CADD is much easier.
Once the sketch has been made the actual measurements need to be thought of. These measurements may be changed later. Then the measurements go onto the sketch. These measurements are not estimations but the sketch also does not have to be in scale with these measurements. Now the actual drawing can be drawn. The tools are used to make sure the measurements one chose are drawn to scale. Some of these tools are a drawing board, t-square, triangles, a scale (drafters ruler), and a compass (Spencer, 6). The process of completing this drawing is a long and tedious one. The lines that are drawn must be gone over many times so that they are dark enough and thick enough. Many steps must be taken to make a perfect square. All the tools mentioned above are used also (Spencer, 8). The one square may take about five minutes. And the square usually isn’t perfect. Some times it may be, give or take 1/32 of an inch off (Goetsch, 32). This may not seem like a lot but it really is when it comes time to build the object. The drawing may have a series of lines, squares, circles, and many other shapes. The more complicated the shape the longer it takes to make it.
There are many different programs to draw a sketch on. Which one the drafter chooses is dependent on the type of drawing being created. The most widely known program is AutoCAD. The new version of AutoCAD can do just about anything. It can handle architecture, engineering, mechanical drawing, and some animation. Most firms use this program. There are also various interior design programs with which one can design the inside of a house complete with electrical, phone, water and heat systems. Most architectural programs use this as well as AutoCAD. There are also programs where it is possible to create a virtual building and examine the heat flow system to make sure that the building is getting maximum efficiency. Other programs animate a building or object so one may simulate what happens with the building. All of these programs are very good for the field that they are used for.
Although the process may be a long and tedious one traditionally, the drafter takes much pride in his work. The way he feels about his job shows up in his drawings. If his drawings are sloppy a client can tell that he probably isn’t thrilled with what he does. But on the other hand if his drawing are neat and accurate then the client can tell that he does take pride in his work and he likes what he does for a living. If a client doesn’t think that their drafter likes what he does then they probably won’t hire him. So it is important that one draws with passion. When they do it shows. This is hard to do in CADD since all drawings look the same (Friedman).
CADD programs, on the other hand, do have many 3-D capabilities. CADD programs simplify the visual complexity of a drawing making it much easier to look at. (Bethune, 72) It also better integrates 3-D modeling into a user’s design process making working with 3-D much easier. (Bethune, 71)) Once an object has been drawn in 3-D mode a user can at any time look at it from any angle (Bethune, 74)) or create a cross section of that object. (Goetsch, 26) Any time the user edits that object the change that he or she made is updated in all other views as well. (Goetsch, 23) To manipulate the drawings one can delete, zoom in or out, mirror, rotate, and scale. (Zandi, 158) Some 3-D programs can allow architects to examine critical building elements such as curtain walls and immediately locate problems. (Grad, 44) The simulation technology has advanced so much that architects can study energy loss and subtle inefficient performance by completing buildings in 3-D long before construction begins. (Grad, 44) Now architecture students are learning animation programs in order to simulate the experience of walking through elaborate un-built spaces. (Grad, 62)
CADD has very many pluses to it. “The single most important benefit of CADD is its increased productivity.” (Goetsch, 115) In most of the drafting programs out there CADD is five to twenty times faster than hand drawing. (Goetsch, 115) CADD can also be used in all fields of drafting (Goetsch, 115) which makes it very widely used. In addition to being faster is it also much more accurate and reliable than a human being. (Goetsch, 64) Drawings may be completed with four decimal accuracy, which is standard, or much higher. (Zandi, 8) This makes it much easier at the end to build whatever the drawing is of. Drawings may also be retrieved at any time and then modified over and over again. (Zandi, 8) This makes revisions many times quicker than doing by hand since it doesn’t need to be drawn all over again. (Zandi, 8) And “comparing to them manually prepared drawings CADD drawings are superior in the quality of lettering, scaling accuracy, and overall appearance.” (Goetsch, 115) In other words, they are much nicer to look at. A Yale architecture student said, “Using AutoCAD to draw is much easier and quicker than drawing by hand.” It is also easier and much more cost effective to fix a problem in a virtual building that a real one. (Grad, 46)
One thing that CADD has influenced is the process that architects go through when they are designing a building something. Since CADD is so fast paced clients want their building to be fast paced as well. So the idea of “Fast Tracking” came into play. Fast tracking is where once the first phase of designing has been done it starts to get built while the second phase is being designed. This makes the overall project complete about thirty percent faster than done the other way. What happens is the foundation is designed and then built while the first floor is being designed and so on. This to some people is not the best way to go about building a house. There is no coordination between the drawings that completed and then built. Once one piece has been designed the drafter has set parameters that he must follow to the end. There is no room for error any where in the project. There are many corrections that need to be made when the finished product has been completed. The whole process is very difficult for the architect. It creates lots of stress that is hard to get rid of. It cost a lot more since there is so much rework that has to be done on both the building side and the designing side (Friedman). “Cost, quality, schedule, you must sacrifice something.” (Friedman) And in this case the client is sacrificing a lot of cost and some quality (Friedman).
With the world now thinking at a faster rate we are starting to develop things at a much quicker rate. Our countries population is skyrocketing so quickly that we need a place to put these people. Our cities would not be the way they are today without CADD. New York city houses over one million people and without the skyscrapers we would not be able to house that many people. Without CADD we would not be able to design a skyscraper. It is more complicated in many more ways than just a house. So without CADD we wouldn’t have been able to develop these huge cities where most of the United States’ population lives.
With CADD our society is now able to create much more complicated things. We are able to produce cars that are more efficient. Without CADD we would never have been able to design the engine or even the body of the cars out now. They have so many intricate parts that we would be unable to draw them even close to accurate. With the 3-D capabilities we are able to design them how they would look from any angle. It would take more than 20 times as long to draw them traditionally in 3-D from all the angles the computer can display (Zandi, 71). The accuracy also has enabled us to create smaller and faster computers allowing us to advance in CADD capabilities and then advances more on the computer. The cycle goes on both of them helping each other.
Many ecologists are concerned with pollution and wasting of fossil fuels. With CADD we are able to reduce the waste of heat and water that a building uses. Before a house is built we examine the building in a 3-D program that tells us where a leak is. We then plug this leak virtually and when the building is built it is more energy efficient burning less fossil fuels and creating less pollution to harm the o-zone layer, and reduces the green house effect.
CADD does a lot for the drafter in thinking. It takes a lot less concentration to work with CADD making working with CADD less stressful. There are also many ways to do one thing so sometime it can actually be fun to decide on how one is going to go about something. This makes people want to do their job more, which in turn increases productivity. Not only does it increase it that way it also increases it by making the job easier. This does make it hard to get uniformity in the office (Friedman). People sometimes have conflicting ways to go about something but in the end it all looks the same (Friedman).
The human beings’ inherent slowness and inaccuracy in performing manual drafting tasks such as lettering, line work, and scale work, coupled with the ever increasing demands for higher levels of productivity, led to the wide scaled development of CADD (Zandi, 4). Drafting has been influence by CADD over the years and so has technology. The more we can do by drafting the more we can accomplish technologically. CADD has allowed us to accomplish these things. It devises a different way of thinking. (Friedman) And like the railroad, electric light, or the car it will eventually alter our economic structures, our social systems, and our daily living. IBM’s best thinking on this matter is that the computer did not turn out to be primarily a computational mechanism but is for many different things (Zandi, 22). CADD allowed us to design something as complex as a skyscraper and it allows us to create many other complex things. (Grad, 17) Many things are still to come of CADD can we can only await to see how it will change or society and our drafters more.