SCI_Design

Drafting Speed

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  I'd like to gauge all the CA gurus on this forum to learn how I might speed up my drafting process.  

 

 For two years now, my schedule has been really busy, and production has become critical to fulfilling commitments.  The single biggest draw on my time has continued to be drafting blueprints.  Maybe I'm a stickler for detail, but I like a complete set of blueprints that are specific to the project and clearly portray details of the project.  I often end up with 16 plan pages of content for an average custom home.  I know this slows me down some and I'm willing to sacrifice the time to keep up the quality.   But, I also think there must be some ways to speed things up.

 

 I suppose what I'm more interested in is finding out from others what are some of the key steps you employ in CA to streamline your blueprint drafting process.  Here are a few I already use:

 

  • CAD blocks for everything.  Someone told me once regarding CAD drafting "If you are drawing it twice, you are doing it wrong".  I absolutely keep a library of foundation details, framing details, hardware details, and so on.  Copy and paste is king.
  • Templates for Plans and layouts. 
  • Layer sets or annotation sets help a lot.
  • Creating "live" cross sections.  This is a fairly new practice for me, but it works well - especially when changes happen to the plan.  It updates the whole blueprint quickly.
  • Drawing an extremely accurate 3D model.  Even custom brackets, or specialty details - draw them as they will be built - exactly.  This slows down the concept design, but really helps the blueprint drafting.

  What about you?  What do you do to speed up your drafting process?  I'd like to draft a plan in 2 days, instead of spending 2 weeks.  How fast can you produce a permit ready blueprint?  I know blueprint content varies by location, but feel free to share.

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My Layout Template is pretty extensive.  Floor Plans, Elevations, Sections, Schedules, Standard Details and General Notes are already there.  I have the Layout open along with the Plan so as the Model is developed, the CD's are being built automatically.

 

My Plan Template has Elevation and Cross Section cameras in place and those have been sent to Layout.  All Schedules are predefined in CAD Detail Windows and have been sent to Layout.

 

Almost all annotation is done in the Plan - mostly thru the use of Default Labels using user macros.

 

I do all my Details in a set of "Detail Plans".  As each Detail is created, I copy it to a CAD Detail Window which I name.  Many of these are common to all my projects so they are already sent to my Layout Template.  Additional Details are done in those same "Detail Plans" so that they are available for future projects as well.

 

One area that I haven't been able to automate very much is Interior Elevations.  I do use the view.name and a predefined mask to standardize the height so that when sent to Layout they will snap and align easily.  I do the same with my Details.

 

Another thing that is time consuming is Detail Callouts - because Chief doesn't provide an automatic way to link them to the detail location in the layout.

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I think you will find a vast difference in what "productivity" means to some of us. If a builder hands me a 1600sqft home on full basement or crawl, and he has done the leg work with his homeowners, I will have him a "builders set" of plans in 20 hours TOPS! 

 

Sample "builders set".....https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/13283257/Samples/Kaylee%20Layout_11x17-PLAN%20SET.pdf

 

If I am doing custom or semi-custom, then I don't track time as closely, because to me the productivity comes in a happy client, even if it takes me a month. For the custom jobs, my models are as accurate as I can get them...I would say 98% accurate as to the way the home is built. All framing, fixtures, trims and moldings, ceiling treatments, etc. All live sections and details, nothing is pulled from a canned detail library. This project is probably around 70 hours from sketch book to this PDF plan set.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/83lzkad9n9zki4w/Plan%20Set%206_8_16_PROOF%20SET.pdf?dl=0

 

Is 70 hours good? I don't know, but the client was very pleased and their builder was ecstatic at not having to guess at details.

 

I rarely, if ever any longer create CAD details. 99.9% of my details are sections that I then add text and patterns to. May take a little longer, but with my accurate models, I know I am detailing the exact item. I leave them all live so that changes get updated. I have not used CAD from View since probably v10 or maybe X1. Anno sets are a huge time saver for me. A good set of anno sets and layer sets will save some hours. 

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I think using save as would be the fastest method with chief architect.

 

Copy plan and layout file in a new project folder delete the framing and what you do not need leaving  cameras in place.

Have three base plans: one story, two story and 1 1/2.

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I do it similar to what Joe does, full construction doc's including engineering ,everything already done in the template plans and layouts except details are already in my layout. For me its easier to delete details rather than add details. I do not keep a separate plan file with details in it. I simply have extra details in my lib other than the standard details that are already in the layout. For me the time it takes to draw any project will depend on a lot of things like getting interrupted with a phone call, or my dog, and of course ,the wife. Even eating lunch interferes with progress time. But using templates will save you tons of time, whatever that will end up being.

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For me speed comes from using hotkeys tied to multi-button mice.  I can open dbx's without moving the cursor.  Enter numbers with my right hand never leaving the mouse.  My left hand mouse has side buttons that I have turned into copy/paste,  but perhaps - oddly enough - my biggest time saver was mapping delete and back space to my right hand middle ( tilt-scroll) button.  Left, and down for delete - right for backspace

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For me speed comes from using hotkeys tied to multi-button mice.  I can open dbx's without moving the cursor.  Enter numbers with my right hand never leaving the mouse.  My left hand mouse has side buttons that I have turned into copy/paste,  but perhaps - oddly enough - my biggest time saver was mapping delete and back space to my right hand middle ( tilt-scroll) button.  Left, and down for delete - right for backspace

 

Very much like my mouse set up.  Left wheel is delete, right wheel is undo, click wheel is open object, plus two left buttons

one for space (back to select mode) and one for tab (next object).

 

I have also remapped keys so I have a delete on the left side of the keyboard, and a ', or foot button above the number pad on

the keyboard.  I also recently set up a little BonyTek number pad on the left side of keyboard, but not using it a lot yet.

 

Speeds things up.

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