# Graph Paper - we've got it, please use it!

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Here's a life changing earth shattering tip for new users to Chief. Have you ever wondered if there was a logical way to start drawing a floor plan? Well, there is. It's called the 'Reference Grid'.

Unfortunately, Chief's out-of-the-box settings have this grid set so light that it's hardly visible. Let's take a look at those settings:

Next, let's see what a working screen looks like using a typical plan started from a Chief template:

The whole building...                                                                                       A closeup:

Notice that neither the Reference Grid, nor the Snap Grid are clearly visible. Let's change those colors so we can see them better.

I've turned on 'Walls, Main Layer Only' in order to help see the wall drawing process. Notice in the view above that none of the walls align with either Grid.

This should be addressed before you start drawing anything.

1. Change the Grid colors so you can see them.

2. Using the Input Point tool, place a CAD Point as shown below:

This new point would be a great spot to:

1. Place a Marker and specify it as Framing Reference

2. Start drawing the floor plan in a clock-wise fashion.

This will place your project in the positive portion of the x and y axis and help you have an intuitive grasp as to the buildings location as well as object locations. Everything will flow much easier, and I'm pretty sure both Chief and your computer will want to give you a hug.

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Thanks for explaining that.  I did not know this but had wondered before where the "ground 0" would be.

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I personally don’t like the snap grid lines to be “on” and almost never use them.   For plan development I like to set the grid snap to either 12” or sometimes I’ll set it to 4”.  You don’t need to see the grid to use a fixed snap dimension - and the grid lines just make the drawing that more complex.

Rough in the exterior walls to even dimensions - then autu dimension - then go around clockwise and adjust the wall offset dimensions as needed.  Fast and simple.

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Never used the grid function that I can remember in 20 years of using CA.

They are just more lines to contend with

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Been a user since 1995, when they added the "Grid" back in version X5 or so, I never used it on purpose, it is the first thing I turn off before starting a plan (The snap grid actually makes it harder for me to precisely place objects as they "snap" to the "Grid" instead of where I often intend those objects to go, no thank you, thank you VERY much!

DJP

PS: it IS ok for others to use the POS

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Having that stupid Reference Grid displaying is one of my pet peeves!

I hate the thing but I find it is turned on in just about every Chief plan I look at.

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I never use it.  I only ensure that the first wall I draw is located at an absolute point that is not a fraction.

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I wonder how much scrap lumber would be reduced if houses were designed on 2 foot snap intervals or even possibly 4 foot?

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1 hour ago, parkwest said:

I wonder how much scrap lumber would be reduced if houses were designed on 2 foot snap intervals or even possibly 4 foot?﻿

Probably enough to build a few houses ...

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The only time I display graph lines is in layout files that I create to do sketching. I have one I made for an 11x17 sheet that I bring to sites when doing field measure and then one that I have for 8.5x11 sheets for notes when I need to sketch a quick detail and send out for an RFI.

If the snap grid is on by mistake (new install of the program, etc.) the discovery is followed by language I generally reserve for responses to news reports by politicians.

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One of my professors designed a near zero waste building. A pyramidal hip roof that used all plywood without scraps. His design would be even more relevant today with better pre-cut engineered lumber packages. While it was a nice simple design, it was not heavy on being a beautiful design. More like a repeatable army barracks where economy would trump design.

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5 minutes ago, Gawdzira said:

The only time I display graph lines is in layout files that I create to do sketching. I have one I made for an 11x17 sheet that I bring to sites when doing field measure and then one that I have for 8.5x11 sheets for notes when I need to sketch a quick detail and send out for an RFI......

Yeah,  so do I.

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6 hours ago, parkwest said:

I wonder how much scrap lumber would be reduced if houses were designed on 2 foot snap intervals or even possibly 4 foot?

Lumber is about the least expensive item in a house...so, I don't concern myself with such things as building on a 24"/48" grid.

However, building on 16" increments to accommodate lumber/plywood sizes just makes sense - to a certain degree...but, not at the expense of good design.

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I certainly understand that many users wouldn't want to see or use the grids and then choose to have them off. My comments were based on the many plans posted by inexperienced users who are leaving them on, but are not using them to their advantage. I think it's fair to say that if you're new to the program, anything that helps you make a wall 32'-0" in length as oppose to 31'-11 3/16" is a benefit and maybe should be used. Personally, I like having the visual reference of both grids to quickly identify something that may misaligned. I also like using it elevation view as a guide for quickly and accurately placing cad reference lines to help guide items like material regions, stepped foundations, wall area polylines, manually placed trims or decorative elements. Of course, the elevation view guides are very helpful....if you started your floorplan on the grid at 0&0 on the x and y axis.

Maybe it's from having been a builder, but I like instinctively knowing where every item in the house is on the x,y,z coordinates. But I also draw and model a lot of things that Chief doesn't have library items for.

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8 hours ago, parkwest said:

I wonder how much scrap lumber would be reduced if houses were designed on 2 foot snap intervals or even possibly 4 foot?

Waste lumber is not dependent on the measurements of the building but rather on the skill of those doing the building. Believe it or not, I framed many 2000 to 4000 sq ft houses with only a single 6 yard dumpster of scrap. In large custom homes, there is a place to use almost every cutoff of either lumber or sheet goods.

In simple tract homes, optimization of dimensions becomes more important.

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You guys who all say you don't like the grid aren't new to the program...you've got a system that works and your comfortable using it, right? There's times when I don't want to see it either so I just hit the toggle button docked in my toolbar.

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22 hours ago, SNestor said:

Lumber is about the least expensive item in a house...so, I don't concern myself with such things as building on a 24"/48" grid.

However, building on 16" increments to accommodate lumber/plywood sizes just makes sense - to a certain degree...but, not at the expense of good design.

Not here, lumber is one of the most expensive in the home.  Framing is also one of the most expensive things.

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According to the numbers I saw from NAHB, on average across the nation, framing is one of the highest single cost at around 18% of the total cost of building a new house.

I always figured if I paid for the lumber, it should be going into the house, not the landfill.  In the 90's I used a software specifically to optimize the use of framing materials... and I also found out which framers made me the most money... which was hard to quantify when building one of a kind custom homes... before I used that software.