PDF to CAD to CA or redraw or something else

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I'm pondering if my workflow is the best way. I just finished doing a deck plan and new door for someone. This requires an elevation for the City to accept the plans for a building permit. Same rule applies for any reno which involves a change to an outside wall. a plot plan showing the deck is also required.


So for the plot plan I take the surveyors plan provided by the home owner and draw the outline on it, to scale, by scaling the pdf properly. All good. This time around I decided to overlay the floor plan (cropped) on to the surveyor plan. 'This avoids any manual errors, but does not look that pretty as the railings are shown wider than the typical single line on surveyor plans.

We'll see if the city accepts it.


For the elevation, instead of drafting the entire house, this homeowner had the original drawings, so I figured I could overlay the CA elevation onto it.


Good in theory, until the grade line on the elevation was off by 6"(found this out at the end). This client wanted the stairs to go beside the P/L line within the setback, so he wanted to alter the size of the deck to fit the stairs. This means the elevation of grade was crucial. The client took some elevations measurements for me, and I drew the plans based on that. Then I went to superimpose on the elevation PDF, and found out if I aligned the top of the new door correctly, my CA grade (and stairs) were below the PDF one. I then double checked the original plans and yes the main floor to grade height was different from the actual measurement by 6". So I ended up cheating a little and reducing the height while not maintaining aspect ratio (And left everything undimensioned).


The other thing I noticed for the site plan, is the surveyor plan had text where I wanted to put my text, so it looked a bit like a dog's breakfast when I was done. So it got me thinking, does anyone use another PDF to CAD program for this purpose. because if I had the original elevation in CAD, I could have simply altered the original drawn grade line to match my CA ones(and what is actually there) , and I could have easily removed surveyor text or moved it (rather than the usual "draw a white box")


there have been a few topics on this, but I'm not entirely sure if people use some commercial (or free) PDF to CAD for this purpose, and if they use it for a similar purpose, does it work alright or is there a bunch of manual fiddling around? in other words are people happy with PDF to CAD and then bringing it back into CA or is it more hassle than its worth


Attached is how it ended up (PDF pge 2). The deck is 9' and the exiting lower window is 9' from the garage so these kind of had to match, which is why I could not reduce the size at the correct aspect ratio


Anyway, just wondering if a PDF to CAD would have worked better and what others are doing. And I get pdfs which are both raster(bitmap) based and vector, so any program would have to convert the raster based lines to vectors








MArk VR v0.6.pdf

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I have used  https://cadsofttools.com/pdf-to-dwg-online/?sent=block  a bit but not enough to justify buying the software.


Even with an imported DWG you are relying on someone else's work that is usually done in ACAD.  Results will vary.


You have already run into some of the typical issues of things that were not built as designed or possibly never drawn correctly in the first place.  Typical human errors that we all make or sometimes you can get thrown off by something that is not to scale or deliberately dimensioned incorrectly.  Hopefully you do not need to rescale and you happen to use an incorrect dimension to do the rescale.


Often the conclusion after completing a project like that is that it is better to draw it yourself but we have all done it at one time or another.

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so I tried a couple, including the one above. where they did draw vector lines, they actually chopped up the off 90 deg line I had into a multitude of little lines.


All in all, not worth it, It would be better to redraw over the pdf with the PDF in the background

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20 hours ago, jasonN said:

It would be better to redraw over the pdf with the PDF in the background

I have personally seen this as the case 95% of the time as very few are any good and even a lot of times it is faster for me to trace a picture of the plan than actually use the DWG provided and cad to walls as I find the time is about the same and tracing and setting everything up allows me to get a better feeling for the project.


Just to point out that pdfs embedded into a plan file does take up a lot of memory so try converting a pdf to .png file first and then importing it.  Now if its a basic one or you are going to delete after tracing walls for example it may not affect you but I will usually leave it on a separate imported layer myself and turn it off after done in case I want to refer to it later on for some reason.

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I convert PDFs plan views to DWG always.

Currently  I use Print2CAD, use to have PDF2CAD and wish I still did though I get consistently good results from each, depending on what is supplied of course. I've tried a few freebies and only on line once- it's been worth it for me to own one,

BUT I ALWAYS trace over the plan, never CAD to walls. I prefer DWG to PDF since:

  • I can snap to it, easier to scale if needed
  • can turn off unnecessary layers (or delete)
  • uses fewer resources

The only time I convert elevations is if I need dimensions not provided or something where I want to snap to. I do have Bluebeam which sort of measures to PDFs but not as quickly.

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Thanks, I tried Print2CAD. much better, played around with the settings. got the off angle line to be 4 lines instead of the multitude of lines from the other programs


Their editor reminds me of the ACAD days

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