SCI_Design

Making Blueprints Obsolete

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    With the way technology is going these days, it would seem we would be able to interface with our designs in a much more interactive way than using 2D blueprints.  One of my bigger frustrations with using high powered 3D software is how much detail is lost when I have to "covert" all the information to a 2D Blueprint and hand it off to a builder.  Of all of the people who need the detail gained from 3D design, the builders would really benefit from having a much more visual way to access a designs information.  I know we can always give them pictures and renderings and even sit down and walk through a 3D model, but still the main thing that guides them and their subcontractors during construction is the trusty, coffee stained, tattered, rolled up paper blueprints - which have about 30% of the information that could otherwise be available to them via a more advanced interface.  The old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" rings true here.  A 2D blueprint is sort of a picture, but a 3D model is so, so much more.

 

  I guess I imagine a highly glorified 3D viewer that could upload a 3D model and have every bit of information available with a few clicks.  Maybe its holographic, most likely its on a ipad, computer, or similar screen.   Some features could be:

  • The ability to set layers, so instantly a framing plan is converted to 3D and all framing members are easily seen and quantifiable.  Hardware connections are seen and identified. Maybe there are layers to isolate trusses, windows, doors, structural elements etc.
  •  Maybe a foundation wall can be clicked on and up pops a CAD section.  A slab could be selected and instantly measured for rebar and concrete quantity.  Foundation walls could be measured and quantified.
  • An interface that allows a measurement to be pulled with a finger from any part of the design.  Imagine a walk through feature where a builder could pull a dimension on any part of the design -with his finger.
  • The ability to select any entity of the design (windows, doors, appliances, millwork, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, electrical components) and access or modify its information.  Schedules could be created and e-mailed or texted to suppliers and vendors.  Costs could be assigned and accurate cost estimates could develop.
  • Ability to select a material (siding, roof, sheathing, flooring, etc) and it instantly gives a quantity take off.  Again, unit cost could be applied and accurate estimates easily developed.
  • Engineering information would be visible - shearwalls, beams, connections, and nailing patterns all view-able.
  • Code compliance and current applicable codes could be embedded and easily accessible for site inspections or code clarifications.

 

  I guess it really boils down to making it possible to share a super detailed and accurate 3D model in a way that allows the information to be accessible.  It would take all the information typically found on a blueprint and puts it into a 3D, electronic format and then adds so much more information and clarity.  When we build our designs in 3D we would have the ability to input all the information much like we do now with CA.  So all the information is being amassed, its just finding a easier way to get it in front of the people who need it.

 

  Anyone know of a system like this currently available?  

 

 

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What you are describing is really the basic idea of "BIM" (Building Information Modeling).

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I've made Blueprints.  They've been obsolete since Whiteprints took over in the 1940's

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Yes, it (mostly) exists in ArchiCAD's BIMx PRO, which provides a one-stop file for 3D and 2D plans.

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delivering a digital format instead of paper to the end user (framer, plumbers, electricians)

you're talking about changing an industry practicing standard.

possible to do. but so is landing on Mars. that is possible too.

just takes effort and ppel's willing.

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Richard,

 

   Yes!  BIMx Pro is getting closer!  I suppose over time more of these platforms will be available with even more functions.

 

  Thanks for the suggestion.

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Buzzsaw,

 

  Yes, I suppose you are right - making this big of a shift in the standards of industry will take time.  Then again, it was not so long ago that we drew everything by hand.  In the progression of drafting/ design industry standards, what I'm envisioning seems like a natural transition.  

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....hey, how about you guys doing the world a favor and finally switch to the metric system. Let's start with that. Baby steps. lol

then you could move to BIM.

As a Canadian who's forced to work in that archaic imperial system only because your manufacturers and suppliers all still follow imperial.

Really sucks. No disrespect. Just saying. And it's not that far off topic by the way.

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I think metric sucks.  There's really nothing useful or logical about it other than easier conversion.  I really don't want to get into an argument so I'll say my quick piece and leave it at that...

 

The imperial system actually has a lot of unsung benefits, is more functional for everyday life, and is actually designed to work like we naturally think.  It's also more "modular" and works better for visual purposes for that reason.  Our brains can easily picture 1/4 or 1/3 of something but what about 25/100  or 33.33/100.00?  I can also pretty accurately visually guesstimate 4ft. 2in. but what about guesstimating 127cm?  There are actually a lot of benefits to the imperial system that people tend to overlook.

 

The basis of the metric system is really just as abitrary as anything else...numbers (and specifically the base 10 system).  Is it really the numbers that matter or the ideas we're trying to communicate?  For scientists and mathamaticians, metric might start to make a little more sense, but for the masses...maybe not so much. 

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It really is the same for both. When I see 250mm I immediately think 1/4. 500mm is 1/2. 1000mm is 1. You see?

The difference is that when I add 250(1/4) + 500(1/2)- 625(5/8) I can easily get a nice whole number like 125mm.

There are no fractions or even decimal places in a plan since the mm is the unit of measurement and the smallest unit.

Trust me when I tell you, you're doing it wrong. (No trolling) just the truth.

And I sir will leave it at that as well.

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I think metric sucks.  There's really nothing useful or logical about it other than easier conversion.  I really don't want to get into an argument so I'll say my quick piece and leave it at that...

 

The imperial system actually has a lot of unsung benefits, is more functional for everyday life, and is actually designed to work like we naturally think.  It's also more "modular" and works better for visual purposes for that reason.  Our brains can easily picture 1/4 or 1/3 of something but what about 25/100  or 33.33/100.00?  I can also pretty accurately visually guesstimate 4ft. 2in. but what about guesstimating 127cm?  There are actually a lot of benefits to the imperial system that people tend to overlook.

 

The basis of the metric system is really just as abitrary as anything else...numbers (and specifically the base 10 system).  Is it really the numbers that matter or the ideas we're trying to communicate?  For scientists and mathamaticians, metric might start to make a little more sense, but for the masses...maybe not so much. 

 

 

At work as an Electrician, I have to find the center of a room to mount the light box.  Quickly, in your head, what's half of 87 3/4" ?  

I'm all for the metric system.

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Greg, take your tape measure out past 87, grab the dumb end of the tape and bring it to 87 3/4. Now look at the point where the tape is bent to get your number.

 

That is the Eddie method. I worked with Eddie in Seattle and he had been a framer for production builders in California. Framers nailed studs to plates before the walls were stood up. Someone else did the layout on the plates. Framers did not nail in trimmers and headers (those guys were specialists). Eddie was unique for Seattle. My other carpenter had a B.A. in government and my laborer was studying for his G.R.E. to better himself after getting a B.A. in English literature.

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I'm all for the metric system and have been since I learned it in high school

 

when I used to measure a house I write all dims in sixteenths

 

when I model I do everything in sixteenths

 

then the math becomes easier

 

1/2 written as 8/16

 

1/4 written as 4/16

 

1/8 written as 2/16

 

sum = 14/16

 

when I print the permit set - I then revert to "standard" fractions

 

Lew

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At work as an Electrician, I have to find the center of a room to mount the light box.  Quickly, in your head, what's half of 87 3/4" ?  

I'm all for the metric system.

 

I would think, whats half of a quarter under 88 and instantly think, why an eight under 44, (43 and seven eights)

 

I can do this all day long

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87.75" or 221 cm, I am still pulling out my phone for the calculator. All I know is that I drop a lot of weight by changing to Kilograms. How awesome would that be to under 100.

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the biggest advantage to going to metric

 

is that the entire rest of the industrial world is using metric

 

Lew

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The imperial system actually has a lot of unsung benefits, is more functional for everyday life, and is actually designed to work like we naturally think.  It's also more "modular" and works better for visual purposes for that reason.  Our brains can easily picture 1/4 or 1/3 of something but what about 25/100  or 33.33/100.00?  I can also pretty accurately visually guesstimate 4ft. 2in. but what about guesstimating 127cm?  There are actually a lot of benefits to the imperial system that people tend to overlook

 

 

 

Michael,

You are joking, correct?

You forgot the smiley face!

Is there any remote chance that these comments could have something to do with your familiarity with the imperial system? :)

Using metric, we would not refer to a portion as 25/100 (this is an imperial fraction).

We would refer to it as .25 - very simple.

Likewise, a third is .33 - not 33.33/100.00 (I love the way you can mix imperial and metric).

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Michael,

You are joking, correct?

You forgot the smiley face!

Is there any remote chance that these comments could have something to do with your familiarity with the imperial system? :)

Using metric, we would not refer to a portion as 25/100 (this is an imperial fraction).

We would refer to it as .25 - very simple.

Likewise, a third is .33 - not 33.33/100.00 (I love the way you can mix imperial and metric).

 

Like I said, I didn't want to get into an argument or debate.  Only reason I even said anything to start with was to say that there are those of use who feel the same about the metric system as you guys do about the imperial system.

 

Its also clear to me now that my stance requires a much longer explanation, that I left a good handful of important details out, and that in my attempt at a quick and to the point post I may have oversimplified and come across as ignorant.  Oh well, a full explanation really requires a short essay on the subject.still don't want to get into it.  I will answer your questions though...

 

-No I was not joking, I was dead serious and right or wrong its something I actually feel pretty strongly about.

-I will concede that my stance lies partly with the fact I'm accustomed to the imperial system but its goes much much deeper than that and its not all based on ignorance as you may think.

-I used the fractions to try and communicate what exactly .25 and .33 are representing (or claiming to represent).

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I would think, whats half of a quarter under 88 and instantly think, why an eight under 44, (43 and seven eights)

 

I can do this all day long

 

Not sure whether you were joking or not, but I think nearly the exact same way.  I though half of 88 minus half of a quarter...44 minus 1/8.  Easy peasy. 

 

Having said that, I don't typically divide numbers in half to find the center of a room, whenever possible I pull a dimension from one side to roughly center...I just pick a number that's around the center and place a mark, then I pull the same number from the opposite side and mark that.  This gives me 2 marks that are very close to each other and I can usually find the center of that very quickly.  The 2 shorter measurements are usually faster and easier than trying to pull the longer dimension anyway, can usually be done from a single location (and by myself), usually result in a more accurate location (partly because there's very little calculation that needs to take place and involves no rounding to get a perfect number), and are by very nature a way of double checking myself.  Once I find the center I usually measure both ways again to verify they're correct but they're very usually right on the money. 

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The auto industry went metric years ago and many countries use the decimal system for their currencies.   I remember in England long before they  went to 100 new pennys in 1 pound we had, for coinage, a farthing (a quarter of a penny), halfpenny, penny, threepence, sixpence, shilling (twelve pence) florin (two shillings), half crown (two shillings and sixpence) and for paper money we had a ten shilling, pound (twenty shillings), and five pound notes.

Talk about trying to figure out what change you should get if you purchased something costing 3 pounds 13 shillings and sixpence halfpenny and handed over a 5 pound note.

Thank goodness the US immediately used the decimal system for our currency.

Alan

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I remember when I was in the third grade here in the Great Ole USA and my teacher was explaining the USA would be going to the Metric System soon.....  and that was 45 years ago,  I am still waiting.

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Scott

I think most industries (particularly) those doing business internationally have gone metric.  It's just certain home grown industries that remain on the Imperial System.

I'm too old to learn a new system -- my daughter in England tells me the temperature that day is 25C I have no idea whether that is hot or cold.  I know that one meter is about the same as  one yard.  :)

Alan

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