Thursday, March 09, 2006

Our office has begun the painful process of upgrading to AutoCAD 2005. An upgrade alone wouldn’t be so bad, if not for the fact that Corporate has insisted that we now use the ADT portion of the program for construction drawings- meaning everything is drawn in 3-D, using so-called “smart walls.”

I consider myself the last of a dying breed- those who once did actual hand drafting. Until graduation, I drafted everything by hand. Therefore, I have a tendency to use AutoCAD as a glorified electronic pencil. Because of Project B’s lingering for so long, I haven’t yet been able to attend the training for this software upgrade; this is causing much frustration on my part. I don’t know how to get the “smart walls” to behave themselves. If I try to move a door, sometimes it jumps into an entirely different wall. If I trim a wall, it moves a door that’s in the wall. Weird-angled walls (which the damn designers absolutely love to use) don’t fillet properly, causing gaps at the corners, and the appearance of an annoying “you’ve fucked up” red circle with crosshairs in it.

"Smart walls," my ass. Nobody has yet been able to show me what’s so friggin’ smart about them.

This whole concept was sold on the premise that it would give us the ability to draw all the walls, using wall styles, and then be able to simply “slice through the plan, creating an instant building section.”

In a meeting discussing wall sections for a project using The All-Powerful ADT, I asked a coworker, “are you using the ADT, or just regular lines to create these sections?”

“We’re creating them with regular lines.”

Nope, not seeing any “smart” yet.

I can see the relevance of drawing all the exterior walls in 3D, because those could be used to easily create exterior renderings and elevations. However, none of the project’s elevations have been created this way. We do have the ability to create a 3D rendering of the Housekeeping closets, though!

Whooo, “smart walls!”

In order to give me a task that I could do until I can attend training, I was charged with changing the wall styles in floor plan files from “standard style” to “Humongo approved style.”

Yesterday, the CAD Coordinator asked me, “How’s ADT treatin’ ya?”

I hate it.”

CAD Coordinator assures me that, once I’ve had the training, I will learn to love ADT.

I said, “What I would love is if people would draw the damn walls as the correct style the first time.”

He said, “they couldn’t, because they didn’t know what wall types they were supposed to be yet.”

Let me translate: This means that, on every job, the walls will first be drawn as “standard,” then have to be changed to the correct wall styles later, next updated with the correct fire tape, and still have to be labeled with partition types.

Where’s the “smart,” again??

I hope whoever sold Corporate on the whole “smart wall” concept is enjoying his Hawaiian vacation. Or the absence of his soul. Whatever.


kmsqrd said...

You're not alone in your smart wall hate. We have two sets of clients that use them and working with their jobs is nearly impossible. We don't have (much less need) the ADT package so running the macro to make the smart walls look correctly when we turn off the door and window layers takes a million years. Never mind that it's a pain to have to figure out how to work with them and then explain it to someone who's not that interested in figure it out.

I've heard that while they make elevations much easier. Converting from the plan to elevation is hard on the computers and takes time but supposedly their easier.

Oh, and your corprate guys bought the stuff because they never have to use it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Monkey.

We hired a clown about a year ago. He declared our standards, that have been in place for over 5 years were not "logical." He decided we had to change font style (not too bad), change the text height by 1/64th of an inch, squish the text from 1 to .70 (It was scientifically proven that you can get more notes on and they are still legible at .70) We also got all new layer names with different pen weights for different colors. This meant the cad library developed over years became useless. AND the computer admin set the network so we couldn't save a detail drawn to the new standards back to the library. The clown left for another circus.

About a year ago I was shown a proposed spec sheet for our new computers and asked for my opinion. I said we needed more that 512 of memory and a graphics card. The new computers came with neither. When we went to Acad 2006, the computer ran slower that my first experience with Acad 10 runnning on a 386 25mhz machine. The people who made the decision on the computers are gone.

This last week I was told, not asked, that I would be the new standards and computer guy. Thanks. More responsibility means more money, right? Ha! But I can't do anything on fixing standards because my workload has not changed.

Staying late or coming in on the weekends? They took away my paid overtime two years ago. My grandfathers didn't work for free, my father and mother didn't work for free. I don't work for free.

I've been in this racket, and that's what it is, a racket, for almost 29 years.

I am looking for a new job.


Anonymous said...

Hey man I like your site! I will put a link to it on my site! because we are all designers using PDMS.