Post off topic threads here.

How would you characterize your current use of DataCAD? (You may choose more than one answer)

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#59538 by Daniel Dascanio
Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:37 pm
Probably should expand the questions regarding 2D vs 3D. Maybe something like
I only use DataCAD for 2D Drawings
then....
I 3D model less than 50% of my projects.
I 3D model more than 50% of my projects.

I only use DataCAD for my 3D Models
I use some of DataCADs 3D capabilities + another software
I use another software / service for 3D Models

Personally I sub out all of my 3d models. As a one man show I specialize on the design and production drawings of Architecture.
I look forward to any enhancements to speed up production.
#59539 by fcgleason
Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:53 pm
We have always used DataCAD and have tried other programs alongside. We eventually dropped the other program because DataCAD was our favorite tool. CAD is now the norm, when DataCAD started it was quite unusual for Architects to be using computers. The only CAD available was on $50K-100K workstations. The first CAD we tried was AutoCAD, Our Nec intel 286 with about that amount of memory (not gigabytes, not megabyts, but bytes) could not run "nozzle" -an automated drawing demo. It took 1/2 an hour to complete about 80%... and the program just stopped with a message. We tried that as a tool and quickly decided there had to be something else that was better. We soon found DataCAD at a Micro Store in Cambridge (Fresh Pond). Greif Berg happened to be there demonstrating the program, and the program had clarity and elegance. These characteristics are still in placee today...

Our current use of CAD is, plans, print, hand sketch, plans, elevations, plans, hand sketch, building detail and understanding. Once we can get some general massing we start with 3d and generate shadow studies and a very rough clip for the client to use. I would not say our use is that sophisticated. We like to keep our fees low and lately our clients have been remodeling or adding on, so we guide them through it, but they have been good self starters/learners too, so we do the drawings that define and refine their ideas, keep them invovled in finishes, selection of equipment and fixtures, going to the building department, variances, etc and most importantly help them find a good contractor. DataCAD is a part of every step, but we have been letting the Client take the lead as construction starts to reduce cost to them. We check in 3-4 times and keep an eye on things that really count. The day of full service seems to be gone, where we prepared full sets of plans and specs. I do hope this aspect willl come back, but DataCAD remains our tool of choice no matter what the job.

Rick Gleason
#59541 by Daniel Kaczor
Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:34 pm
Due the state of the economy (since November, 2006) I was pushed into semi-retirement by the cancellation of several design projects. Luckily, I had another source of income. I upgraded to 14, but didn't need it - no projects. I couldn't see upgrading to 15 with no work or prospects. I fully retired last year, and, am enjoying it. Still lurking the forums, though.
#59542 by Guest
Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:30 pm
Nick Pyner wrote:I guess having 2% of the respondants say they use another CAD says quite a lot for DataCad.



Well. the question was:-

I have switched to another CADD program... :?:

If the question was......... I also use another CAD program, I would have said yes.

In actual fact, switching over fully takes a long time, well for me it's taking longer than I thought. I purchased SPIRIT PRO 2012 in May 2012 & have only picked at the edges so far. But I do see perhaps still using both, even when I get more proficient with SPIRIT. Currently, I think the pricing of both is very low compared to other CAD programs of equal ability, but if the pricing gets too heady, I may have to just go with one of them.

The other questions about 3D or 2D is perhaps a little confusing. As if DC had all the "smarts" to create a model, then one could extract 2D elevations, floor plans & sections etc to produce construction drawings. This is why I purchased SPIRIT, as this can be done now, I got fed up waiting for other DC smarts to arrive... :roll:

I'm not too sure about the future for both SPIRIT & DataCAD, but if the last few years is anything to go by with the economy & low construction activity, it may be survival of the fittest. You often see mergers or takeovers when markets are a little rocky, perhaps DC & SPIRIT may find themselves partners yet again... :?: However as they're still very similar products, in reality it would make sense if only one were to continue so the other would pick up additional seats............... :shock: ..........just thinking out load......I don't think this would go down that well with most.

Over & out,
Clayton.
#59544 by smallon
Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:40 pm
DataCAD has been my CAD program of choice since version 3.6. (I'm proud to have avoided the evil empire for so long.) I'm currently using version 14 and make extensive use of 3D features for client presentations. I haven't upgraded to 15 yet because business is slow and cash flow is tight.
#59550 by Bob Strohm
Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:12 am
I've been a DataCad user since the begining... Microtecture days, I've beta tested, I still have 5" floppies my first versions came on. Still the best for my 2 cents. However, like many of you I only produce 2d working drawings so alot of the features go to waste. I'm old school, still use an ink pen plotter (HP) and produce Diazo Blues from vellum, I do keep my computers new. I prefere the look and feel of real "blueprints". For me, the only frustrating thing and fear I have is getting a new version that won't run my equipment. Other then that I would prefere that new versions stick to old conventions at least for 2d work, ie. doors, windows and walls. Learning a new version for an old coot like me can be difficult. Still... thanks for what you do.
#59552 by Sandpounder
Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:56 am
I/We use it for CD's and, to some extent, schematic design. Stopped using the 3D features when Sketchup came along. Would like to see better integration of DCAD and Sketchup. Would also like to see more flexibility with symbols with attributes, which we use to embed information in the files such as door schedules and finish schedules. Would like to be able to mass update attributes and search for symbols on the drawing. It would be helpful to have a pop-up editable reading pane for attributes and smoother ways to get attributes on the drawings in the form of lists and schedules.
#59558 by Dave
Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:26 pm
Guest wrote:
Nick Pyner wrote:I guess having 2% of the respondants say they use another CAD says quite a lot for DataCad.

Well. the question was:-

I have switched to another CADD program... :?:

If the question was......... I also use another CAD program, I would have said yes.


I concur.

Was hoping by now to have smart elevations and sections so if a smart door/wall/window was moved on the floor plan, elevation or section it moved in all related views. 2D lines could then be drawn on top of those elevations or sections just as we draw on the floor plan. I guess that would be a self xref.

Dave
#59561 by Mark Bell
Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:26 pm
I've used a range from CAD software going back to the late 80's and first started with DataCAD on the upgrade from v3 to 4. The architecture business is highly competitive these days (at least here in Australia) so having a productive and cost efficient software package is a necessity. DataCAD's ease of use means employing new staff who are not familiar with it is not an issue with the average new employee trained on some other system, becoming productive in as little as 4-5 weeks. DataCAD is both practical and efficient allowing staff to quickly work their way through construction drawings on small, medium and large projects.

As principal in the firm, I use DataCAD to create conceptual designs working directly on screen without paper sketches. The combination of DataCAD's easy 2D/3D and smart parametrics allow me to rapidly create multiple concepts using a variety of quick presentation techniques available within DataCAD (O2C, Quickshader, Sunshader, HLR and solid fill walls). We often get comments about the clarity of our drawings and use of line weights not often seen by other practices using different CAD systems.

DataCAD is a very good 'all rounder' and allows us to output small projects through to hundred million dollar plus major developments. It's a fallacy that architecture firms have to use the 'industry standard' CAD or BIM packages. We continually go up against competing firms that have outlaid 10x the cost in their software and require more people or add-on packages to deliver what we do using only DataCAD.

On a final note, it's also rewarding to see the personal involvement of those at DataCAD in looking after its customers, even those of us on the other side of the planet!
#59568 by Stuart Jackson
Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:40 pm
The biggest problem I find in promoting DataCAD's newest features is the total lack of any videos that show it in action. How hard is it for the boys to pull together some from past DBUG meetings or at least produce a few highlighting the greatest "How To's"?

We all know this is a powerful tool but what they need are new converts to see the light that'll build revenue for development. I'd think investing a little time once a week would pay big dividends in no time. Heck, have a contest for some of those out of work DCADer's to send in their own videos of the Top Ten uses of DCAD and give 'em a free upgrade with full support.
#59571 by jmwyman
Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:20 pm
I have been using DataCad since 1986 and still use it primarily for 2d working drawings. I'm using the computer as a pencil, drawing 2d lines, walls, etc. and inserting symbols and cut and pasting to speed up the process. Because I have been using it for so long, I have amassed a large symbol and drawing library that I borrow from similar job to similar job. I used to use DataCad it for 3D modeling, making massing models and using felt pens and markers with trace overlays for quick renderings. Now, I use SketchUp for all 3D work, because it is much easier and works natively on a Mac. I run DataCad through VMWare fusion on the Mac because it is much more stable than running on a Windows platform. I gave up on Windows in 2004.

I used to wish for a Mac version of DataCad but running on VMWare Fusion with multiple monitors is so easy, it doesn't make a difference. I run version 14 and don't see the need to upgrade as often as DataCad does for the work I do. I have a copy of AutoCad for Mac and ArchiCad BIM software for the Mac and haven't had the time to learn them other than transferring files for consultants. Most jobs I do are new residential or renovations and don't afford the time to insert all the information necessary for BIM.

DataCad's strong points to me are customer support and ease of learning.

For weak points, I do wish there was a better DataCad to SketchUp interface and maybe even a new graphic face lift similar to ArchiCad. I don't believe the layout has changed in many years. Another important feature that DataCad is missing is the ability to simply tie door, window, cabinet, toilet accessories, etc. to a schedule and if something is erased - the schedule changes.

The most difficult aspect of using DataCad for me is on a building that is not a regular shape. For example if a part of a building is at an angle with a stair and handrails, the time it takes to draw everything askew is a nightmare. And I bet it's just me and the way I use DataCad!

Jon Michael Wyman
#59572 by GAP Designers
Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:29 pm
I have been using this software for 2D council drawings for more that 12 years now & have speeded up by business turnover by at least 200%
(Not takings but Time to prepare)

Hopefully Next Version X6 will have some more valuable tricks for me to improve my speed?
Beats AutoCAD anyday hands down!
George
#59584 by Guest
Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:56 pm
I love Datacad and have since 1985. I think the most frustrating thing is the lack of a thorough user's manual. Fortunately we have the discussion groups, but when in a pinch for time, it isn't feasible to wait for an answer from the group.

Version 15 is tremendous. Of course there are still tweaks and improvements needed, but overall, I am very pleased. The 3d portions still need improving, especially intersections of sloped planes, such as roofs, etc. Intersections are still a problem when dealing with 3 and 4 line smart walls, especially when they aren't perpendicular to each other.

After learning that the smart windows and doors can be modified for the particular file and not effect the main library, I am now free as a bird, so to speak, to experiment with windows/doors during design.

Another improvement could be assigning materials to different planes, like in Sketchup. It would be great to point and shoot where the materials are, but that isn't a deal killer.

I have used AutoCAD, Archicad, Arris, and occasionally Sketchup and find that Datacad is my preferred software - due to price, ease of use, and not having to constantly purchase new hardware to support the software.
#61784 by Ted B
Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:57 am
I've owned a Datacad-license probably for twenty-years. . .maybe more? . . .and haven't used AutoCAD since 1995. When I was in college in the 1970s, CAD wasn't an option for most Architects, though I was an early adopter of AutoCAD in the 1980s when AutoCAD started running on the 386/378 chip-set PC. . .and 3d-hidden lines took all-night to calculate.

As a solo-practice Architect since 2001, I'm now using Datacad v.13 for 2d drafting; Sketch-up v.8 for 3d conceptualizing and modeling; and Photoshop Elements 3.0 for the occasional computer rendering...usually of a Sketchup-generated image. I also use the older Sketchup Pro v.6 for converting models to .dwg to import elevations and sections into Datacad. I've also experimented with Sketchup-6's Layout-mode for some details and sections in simple projects, or where frequent up-dated 3d models are required. The Suntracking/shading of either Sketchup comes in handy to create renderings in-perspective that "ordinary people" can understand more intuitively than traditional Architectural-style flat projection of elevations and floor plans.

I have a client who sells and install Photovoltaic roof-mounted and ground-mounted arrays for residential and light commercial/retail/professional properties. Since his margins are thin in a competitive market, I've found that I can do a reasonably-accurate "remote" as-built survey to determine the roof shape, slope and obstructions just using Google-Earth and Bing-Maps bird's-eye without leaving the office. . .then we later check the Google-Earth "plan-view" measurements against the property-owner's plot survey submitted with the PV Array's permit. First I generate a approximate 3d model in Sketchup, then I export "views" as .dwgs for insertion in the Datacad 2d roof-plan/PV array layout. Sometimes we determine the layout through the 2d roof-plan. . .or right on the 3d model as roof-plans or aligned-perpendicular views of that roof surface. Some AHJ's want the appropriate to-scale building elevations included in the construction document submittal. Recently, the third-party financing agencies of the PV arrays want even more detailed submittals for their files. Even Google-Earth's Street-View can show vital clues saving a 2 to 3-hour's drive out to the site for a (non-compensated for) site-visit by the Architect for as-built measurements and pics.

I've also been experimenting with hand-drawn detail-sketches scanned and directly inserting into Datacad 2d construction document files. As a one-man small practice I'm a long-way from the world of Revit and BIM. I grew-up draughting in pencil on vellum, and sketching with sign-pens on canary-yellow sketch rolls. French & Vierck's classic "Engineering Drawing" and Frank DK Ching's hand-lettered "Architectural Graphics" are still my bibles... I still find that easier to think-through details with a pencil/pen...CAD isn't quite intuitive-yet compared to graph-paper and a 6-inch flat Architect's scale. But it eats up valuable and ultimately non-billable time to redraft those details into CAD again for the construction documents.

All of the drawings that leave my office are 11x17" inkjet-printed...typically at 1/4"-scale to 1/8"-scale...and lettering at an appropriate size of 8" to 10" at 1/8"-scale in a hand-lettered Font. Basically an equivalent to 24x36" Arch-D hand-drawn reduced 50% to 11x17 Tabloid. In twelve-years, I haven't had an AHJ complain in any of three states I practice-in. Usually they like the smaller size and easier-handling of 11x17" tabloid since it can be three-hole-punched and kept once-folded in a std. ring-binder notebook. . .rather than a huge 24"-long roll with rubber bands.

I find that a "sufficiently-furry" architect's font, generous overshoots and a steep-gradiant of line-weights and linetype-spacings helps with in-the-field and homeowner/contractor legibility. A typical floor-plan drawing or building-section might have 7-different lineweights from 0.5mm or 0.7mm down to 0.08mm at 50%-density, and a number of linetypes and generous fine, hairline hatch-patterns. Recently, I've thinking of going to an even-steeper gradiant of line-weights in the pen-table and bolder page graphics. . .maybe a taller/larger letter-height and font too.


- I haven't upgraded to Datacad v.15 and Sketchup Pro v.8 yet, but looking forwards to the greater interoperability between the two platforms. I haven't CAD-drawn a major building or residential addition elevation from-scratch in years since Sketchup is so quick and intuitive Once I finish up-grading my hardware this Fall, I hope to upgrade my current software. After that maybe a 2nd 23-inch CAD monitor and a graphics tablet to complement the mouse.

I'm still waiting for an affordable desk-top-sized touch-screen conference table and pen-inputting so I ditch the mouse and keyboard all-together and just sketch and wave my hands a-lot like the old days of soft-pencil, a fat marker and lots of thin, yellow tracing paper.

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