Post off topic threads here.
#75687 by pjdixit
Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:56 pm
How many of you use SketchUp Layout for 2D construction document creation? What other tools you use to accomplish similar tasks?

If you could generate SketchUp Layout style documents directly from DataCAD will it be useful to you? How critical it is to your workflow?

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#75690 by pjdixit
Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:09 am
Neil Blanchard wrote:To have color on construction documents would be very expensive.


Neil, I am curious by what factor color documents will be expensive for you compared to black and white ones.

I did an quick check and in Staples color prints are ~1.6x more expensive: https://www.staples.com/sbd/content/cop ... rints.html

Is it cost prohibitive enough that potential benefits of color construction docs can't be justified?
#75691 by MtnArch
Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:47 am
I think there are two issues with the color drawings:
1) Cost, and
2) Large format color drawings are still almost exclusively printed on ink jet plotters

The cost simply escalates when you get to sets that are large (60+ sheets) and then you have the issue of the sets out on the job site - ink does NOT react well to rain, melting snow, sweat, etc.

Just my thoughts ...
#75692 by joshhuggins
Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:22 am
pjdixit wrote:Is it cost prohibitive enough that potential benefits of color construction docs can't be justified?
Yup.

EDIT: Those Staples rates are pretty good for color to color price compare with local shops (we don't have a Staples near by) but I did an actual test on their website of a couple B&W and color cad linework files with minimal fills and they were closer to 4x-6x as much compared to local B&W once they processed the files.

Local 24x36 B&W = 1.00 first impression, 0.75
Local 24x36 Simple Color = 3.00
Local 24x36 Full color = 18.00
Staples 24x36 B&W = 3.59
Staples 24x36 Simple Color = 5.98
Staples 24x36 Full Color = 11.70

But for presentations output something color is always worth doing so output like what you are showing above is worth doing for some jobs.
Last edited by joshhuggins on Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#75693 by pjdixit
Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:42 am
Based on the comments so far, color construction documents aren't the problem. It is printing them on paper is what restrictive and cost-prohibitive (rain, snow sweat etc can damage docs plus it is not necessarily a delight to move around with large sheets of papers on a construction site).

If people on the site are able to access color construction documents on tablets (iPad, Samsung Galaxy, MS Surface etc) preferably with additional protection from drops, water etc., then it becomes a non-issue. They can zoom in easily on the area on they are interested in on their tablets without carrying large sheets of papers and can benefit from richer information they get from color documents. No need to print them at all so no cost associated with it and it is good for the environment as well. In addition, they can easily communicate and collaborate on updated documents if there is an issue.

What do you think?
#75694 by joshhuggins
Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:29 pm
I think we could be close to creating non-textured con docs like that now of a current Datacad 3D model when setup correctly in Datacad if a new 3D Polyline clipcubes could could be enhanced a bit better.

To do a fully textured/material-ed model that is viewable for "views" like what is shown above really needs to get into a whole different subject about what does Datacad LLC see for the future of Datacad? Do they want to shoot for the moon and get Datacad Back to the Future? Build a true 3D cad/modeling system that still does all of the con docs goodness we all love with a modern 3D display AND Drawing Board engine which is what it would take to pull off something like what is shown above and get relative in the 3D model space. Or stay as primarily a construction docs software that dabbles in 3D where getting output like what is shown above is not currently feasible without doing more work than can be done elsewhere like SU Layout or others.

The big issue is the road to get there in Datacad 3D modeling is nowhere near as user friendly as something like Sketchup or some of the other new startups. 3D viewing and working with models in Datacad is slow and cumbersome. (God bless Mark Bell's little 3D heart :lol: ) There is no realtime orbital viewing of Datacad models in Datacad it self or even a simple way to refresh a 3D view without loading and unloading O2C to see an update which is getting way long in the tooth and sun shader which is something else entirely. I think if Datacad truly wants to move beyond construction doc output into a legit modern 3D program again it's going to take some major reworking and is that something Datacad LLC can or wants to do a this point (again) ? I love what Dave and co have put together for con docs which is currently what I do day in and day out right now, but as I am currently looking at what I will be doing for my bread and butter in the 3D future, it is looking more and more like Datacad is not going to be a part of it as it is now and that makes me sad because it's been home for 22 years.
#75695 by joshhuggins
Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:32 pm
pjdixit wrote:Based on the comments so far, color construction documents aren't the problem. It is printing them on paper is what restrictive and cost-prohibitive (rain, snow sweat etc can damage docs plus it is not necessarily a delight to move around with large sheets of papers on a construction site).

If people on the site are able to access color construction documents on tablets (iPad, Samsung Galaxy, MS Surface etc) preferably with additional protection from drops, water etc., then it becomes a non-issue. They can zoom in easily on the area on they are interested in on their tablets without carrying large sheets of papers and can benefit from richer information they get from color documents. No need to print them at all so no cost associated with it and it is good for the environment as well. In addition, they can easily communicate and collaborate on updated documents if there is an issue.

This is kind of going off the rails of the post original topic of do we need or want the types of layouts/output shown above of a 3D model in Datacad so I thought I would break my post into 2 posts.

I think color prints are still cost prohibitive at this point. The technologies you listed work fine for a site manager because they are not down in the muck doing the work and it's assigned to a user. Most trade guys don't want to fuss with a device, zooming in and out of a small display. They want to toss a doc set up on a job board or on the ground next to them, glance at it when needed and then go to work.

I think when displays and the types of tech you listed become more disposable / cost effective it might make sense but it's just not there yet. That tech is also a hot theft item which is a real problem on job sites too. Don't get me wrong, I hope it gets there someday. I love using color for other stuff, it's just not job site practical yet. Now if some of these new flexible display techs can be rugged-ized where they can rolled up, stepped on, splashed on, scratch resistant, come in large format with a reasonable price tag, then we will have something to move the future to!
#75698 by pjdixit
Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:47 pm
Thank you for your insights!!

My 2 cents:

To do a fully textured/material-ed model that is viewable for "views" like what is shown above really needs to get into a whole different subject about what does Datacad LLC see for the future of Datacad?

If Layout-like construction document is something DataCAD users seek, I have some tricks up my sleeve that can make that happen through a macro/add-in. It wont be trivial but it wont be a huge undertaking either. Great thing is that DataCAD files have "most" of the information necessary to generate 2D construction documents like SketchUp Layout. Wondering if DataCAD users can crowd-fund such initiative.


I think when displays and the types of tech you listed become more disposable / cost effective it might make sense but it's just not there yet. That tech is also a hot theft item which is a real problem on job sites too. Don't get me wrong, I hope it gets there someday. I love using color for other stuff, it's just not job site practical yet. Now if some of these new flexible display techs can be rugged-ized where they can rolled up, stepped on, splashed on, scratch resistant, come in large format with a reasonable price tag, then we will have something to move the future to!

If equipment theft is an issue, I think it won't be too hard to develop something off Raspberry Pi - https://www.raspberrypi.org/ ($35 computers) as a proof of concept device specifically designed for such purpose. They can at least handle PDFs with no problem. If needed they can also be hooked to a main display monitor for the site (something big enough for the purpose but not too expensive).

One should also consider cost-savings when fewer mistakes are made because richer, more intuitive information is made available to personnel working on the sites.
#75709 by Ted B
Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:30 am
With my primary client I've recently been generating partial-color preliminaries, then printing the final construction drawings in b/w. Some of the pages I change the Sketchup Layout xref styles to a stark blackline-on-white "hidden line" like a typical CAD drawing. Others I just change in "print" to b/w for grayscale graphics. The Datacad portion of the set is printed blackline to .pdf page by page.

Then I compile the constituent .pdf-file pages into one master .pdf print-file for electronic distribtuion and paper originals. Since my paper originals are 11x17", printing in grayscale doesn't cost any more than blackline, ...and the partial color preliminaries are only .pdf-file documents distributed digitally via email so there'sno distribution cost other than office-time.

For most in-house printing of 11x17" .pdf-files I find that draft-mode "black ink only" "ink-saver on" works fine. The linework is a bit gray, but reads fine ...and stretches the ink considerably. (I don't charge for in-house printing on small projects unless I have to photocopy a stack of paper originals. It just appears petty and "cheap" on my part. And I can recoup some of the real costs in my hourly billing-rates for some projects.) Where I'm located, I dont have any cost-effective means of outputing the tradtional 24x36" drawings, so I've used 11x17" for the last 18-years. ...Even Staples is nearly 16-miles each-way (uphill, in the snow!) and the last surviving architectural/engineering large-format repro house in the state is 5 counties away and won't pickup or deliver this far away.

I looked at several of the Sketchup Layout workflow construction documentation programs, but for my projects right not I can't justify the monthly "rental" for the software. And they look fairly learning-curve intensive to really gain much productivity gain. I just don't have the budget for that....in time or money.

And I don't use Datacad for any 3D work, just traditional 2D Draughting; floor plans and sections, and construction details. I still use an older version of Sketchup, and it's not up to doing construction section detailing and notation. And you need Datacad for any survey or site plans. As I crudely understand, the latest version Sketch Layout now supports BOTH raster and vector graphics and accepts .dwg-format insertions. And has vastly improved the section tools. So maybe when I upgrade (purchase a new license **grrr...**) I'll change my option.

I'll just stumble along with my own hybrid Sketchup, SU Layout and Datacad workflow method at the moment...

***
Datacad v.18, Yes, I need to upgrade!!
Sketchup 2015.
#75710 by MtnArch
Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:15 am
Ted - just as a head-up, Trimble is now pushing a yearly subscription license now, but if you look carefully at the bottom of the subscription page you will find a link for a "classic" license (perpetual) which is what we've traditionally had.

There has been a fairly big (negative) uproar in SU land about this new subscription model and the lack of any truly big features in 2019.
#75721 by Ted B
Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:50 pm
Several of the Sketchup workflow third-party app programs are annual subscriptions, at least one actually locks-up if you dont renew every year...not just no-updates-for-you...as I crudely understand. And what happens if the estwhile owners decide to just take off and go skiing three years from now?

I'm required to keep live files of work-product for years...decades. Even though the Statue of Repose is 10-years AFTER the final Certificate of Completion, my lawyer says figure 18-years, that's decades after initial sketches and chatter. Anyone have a functioning 5.25-inch floppy-drive? [/sarcasm] ...My accountant can't even access my twelve-year-old QuickBooks live-files anymore. I have a mountain of Bankers Boxes in my garage with paper printouts, sketches, record sets of constr. documents, etc...

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