When I started at Interspace in March I had a vague idea about what CAD was, yes, I knew it stood for “Computer Aided Design” and understood there were specific software programs such as AutoCAD used to obtain the pretty, intricate drawings that I have seen on technical drafts and blue prints in the past. Apart from consulting Dr Google this would be where my knowledge quickly began and abruptly ended.
I had used Photoshop and the likes in previous roles and certainly enjoy learning new skills and developing within my job role, so I was excited and ready to jump into the world of construction Computer Aided Design with both feet. I am not going to lie, as eager as I was to learn, having a boss who is an expert in the field certainly set me up in good stead for the Introduction to AutoCAD course I was about to begin. Armed with a few tricks up my sleeve and some shortcuts thrown in for good measure I was good to go.
Before starting the course, I had already come to terms with two fundamental factors within the vastness of AutoCAD, the difference between model space and paper space. Getting my head around that was a good place to start, like learning to ride a bike, once that clicks it makes your life a whole lot easier moving forward.
Simply, model space is your design in the real world with real life measurements drawn at a 1:1 scale, from a microchip to a spaceship, the space is limitless. Paper space is cutting a hole in a piece of paper and viewing your model through that hole, zooming in and out to scale your model within your viewpoint, your drawing is confined to the boundaries of that piece of paper. Jumping ahead slightly it was such a great feeling printing out my first drawing with viewpoints, tables and titles, a drawing that I had completed from start to finish and it looked just like the examples I had seen online and at work, a thing I was sure at the start I would never be able to achieve.
CAD is such a key area within all industries and you never stop learning. I am merely just at the start of my journey but I have quickly come to realise that behind every good and successful project, from small home improvements to large scale design and builds, there is always a at least a handful of CAD drawings to start the process and they are absolutely paramount to the completion and overall outcome of the project. Not only does CAD mean speedy, precise drawings but it also improves communications through documentation. Amendments are logged, changes are shown and old drawings and ideas can be referred to when needed. Gone are the days of scratching a line from a drawing or the sinking feeling of having to start a hand drawn draft from scratch, I of course cannot talk from experience! We now can discuss, tweak, change and change again whilst always having the option to go back to the start and all the time being able to email the drawings to colleagues or other organisations for quick responses or approvals.
From a drafting point of view, I enjoy the precision, drawing a wall or the exact diameter of a section of pipework to the mm or smaller with a simple input of the measurement. The efficiency, copying a complete building outline or a particular room layout, without having to start from scratch and the numerous user friendly design tools, snaps and options to save your own design layouts for future drawings and print outs. The possibilities really are endless and that is essentially the beauty of designing with a computer but of course it’s also good to have a competent user in the driver’s seat.
Victoria Goldsmith (Administrator, AutoCAD Trainee and Mummy!)
Interspace Building Services Ltd