The Influence of Computer Aided Design on Society

Pages: 7 (2572 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Before computers there were hands and tools. Before hands and tools there were just hands. Humans have always been designing and throughout human history drafting is what became of it. With new technology in building during the earlier years drafting needed to be changed to accommodate it. Humans have always been able to find better ways to accomplish things. Drafting is no different.

Before people used tools to draw something they went to what we call now a "General Contractor" with an idea and he had to come up with the rest. After a while the contractors wanted more. Just an idea wasn't enough for them. Their clients sometimes wouldn't like what they had built for them. So eventually the contractors asked the clients to tell them exactly what they wanted. Since it was hard to sketch accurately, tools were developed to aid them in drawing. This enabled the client to show the contractor exactly what he wanted.

As the population grew rapidly the demands for faster and more accurate plans did also. Once again drafters looked for a new way to draw. They decided to turn to the computer. In the 1950s MIT discovered the capability to display a computer-generated image on the screen (Zandi, 5). Up until the mid to late 1970s drafters used this technology just for mathematical calculations (Goetsch, 23). Then they discovered that the computer could be used to display more than just numbers. They found that they could use it to draw on. It wasn't until the early 1980s that this new technology caught on (Goetsch, 23). Drafters found that using computers was much quicker, more accurate, and much neater than hand drawn plans. They had found their solution, Computer Aided Drafting and Design or CADD.

Now that CADD has found it way into drafting it has been improving upon drafting greatly over the past 20 years. Today nearly all firms use CAD (Friedman). It has changed the way people go about their drawing and designing process. The variety of new programs has made everything more accurate, there are many more ways to think towards a problem, and the process of fast tracking has come about. It has changed the society in many ways.

Whether using CADD or drawing a project traditionally, drafters always start off with a sketch. When brainstorming ideas it is much easier to do it with a pad of paper and a pencil than on a computer. A sketch of an object is a drawing that is inaccurate that has just ones ideas on it (Friedman). It is difficult to sketch on the computer because the computer is so accurate (Friedman). It is not a good idea to draw a sketch accurately because between a sketch and the final drawing things change drastically (Friedman). So it shouldn't be perfect. It should be something a drafter can interpret in different ways.

To sketch a drawing an idea must first be thought of. Then once the idea has been thought of the drafter begins with a piece of graph paper and a pencil. There are no tools needed for a sketch. The boxes on the graph paper can be used as a guide and a scale (Friedman). A sketch is just an estimation of the real thing. So one just estimates, nothing else.

CADD is very hard to sketch in. Some of the more sophisticated programs have a function where the mouse can act like a sketch pencil (Bethune, 13). Although this seems like it might be like the pencil it is not. Mice are harder to keep straight and even the lightweight drawing tasks may make the hand tired (Bethune, 13). Other ways of getting a sketch on the computer are scanners, electronic pens or touch pads. With the electronic pen, just point at the screen and that is where the dot, line or shape shows up. However one moves the pen is what shows up. This can be hard because a screen is at a weird angle, which makes drawing awkward. The touch pad however can be bought to the size of the screen. These are the best method because they recognize where one puts his pen on the pad is where...
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