Friday, March 9, 2018

An Architectural Detail Inserter

Over the years, I have noticed that as a contractor arriving at a new workplace which has other Autocad draftsmen, I would enthusiastically inform them that they could use a lisp routine or button to improve their workflow.

After several rebuffs, I got the message: "We don't want to know."

Sadly, I found this solitary fact about humans: They do not want to know about doing things more efficiently.

It is almost as if they have learnt for themselves some stupid technique, and because they have done this, they own it. That means any other way must be rejected.

I myself am not immune to this process, but if the correct way and reasons for it are placed in front of me, I have on occasion changed my method.

My latest project is a case in point. As an architectural draftsman, one of the more annoying parts of drawing a house is the assembling of the details.  For an ordinary house, this might come to around twenty A3 sheets, with as much as four details per sheet.

Drafting drudgery!  Surely it would be quick an easy to whip up a program to do this?

What were my options?

Using Autolisp was not an option as we are using Autocad LT.  in the past I have used Microsoft Visual Basic to serve as a means to generate an Autocad script, so I decided to go down this rabbit hole.

Three months of weekends and nights slaving over something a real programmer would see as a trivial job, I finished it.

Here it is, in action:

A very simple one form program, all it presents is a list of details on a panel which you choose from.  Once chosen, a preview appears. Pressing another button copies the file name to another panel. Once you have a list, next press another button to generate an Autocad script.

Running the script in Autocad inserts new layouts and viewports.  In model space a set of reference bubbles is found which you then put on your elevation.

My present work has shown no interest, but I retire soon and I may do a similar thing for Revit.  

The ethical consideration of letting a thing like this loose could be concerning.
Instead of spending say one hour inserting details you might spend five minutes.
Less work for draftsmen.  On the other hand, if I don't do it, someone else will.

Which leads me to the strange system of architectural drafting that is the standard at the moment, which is that every drawing office has it's stock of details which it inserts in the set of building consent drawings.

This to me, is nuts!

What is to stop the government from issuing a book of standard details to every builder?  Then all the architect need do is refer to this book in his drawings?

Of course, not all would be covered, but for an ordinary house they would be.

Anyway, check out my video on YouTube at:

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