Navigation links are at the bottom of the page.
When I began designing and drawing custom home plans in 1982, I did it with pencil and paper on a drawing board, using a scale, a T-square, triangles, a protractor, and various templates. Later I replaced the T-square with an old drafting machine. Then, in 1987, I bought my first computer (a Mac Plus) and a copy of a program called MiniCad. Since then, I have upgraded through several versions of MiniCad which, with version 8 was renamed VectorWorks.
CAD, or Computer Assisted Drafting, is just what the phrase says: Drafting which is Assisted (or Aided) by a Computer running software designed to provide tools to produce drawings. The computer does not magically produce designs and drawings at the push of a button. What it and the CAD software do is replace the mechanical drafting tools with electronic drafting tools.
If you understand something about word processing with a word processing program on your computer, you can think of what I do as line processing -- sort of. You can type text, copy or cut it, paste it somewhere else, format the text, create new pages, and lay out your material on these pages. I can draw lines, set the line weight and style, move them around, change their angle or length, and copy and paste and duplicate them. Actually, I usually do not draw simple lines very much. Instead I draw other objects, some simple ones such as rectangles, polygons, ovals, and arcs, and some more complex ones such as dimensions, walls, floors, roofs, windows and stairs. VectorWorks provides special tools for drawing these items and many others. The program also includes a scripting language which I have used to create a number of custom drawing tools. Some of these custom tools do rather simple tasks, while others draw complex objects such as stairs complete with railings, windows and doors which I can open and close, and 3D log walls.
When drawing on paper, there is only so much erasing and editing that can be done before one simply needs to start over on a new sheet. Using a computer, editing the drawing is very easy. When using paper, each new floor level needs a new drawing produced from scratch. VectorWorks allows me to copy one floor plan, paste it into a new drawing layer (page or sheet), and edit it. This makes it very easy for me to experiment with different layout options since I don't have to redraw everything. I only need to copy and paste into a new layer, and then edit the areas I want to change. Also, I can use a copy of the basic plan from the main level to begin drawing the second level, so it makes the work faster, easier and helps keep it more accurate. When I have several layers representing different levels, I can view them together with everything superimposed to make sure everything lines up properly.
VectorWorks also makes it very easy for me to draw in three dimensions. Actually, I create a 3D model of the building. I can then turn this model to view it from any angle, outside or inside. This is very useful for helping me visualize how the building will be constructed, and the various views I generate and print out are very helpful for helping you and your contractors visualize your building.
With the background of my previous construction experience, aided by the ability to create a digital 3D model, I can visualize exactly how your structure can be built, and I can produce drawings to clearly communicate that to you and to your contractors. A good set of drawings will help the construction of your project progress as smoothly and efficiently as possible, the cost of the planning process will be saved many times over, and the final result will be more likely to please you for many years to come.
If you are interested, here is a link to the VectorWorks web site.
Location - History - Philosophy - Stick Built Homes - Log Homes - CAD - Contractors
Home Page - Work Links - Area Links - Minnesota Links - Personal Links - Contact me