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AutoCAD® 2009 & AutoCAD LT® 2009 All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies® by Lee Ambrosius

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Chapter 2. Drawing on and in AutoCAD

Personal computers revolutionized the drafting trade in the 1980s. Before that, some drafting was computerized, but the computers were mainframes or minicomputers (equivalent to the Stanley Steamers and Baker Electrics of the early days of motoring), well beyond the price range of most small architectural or engineering firms.

As a result, even as recently as 30 years ago, virtually all drafting was done by grizzled veterans wearing green eyeshades in smoke-filled back rooms. And not on computers!

In the old days, apprentice drafters (who were called draftsmen — or even draughtsmen — for it was a male profession) started their careers on the boards as tracers. Hard to believe, but there was a time before mechanical reproduction when every copy of an engineering drawing had to be traced, by hand, from an original. If you're being forced to master AutoCAD, you may grumble, but you should be thankful you do not have to go through a procedure like that!

Tip

Today, drafting is much easier because of AutoCAD. Maybe your boss is making you use AutoCAD, or you have to pass a course. But there are other reasons to use it — some of which may help you pass that course or get home from the office a little earlier. Here are some advantages to using CAD:

  • Precision: AutoCAD is capable of precision to 14 significant digits (ask your math prof or your counselor why one digit should be more significant than another). That's way more precise than the best manual drafter ...

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