Lesson access board for online drafting courses This is the Access Board for the Online Drafting Courses created by Tim Davis. Once your tuition is received for whichever drafting course you're taking, an account will be created for you on this board. These courses are only available to registered students.




Drafting Certification


Credential: Certificate

The purpose of our Drafting Certificate program is to provide more than basic Architectural and Mechanical Drafting Skills. Our students will receive the skills to create complete Residential Construction, Survey, and Mechanical / Machine drawings. Subjects include drafting practices, and CAD software. Students are taught by a professional General Draftsman who has over 39 years drafting experience.


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Topics - Tim

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In 60 words or more, tell me what you think you've learned using the House Plan Drafting courses please. This counts as a grade...

CAD Forum Discussions / Architectural Scales
« on: July 30, 2017, 09:31:22 AM »
In order that the dimensions of an object can be read with any accuracy, it's best to make a drawing to a certain scale, which in the case of house or commercial building plans is usually 1/4" = 1'-0". This means that every quarter inch of the drawing is considered to be one foot in actual construction, and every 1/8th of an inch will represent six inches. When referring to the dimensions of a drawing it's usually customary to show only the real or full size dimensions of the object, regardless of the smaller size that it may be necessary to create the drawing on paper. If we don't do this, we may wind up with a bunch of confusion.

The size of the scale is the choice of the drafter, or the size of the paper that the drawing has to be drawn on. In architectural work scales of 1/4" = 1'-0" and 1/8" = 1'-0" are commonly used for the construction plans of buildings, while other scales such as 1/2" = 1'-0". and 3" = 1'-0" are used for parts which require a more complete visible clarity. These drawings are known as details.

Special measuring instruments known as Architects or Engineers scales are made with graduated divisions to indicate the several scales used. These instruments, or scales, are not absolutely necessary, as any scale divided into sixteenths of an inch may be used for a variety of scales by a little mental effort in conceiving one or more of its divisions as representing the desired unit for the reduced scale. It's just easier to use a scale made to read these reduced dimensions.

CAD Resources / Using the UCS icon in a 2d drawing
« on: July 13, 2017, 09:31:30 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL21994F509" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL21994F509</a>

General Discussion / Checking who's still taking their courses
« on: April 03, 2017, 10:17:02 PM »
I'll be purging the database of members who have completed their courses. If you are still in the process, please reply to this thread so you membership stays active.


CAD Resources / Top Ten AutoCAD Tricks for New AutoCAD Users
« on: December 12, 2016, 11:48:17 AM »

AutoCAD is used by professionals world-wide to create the drawing files that define the buildings, equipment and products we use every day. If you are looking for a job in design or construction, you need to know AutoCAD in order to command high wages and job security. These easy tips will help new users get up to speed fast.

Use the Pull Down Menus

If you look at the top of the AutoCAD screen you will see menus like Draw, Edit, Modify, etc. Use these menus to launch AutoCAD commands. As you become more familiar with AutoCAD you may elect to use the toolbars and the command prompt to issue commands, but new users learn and work faster if they use the pull down menus.

Keep Your Eye on the Command Prompt

At the bottom of the screen you will find the Command prompt. Keep your eye on this space when you issue commands. You will find that every command you issue puts its options on this line. So, if you start the CIRCLE command, you will find you can type D to indicate that you want to specify a diameter for the circle you want to create.

Learn How to Identify Points

New AutoCAD users struggle with the many ways in which they can enter points in AutoCAD. You can type them (3,4), you can click your mouse to select them, you can use Object Snaps to pick up points on existing geometry (hold down the shift key and right-click to see the Osnap menu). You can Also select a point, move your mouse up or down, right or left and type a distance. Take 30 minutes and learn all the ways you can select points in AutoCAD by reviewing its Help files. you will save yourself hundreds of hours of work and create better drawings.

Never Ever Draw What You Can Copy

New AutoCAD users spend too much time drawing. If you've ever drawn something, you should never need to draw the thing again. Learn how to use the BLOCK and WBLOCK commands to create named geometry you can use over and over again. Learn how to use the INSERT or DESIGN CENTER and EXPLODE commands to place editable geometry in your drawing.

Learn How to Use Model Space/Paper Space or Layouts

Its really very simple. You Click the MODEL tab. You draw your objects at full scale (one inch in the real world is one inch in AutoCAD's model space). Select a Layout to toggle into paper space. Specify the size of your paper. Use the MVIEW command to "cut a hole" in the paper and display the objects in model space. Select the edge of the hole, right-click and choose a scale for the view. Double-click inside the hole and pan the view so its centered. Double-click outside the hole. From the File menu choose Plot to plot your scaled drawing. The instructions for using Layouts vary slightly based on which version of AutoCAD you are using, but the basic technique is always the same. Draw full scale in model space. Create scaled drawings in Layouts.

Be Organized

If you don't know how to create and navigate to folders in Windows, life with AutoCAD will be a misery. It will scatter your files all over your hard disk or network. you will never be able to find anything. There are a million books and websites that review Windows fundamentals, take a moment to master the basic skills they review. you will spend less time looking for things.

Use External References

If you are working as members of a team, put the geometry you need in one file. Everyone can then create new files which externally reference that file. The result is, multiple people can work on the same project at the same time. You use the XREF command to place one drawing inside another. You can also use Design Center to insert external references.

Learn How to Use Dimension & Text Styles

To define text fonts that you use in your drawings, use the STYLE command. To define how dimensions look use the DIMSTYLE command. If you don't use dimension and text styles, you spend a great deal of time tweaking each and every dimension and text block you create. If you define a style changing the style updates all the text and dimensions.

Back Up All The Time

If you don't know how your drawings are being backed up, go find out right now. Every drawing represents hundreds or thousands of man hours. A lost, deleted or corrupt drawing file can mean lots of lost revenue. Small design shops using AutoCAD are the worst offenders. They rarely back up, they often lose data. You need to back up in such a way that you can go back four or five versions of your drawing, because often problems in a drawing aren't noticed for a long time. So many lines, so little time . . .

Find Out What Other Folks In the Office Do

Don't be the lone wolf in your AutoCAD office. Use the templates, title blocks, text styles, dimension styles, plot styles and block libraries everyone else uses. It saves everybody time. Your drawings are easier for others to edit and plot. You can edit and plot the drawings of others. Its always better to ask questions (even multiple times) than do something no one else in the office will understand later.

I hope these ten tips will help make you a better AutoCAD user, and that you will learn to love the application as so many have. As complex as it is, as confusing as it can be, there's almost nothing you can't do in AutoCAD one way or another. You can't say that about every CAD application.

Nancy Fulton owns and operates the [http://www.complete-support.com] training site which has hundreds of free AutoCAD tutorials currently online.

General Discussion / Drafting Careers
« on: June 23, 2016, 09:07:12 AM »
Drafting fields vary by the type of drafting they specialize in. The various fields are architectural, structural, electrical and electronic, mechanical or machine, boundary and topographical, general, illustrative, and tracing or reproductive. And each of these fields have their own methods of getting an idea across on paper with similarities that tie them together as a certain type of trained professional.

A good drafters qualifications are: accuracy, technique, speed, economy, and neatness and also a fluent grasp of how to draw in many of the various CAD programs on the market today as well as use of the drafting board. Like many fields, drafting used to be mostly a mans vocation, but no longer because women have entered the work force and showed that they can be just as useful and skilled as any man creating complex drawings.

Accuracy is the greatest of these qualifications. A mistake should be considered as a reflection of the drafters character and every effort should be made to create habits of doing the most accurate work possible.

Technique should be studied and developed thoroughly, because without technique the drafters work looks like it was done by an amateur.

Speed in drafting is the result of mental processes as well as manual dexterity or skill with the mouse and keyboard using CAD. It naturally follows quick thought when the subject is understood and technique is mastered. And with speed comes economy. Speed can be attained by close attention to what details, dimensions, and shading are needed and also what is not required.

And then neatness is the final form of efficiency in light of the other qualities. It should be developed into a habit, and will usually be noticed in the work of those possessing the other qualities.

I've already started to reach out to site with a similar theme to our Online Drafting School. If you are interested in sharing links, please contact me and I'll get the ball rolling.

Sites I've already reached out to:
Hobby Projects dot Com
A B Model Making

If your site is even slightly related to drafting, model making, material layout, surveying, etc,,, a link between us would really help us get the exposure we need to our sites.


General Discussion / Three New Courses in the Works
« on: January 02, 2016, 08:58:18 AM »
I'm pleased to announce that there are three new courses being built starting today.

1. Sheet Metal Drafting
2. Apparel Pattern Drafting
3. Quilt Pattern Drafting

I don't have a completion date for any of the three, but I can say that it won't be long. I've been building notes for these courses for quite some time now.

CAD Resources / Good AutoCAD tutorial
« on: December 09, 2015, 09:02:55 AM »
If you want a kick start on drawing with autocad or even draftsight in architecture, this tutorial is really good... (Drawing Walls)

General Discussion / New board to help with CAD and Drafting
« on: December 01, 2015, 10:54:52 AM »
Hey, I've opened a new message board unlike the course access board you are on now. It's called the CAD Drafting Forum where you can get many of your CAD questions answered in even more detail. I encourage all of you to register there and for those who are starting your own drafting service, it would be a good resource to even more information. I'm inviting CAD manufactures to participate there also. The URL is http://technicaldrawing.us/index.php


CAD Resources / AutoCAD LSP files
« on: November 03, 2015, 09:43:29 AM »
An AutoCAD LSP file is a small script or program that is loaded into AutoCAD that performs a multitude of tasks in one function.

For instance, below is the code for stair.lsp which automates drawing stairs in architectural drawings. When the following code is saved in a text file called "stair.lsp" and then loaded into the cad program by typing: (load "stair.lsp"), by typing STAIR after it has loaded, will create the treads and risers for a stairway by following the instructions at the command prompt:

1. Touch top Starting Point Of Staircase
2. Enter The Staircase Vertical Height
3. Enter The Horizontal Length Of One Tread

Code: [Select]
(defun C:STAIR ()
(SETQ A (GETPOINT "\n Touch top Starting Point Of Staircase: "))
(SETQ VER (GETDIST "\n Enter The Staircase Vertical Height: "))
(SETQ HOR (GETDISt "\n Enter The Horizontal Length Of One Tread: "))
(SETQ VER1 (/ VER 7.5))
(SETQ VER2 (fix VER1))
(SETQ VER3 (+ VER2 0.5))
(if (>= VER1 VER3)
(SETQ W (+ VER2 1.0))
(SETQ W1 (/ VER W))
(SETQ ANG1 (* pi (/ 270.0 180.0)))
(SETQ ANG2 (* pi (/ 0.0 180.0)))
(SETQ S 1)
(WHILE (<= S W)
(SETQ PT1 (polar (LIST X Y) ANG1 W1))
(SETQ PT2 (polar PT1 ANG2 HOR))
(command "LINE" (LIST X Y) PT1 PT2 "")
(SETQ X (+ X HOR))
(SETQ Y (- Y W1))
(SETQ S (+ 1 S)))
(command "ERASE" "L" "")

General Discussion / Welcome
« on: November 01, 2015, 01:09:49 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRTUMoMo6k8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRTUMoMo6k8</a>

General Discussion / What Does A Drafter Or Draftsman Do?
« on: October 27, 2015, 11:00:02 AM »
A drafter is someone who is trained in creating technical drawings. Their job is to take the sketches, concepts, and specifications of a professional architects, engineers, machinists, or inventors and build the necessary illustrations from which that idea can be implemented or fabricated in a methodical and practical format.

The tools of the trade are mostly computer programs called CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) programs. Some of the most popular are AutoCAD, Draftsight, CadVance, TurboCAD, and General CADD to name a few. In years past the tools of the trade were the drafting board, tee square, engineering scale, triangles, etc., although some still use these tools today.

The various types of drafters are:

The Architectural Drafter is the one who creates residential and commercial drawings for the construction of structures.

The Steel Detailer is a drafter who creates steel fabrication drawings for structural members for the erection of buildings.

The Mechanical Drafter is the one who works for engineers and machinists to create machine and shop drawings for the fabrication of mechanisms and fixtures. A sub field for this discipline would be for woodshop drawings for furniture manufacturers and woodcrafters.

The Survey Drafter would be the one that creates boundary and topographical drawings for surveyors plats and site plans.

The Industrial Drafter is the one who draws layouts of large plants so that the industrial engineers may work out the best methods for production on a plant floor. He or she also creates drawings for the design of fixtures to be used in the manufacturing process, crossing them over into the mechanical field as well as commercial architectural.

The Patent Drafter takes the ideas of inventors and places them in a drawing format that is accepted by the patent office to protect the inventors ideas.

A General Drafter is one who has studied most or all of the fields mentioned above and is sometimes given the title of master drafter. Other fields of drafting include aviation, automotive, nautical, archaeological, electrical, etc .

General Discussion / A Working Mini Water Wheel
« on: October 27, 2015, 10:54:40 AM »
Some time ago I bought a piece of property that had a stream running through it. No one has ever seen that stream dry up as it was spring fed and I got the notion of using that steady stream of water in some way or another. I built a water wheel to hook a small pump on order to pump water up to the house.

Below are the drawings I used to build it.

General Discussion / Opening your own Drafting Service
« on: October 27, 2015, 10:31:43 AM »
After you receive the necessary education from either a good technical school or from apprenticing under a professional drafter, architect, or engineer, many people venture out to open their own drafting service. Make sure though that you have enough training and experience to venture out on your own. Drafting is a highly specialized field, which if practiced poorly can damage your professional reputation and credibility.

With technology the way it is, very few people produce drawings using a drafting board, thanks to the invention of computer generated drawings using a CAD program. The CAD program not only makes it easier to open an office but also makes it much less expensive. Most drafting offices can be run out of your living room or den with nothing more than your laptop or desktop computer and a professional cad program. There are however certain other considerations before going into this type of business.

One of these, I would think would be the necessary library of reference books that are not available online. This would be books like "Architectural Graphic Standards" or "ANSI Standards for Mechanical Drawing", although certain portions of both of these books are available on line on the Internet. If you are doing architecture, a good selection of plan books would be a handy resource. Not to copy from however, that would be a bad thing, but as a fresh source of ideas you can suggest to your clients.

A good electronic symbols library would be great too. It always saves time, which is precious by the way, to not have to re-draw the same thing over and over. There are several websites offering these for sale and quite a few free download sites also. If you are focusing on Architecture, the only place I know of to get house plan CAD files is at http://draftingservice.us. That's one of my web sites by the way.

Another thing would be a website where you can advertise your services and also display drawings at certain stages to your client from the comfort of their home. I've been using this process for at least ten years and the clients love it. They have access to their drawings any time of day or night. And instead of waiting on the mail, the changes you make to their drawings can be reviewed almost instantly after you upload them.

You might also consider talking to your local insurance agent about some sort of insurance. Better safe than sorry. And with any new businesses it is always good to hire a bookkeeper to help you keep up with your taxes.

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