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Advice for an oldie newbie

Old 09-12-2006, 01:50 PM
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rahtware
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Default Advice for an oldie newbie

Hi all

I've been in this great hobby for 25 years now. I tend to stick to the low-end stuff as it would kill me to watch something I've spent a thousand bucks (or more) go in!

I've designed and built a few planes the old-fashioned way, pencil and paper, but would like to get into CAD to speed up the process. I'm not looking to get a job as a CAD designer, just to be able to draw out a set of simple plans, import airfoils from Profili and print out parts on my home printer to transfer to wood.

Am I asking too much? I don't mind spending a couple hours a day studying; I just don't want to make a job out of it. I also would like to do it as cheap as possible, if I spent a grand on a CAD program I would end up sleeping on the couch for the rest of the year!

What about it guys, any help out there?
Old 09-12-2006, 02:30 PM
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CRAZYRYAN
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

if you think your good at building try doing a cessna 150 thats going to be my first kit from wendell hostetler they don't provide instructions just the notes on the plans you have to study them up before buying the kit thats my couple cents worth to make sense.
Old 09-12-2006, 04:26 PM
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

There's a great sticky thread at the top of this forum's listings that discusses the pros and cons of most of the available cheaper options as well as some hints on how to use them. In particular the Baker's Dozen tips I wrote up for TurboCAD in particular and all CAD's in general. Have a read of those and see what you think and if you have any specific questions after that.

It's a long uphill learning curve and I suggest you draw up some simple stuff at first to just play with the CAD program and get used to the tools. Perhaps design a simple all balsa chuck glider or two just to learn the program and then move on to a simple trainer or Stik like sport design.

Once you get the hang of it you'll never go back. And older copies of TurboCAD are going on ebay for as little as $10. Get anything from version 7 and up and you'll be really, really happy. I think 9 and 10 are around $20 generally.
Old 09-12-2006, 09:52 PM
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rahtware
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

Bruce

Thanks for the post. My problem is that I TRIED to work my way through the stickys and just got more confused. I felt that there was a large gap between the pro-posters and what I want to do... I'm retired and NOT looking for a 2nd career.

I'm going to look into TurboCAD.
Old 09-13-2006, 12:51 AM
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

Well, I'm self taught just like you'll be and that's why I took the time to figure out the things that I found to be the most important to me. As it turned out there were 13 of them hence the Baker's Dozen.

I know the terms I used in the hints all sound like gibberish at the moment but when you load up the program and call up the help menus to look for the terms and find the tool icons and open the flyout menues, etc, it'll soon make sense.
Old 09-13-2006, 09:25 AM
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rahtware
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

Downloaded a 15 day trial version of T-CAD 12 last night... Have fought my way to page 223 of 538 in the manual... My brain hurts!

I'm going to go back through the sticky and find your "Baker's dozen".

Thanks for the help...
Old 09-13-2006, 09:39 AM
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

In my opinion, you are thinking yourself capable of everything and anything. I drummed up $30 and took a night school course at local high school few years ago. There 'least you can ask a question to instructor, instead of looking up proper term in the index.

"How do I......."

You may begin sitting in the stuffed classroom with a bunch of 17 year olds who indicate they know everything. But, if they do, how come at end of semester YOU are still attending the evening classes, and they dropped out two months before?

Problem with school instruction is they tend to point the instruction the direction of what the instructor uses as a basis for past emplyment. Thus if he was once an architect, the class flows along using architectural terms. You have to understand how to apply those terms into what you want to use it for. Once you get going a couple weeks, they then explain how to set up the whole drawing for visual representation purposes, so that the result isn't just a bunch of skinny lines with basic text.

Ain't nothing like personal instruction.



Wm.
Old 09-13-2006, 11:39 AM
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rahtware
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

CBL

I hear you!

I was planning on doing that this semester, but got involved in painting my moms house... I feel kinda funny saying that as I am almost 60, but I guess she will always be MOM to me.

I was hopping for a simple route, but I guess there just isn't one. Truth is, so far I haven't found T-CAD to be any easier than Alibre that I downloaded a couple of months ago. The main difference is I can afford to get serious with T-CAD where a full blown version of Alibre is a grand.
Old 09-13-2006, 03:42 PM
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

There's a lot of stuff to learn in any CAD package. It's just like learning a new language. It takes time but as you learn a few things the next item seems to come easier.

I sure still don't know every tool and command in TurboCAD but I can produce a set of plans with a bit of effort that rivals what you see in the magazines and do it faster in CAD than I can draw by hand.
Old 09-14-2006, 03:27 AM
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rahtware
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

I'm having the same problem with T-CAD that I've had with other CAD programs...

The manual doesn't match the program! I followed the tutoral to the part where it says to add constraints, and shows where to find them (options menu). But, when I go there, NO constraints! It's like trying to learn a new language while they are changing the meaning of the words!
Old 09-14-2006, 12:42 PM
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

Is the manual you have the one for the version you're running?

A quick check of my own Version 7 doesn't have any option for "add constraints" but it does have the ability to constrain some elements through various methods depending on the type of element.

I'd check in my Version 9 but it needs reloading right now. But the point is that if you're using a manual or tutorial for a newer version with more functions on an older version then you're going to find this sort of problem.
Old 09-15-2006, 08:59 AM
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rahtware
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

Bruce

Both the manual and version are #12, downloaded from the TC website...

I did follow you advice (bakers dozen) and have been working with snaps. This is really like learning a new language.

Thanks for the help.









Old 09-15-2006, 02:01 PM
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

Larry,

Cheap ain't always best. I've been messing with cad for about as long as Coos Bay. I use Autocad in my daily work as a civil tech. My favorite way to go right now is with Intelicad. Its about $200, is almost identical to Autocad in structure and commands, uses a standard acad .dwg file, will open .dxf files that acad has problems with. I tried turbocad early on & did not do well with it.

Absoulutly the fastest way to get yourself up to speed is a night course at a local community college. Depending on what you're taking, it could be a couple of hundred dollars, but its worth every penny is lost frusteration. Most CC's teach acad. With what you learn there you can transition to Icad seamlessly. A CC course is the best way to get into cad. period.

One other thing that often gets overlooked is drawing output. You'll need a plotter. No ifs ands or buts. Tiling can be done but its a total headache. If you can't find a plotter or can't afford one, take your drawings to kinkos or a local print shop that handels engineering / architectural copies. Most of your cheaper cad programs are going to hamper you in your hardcopy choices.

Good luck, and happy drawing.

Reid
Old 09-15-2006, 03:18 PM
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

A word on printing. Tiling isn't the cleanest option but financially it's the ONLY option for us. Plotters are just too crazy expensive to own or come with driver and supply issues if you can find older used ones at a decent price. Fortunelty there's varioius companies out there like Kinkos and others that provide plotter printing.

However I've had great luck with smaller projects in doing my CAD work and then copying parts out and making secondary printing "stripe" plans that can be either tile printed or banner printed in strips. So far it's worked out well for smaller to medium sized models.

Here's an example of a strip that printed as a banner. It's also got the page outlines for 3 sheets of paper. In use I then "cut" (split) the lines and curves where they cross the pagelines (use the SEKE I for intersection when splitting the lines) and I can then split the file into three other files that all print out on standard or legal size paper that is easily handled. A few bits of tape and I'm ready to rock&roll.

But by far the best HOME option is the banner printing on old style sprocket feed paper or roll paper on an inkjet. Just pre-tear off the sprocket edges to feed the paper into the new inkjets.
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Old 09-15-2006, 04:22 PM
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Default RE: Advice for an oldie newbie

rahtware if you decide to get TurboCad, given what I've read on the TurboCad forum I would have to advise against getting V12 because it was a poorly done program, chock full of bugs I know because I'm having a heck of a time learning it since it crashes and does other strange things on the most simplest operations, also the help menu it just a pdf of the hard copy reference manual that came with the software. V11 has it's problems but they are consideratly less than V12, V11 has a context sensitive help. I will be going back to V11 myself.

As to the constraints they should be under the format menu unless they removed them from the demo or they are not available in the deluxe version I have the professional version.

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