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#18734 - 12/13/02 05:14 PM Plotters / AutoCAD
arseegee Offline
Member
Registered: 01/28/02
Posts: 324
Loc: Statesboro, GA USA
I am toying with the idea of purchasing a plotter and AutoCAD software. I am totally in the dark on the whole set up.

Can I run it on my PC, how does it connect with the PC, any special PC requirements? Looks a little more complicated than plug and play device.

Any input would be appreciated.
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#18735 - 12/13/02 05:19 PM Re: Plotters / AutoCAD
electure Offline


Member
Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4259
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
It's actually just a big printer!!
You go through setup just as you would with an 8-1/2X11.
You're sure savvy enough to run one...Look, you made it here! ...S
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#18736 - 12/13/02 05:35 PM Re: Plotters / AutoCAD
Ron Offline
Member
Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 582
Loc: White Plains, NY
Autocad runs on a standard PC, and as mentioned before, the plotter sets up like a regular printer.
_________________________
Ron
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#18737 - 12/13/02 05:58 PM Re: Plotters / AutoCAD
Nick Offline
Member
Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 599
Loc: Riverside, CA
Check here for thousands of questions and answers regarding AutoCAD.
http://discussion.autodesk.com/WebX?14@202.NgjyaeUyo7n.0@
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#18738 - 12/13/02 06:14 PM Re: Plotters / AutoCAD
Nick Offline
Member
Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 599
Loc: Riverside, CA
I think I better expand on this a little more. Yes, AutoCAD runs on a regular PC and yes plotters install like a regular printer (unless it’s a network plotter). That is where the similarity ends. If you are going to purchase AutoCAD you better plan on taking some courses to learn how to use it or hire someone who does. There is a huge learning curve with CAD software and proper plotting procedures are some of the hardest things to get down. Brows through some of the posts in the above link in all the different categories and you will see what I mean. I have spent 2-1/2 years actively learning this animal and I have become pretty proficient. But it’s been a long hard road in getting there. Be ready to devote the time to get the most for your very expensive investment.
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#18739 - 12/13/02 08:08 PM Re: Plotters / AutoCAD
arseegee Offline
Member
Registered: 01/28/02
Posts: 324
Loc: Statesboro, GA USA
Thanks guys! I have a buddy who's a voice and data contractor that gonna get me started. He's been using autocad for about two years and has a good grasp on it.

Looks like more growing pains and schooling for me.
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#18740 - 12/17/02 07:11 PM Re: Plotters / AutoCAD
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member
Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2707
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Oh no, not another CAD user!
<just messing around!>

Adding to the posted information, here's some more bull-oney to confuse you

Per the Hard Copy device you plan to use, there are Plotters, then there are Wide Format Printers. Slang has somewhat dictated that any printing device which uses large size paper and works with a CAD application is a Plotter. Even AutoCAD refers to sending a print job out as "Plot" (type PLOT at the command line and up pops the print dialog!).

A typical Plotter works with physical Pens, and the paper media does more moving than you hagve ever seen!!! Pen Plotters are cool to watch! They print everything per the "X,Y" coordinates - in other words they "Plot" the "X,Y" coordinates; hence the name - Plotter.

So much for Plotters 101!

Wide format printers are like Electure mentioned - Big - Old desktop printers! These printers can be either Ink Jet type or Laser type (Man, I would LOVE to have an E size Laser printer!!!).
There are some Impact type printers, which are like a cross between a printer and a plotter.

The difference in the Wide Format printer is that the CAD drawing, which is a database of Vectors, must be changed into a Raster (Bitmapped) image, so the printer can make sense of it.
Ink Jet and Laser printers are glorified Dot-Matrix printers.

This is just FYI information, so you can hang with the "Big Wigs Of CAD Land" and know what they are talking about per plotters vs other printers. Just a big trivia thing!

If you plan to print out on smaller media - like no larger than B size paper (11"x17"), there are some affordable and decent Ink Jet printers available. HP has one which I am considering. Great for "Check Plots".

If you are planning to print on larger sizes - such as Arch. D size paper (24"x36"), or Arch. E size (36"x48"), then go for a wide format printer.

I have a HP 450C, which accepts upto Arch. D size media, and is a Color Printer (Yellow, Cyan, Magenta + Black). It's an Inkjet printer. Cost me $1,800.00 new, plus an additional $200.00 for the legs and Roll assembly. Roll media kit allows you to attach rolls of paper media and have it automatically loaded - as opposed to reloading each separate page!
I use a 24" x 150' roll of Monochrome Vellum as a common media, and swap out a 24" x 150' roll of Color Inkjet Opaque Bond for "Fun Things".

The 450C is connected to my Print Server machine via an IEEE 1284 Parallel Port. Print server driving it is a simple P55C [Pentium MMX - before the PII] and this works fine.

I am running AutoCAD release 14 on my "Work Computer", which is where I usually do my Electric - related designing / Engineering junk. This machine is a PII (AL440LX based) machine with 128 MB SDRAM, a Laser printer for the local printer, and a simple scroll mouse for input.

If you can afford a good Digitizer tablet, get one of these!!! They are really helpful! Digitizers are tablets with "Pucks" that are moved across the tablet - like a mouse does, except the puck has many functions. Drawing "Pens" can be used in swap of a puck, which makes tracing easy.

Getting the basics of any CAD application is the first step. After that, learn to design / write your own helper applications, so your work gets done faster

If you have more Q's, feel free to ask!

Scott s.e.t.
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
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#18741 - 12/18/02 07:20 AM Re: Plotters / AutoCAD
Scotts Offline
Member
Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 209
Loc: Ventura, CA, USA
OK, I have to have my say.

First of all if you are going to purchase AutoCAD look into AutoCAD LT. The LT stands for lite. I have done a lot of facility layouts and it works well for me. I think the difference is that it does not do 3-D drawings, but then I don't do 3-D drawings either.

AutoCAD is NOT that hard to learn, at least for facility layouts. I love to teach people how to use it. Many people think it is difficult and once you learn about 10 to 15 commands you can do most of the drawings that you want. It is fun to see the light go off on their head when they realize that they can do it. I just taught our IT guy AutoCAD. He was reading the book and trying to make drawings how they described. In less than an hour I showed him how to use it. He had spent a couple of hours trying to make a simple drawing. We redid his drawing in less than 15 minutes.

Plotters. Yes they are just big printers. However if you are going to purchase one I would suggest getting one that uses a roll of paper. We had one that you had to load the paper into, and if you did not load the paper into it exactly straight it would reject the paper. Very frustrating when you spend 15 minutes loading the paper.

When you are ready to go you can e-mail me and I will help you learn AutoCAD. Scotts@valex.com. Also if you have any questions about AutoCAD or plotters e-mail me. I would rather help you buy the right one then have you realize later that you got the wrong one.
Scott
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#18742 - 12/18/02 12:40 PM Re: Plotters / AutoCAD
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member
Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2707
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Scotts;

Quote:

I just taught our IT guy AutoCAD. He was
reading the book and trying to make drawings how they described. In
less than an hour I showed him how to use it. He had spent a couple of
hours trying to make a simple drawing. We redid his drawing in less than
15 minutes.


I hear 'ya on this one!!!

When I start a new layout, I'll just draw two lines - one on X axis, one on Y axis - somewhere near the UCS 0.00, 0.00, 0.00 point. Lines run long, and get trimmed later.

Next I'll just use the Offset command, and in a few minutes a base plan is drawn. trim off the extra line length, and it's time to set it as an Xref'able base template.

I really want (need) to create a bunch of advanced functions and helper apps to use with AutoCAD, with Excel / Acrobat / Word / Access / PSP, plus between ACAD and Excel / Acrobat / Word / Access / PSP.
AutoLISPs, VBA, custom apps w/ VB, and possibly DIESEL.

These items, although they may require an extensive amount of initial time + effort in writing and debugging, will definitely save me a lot of time and effort - plus make edits and checking 100,000,000 times easier and effective!
Not to mention the reduction in numb wrists / bugged eyes / numb butt cheeks / finger fatigue!

Got any ideas or suggestions as to scripts / apps / routines / modules / procedures???

Scott s.e.t.
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
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#18743 - 12/18/02 07:51 PM Re: Plotters / AutoCAD
Nick Offline
Member
Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 599
Loc: Riverside, CA
Scotts,
I agree you can teach someone to draw basic lines shapes and do basic things in AutoCAD pretty quickly. But if this is all you plan on doing with it why even bother with LT? You can do basic drawings with quick CAD and it only costs about $75.00. It will read .dwg files and save to .dwg format.
Doing lines and basic drawing commands is only the tip of the ice burg of what this program is capable of. I have two text books. One is over 1200 pages, the other is over 1600. If you are going to truly use the program efficiently you have to now how to manipulate things. For instance: I was in our shop a couple of weeks ago. (A rare occurrence!) A friend of mine is a detailer there now just learning on LT. He had multiple elevations of large duct bank details, complete with attributes that he needed to mirror so you would be looking at the elevation from the other direction. Well, when you to this the attributes come out upside down and backwards. As you know there are special commands to edit attributes but doing one at a time is rather tedious. I showed him that if he reset the mirrtext system variable the attributes would maintain there proper orientation. That saved tons of time and is just one example of literally hundreds of situations that come up where knowing the right command can save your sanity. I guess what I am trying to say here is if all you are doing is simple line drawings and room layouts don’t even bother spending the $700.00 + for LT and defiantly don’t invest the $3000.00+ for the full version. Other much cheaper software can accomplish the same task.
As for AutoCAD LT. I here all the time from my shop that it’s just like the full version without 3D. Wrong. LT, while being a very powerful very useful program does not have a lot of functionality that the full version has. A few examples: LT does not work with express tools. (Huge deal for me) It does not have the geometry calculator (Big deal for me) Refedit is not available. Not very user friendly block attribute editing and extraction tools. (Big deal) Use of multiple UCS’s not available. (Big deal) For a partial list of the differences go here. http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/files/1862824_AutoCADLT2002_WP_ACADvsLT.pdf
LT is a great program, don’t get me wrong. But it is missing more the just 3D capability
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