TurboCAD Best Practices - Scale

Published : 12/13/2016 11:08:08
Categories : General , 2D Drafting

Here’s a word or two about Best Practices and SCALE in TurboCAD. If you are an old codger like me, who started on drafting boards with T-squares and triangles, and you still can’t forget the acrid chemical smell of the blueprint machine, you were taught to draw to by scaling to fit. Then you carefully noted the scale factor (1:10, 1” = 1’, 2cm = 1km etc.) down in the corner of the drawing. You may even have had a special set of rulers that short-cut the mathematical metal gymnastics. So it is completely natural that you would continue scale this way when drawing in CAD.  Simply put, DON’T.

SIDEBAR: Along the same line you should be doing ALL of you primary drawing in the Model Space. Paper spaces are for printing; a word on that later.

DRAW TO SCALE, by which I mean full scale 1-to-1, 1:1, 1 = 1. It is true that TurboCAD has a wide range of controls that allow you to scale the drawing (Model) space and apply scale factors to dimensions, and you can always just brute force the issue by going old-school and  drawing  as I described above. There simply is no reason to do so in the modern world of CAD.

Drawing 1-to-1 has many advantages. It makes drawing faster.  It makes it easier for other people to work with the drawing in the future. It reduces the probability of scale errors, and information errors. There are drawing which have come my way, were the drawing space has one scale set, the user has drawn within that space to an additional scale factor, and dimensions are scaled to another factor, and all of this is further compounded by viewports also scaling into paper spaces which also have a non-1-to-1 scale. What a mess. Even the author could not use the drawing a year after creating it.

So why does TurboCAD come with all of these features when I am sitting here telling you not to use them? I can answer that question in two words: Legacy and Compatibility.  CAD today is not what CAD has always been, and best practices and standards have evolved over that last few decades. However, it is still necessary to support legacy drawings. By the same token, not all CAD and drawing applications use the same methods of scaling. So TurboCAD contains features which support both.

Today, most of the time, drawings are transferred, viewed, and reviewed electronically and we are not limited by the size of our paper, or printer/plotter. The Model space where we do most of our drawing is effectively infinite.  Draw a city, at full scale, or a draw complex nanite at full scale. You aren’t likely to run out of room.

Of course, sometimes we have to print, and there we are limited by both printer and paper. However, if you use viewports and scale only via the viewport you reduce the scaling complexity to a single point of failure, easy to identify, easy to fix.

Brian Carter

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