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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brain can interpret a lousy sketch on graph paper better than a machine or computerized drawing.
Looking at a machine/computerized drawn sketch, I miss details that a hand drawn sketch shows. This statement infers that the hand drawn sketch does include the details. Not just my sketches but others that have been posted on here also.

Anyone else experience this phenomena?
 

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I’d rather look at a well made drawing any day.

As much as possible, I use full size drawings, which are pretty expensive to do with CAD or Sketchup.

I use this version if Sketchup 😁
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I usually start with the overall sketch with the major dimensions.
As I am going through the actual build, I make my detail sketches as I go along.
At one time I used to make detailed drawings on my drafting table but gave that up a long time go.
Whether with mechanical, computerized or hand sketches, the design stage is always fun and interesting.
 

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@Tony B, I think it's a factor of habit. How long have you been looking at lousy sketches on graph paper vs. machine or computerized drawings? I've sometimes forced myself to get used to a new technology (a great example is changing to a current word processing software from one I had been using for two decades). I hated the new one in the beginning, now it is second nature. It took time, though. And, I had to want to do it, or it would not have happened.
 

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@Woodworking Wolf I am a retired engineer - early retirement after 20 years. After that, another 20 years of reading blue prints of steel structures. Computer generated and draftsmen generated schematics and blue prints are not new to me.
Maybe I am a getting a child's brain again. Cartoons are easier for them to process - less complicated details and softer on the eye and brain. Members on here have posted some pretty bad sketches and I had no problem with them.
Anyway, I was just curious if I am in the minority.
 

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When I was in college, I did summer internships in the drafting room of a major truck equipment manufacturer. Old school drafting, pre CAD era. I have a 3D CAD package on our computer, but can't wrap my brain around it. I still do paper drawings for my projects, my comfort zone. My Son, on the other hand is a designer for that same company and can do a 3D drawing of really complex objects faster than I can draw a 3 view drawing of a box. Plus, he can do a 3D model and a 3D print of that object and then do a CMM scan. I guess it's the "old dog, new tricks" thing.
 
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I'm also a retired engineer that started in 1969 in Engineering Drafting in a local Vocational/Trade School (on the board) ... I progressed into engineering over the years, but that early teaching was a solid skill that I fondly use today. I do have an old school drafting table & machine I occasionally utilize.
 

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I prefer to start with a paper sketch, but use a mixture of paper sketches and SketchUp models. I typically find myself unable to picture (and remember) the details of a project if I do not have a computer model.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I may be the only one that prefers hand drawn on graph paper. I do count the boxes for scaling.
I also keep my coloring book and crayons in my Roy Rogers lunch box. LOL
 
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I may be the only one that prefers hand drawn on graph paper. I do count the boxes for scaling.
I also keep my coloring book and crayons in my Roy Rogers lunch box. LOL
No you aren't. Well, maybe the graph paper part you are. I rarely do anything more than a crude sketch on paper. Usually just enough for my wife to get my idea. And it's usually a piece of scratch paper off the pile my wife keeps. While I don't like to make mistakes or redo things, I have less patience to spend time doing a drawing to follow. I start with the most critical dimension and build from there.

I should use graph paper to try to keep some semblance of scale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Graph Paper makes all the difference in the world. I can almost make a straight line on it.
Seriously, I usually start counting boxes (Scale) in my layout and leave a mark along the way. Then I just count my tick marks. I dont even use a straight edge. I just draw freehand 'close enough for horse shoes'. I dont bother with isometrics, just front, top and side view.
 

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My brain can interpret a lousy sketch on graph paper better than a machine or computerized drawing.
Looking at a machine/computerized drawn sketch, I miss details that a hand drawn sketch shows. This statement infers that the hand drawn sketch does include the details. Not just my sketches but others that have been posted on here also.

Anyone else experience this phenomena?
Whatever works for you. I do not like Sketchup, too much work for what I need. I work with TurboCad, an AutoCad knockoff. I only work in 2D and pretty things are not necessary. I find it easier to make changes in CAD than erasing and re-drawing. I also like the dimensioning. More than once over the the years I have written down a dimension different than it measured. CAD will not allow that. It is also awesome for arcs telling me the radius without having to calculate it. If drawing works better for you, than stick with it if that is how your mind work. There is no right, wrong, or better here.
 

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I usually start counting boxes (Scale) in my layout and leave a mark along the way.
Back in high school, my son made what I guess I'd call a graph paper ruler. He basically took a strip of graph paper and wrote numbers next to the lines (I think he skipped every other line: 2, 4, 6, 8...), making his own scale ruler. He'd use that to quickly mark out what he was doing. I suppose it also added some accuracy as I know I could miscount and be off by a line or two. I gave him my old triangle scale ruler, but he said the lines didn't match up as the measurement got longer, so that's why he made his own using the actual graph paper.
 

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Once I have convinced myself about the subject and size of a wood carving, I need to do drawings on paper.
For many, if not most smaller carvings, I like to begin with 11" x 17" copy paper with a center line (50 sheets at a time).

For anything bigger, the drawings are really cheap to make on "banquet roll." This is a 100' x 36" roll of white paper (Crownline, about $18.00) for use as "table cloth" on the folding plywood trestle tables in community banquet halls. I have proportional dividers, a 36" beam compass, 72" bubble level for a straight edge, a carpenter's square and a Lee Valley pantograph now with solid aluminum arms.

I have a pair of 5" x 64" cedar story poles on the bench. Sure was nice to lay those out full size. I was still trying to decide if they were what I wanted to do. To see them as they would be was the right thing to do. The poles will be carved all around so I could draw the front, back and both sides together.
 

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I start with graph paper and once I work out a design I'll draw it on 2D software I've used for decades to get a more detailed drawing. I've tried Sketchup and was able to produce a working drawing but it has a learning curve. Unless you use software on a regular basis you won't remember how to use it effectively. I tried using free & trial 3D software but I realized they have a step learning curve and I decided I wouldn't use it often enough to spend a lot of time learning it.

I've also tried sketching software using a special pen (it is also called inking). But the software is raster based, when you make a line you can't change it; I prefer vector based software, when you make a line you can move it and edit it.
 

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Interesting discussion. I happen to be involved in electronics as well as woodworking and in both arenas there is the need to communicate a vision, a mental image of a design or concept. There are many "languages" to communicate a mental image and the language you choose depends on your own past experience - your fluency in the language - and the need at hand. In electronics, the schematic is usually the most important way to communicate with others. It's an abstraction that doesn't really have a counterpart in woodworking. Another tool is the printed circuit layout, which is much more analogous to a design for woodworking. It's an image of what we intend to build.

Personally, I'm very fluent in drawing programs and I go straight from my head to a detailed drawing. It's far easier for me than hand drawing, because all the tiny details can get resolved and committed to "paper". I can make all kinds of changes easily. For instance if I decide all my bolts need 3/8" holes instead of 1/4" holes, that's just seconds to update. I decide I want 8 evenly spaced holes instead of 6, again it's just seconds to update the drawing.

But showing every single detail isn't always the goal. Sometimes a simple hand drawing with a couple arrows can convey a ton of information, and in a forum like this that's often the goal. Do I cut it this way or that way? It always comes down to using the right tool for the job.
 

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In electronics, the schematic is usually the most important way to communicate with others. It's an abstraction that doesn't really have a counterpart in woodworking. Another tool is the printed circuit layout, which is much more analogous to a design for woodworking. It's an image of what we intend to build.
@wayneh, enjoyed reading that. Having learned to read schematics as a teenager when working on cars, and now with my son working on vintage arcade games and audio equipment, I can say there is a learning curve going from a schematic to working on the actual layout, whether your are tracing wires or working on a PCB. I have never seen the process going from schematic to printed circuit layout, but I imagine in must be very interesting.
 

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@wayneh, enjoyed reading that. Having learned to read schematics as a teenager when working on cars, and now with my son working on vintage arcade games and audio equipment, I can say there is a learning curve going from a schematic to working on the actual layout, whether your are tracing wires or working on a PCB. I have never seen the process going from schematic to printed circuit layout, but I imagine in must be very interesting.
There are great software tools these days that automate the process. Unfortunately I'm at the bottom of the learning curve but I've resolved to learn the software for my next project. You can literally draw a schematic and the software will allow you to simulate the circuit you've created and then finally layout the PCB. You send your file off to a service that will make the board for you for just a few dollars. Incredible. I think you can even get the board populated with the parts and fully assembled. That might be too costly for a hobbyist but obviously a huge timesaver.

Anyway there are different ways to communicate different things. You use the tools that are in your toolbox.
 

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Forgot to mention that when I am making full-sized pencil drawings for wood carvings, I never use an eraser. I never back up. Instead, I make all the changes with different colored pencils: red, blue, orange, green, purple and so on.
That way, I can consider the bunch of options, all at the same time.
 

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when faced with indeterminate equations in Structures XXX, I became a fan of computers doing math much faster that 7 operations at a time. I learned how to program/use a PDP8 computer.
it stuck.

in the late 80's I learned how to 'sorta survive' in AutoCAD.
I still use AutoCAD because it's ability to plot out 'in my mind' designs and reveal 'oh, sh*t, that's not going to work' - has saved me a lot of time, material and pain.
am currently 'trying' TurboCAD - but despite the claims it's very AutoCAD'ish, it ain't. dug out an old Win7 computer with the outdated AutoCAD already installed to continue projects.

I differential between a napkin sketch and a scaled hand done drawing.
anyone who has done the napkin routine and thence reached the 'ah,,, sheetz' step understands that distinction.....

perhaps the real issue is: whether hand drawn to scale or CAD'ed, being "forced" to think thru / detail the whole design/execution/documentation of the project is the major benefit. many times I've done the quick&dirty sketch....and as it simmered and I did the math on distances/spacing/thickness/sizes/etc.... it became clear my imagination was less accurate that reality.
 
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