T&T – Different Scales in Model Space

Some people just can’t seem to make the leap to paper space – even though there would be many productivity gains to do so.  As I have been told and heard, we are quite content with how we do things now and see no reason to change.  Many people resist change as they believe it will slow them down or be too hard to learn.  You can usually tell the ones that are natural resistors to changes in AutoCAD software features by the rest of their AutoCAD tools and methods.

–      Older versions of AutoCAD  (2004 – 2010 still very common)
–      Working in Model space only
–      Inserting templates DWGs with blocks and layers rather than using Layer states, automated scripts and DWTs.

Although I prefer to convince those to change their ways and learn something new, sometimes it takes and in-between method to boost their productivity and understanding and so, I offer this productivity tip.

Issue:

Working in model space and using different scales:

A common practice I see is for some firms to draw various plans with different scales, all on one sheet and scale it up or down to make it look right.

Example:  A building plan is setup to plot at 1/8″ scale with blown up part plans on the same sheet at 1/4″ and 1/2″ scales.  The most common problem is the most obvious – they are not drawn to scale.  Yes, when plotted they will scale out properly with an architects or engineer’s scale, but while working on it they are not.  I.e. you want to draw an air handler, mill work, or represent a piece of equipment that is 2′-4″ off the south wall and 4′-9″ off the east wall. So how do you place it?  For a 1/4″ scale blow up, you would double the distance for your offsets – so 4′-8″ off the south wall and 8′-18″ or 5′-6″ off the west wall.  The more odd the dimensions, the more math you do and the more chances you have to make mistakes – and trust me – you will make mistakes.

Solution:

This one is pretty easy, but even so, I have made a few assumptions.

The user:

  1. Is familiar with and uses Xrefs and understands clipping.  (If you are not using Xrefs yet, WOW… I do not know what to say – except I am here to help and I charge reasonable rates!) – Seriously – you are missing out on so much productivity – use them!!
  2. Knows basic scaling (i.e. if you are working on a 1/8” drawing and you want to attach a 1/2″ drawing, you scale it up by 4)

Process:

  1. Create a separate DWG file for each of the alternate scaled items.  (YES – if you have a lot of blow-ups you will have a lot of additional drawings, and if that is the case – are you sure you do not want to consider Paper Space?)
  2. Draw each of these to the scale you want represented and using the xref command, attach them to your 1/8″ scale drawing and scale them up appropriately.
  3. When you need to modify the enlarged plan, just select it, right-click and select open xref.  Note: If you choose to edit the xref n place, you will be using the current dimstyle, textstyle, etc. of the 1/8″ drawing and not the enlarged drawing – choose open.

Benefits:

  1. Accuracy – Your drawings are to real scale, not only when scaled on paper, but while your editing them.
  2. Productivity – Multiple people can be working on a sheet – one on the master drawing and others for each of the enlarged details or blow-ups.
If you can’t get over the Paper space hump right now, at least setup your drawings in a way that can be more productive and accurate until you do.

WES

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