Old CAD Drafters...

This thread appeared on the alt.cad.autocad and comp.cad.autocad newsgroups in April and May of 1997. This is the disorganized compilation that includes the contributor's names or screen names. If you are listed here-in and do not wish your name or quote to appear, just send me an email. All quotes should be exact as the cut-and-paste method was used, but I've gotten in trouble for trusting someone else's work before. :) Ok, so I did some spell checking.

[Additions as of 25-May-1999] [Additions as of 01-Aug-1999] [Additions as of Dec-20001] [Additions as of July-2002]

You Know You're an old Cad Drafter when..... [In no particular order]

...(you) remember how to control lineweights by rolling the pencil as you draw - John Cabrall

...you remember that a spline is something you rest weights on, to draw a curve - Bob Doncom

...you are asked if a Leroy Lettering Set is a package of fonts for AutoCad (and where they can be downloaded) - S. Yoder

...you are asked why there is sandpaper on a stick in your drawer - S. Yoder

...you think you should own stock in the plastic's industry because of all the templates you own - S. Yoder

…does anyone remember the joy of hand drafting on vellum, for the first time? - Unknown

...you have a set of railroad curves and a beam compass. - Michael Pekarik

...when someone says scale, you ask architect or engineering? - Michael Pekarik

…you were lucky enough to get Ralph Smoley (remember Smoley's) to be your teacher for a ICS course in engineering. - JLW

…you remember the pain of an ammonia paper cut. - Bernd A. Hoffmann

…You know how to dress a ruling pen - Dennis Shinn

…You rue the day they quit making drafting linen. - Dennis Shinn

…A compass was for drawing arcs and circles and not finding the North pole. - Dennis Shinn

I can even remember these "weights" being called "ducks", which for the kids is the origin of the phrase "getting you ducks in a row". - Spencer A. Darby

Ducks?, I recall them being called "Whales", (due to the way they looked)...but I like your explanation better. - Ralph E. Wagner

…You know that some pencil sharpeners only remove the wood and don't sharpen the lead - Carl Taylor

…You know that the little piece of thin metal with all of the holes is called an erasing shield. - Carl Taylor

…or, if you remember filling your inking pen with an eyedropper. After first adjusting the linewidth by turning a knurled wheel on the side of the pen and "measuring" the width of the pen points. - Dennis Staley

…You know what to do with a crow quill! - Coyote Tech

…you look for the slide rule icon. - Chris

…your back has formed the perfect curve for the Leroy lettering position. - Chris

…you remember coming home after a good hunt, having a well done mammoth stake for dinner, laying out a new design of dinosaur trap on the wall of your cave..... I bet no one can beat this :) - Vladimir Makarkin

…You keep your electric eraser out and visible just becuase it's been such a good friend. - dmitzel

…you had a use for a dead mouse. - joseph_a._sullivan

We used to have something that used to be wiped over the drawing sheet to remove finger grease and thereby allow the ink to take properly. This was a small cloth bag filled with a powder which found its way through the holes in the bag, and was about the size of a dead mouse, and our nickname for it was "mouse". Of course, this was well before the days of the PC. - Ian A. White

I remember little pounce shakers sorta like disposable cardboard table salt shakers (a brand call Scum-X) as well as the pounce bags. - Art Martinez

How about when you ask someone to pass the "scumbag" or the can of "scum-x", and it's taken as a derogatory comment? - Daniel C. Gassmann

…You own (and know how to use) proportional dividers. - NLAGO

…You have handmade scales from Alteneder & Sons ( in Philadelphia) - NLAGO

…you know what a CAP Drafter is - Brian W Caldwell

…Remember put tape around your templates about an 1/8 from the edge so that the ink wouldn't spread out under the templates. I still have the marks on my triangles from that tape - Larry Ulrich

…You know that you are an OLD Cad Drafter if you consider the electric eraser to be a new-fangled gadget invented by the Devil himself. BTW, my old English boss told me once that they used to paint over the drawings (with water colours) before they'd be sent to the Contractor (eg. brick would be one colour, concrete would be another, etc.). When I asked him what would happen if someone made a change, he just shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Well, you would just started again." Was he pulling my leg? Any REALLY old farts out there that can atest to this? - Nick Bogut

..ammonia vapors ....graphite ground into the elbows & knuckles ..pocket protectors ...slide rules on our belts ....spinal curvature Who remebers developing real blueprints (not whiteprints thru a machine) or the Ames lettering guide? (I knew the inventor/manufacturer). How about the Timely ellipse templates? - Jim Stevenson

Does anyone else rue the day they quit making "Ruby" erasers or does any one else even remember them? - R. G. Thompson

…The tweezers you used to use for lifting appliques now come in real handy for plucking ear hair. - Patrick Hughes

…Except Him maybe. One would have to have a really good set of prints to built this world for six days. - Vladimir Makarkin

Right. Build it in six days, spend five billion years on the revisions. - Harv

And you know what Higgins and T. Alteneder were used for. - Harv

Who's old enough to remember wooden triangles? .... I found a copy of 1935 K&E catalog and a 1937 Dietzgen catalog. Well, lo and behold the '35 catalog had wooden triangles but the '37 edition didn't. - Art Martinez

You are NOT old unless you spell it "draughtsman",... - Joe Mills

Yes....I learned that trick and how to make circles with a pencil....some string and a hat pin! - Johnnie

I still have a headache from 'scribing - scribe coats' while looking into a 'light table'. For you young farts, a scribe coat was one layer of a map, a plastic film that had to be 'etched and scratched' away. All of the various scribe coats were then shot with a BIG camera and plates were made out of the negatives, for offset printing. The tools we used to etch and scratch the plastic off of the scribe coats looked like dental equipment. - Dave Kramer

…your Beam Compass is the longest tool you own - and it has an extension bar to make it longer!! - Mike

…your masking tape is so dried out that the roll can not be separated under any circumstances at all, ever. - Mike

Hee hee... What a great thread... Even *I* feel like an old fart now, and I'm only 29, far from being a dinosaur. I'm bummed out that I missed a bunch of the earlier posts. Yup, I remember the watering eyes and bubbling of the bottle of ammonia while running bluelines and trimming the prints with a utility knife and a straightedge, the taped-up triangles, scumbags, cans of Pounce, swabbing old drawings down with Bestine to lift off grease and other grunge so they'd take ink better (Ooo... my fingers feel tingly... Hmm.. can says 'Avoid contact with skin... may cause nerve damage.) I remember Ames lettering guides, Timely Templates, and those purple pencils that wouldn't print on blueline, much time spent trying to unclog pens, and of course those yellow Koh-I-Noor erasers were always a must, as long as they were a little wet... Just when I got really fast at Leroying, we got a 'Cadliner'... *Huh?* Actually I almost accidentally electrocuted myself once with the little bastard... but that's another funny story. I remember pasting down stickybacks with a burnisher, only one shot at getting it on right with no bubbles, but first spraying them down with fixative so the toner wouldn't flake off... Chartpak tape... all that good stuff... Yeow... just remembered another good one... making sepias on the blueline machine, upside-down, so that you could make revisions by erasing the shiny emulsion side and drafting on the matte site... Brings back many ill memories. And to think, nowadays we get these wee little puppy student interns who stare at me wide-eyed and full of disbelief, who groan and shake their heads when I tell them "When CAD was..." war stories about plotting out survey points on a 9-pin dot-matrix printer and tracing them onto hand drawings, about working on 4.77 Mhz 8088 XTs with only 512k of RAM, 320k 5-1/2" floppies, 5 or 10MB hard drives, CGA, or monochrome Hercules graphics, how EGA was a big deal at the time, AutoCAD release 2 (I think we had DCA, now Softdesk Civil, release 2.62 also), waiting well over an hour for a drawing to emerge from the old pen plotter, only to then find out one of the pens dried out or clogged, and then touching them up by hand... - David G. Smith

Let's all grab our shoebox of program cards, run down to the campus computer center and spend the next three hours key-punching data cards so we can run a plot (provided we can reserve space/time) of a few geometric shapes. - Dennis Shinn

Sad to realize we've lost most of the "glamour" from our profession! ..ammonia vapors ....graphite ground into the elbows & knuckles ..pocket protectors ...slide rules on our belts ....spinal curvature - Jim Stevenson

Yeah - now we've got; Eyestrain; Repetitive stress syndrome; Bone spurs on our neck vertebrae; Ozone from the printer fuser; Arthritis; See what you have to look forward to, kids! - Dennis Shinn

…If you know what "Asses and elbows" means. - Steve Rockwell

Do you still have your erasing shield and rectangular 2 color hand-held erasers? - Donald G. Bailey

How about the Great Template jokes... 'Hey, Do you have a cloud template...' or the ever popular.. 'Do you have a left-handed circle template?...' - Gavin Sharpe

...you use your T-square for reaching things that fall under your desk. - Donald Linsenbach

...you hang onto those 3 boxes of eraser strips for sentimental reasons, and to fix small errors on plots (gasp).- Donald Linsenbach

...your can of Borco is rusty.- Donald Linsenbach

...there's still one of those funny little brushes in your desk drawer for cleaning out your Spiroll.- Donald Linsenbach

...there isn't a single speck of eraser dust on the floor, or in your eyebrows.- Donald Linsenbach

...all your office chairs are 18" high rather than 36" high.- Donald Linsenbach

...the words: Mayfair & Ranger give you a Deja Vu.- Donald Linsenbach

...the words '...sepias changes' don't make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. - Donald Linsenbach

Additions that have been waiting to happen - thanks guys, I didn't forget you just too busy.

You know your an "old drafter" when your "tape ball" is as big as a basketball. - Greg Gootee

You know you're an old draftsman if you still have a tape ball - Bradley Bennett

Old Drafters never die, they simply draw to an end.... - Bruce Engebretsen

you know you are an old cad drafter

... when you have a railroad pen. - Neil Jordan

...when you can use a polar planimeter to take areas off drawings, and do it faster than the CADD technician, and without batteries. - Neil Jordan

...when you know what a hatchet planimeter is. - Neil Jordan

...when you manually developed bluelines by rolling up the print and dropping it in the vertical tube with ammonia. - Neil Jordan

...when you can clean a Rapidograph point by taking out the pin and forcing cleaner through the point by using a q-tip as a plunger. 0 pens make passable squirt guns. - Neil Jordan

...when you are the only one in the office with a functional Rapidograph, and they come to you when they need to sign mylars because your ink is the only stuff that sticks. - Neil Jordan

...when your extra large bottle of Pelikan ink is so old that the carbon has settled and you have to shake it up each time.- Neil Jordan

How many of us remember taping 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of blank paper to a complicated drawing you were working on to keep the graphite from smugging all over the drawing and being ground into your elbows and wrists? - Tim Momsen

Or making all your calculations on a slide-rule instead of a calculator. - Tim Momsen

Does anybody remember the first 4 function Texas Instruments calculator that cost about $250.00 with the glowing red LED's that burned the batteries up in about 2 weeks and couldn't be read in direct sun light? - Tim Momsen

Additions from restart of thread on alt.cad.autocad & comp.cad.autocad on July 1999. Restarted by:Chane Eckert, Webmaster, The CADPlace (now WTAUG)

You still get teary-eyed when you hear the term Jewel-Tips. - Chaz
You still remember that linen sheets are not only for your bed. - Chaz
You keep trianlges with tape on the back of them. - Chaz
Your kids ask: Whats Kooh-i-noor? - Chaz

you still write in CAPITAL LETTERS in every day life - Enzo

you remember watching, in horror, as your masterpiece was slowly being - Mike Warner
mangled as it was feeding through the blue print machine. - Mike Warner
Or if you have ever cut your drawing in half by using a too sharp 9H pencil. - Mike Warner

or being knocked to the floor half conscious after leaving the cap off the - SMA
ammonia bottle for just a bit too long - SMA

or you come home with black long sleeve cuffs. - TheSkipster

I used to do 12' long 1/2 scale turbine engine assemblies and had to print them on one of those ROTOLITE machines and develop them in a tube sitting on top of a bowl of ammonia. - Jim B.

you still have the little black dot on the top of your thigh from the time that you dropped your 9H layout leadholder that you had just sharpened and tried to catch it and all you succeeded in doing was jabbing it 1/2" into your leg. - Jim B.

You haven't done BLUEprints if you haven't done white-lines-on-blue *wet* prints. In high school, when I got ahead of the classwork, the teacher made me the "blueprint technician" for his classes, which meant I got to run the print room. Ours was "modern," which meant we used fluorescent lights (instead of arc lamps) to expose the prints; after a 5-minute exposure, they went thru a tray of yellow liquid, and were hung on racks over a drip-pan to dry. Those yellow stains stayed on my hands until well into the following summer... - Paul Turvil

My mahogany T-square with an adjustable head. - Eddie
The clamp-on aluminum angle at the T-square edge of my plywood board top to keep everything staright and parallel. - Eddie
The red bricks (three I think) under the top edge of my board for tilt. - Eddie
Draftsman's aprons. - Eddie
The empty Coca-Cola crate under the board to stand on when I needed to work on the top edge of my drawing. - Eddie
My K & E slide rule. Couldn't afford $800 H.P. calculator. - Eddie
Making hooks on my lamp out of paper clips to hold templates and mounting them with masking tape. - Eddie
The holes in my drawings when the masking tape dried out enough to let the clips and triangles fall down onto my board. - Eddie
Wooden triangles and scales (such accuracy). - Eddie
A yard stick for a beam compass. - Eddie
I still have my first drafting brush. - Eddie
The metal tool box just big enough to hold 10" triangles & 12" scales. - Eddie
Saving for months so I could afford to buy one of those new electric erasers. - Eddie
Hooking that electric eraser to the post of my table with more paper clips. - Eddie
Replacing the chuck in my eraser after I dropped it. - Eddie
Coffee grinder lead pointers. - Eddie
The internal doubts and fears when they delivered Autocad Version 2.18 and gave me a half-hour training course on the hot new AT (286) computer with a 20MB hard drive. - Eddie

... you will die with that notch and bump on the middle finger of your hand just behind the fingernail. - Stephen S
... you even know what I'm talking about above. - Stephen S

.. You still have a bunch of small 'FULLERTON' bean bags laying around on your desk. In the old days, you used the weighted bean bags to 'temporarily' keep papers on your slanted drafting desktop. - Steve
.. You still know how to use the large masonite perspective radius aids, which , when used pinned at the sides of your drawings, and used conjunction with a special AMES Bonded Acrylic Tee Square, you could draw perspectives with
distant vanishing points. - Steve
.. When drawing pen on mylar, your can draw 'perfect' dashed lines by drawing a 'continuous' line, and then using the 'green' filler in the electric eraser in conjunction with the dots on the erasing shields to form the spaces. - Steve
.. Your definition of "New Technology" was first quill on linen to rapidograph on mylar. Then it was stainless steel tips to jewel and tungsten. Then it was two-sided mylar. Then it was drafting machines. Then the ultimate... sonic cleaners. - Steve
.. You always kept small, 3x3 pieces of scrap mylar on your desk to get the pens working. After a while it was completely scribbled over, and you need to pull out a new scrap. - Steve
.. You hid away your primo '000' and '00' pens tips for special occasions. It didn't take a whole lot of use, especially with the stainless steel tips for a '000' to become a '00' and then an '0'. No one could borrow these pens, because no one new of this special stash. - Steve
.. You could deal with having to clean clogged rapidographs, but the real nightmares started with they started to 'bleed'. - Steve
.. Pounce was your friend, but if you failed to brush every little piece away, pounce remnants became land mines for your pens. - Steve
.. You can remember working with pen on mylar drawings started by other 'so - called' draftsman. Even when you erased their lines, the lines remained permanently etched in the surface of the mylar. - Steve
. By the time you got to the 3rd and 4th revisions, the mylar coating was gone - and the ink would just bead on the mylar. - Steve
.. Pencil on mylar - you remember going to spray 'fixative' on a finished masterpiece, only to have on big 'yellow' glob attached itself to the drawing and run all over it. - Steve
.. You cringed every time you had to put a real large piece of zipatone or sticky-back on your drawing and the dreaded bubbles showed up, or it gets started at the wrong angle.. - Steve
. You remember two sided mylar, and inking the base topo on the back, so that when the inevitable changes came, you did not have to erase your background. - Steve
Mirrored lettering was a real art. - Steve
. You used to burn a 'sepia' of the background before you added the design elements (usually reverse). That way, when the design changed, your background was still intact. - Steve
. You remember the real 'artist' was the one who could place perfect leroy lettering around a small radius curve. - Steve
.. The Ames lettering guide was a pain, you kept several 8.5" xeroxes with ruled lines, which you place underneath the mylar to use as guidelines. - Steve
. You kept several 'rubber-bands', with even increments marked in ball-point in your drawer. You could prorate dimensions and interpolate contours by stretching the rubber band between points. - Steve
.. You had zillions of french curves - but only one favorite that could be used for just about any application. - Steve
.. You remember that everyone in the office smoked and drank coffee. If you didn't you were a commie, and couldn't be trusted. Leroying, holding the template guide with the left hand, and holding on to the stylus with the right hand and a butt between the fingers of that hand was the ultimate job skill. Coffee was kept in the top right drawer of the drafting table. If you ever spilled anyone's coffee, you best apply for a new job. - Steve

Ink on starched linen - B.C. Jones
Plastic lead on Mylar - B.C. Jones

Old drafters never die, their life just becomes long and drawn out. - Phil Hontz

Additions as of Dec 2001:

...you still yell at the pen plotter that it's missed a line while it's still printing (and you think it listens to you because later it goes back and draws it in). - S. Yoder

...you get aggravated that a mega-buck CAD program (still) won't allow you to change the linetype of a dimension extension line if you keep it as a dimension object. - S. Yoder

...you are still faster with your slide rule and scratch paper than attempting a formula in a spreadsheet. - S. Yoder

...you can hand letter faster than you can type on the keyboard. - S. Yoder

Additions as of July 2002 (I found one of the old emails)

Also on the list should be:
2 step eradicator for the sepia revisions - L. Bliss
Trying to find left-handed drafting arm or Leroy bug - L. Bliss
Using my Dad's old Dietzgen set in the box with blue velvet lining - L. Bliss
Elaborate north arrows - L. Bliss
Pennies taped on the back of templates so you could ink - L. Bliss
Using the x-acto knife for many things including splicing in new piece of vellum when the overly revised area had holes, or chipping the ink off of mylar before we had mylar erasers - L. Bliss
Elasticized slip on sleeve protectors that went to your elbows - L. Bliss

Note: There were more by other people, but I seem to have misplaced the emails. If you sent suggestions in (and can remember them), please send them again.