By Bill Burchard
Draft, by Microspot, is a drafting program that replaces the drafting
board with an easy-to-use computer-based application. Intended for those
who do not have the time nor the need to learn and use complicated CAD
(Computer Aided Drafting) applications, PC Draft provides the basic
tools necessary to draw, edit and dimension simple objects. PC Draft's
goal is simple: To give you the ability to quickly get up-to-speed in
drafting your designs.
up your Drawing
PC Draft provides
a simple approach to setting up your drawings. First, you select your
drawing units. Next, you choose your scale. Finally, you layout your
You select your drawing units from the Document Scale & Units window,
shown in Figure 1. From this window, you choose English or metric drawing
units, set the type of linear and angular units displayed. You also
set the drawing's scale from the Document Scale & Units window,
which sets the ratio of objects in the drawing versus their real-world
example, you may set the drawing's scale to 1"=1', where one-inch
in the drawing represents one-foot in the real-world. You
define the sheet layouts using the Drawing Size window, as shown in
Figure 2. This window allows you to quickly drag your cursor over the
grid to highlight the total number of sheets you need to draft your
Sheet sizes are based on the currently selected print device, with the
overall drafting area available depending on the size of paper indicated
in the Page Setup window, shown in Figure 3. By selecting the size of
paper, and then highlighting the total number of sheets, you define
he overall size of your drafting area.
and Editing Tools
PC Draft provides a Tool palette that allows you to quickly select the
type of object you wish to draw. Available objects include text, lines,
and parallel lines. You can draw rectangles, circles, arcs, and ellipsis.
There's also a nifty tool for drawing lines perpendicular to existing
lines or radial to existing arcs. Other tools allow you to draw multi-segmented
straight and curved lines, and multisided closed polygons.
Draft includes a Dimension palette, which automatically dimensions objects.
You can create horizontal, vertical, slope (which draws non-horizontal
and non-vertical dimensions) and perpendicular (which draws dimension
lines perpendicular to straight lines and edges.) You can also dimension
circles and arcs with diameter, radial, or angular dimensions.
PC Draft's editing tools let you trim, fillet and chamfer lines. You
can attach multiple line objects to form a single object, or join two
closed polygons to form a single object. You can break multi-segmented
objects into individual components, and add or delete individual
vertices of multi-segmented lines and polygons. You can also rotate,
copy, delete and mirror objects.
PC Draft allows you to create multiple layers, on which objects are
drawn. Analogous to clear sheets of paper, layers allow you to organize
the objects drawn on them. By making a layer active, and then drawing
the desired objects, you can control the objects visibility by turning
the layer on and off. Additionally, by changing the layer's position
relative to other layers, you can place objects drawn on one layer on
top of those objects drawn on another layer.
Another useful feature of PC Draft is it Symbol Libraries, which allow
you to save and organize frequently used objects. By creating an object
once, and then saving it in a Symbol Library, you can later recall the
object and insert it into the current drawing.
The symbols in the libraries retain all their drawing attributes, such
as their scale, rotation and object information fields. With online
Symbol Libraries, you can create electrical and architectural symbols,
or commonly used images, like logos, notices and figures, and automatically
insert them into your drawings.
PC Draft includes a useful feature that allows you to automatically
create reports that list and itemize the objects in your drawings. These
reports can be used to count the total number of objects in your drawing,
and can be used to create a Bill of Materials. Additionally PC Draft's
reports provide detailed information about the properties of objects
in your drawing, such as perimeter, area, length or other measurements.
Reports are dynamic, and any change you make to your drawings will reflect
in your reports. For example, once you create a report, if you change
a wall's length in your drawing, you don't have to duplicate the change
in the report. PC Draft automatically updates the data in the report
While experienced users of advanced applications such as AutoCAD or
MicroStation will find PC Draft's features limited, those who are new
to CAD drafting applications will find it easy to get up-to-speed with
PC Draft and to start producing 2D drawings. If you need to create simple
drawings of basic objects such as your home's floor plan, or the layout
of furniture in your office, this tool is useful. In contrast, if you
work in 3D or need modeling or parametric design capabilities, PC Draft
is not for you.
important point to note about PC Draft is that while it can import and
export DXF files, it's limited in its ability to translate certain objects.
For example, PC Draft does not support xrefs, 3D objects, solids or
block attributes. Additionally, unused objects such as blocks or layers
may cause problems during import if not first purged from the original
PC Draft is
a useful drafting application that's easy to learn and easy to use.
With PC Draft, if your drafting needs are simple, you can quickly learn
to draw and dimension objects, as well as control object visibility
using its layered drawings. Additionally, with a nominal investment
in time, you can learn to use PC Draft's features to help you organize
and recall frequently used symbols, and to automatically create reports
of the objects in your drawings. For those new to CAD drafting, PC Draft
will let you easily create and plot your 2D design drawings.