When I was in 6th grade, our art teacher, Mrs. C, taught us to draw fruit one day. I was academically gifted (I’d had straight A’s since 1st grade) but I was AWFUL at drawing. I was doing OK with my orange, apple, and even my banana. When it came time to draw a pear, I realized I had 35 cents in my pocket (that’s what milk for snack time cost) so I pulled out that quarter & dime, used them to trace a quarter-sized circle with a dime-size circle slightly intersecting it, erased the middle parts, and “free-handed” little arcs to complete the pear shape. Mrs. C told me I wasn’t allowed to do that and gave me my first bad grade – ever. Now, I LOVE going to art museums and taking in the wonders of those who are far more skilled than I with pen and brush, but I STILL have no aptitude or desire for drawing anything myself….with a pen or brush, that is.
My first job out of the Navy involved some very basic CAD use…mainly making simple changes or additions (and usually just title block text) of existing drawings. As I more familiar with CAD, I realized the method for drawing a pear shape in CAD was, in fact, my own personal grade school method: intersect two circles, trim, and fillet. So there, Mrs. C!
My next job took my CAD utilization a bit further…making assembly drawings of systems, using existing CAD files for the individual components that made up the system. The key word there was “existing” – the First Law of CAD is, “Don’t ever draw anything twice.” So, I’d get CAD files from the manufacturers, insert them into my template, put them where I wanted them to be in relation to the other pieces of my little puzzle, send the drawing(s) to the end user for piping and foundation prep, and as long as the folks in the shop followed my drawings (which is was hard not to), everything worked out great.
Now, this was way back in the 1990’s, so I got most of my CAD files via email, and, occasionally, on 3.5″ floppy disks or CD’s. EXAIR Corporation has offered drawing files for our products in our CAD Library for many years now. You can always find four fundamental file extensions:
- PDF – these can be opened with Adobe Acrobat…they’re “just for looking at”. They don’t denote any particular scale, and won’t directly import to a CAD file. They’re useful for quick & easy answers about overall dimensions, bolt hole sizes, thread pitches, etc.
- DWG – this is AutoCAD’s “native language.” These files will open seamlessly in AutoCAD, if that’s what you’re using, along with many other programs. But, if it doesn’t.
- STP – we’re well in to the 21st Century, and many designers have moved on from the above mentioned 2D files to solid models. Most solid modeling programs are compatible with these files.
- SAT – these are, to STP, what DXF is to DWG…a “more friendly” file for certain solid model programs.
With the launch of our new website, we now offer 64 native extensions so you (hopefully) do not have to modify, import, or convert any drawing that would take additional modification – just download the file you need right from our Resources, 3D Models and CAD drawings link. And dare I say, if you can’t find the extension you need, you are using some fairly obscure software – perhaps an SAT or STP file will suit you.
If you’re designing a system or making an assembly drawing incorporating EXAIR catalog products, we have all of these in the CAD Library. If you need one for something that’s not in the catalog – a Super Air Knife less than 60″ long with a Plumbing Kit installed, for example – we can provide that as well...just contact an Application Engineer.
Russ Bowman, CCASS
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