Any new software comes with a learning curve. In the case of DraftSight, previous CAD experience helps a great deal, but is not the whole story. A new user is often tempted to use the discovery method (“the command I want must be here someplace…”), but reaching out for help is usually more productive. This is especially true with CAD software, where there can be multiple ways to draw the same geometry. There is no sense in creating your own routine that takes 10 steps when somebody can show you how to do it in four.
A mentor once told me the story of the person who was too busy chopping down trees to stop and sharpen the axe. (That’s the whole story.) Taking the time to learn more about DraftSight is the equivalent of sharpening the axe. Taking a step back from the work to improve one’s use of the tool always saves time in the long run.
Early in my career in the CAD industry, I wrote CAD tutorials, then entire books on using CAD software. It was the era before the World Wide Web existed, so there was no YouTube, no Vimeo, no MySolidWorks or SolidProfessor. Today you can choose a wide variety of paid and free resources. This means less work for authors but more resources for users.
The old maxim, “you get what you pay for” is not always true in the online world; DraftSight is a perfect example. The free version is an excellent piece of software, but there are still valid reasons why many DraftSight users upgrade to the paid versions. The same is true for online learning resources. Most free resources are an excellent aid for initial learning. Resources you pay for have their advantages as well. There is a usually a person or company standing behind the tutorial to provide additional support. Paid resources usually go into the product in more depth than free tutorials.
In this article I cover free online learning resources from the DraftSight team; in Part 2 I will share third-party learning resources, both free and for purchase.
The DraftSight team has published several online book-length product guides. They require Adobe Flash, which you may have to download first.
DraftSight Getting Started Guide is a 193 page online book with five detailed lessons:
- Getting Started
- Drafting Tutorials
- Basic Dimensioning
- Drafting Application
- Toolbox Functionality
DraftSight Fundamentals (25 pages) is the equivalent of a “Read Me First” document that comes in the box with a product. The tutorials follow three themes: Create, Modify, and Document.
DraftSight Fundamentals eBook Volume II (32 pages) continues where Volume I leaves off. There are tutorials on three more themes: Drawing Setup, System Options, and Print Configuration.
DraftSight Tips & Tricks eBook Volume I (24 pages) uses the same eBook technology as the books above, but most pages contain a video tutorial, 15 in all. There are also a few pages of written tips.
DraftSight Tips & Tricks eBook Volume II (21 pages) follows the same format as Volume I but the material is a bit more advanced.
10 Strategies for Becoming an Effective CAD Leader (12 pages) is a white paper written not to teach DraftSight use, but to encourage those who lead a team of DraftSight (or other CAD) users. Most CAD Managers — there are various titles — are not hired to be managers, but they get sucked into the role. If that describes you, this white paper is a must.
DraftSight resources at MySolidWorks: This link is not to a specific tutorial but to all the video tutorials hosted on the MySolidWorks site. There is something here for DraftSight users at every experience level. Some of the tutorials cover older versions of DraftSight, so pay attention to what release you are using as you search through this listing.
DraftSight Getting Started Guide for AEC Users (79 pages) is a comprehensive guide specific to the needs of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) users. It follows standard AEC workflows to acquaint the new user with how to do a variety of basic tasks related to viewing, editing, creating new geometry, referencing other drawings, and printing. A set of DWG files is available to download to accompany the tutorials.