Drafting machine?

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In spite of having used CAD programs for many years (TurboCAD is my most recent tool, and let's not have this degrade into a Sketchup war, shall we?) I still resort to (and enjoy!) using pencil and paper for many of my design activities. I used my Dad's drafting board, T-square, and triangles for many years, and I still have fond, fond memories of taking drafting class in high school, one of the two most useful classes I ever took (typing being the second; and man was that Mrs. Utz a hottie!). Unfortunately, I no longer have a decent drafting table, the T-square is long gone, and all I have left are a few triangles and my drafting pencils and a sharpener. I'd like to rectify that, but then again ever since taking drafting class I always had a hankering for one of those fancy drafting machines (like this guy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zeichenmaschine.jpg ). Does anybody own one? There are lots of them for sale on eBay; any recommendations?
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"Steve Turner" wrote:
> There are lots of them for sale on eBay; any recommendations?
K&E was the standard in the drafting rooms I haunted.
Lew
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On Thu, 22 Oct 2009 21:42:17 -0500, Steve Turner

We used Vemco drafting machines at Caterpillar until the early 80's when the digital age was upon us. I would highly recommend Vemco.
Fortunately I got a copy of Wildfire 2 (Pro-Engineer predecessor) about the time I retired and every project I do I model it with Wildfire.
Gordon Shumway
One positive thing about 'Cash for Clunkers' is that it took thousands of Obama bumper stickers off the road.
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On 10/22/2009 8:21 PM Gordon Shumway spake thus:

Mine's a Bruning (same difference, I guess): I love it. Traded a parallel rule machine that my company discarded for it. Fitted it with a couple Vemco rules and it's right purty.
A picture of a similar machine:
http://www.worthpoint.com/pmimages/images1/1/1206/06/1_1cc706061ebd4233eee7023a6f20bb22.jpg
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Speaking of the rules, are their designs fairly universal and interchangeable among the various brands of drafting machines? I've seen several machines for sale on eBay that didn't have rules, and my tendency was to shy away from them, but if new rules are easily obtained for a decent price then I guess I shouldn't let that deter me.
Also, any recommendations on size? I've seen 16" and 24" machines; do they make others? Would I be sorry if I got a 16" instead of a 24"?
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2 things to consider... the typical size of your drawings and the space available for your drafting table.
If your typical paper size is 9x12 or even 12x18, the 16" will be plenty. You can move the machine to extend a line now and then. If your paper will be larger sizes you might benefit from the larger size. Also, unless I'm mistaken (it's been a while), you can get various sized rules and screw them on depending on the size you need.
Ed
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Steve Turner wrote:

Can't say with certainty for all machines, but my Mutoh works fine with Vemco scales and the Alvin "universals".

There is a table of recommended machine sizes vs board sizes on the Vemco site at http://www.vemcocorp.com/elbow_comparson_size.htm .
Note by the way the distinction between "standard" and "civil engineer" machines--a "civil engineer" machine will typically have a vernier that allows it to be set to within 1 minute of angle vs 5 for a standard machine, but it doesn't have the 15 degree indexed stops so in practice it's a bit slower to use for most general work.
Some time spent poking around the Vemco site will IMO be well rewarded--there's a lot of information about their machines including downloadable copies of the user's manuals.
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On 10/23/2009 8:44 AM J. Clarke spake thus:

>

>>

>>>>

I'm pretty sure that Vemco is the standard for all machines of this type.
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wrote:

I still have my K&E and had it rebuilt a few years ago. Fluid drive. Like silk. It's not up right now, but will be as soon as I have a place for my board. For a quick sketch, to step back, do a tweak, walk into the shop with it, start building. For years I had a monitor perched on top my board, keyboard and trackball on a shelf, and used both systems at the same time. I guess the big thing to watch for is the problem most machines develop and that is brake alignment...i.e. when you lock the mechanics, do the scales stay true to the axis.
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Sorry, I don't have any recommendations but you brought back some memories for me. The ones we used in college just had the cable and track mechanism.
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I just use a simple drafting board and tools as I did in high school. That is all we had then. Class of 1944. WW
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On 10/23/2009 7:53 AM WW spake thus:

>

Ah, well, you haven't lived until you've used a drafting machine. Once you do you'll throw away your T-square. Just imagine: a horizontal rule that can be set to *any angle* on your drawing board, accurately and re-settably.
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I've used both professionally (uhm... some 25 or 30 years ago) and at home. I also used some cad software somewhere along the line. I still *prefer* the pencil and paper way. If I were going to use it every day, I'd go for the fixed table and machine. Since it's something I do infrequently, a board, a t-square, and some angles are fine. Actually, quad paper and a ruler does the majority of what I need anymore.
Ed
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I had the opportunity to use all the drafting tools and equipment including CAD. Like what Ed just said a t-square, and some angles can do the job. Most of my furniture designs are done with free hand sketching. When the furniture is completed I do an as build drawing. An example of this is I start to make a sketch of a chair. Then I build a prototype. Once I am happy with the prototype I take all the dimensions and make an ass'y and detailed drawings. This way I can make some jig and fixture to make more than one chair.
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Denis M wrote:

An excellent way to work, particularly with chairs. I did a reproduction one a few years back and kept a fairly good pictorial record of almost exactly the process you describe.
Since it was a copy, and I had the original as a go by, I got to start with a full scale drawing:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/Projects10.htm
And, as you say, the jigs developed in making the prototype were the name of the game. :)
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Steve Turner wrote:

I agree, learning rudimentary drafting in shop class (and watching my dad design buildings) and learning typing were both highly useful. Now that you mention it my typing teacher was kind of hot. I still have some of my dad's drafting instruments, but my own paper designs are pretty rough, just enough to get everything straight in my mind. Well, maybe not entirely straight, yesterday I managed to produce a parallelogram instead of a trapezoid from a sheet of laminated pine, got a good laugh out of that. All those precise measuring instruments and ingenious use of clamps etc. and I still cut the damn line wrong--apparently there's no tool that can prevent brain-farts.
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I tend to prefer the parallel-bar[*] tables myself. However, mine has been relegated to the Attic since it takes up too much floor space for the small amount of time that it actually got used.
scott
[*] Cords on both sides of the reference bar allow it to move vertically on the table while remaining parallel.
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writes:

The ancestor of that corded parallel bar is the heavy weight cordless brass bar. It was equipped with a low profile gear at each end. The two gears would maintain the parallelism of the bar. It was the first tool that I used as an apprentice draftsman. Then we progressed to much better tools not to mention CAD.
Today they make a plastic rolling-paralleled rule that is very good for small shop drawing and navigation.
See the following link for better details
http://www.draftingsteals.com/catalog-drafting---drawing-aides-rolling-paralellel-rulers.html
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Denis M wrote:

I'm really surprised that they would have started you out with that instead of T-square and angles.

http://www.draftingsteals.com/catalog-drafting---drawing-aides-rolling-paralellel-rulers.html
Not the same thing at all. The corded bar provides a horizontal reference, the rolling rules don't provide a reference, they just allow a line at a given angle to be transferred or repeated.
Personally I don't see what the things with wheels bring to the show that the parallelogram type doesn't.
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Denis M wrote:

That device has been around for at least 40 years.
Piece of crap, back then, probably still is.
Was given one which I played with one for about 20 minutes before I threw it away.
A decent size board is probably the most important tool for making decent drawings(sketches).
After that, a 45, a 30-60, and a decent scale will solve a lot of drafting problems.
Throw in a pair of dividers and a decent marine chart and you are good to go to do some navigation.
Lew
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