What cheeses *you* off?

We are compiling a list of people's pet peeves. Is there something that really gets your goat when you see it used (misused) in a drawing? Vent a little, lets see what happens.

Send your peeves to


Printing with what?! --Julius sounds off

Thanks for addressing the always overlooked, but most important portion of the CAD work. Without plotting, CAD is just a Video Game.

As you noted, up to OS 9.xx the only decent plotting software, a RIP, was available, called PowerPlot. The software is excellent, the only one that gives you the same plot, as the image is on the screen, including fully justified text. This software supports plotters, up to the HP 750C, both serial and Ethernet drivers are included. The company was sold twice, they are owned by a British Firm, under different name and they make only the well known printer driver PowerPrint, which supports thousands of Win printers on the Mac. If you call them, they can still help you, even the receptionist can give you detailed and accurate information. hats off to them.

Microspot still sells a RIP software, which supports newer plotters and it is still available at an exorbitantly inflated price, but the support personnel is either non-existent or they are just reluctant to be seen as an intelligent beings. I never been able to make myself understood, even after a dozen tries. They are also owned by a British Firm. Moved to Florida and lost their charm. It is not nearly as good as PowerPlot and personally I don't recommend it.

Any hardware based PostScript plotter will plot out from LaserWriter, as long as there is a driver for it. LaserWriter is a generic product, one needs a proper plotter description for it (available from HP or other plotter makers) to plot on the supported paper sizes.

Rotation of the plot (wide side first) is NOT available in LaserWriter, as discovered by HP, when I asked their help three years ago. LaserWriter does nor support justified text. It is a B/W oriented software, colors don't reproduce well, when LaserWriter is used. This is only a last ditch selection for those, who have nothing to loose.

This is the grand sum of my knowledge about plotting in OS 9.xx, using PowerCADD

ArchiCAD has its own plotting software, but one needs a driver for the plotter, which is available for many of the HP and other plotters.

I just started on OSX, with the only thing available, GimpPrint. It works like Microspot's software, slowly and limited in features. It also lacks drivers for older but common plotters, like the HP 650. Alas, there is no other software available and it is FREE. (Gift Horse...)

HP is getting away from the "plotting" business, in a sense that plotting and printing merges. Some of the new plotters don't even have HP-GL2 built into them, they are printers and not plotters, which have their own printing software and driver and works very well. Many of the older and new plotters/printers will have OSX drivers by December 2003.

Software PS is poor, slow and as you state it, overpriced. The only way to go, using PostScript is with a built-in hardware board. If HP will have RIP software for OSX, as promised, I am looking forward to see it. Meantime GOOOOOOOO GimpPrint, improve and multiply. I would not mind paying for GimpPrint a reasonable sum, provided, that we get a good list of supported plotters and specific features for the plotters. (or large format printers)

Our office has a 455C, a 650C and I have a 750C at home, but I will be buying the new HP 120NR (Network) printer for 24" plotting. It has OSX software and prints, plots at 2400 dpi. A great printer at $1,800.00 considering the network and OSX feature. It sure beets days of lost work and unlimited aggravation spent to try to figure out, what to do in OSX.

Greatest Regards,


Bill Sprague hates viewports from Aut*!?@D
I hate Aut*!?@D viewports. Talk about not wanting anyone else to be able to work with your files! My office got hooked on these dumb things and I'm the poor sap who does the QC/QA on land surveying...
Oscar sends...

Heya bullpen,

This is an excerpt from an office notice I released a couple months ago.

inaccuracy: bad

We should NEVER be in the business of creating construction documents that are in any way inaccurate.

Example: I pull up a drawing and the dimension says 3'-5" but the line that is dimensioning is 3'-5 3/8". This is absolutely unacceptable at a construction documents level. These computers have every ability to be thoroughly accurate and there's no excuse for our drawings to not reflect this.

It will add up in the long run. . .and it makes further changes to the drawings that much more complex.

Chuck's Peeves

Pet Peeves from a Field Guy:

I've worked in the marine industry all my life. Mostly, on the receiving end of someone else's products or designs. I seen some amazing design work and some real embarrassments. The unique aspects of transportation across a dock, ship/barge, the ocean and the remote areas of Canada and Alaska really magnify short comings of design work, fabricated equipment and surveys. The following are phenomena that routinely affect my mental health:

Lack of big picture details

Some manufactured piece shows up at the dock with shiny fresh paint, fragile and expensive.

The designer forgets to provide for safe and efficient moving of his creation which effectively becomes a dockside obelisk!

The forklift damages the unit while offloading from the truck exactly where the guys loading it did.

The crane operator sleeps in the cab while the rigger figures out how to lift the dang thing.....

The designer specs 3/4" holes in pad eyes for 3/4" shackles. Nope!... never works. Smaller shackles just won't fit....."bring out the torch!" The designer is screaming about the paint, galvanizing and the future rusting of all the torch sparkles.

The yard piles up with inbound trucks........Grrrrrr!

Oil drain plug access

Later on, on the job in some isolated part of the world, the above contraption needs maintenance.

The dipstick is hidden, the starter motor is buried, the valves covers can't be removed, the oil drain plug can't be reached or gets done....$$$Breakdown$$$. Grrrrr!

I have a saying: "Everything we build or design better be forkliftable, craneable and oil changeable!!!"


Drawings with a scale......I don't mean 1"= 50'.

I mean a scale so the poor field guys in the middle of the night, pouring down rain, using a flashlight can use a bar coaster, welding rod or part of a McDonald's Happy Meal box to create a calibrated measuring tool so equipment can be placed exactly on the spot once and only once.

After the crane leaves.....we are stuck. Providing a scale helps especially after the drawing gets copied and blown up. Field guys need little support...just a good plan and a scale. Grrrrr!

Legends and abbreviations

Use of symbols and abbreviations absent from the legend. Designers and engineers may be fluent with abbreviations.

If a drawing is going to used out the mud, dirt and debris, and the designer is 2000 miles away, call out the meaning of abbreviations and symbols. Grrrrr.

Matt's Peeves

@ symbol

I discourage abbreviations and I dislike the use of symbols. However, if the @ symbol must be used, it should only be used to refer to repetitively spaced elements:

2x6's @ 16" on center

Please don't use it as a substitute for the word "at"

Detail @ Door Jamb

"At" is a short enough word, it doesn't require abbreviation.


Dimension lines should proceed through the entire building, if they consist of more than one dimension. Don't fucking dictate to the guy where he will measure from, give him the choice of coming from the left or the right, the top or the bottom. We are drawing with computers, this should not be too much to ask.

Also, unsystematic dimensions make me nuts.

Here is what I like:
Overall dimensions of exterior
Dimension string of all exterior wall offsets, tied to above
Dimension locating windows, tied to above
Interior dimensions that run through the entire structure (as few as are necessary to locate all interior elements horizontally and vertically on the sheet.
Incidental dimensions only where required to locate the odd offset wall or something.

AND I LIKE A NOTE THAT SAYS WHAT THE DIMENSIONS ARE TAKEN TO (rough framing, centerlines, whatever) !!!!

Appropriate information

Call out information which is appropriate to the SCALE of the drawing you are doing. It is inappropriate to call out backerrod and sealant on a wall section drawn at 1/2" = 1'-0"

Graphic scale

Put accurate graphic scales on all drawings. Period.

North arrow

Put north arrows on all plans. Try to make sure they point north.


Should construction documents ever instruct the contractor to "coordinate" anything besides his schedule? Coordinating is something that people who prepare the drawings should do.


I hate redundancy. I dislike it too.

It is a mistake to duplicate information even if both instances of the information are correct.

Hosed? Vent!