I just got a crazy old autodesk book

We were cleaning out the room, for the hopes that the school may give us some machines to put where we are cleaning (isnt happening… back to hand tools again), but my coach, Mr. Vanderway throws me a book on Autocad version 10. This was copyrighted in 1987, older than me by three years. It is filled with commands for you to creat objects, instead of click and drag what we do now. I was just shocked how crazy technology has improved. What wa even cooler, was that it had 3D modeling as well, and mesh. I was both shocked and impressed by what that version of autocad could do almost 20 years ago. I thought it deserved a thread, considering other teams probably know people who used the software back in the day…

I learned on AutoCAD 12, I think. I got into programming the AutoLISP shortcuts, so I didn’t have to type as much (yeah, not as much point & click as there is today). I did that for 2-3 years and then graduated high school. Before my architecture classes started my freshman year, I switched over to computer science because I liked programming the menus more than I liked drawing the buildings.

I’ve always found that, when I need to use AutoCAD for something, the command line interface is far, far superior to any graphical user interface they can provide. If you know your commands well, you can draw very quickly – much moreso than I can do even know with Solidworks or Inventor.

My first job in 1986 I sat down at a drafting board with all my fresh new templates, protractors, ink pens , electric eraser, angles and rulers etc. I pulled out some fresh sheets of velum paper and drew some stuff for Disney. Then a few months into it my boss put a PC on my desk which amounted to a 186 processor with a 10mb hard drive and a souped up video card - 1 megabyte on board! a math co processor and a giant stack of AutoCAD ver. 2.6 5-1/4 floppy disks (still got em), a 3 color CGA monitor and a fancy new pen plotter. This was high tech to the max. Good ole DOS and the 3 finger salute (Cntrl alt Del.)
AutoCAD then actually wasn’t all that different then than it is now to be honest. I Type everything still today and the original commands haven’t changed. Just a lot of new bells and whistles. Compared to all the programs of their time AutoCAD was an amazing bargain. All the big companies had huge investments in the machines capable of running programs like Anvil and AutoTROL. Those machines started in the $20,000 range and also required maintenance contracts to keep em running. So your machine came with a technician.
Anyhow, version 10 was hot stuff and had the first inklings of 3D. Also 3D studio was born that year (I played with that too) I think in 1989ish. But version 13 was the first true 3D. I love AutoCAD, I’ve made a career with it, I’ve tweaked it every way to Sunday and back. It’s been a great tool with little to be desired (for all general purposes) since the beginning.
Still got all those un-used board drafting tools stinking up my un-used briefcase. :rolleyes:

hahaa im happy wanst in that generation. Even worse, what do you think it was like BEFORE they had any sort of CAD. That is, using paper and pencil , and when you have to change a defined definition, you have to go to all the adjacent blueprints assosciated. I did some research on this. from what i found Carnegie Mellon and MIT strongly contributed to the developement of the first cad programs.

I work at a company doing details for Plumbing and HVAC systems for huge buildings. (Restraunts, Parking Structures, High Schools…etc…) I got a kick out of them (my boss and friend) trying to explain to me what a digitizer and puck were.

I am pretty new to AutoCAD and Inventor.

I completely forgot about the digitizer and puck! I used that for a few weeks when I was just learning AutoCAD back in the day (1994-95?).

I learned on AutoCad R13 in high school and I have copies as far back as R6.

Now that’s old school.

The first CAD system I got to play with was CADAM way back in 1981. Some input was typed but mostly you used a “button box” and a “light pen”. The button box was an auxillary box with about 40 buttons on it for different functions. Usually you put it on the left side of the CRT. The light pen was a precursor to the mouse. You used it to select items on the screen. Most people used their right hand for this. A really good user kept their eyes on the screen and used these two additions almost exclusively. And yes there was a small segment of the population with “left handed” CAD tubes. Every once in a while I’d log onto one by mistake …

Because I was good at CADAM, I got trained on NCAD. NCAD was Northrop’s (this was before the (Northrop-Grumman merger) in-house 3D CAD system. It used the same hardware as CADAM and was a true 3D system with NURBS surfacing. (CADAM was 2D and would auto-generate views in other dimensions, if you asked it nicely) NCAD terminals also had a “dial box” with 8 dials for moving geometry. Northrop couldn’t find a program to meet their requirements so they wrote their own. No wonder the B-2 was so expensive to develop. I think we still maintain a few seats of NCAD for B-2 upgrades etc. at least we did the last time I was authorized to know such things, but that was years ago.

The interesting thing about NCAD was the user interface was driven entirely by Engineering, so it was very easy to do all sorts of things that take many steps in modern CAD systems. Sometimes I still reach for the old button box but rotating with a mouse is easier than the dial box.

Before that I was a summer intern at Rockwell on the B-1 program. Everything was done on pencil and paper and real drawings were kept in a real vault. You had to check them out and back in to work on them. They must have liked my work, the last few days they let me work in INK.


sure that works, but how much fun is it just to say digitizer…

I started on ACAD in ver.2.1 with dual monitors (one color, one b/w) on a Radio Shack 8086 with 2 MB above board RAM (640k on the motherboard), two video cards and a 40 MB drive. We wrote drawings to two removable Bernoulli drives of 10MB each. I have used a digitizer all along and a custom tablet menu and overlays make fast work of drawing. My current tablet is a Calcomp/Summagraphics with 16 button cursor. I rewired the two center, top row buttons to be left click. Other buttons are common tasks like zoom, line, and custom menu entry.
R10 was a big improvement over 9.1 which allowed some 3D with Lisp routines only. Autodesk is upward compatable so most of the command line entry still works. There have been big improvements over the years as multiple commands were merged into single commands to make things go faster.
We had a pen plotter with only one holder. If you wanted multiple colors, you had to change pens. A C size plot of a complex schematid would take an hour or more. If you went to lunch and the pen clogged, you started all over again.
That book has a lot of useful info, I would keep it around for a reference.

It would be neat to print off these memories and if you ever get a chance, ask some of these folks to sign your crazy old book.

I just played with a copy of DiscoverCAD on an Apple IIC+ :ahh:

I learned on Autocad 2.56 back in 1983, on a Genuine IBM PC (5051) with a full 640k RAM and a whopping 10 MB full-height hard disk. Remember, this was a 4.77 MHz 8086 machine, and the 8087 (math co-processor) wasn’t ready yet - and even at that, the thing cost a bit north of $5000 (in 1983 dollars!) Drawings were output to an HP 75? plotter with 4 pens - 2 black (different widths) plus red and blue.

sigh. Maybe I’m showing my age.

Anyone here ever work with punch cards? Punched tape? How about a mainframe (!) with a 16 kHz clock? That used tubes? Back then, a Gigabyte of hard disk storage was something that maybe the Government had access to, but we mortals could only dream of. Now a Terabyte is about $100 on sale. I remember paying $525 for 16 MB of RAM (4x 4MB). Still have it.

sigh. No maybe about it.


if i ever see a terabyte for 100$, ill buy it, no questions about it. Well on to the subject.

Im freaken confused now, anyone know any sites that may teach command cad. sounds pretty cool to learn, just the book is hard for me to understand, i like more hands on learning than just reading, and its easier when its on the computer.

Well, i have to learn it probably because our mini-cnc that may not even work uses software with command cadding.