CAD to Paper – Do You Still Print?

What makes engineers or AutoCAD users print their drawings?

When communicating a design to a client or colleague, you want them to have an easy, clear and smooth experience. You don’t want to waste valuable time, and you don’t want them to not see the design exactly the way you intended. And if you’re getting input from them, you don’t want to redraw them later on your file – that’s more time wasted.

When we set to design Butterfly, we wanted to create a tool which enables users to communicate digitally without printing to paper or file. And still, there are some who prefer to print their drawings or export PDF files. For them we also included a very basic printing function. The printing function only prints to the page what’s visible on the editor screen. It will print:

  • The drawing that is visible in the screen boundaries. If your browser window is small, it will affect the output of the print.
  • The current layout.
  • In the currently selected  plot style.

We want to hear your thoughts on printing:

What would you like to see as part of the printing function in Project Butterfly? Does it have to be a fully-featured plotter or could it be more basic?

Post your comments here or send email us to We’re listening.

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  1. Posted April 15, 2010 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    I think for some customers do not need to print, but others do, such as public administration, at least in Spain.

    • ipse lute
      Posted April 20, 2010 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

      You’re not alone gargon. Most european countries’ public administations requires plotted drawings for public appovals or agreements. They are stucked in this old-fashioned way of workflow (papers, lots of papers) and it seems it will (still) go this way, at least for a while.

  2. Dave Norry
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    The obvious reason why people plot (not print:-) drawings is manufacture.

    In 99% of cases your production team in the factory or surveyor knee deep in mud on site is going to want a tangible peice of paper thats going to give him the information he needs to create whatever someone in a nice warm office with lots of LCD monitors has dreamed up!

    Plus there is a strange sense of intimacy about looking at a real paper drawing. I can design a product on the screen, stare at it for hours, but it’s not real until it’s on paper and I can say “yep, that will work!”

  3. ipse lute
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 3:41 AM | Permalink

    Dave’s right. You can’t give a LCD monitor or a Tablet PC full of cad drawings to an unskilled worker and expect him to put those drawings into practice. It’s just too much for him. There are some times when an worker can’t understand even the plotted drawing.
    Most of the times paper is used when dealing with large drawings, like in architecture, construction or naval industry.
    Sure you can squeeze a drawing to fit a computer screen, but you’ll certainly lose important details.
    On a construction site a pdf or dwg is almost useless. There may be dozens or even hundreds of workers. (How many laptops then?)

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