I never post here*

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I never post here*

Postby BPCO » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:15 am

*Maybe I did a long time ago? Can't remember.
I'm preparing to buy my 5th seat of PowerCadd+Wild Tools. We've been using PowerCadd since 1993 (then, PowerDraw). My wife and I (both architects) began using PCADD while we were employed by others, then bought our own software when we began our firm 20 years ago.

I want to share some thoughts and emotions (really) about this experience. I check this forum now and then. It's helpful, and I see many of the same names pop up frequently in topics and comments. I wonder, how many other PCADD useres there are like me, who rarely comment or post or comment, who sit down and draw every day, and are grateful for such a good tool?

I've had conversations with our employees about this. The two of us have one other architect, one interior designer on our team, and we have just hired an intern architect. They have vague uncertainties about losing their BIM chops while working on a platform that very few (apparently) others use. But they love working in PCADD. We all love the way our workflow can adapt to the needs of various projects. We've never had a consultant or client reject our work based on the file format or output. We care very much about the printed output of our work. Our drawings look good and they read well. It matters to us. PCADD facilitates allows us to demonstrate the care we put into our design work in the printed form. I promise, if the drawings look good, and demonstrate care, clients can see that, contractors take the project more seriously, and the permit departments see instantly that we have credibility in our work. Again, our drawings give us credibility. Could we accomplish this with another tool? Maybe. But PowerCadd works. It always has. And I am grateful for that.

I've had a Graphisoft sales person visiting our office. He found us. He's a friendly guy, fun to talk to; I like him. We test-drove Archicad on a small project to see what it was like. From what we learned, I believe it would be hard to achieve a similar level of quality in our documents. It would be a less direct means of producing details. The idea of building a model then allowing the model to inform drawings as a by-product or excerpt of that model, doesn't fit with carefully developing clear drawings. I don't know. I won't say never to another platform, but for now, again, PCADD works - for what's important to us.

Important to add here, in light of our Archicad trial, when we hire, our new staff becomes PCADD literate on the first day. They are productive and profitable by the end of the first week. Our friend from Graphisoft suggested that we'd see a real improvement in our productivity after about three months. Three. Months.

What can I do to improve this community? I frequently cannot reach this forum. There's something weird about it. I may submit this, and discover that it won't post. We'll see. Boy, it would be nice to have a better environment to nurture the dedicated community that could grow within a more accommodating environment. I, personally, have created at least twenty PowerCadd users over the years. Current employees, former employees, a few colleagues, some are active users, others may have moved on. But I have brought designers and draftspeople to the platform. All of them have been productive and claim to have enjoyed working with the software. They could all be a part of this community.

Many of you may find my expression here insubstantial and lacking in technical detail. I'm sure you're right about that. But upon deciding to invest in another license of this software, I felt compelled to share why, without complaining about small, incremental frustrations. In the big picture, 20+ years of my life's work has been using these familiar tools. I'm grateful for that.
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Re: I never post here*

Postby Joe Mattei » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:34 am

Very well stated! I am in a parallel universe!
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Re: I never post here*

Postby Alfred Scott » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:06 am

Most forums are populated by people who lurk about, read the comments and never post. This forum is a glue that binds us all together. I can think of any number of people who have contacted me in a panic that their world is coming to an end — What do I do?!!! — when the forum is down.

Right now nobody can join this forum because that is turned off because the forum software is plagued with spam, maybe 1000-2000 each day. Kevin Matthews plans to upgrade the forum software this summer, and I hope it will tolerate the spam load.

Software companies often hate forums because they can be populated by blowhards, self-appointed experts, complainers and gossips. It’s not always a friendly environment in which to navigate and software companies who participate are often attacked and chewed to bits. I think of forums like the Star Wars bar with all the reptiles drinking their acid cocktails, that you have to navigate without having your arm bit off.

WildTools would not exist without email and this forum. I remember a post from way back: Can Mac squiggle? That’s where it came from.

BPCO, maybe let us know your name. Got any ideas for things that might be added to the software? Or send me an email.

Right now I’m working on new tool palettes in WildTools. Same tools, but with variable-size icons that you can resize like any window with a resize box at the bottom right or with a scroll wheel on your mouse. Most resize together, but you can have “eccentric” palettes that have their own independent size. And they can be even more responsive, perhaps blinking something as a warning? I have no idea how far this idea is going to go, but the palettes are windows that can have anything in them that you can have on an iPhone screen. High resolution on a Retina display. Badges? Emojis? Animations? Who knows what we will all be looking at in the near future, but the palettes are a white piece of paper, just like anything you want to draw on.

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Re: I never post here*

Postby BPCO » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:50 pm

Thanks, Alfred. My name is Bret Park. My firm is Parkco Architects. We're online and hopefully easy enough to find. I emailed with you directly some time back. I appreciate and admire your work and your dedication to the platform.

I don't know that I have any specific wishes for PCADD/WT, not at the moment anyway. Part of the challenge with the forum for me is that I tend to lose attention for things that do not work. I just haven't spent much time engaging because it doesn't occur to me. I tend to think I won't be able to get in anyway. I could surely get more by sharing more. You get what you give, right?

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Re: I never post here*

Postby pbacot » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:00 pm

Hi Bret,

Similar situation here. Been using PCADD since 80's and WT in the 90's. I did some ACAD training but never desired to pursue it. Now it'a all PCADD and SketchUp. Several years ago I started consulting for a local architect who was doing the same, for a good portion of my work. We sometimes feel like an island but happy--and confident we are producing good work for our clients using PCADD.

I used to "teach" PCADD. One firm had several initiates at a time. It didn't take much and they were ready to work.

I've been in online contact with users and developers since AOL forum days. It's always been a consolation and inspiration, though a thinning crowd in recent years.

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Re: I never post here*

Postby Rod Terry » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:46 am


Well written comments and reflect my own experience. My exposure to PCADD was at a Mac show in SF. I believe it was the first time for engineering software to be there.

PowerDraw was one of the first programs I bought when I got my Mac+.

My sincere thanks to all the folks who have a hand in the development and improvements over all these years.

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Re: I never post here*

Postby CJH » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:02 pm

I've used Pcadd since starting my Structural Engineering business in 1992-It gave me a huge competitive advantage back then, and still to this day. The ability to import pdf's, covert them to vectors means I can get to work right away regardless of what platform the architect used.
One of my clients recently pushed for me to use Revit, so I purchased a trial. When I started using Pcadd, I had a project halfway done by hand drafting and drew it in parallel with Pcadd-by the end of a week I stopped the hand drafting and finished the project in Pcadd: I used the same approach with Revit, working on a project already far along in Pcadd.
After two full weeks of using the tutorials I had a model (this is a two story house) in Revit roughly done, but nowhere near what I would provide for drawings. Talking to other engineers who are using Revit, they have a 'Revit guy' who does the drawings, the engineers provide red-marks and he does the drafting-just like we used to, which is regressive.
So it was a good try, but I concluded that Revit would never, for me, come close to the productivity that Pcadd provides.
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Re: I never post here*

Postby patrickm » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:30 pm

My experience is very similar to CJH's. I started out with PD, drawing details. I still use the first details I drew, having brought them along with software updates into PC. (I draw them as separate files, the copy/paste them into detail sheets.) I was productive from day one. Back then, I once was talking to an AutoCADD guy explaining PD to him, and he asked me about the screen refresh rate -- I didn't know what he was talking about, since PD was instantaneous.


ps: I've been using a program called RSS Bot to monitor this forum for new posts. It works well, so I don't needlessly look at the forum when no one has posted.
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Re: I never post here*

Postby Rob C » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:12 pm


Thanks for sharing. I too started with PowerDraw 2 in 1988~9, I think. I was an official trainer in the '90's and did a few training gigs then, and converted a few other people as well over the years.

In 2003 I picked up ArchiCAD and SketchUp, tried both, and after about a year, dumped ArchiCAD and just concentrated on SketchUp. Over the years since, my work flow has been a hybrid of PowerCADD and SketchUp. I'm not alone; near as I can tell Greg LaVardera is as well. Gradually, SketchUp content has grown from just schematic design, to design development, and now a lot of construction document phase work. Almost everything I do starts in PC and ends in PC for final drawings. If you didn't like Revit, give SketchUp a try, especially as a companion to continued use of PC.

I had a long talk with Alfred recently about this. I see a great opportunity right now. A real strategic alliance with SketchUp would 1) keep PC from being left behind by all the developments in BIM as competing software, 2) bring new converts to PC from the SketchUp community, and 3) instantly give SketchUp users a much better 2D package than Trimble's own Layout application. Layout is just a toy by comparison to PowerCADD. I get a mental block every time I try to learn to use it, because it feels like getting off a Cannondale Super Six EVO and jumping on a kid’s tricycle.

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Re: I never post here*

Postby Michael St Aimee » Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:28 pm

I second this but for FormZ! FormZ is a more powerful 3D modeler than SketchUp but is lacking in the 2D department.
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Re: I never post here*

Postby jcarcht » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:19 am

My entry into the Engineered Software world occurred in 1992. Since then I've never looked back. Like ParkCo, I too have concern about the appearance and clarity of my drawings and construction documents. PowerCadd has so many useful tools that it more than meets my requirements for a computer-based tool to achieve my needs. Yet I am well versed- I think- into the world of object intelligence and Building Information Modeling (BIM). I use VectorWorks for that, but VectorWorks' ability to "power draft" doesn't compare to PowerCADD. It makes a great rendering, though. I found that the more I know about PowerCADD, the more I become "addicted" to it.
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Re: I never post here*

Postby sgladfelter » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:27 pm

I check the forum occasionally, but still love Powercadd and Wildtools and use them daily.

For a treat to those who do check the forums I'm including a link to a recent site plan I developed using all of wildtools' deliciousness. I have been using the linear patterning tool to give that stipple effect for 20 years, but still have not seen another program approximate it.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zVWL1 ... zHVXLqqxtN

Excuse the mixture of color and b&w. All my presentation workflow is printed, so I'm not normally concerned with the bit of color that made it through to the pdf.
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Re: I never post here*

Postby Alfred Scott » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:47 pm


Cool drawing! Always fun and very satisfying for me to see what people do with WildTools.

I paid a significant personal price for developing this tool. It was three works of ultra-intense highly focused work, which is the only way this type of work can be done, and it’s turned out to be error-free from the beginning. But somewhere in that process of pushing myself too hard, something snapped in my brain and then it was off to see a psychiatrist and get some meds! I’m better now, and I still take my meds and always very grateful that nobody in white suits has come to get me!

The role of random numbers is critical in much of this, particularly with Trees & Shrubs to put noise into things so it doesn’t look like it was drawn by a machine.

Matt Arnold is busy working on a Tree elevation tool. I still have to finish the Pattern tool, and Matt has come up with an algorithm for drawing stone walls.

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