A funny Throwback Thursday looking at what life was like before we had AutoCAD assisting in drafting and design.
A funny Throwback Thursday looking at what life was like before we had AutoCAD assisting in drafting and design.
My longtime colleague and programming guru Kean Walmsley wrote a great blog post talking about why AutoCAD R13 was painful, but it had to happen to re-architect the product.
I was a customer of R13 and suffered on the heels of a rock solid AutoCAD R12 until the patch R13c4a was released. R13c4a was what the initial release should have been. I joined the company January 1998 when we were releasing R14.01 codenamed Pinetop which was rock solid. Everyone and almost everything experiences growing pains at some point.
A favorite historic DWG of mine is from AutoCAD 1.2, but sadly the copy I have right now is unable to be opened. Here is a screen capture of the drawing when I had it at one time opened in AutoCAD 2.18.
Aside from this historic AutoCAD sample drawing, the Space Shuttle Columbia was the first space Shuttle STS-1 and after 22 years of 27 missions was tragically lost in a disaster with all 7 astronauts onboard mission flight STS-107.
I had the absolute pleasure of being invited to watch the final Space Shuttle Discovery launch STS-133, on February 24, 2011. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Stay tuned for more of your favorite historic AutoCAD sample drawings.
Back in AutoCAD version 2.18, Autodesk placed a sample drawing with AutoCAD named the Solar.DWG to demonstrate the precision of AutoCAD back in the early eighties. AutoCAD was based used 64bit floating point precision and the most accurate back then. With this Solar DWG you can see our solar system in 1:1 scale in kilometer units.
This would not be a good DWG to plot/print 1:1 full scale.
You can zoom all the way in on the Apollo Lunar Lander on the surface of the moon and read a plaque placed on it. You will notice the planets are from the eighties back before poor little Pluto removed as an official plane and now just another member of the Kuiper belt. A NASA team is working to get Pluto once again classified as a planet. Go Pluto, I'm rooting for you being a planet again.
Below are the steps to zooming in on the Lunar Lander and giving your fingers and mouse a workout. You could also take the easy route and use the saved views in the DWG.
When you open the DWG file in AutoCAD, you will see the Solar System. I have marked the area you should zoom to if you want to find the Lunar Lander which is on the Moon’s surface orbiting the Earth.
Once you zoom into the area shown in the prior image you will see both the Earth’s Moon and Earth. You will want to zoom in on the Moon.
Once you have the Moon located, zoom in further and you will see a crater and to the upper right the Lunar Lander we are searching for.
The plaque is located on the lower leg of the Lunar Lander.
I created a Sheet Layout with four views showing the main points of interest.
The DWG file for AutoCAD SOLAR from ACAD2-18-updated
Past articles on AutoCAD precision as well as a nice modern 3D Earth model in DWG format.
If you took the long route to the Lunar Lander by zooming, give your fingers and mouse wheel a rest.
After I was given the original nozzle that was in one of the first sample drawings of AutoCAD from 1984 (An Epic Piece of Autodesk History –The Nozzle), there were many discussions on old sample files. It’s Throwback Thursday, so in the spirit of that what is you favorite AutoCAD sample file or ones that bring the most memories for you. I spend my current job mostly looking forward in to the future of design and technology, but it is also so much fun to look back on where we have been especially since I was a customer using AutoCAD 20 years ago and have many memories. Looking back over the past 36 years of Autodesk and seeing how much things have changed gets me excited about the possibilities where we will all be in the next 36 years.
Here are some of the sample files from AutoCAD 1.x to today covering 36 years of AutoCAD history.
So let me know in the comments what your favorite AutoCAD official sample drawing or one with the most memories for you and the release it was from. I plan to post many of these drawings files along with any known history.
An amazing surprise as I walked into the office this morning, Kevin Schneider presented me with the historical original nozzle used in many sample files and demos of AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor over the past 34 years.
AutoCAD 2.6 included a sample drawing of a nozzle that has been one of the iconic sample drawings in AutoCAD release history, known affectionately as “the nozzle.” The creator of the drawing Don Strimbu designed the nozzle in 1983 using a primitive featured AutoCAD running on floppy disks and a slow 8086 computer.
Here is the 2D drawing opened in AutoCAD 2.18.
The same nozzle was used by Mike Geyer to create a 3D assembly in Autodesk Inventor, and was a very popular demo dataset.
I couldn't wait until Throwback Thursday to share the news of the original nozzle being on my desk. As the unofficial historian of Autodesk, I hope to put this on display for all to see.
About 25 years ago I was a mechanical designer, Autodesk customer, and a contributing member of the Autodesk Beta Programs. I received free products occasionally like tee-shirts, and other items as rewards for bug reporting and feedback, but one gift stood out. It was a simple black ceramic coffee mug with Autodesk logo in gold lettering. I used that mug proudly for years until the Autodesk logo wore off leaving me with a simple black ceramic coffee mug. Many years have passed and I gave the plain black mug away years ago.
This year at Autodesk University 2017 David Harrington gave me another old black coffee mug with the old gold leaf Autodesk logo on it.
Thank you, David.
Shaan: What innovations in technology are you most excited about today?
John Walker: Notwithstanding all of the hype and over-promising, I believe the promise of additive manufacturing is still greater than many people
appreciate. I think we're at about the 1982 personal computer level
of impact of this technology: it's finding serious applications in
large companies with deep pockets, but the mass market is still
largely closed to the hobbyist level. In the longer term, its
ultimate destiny is atomically precise manufacturing, which will
allow making anything which can be modeled.
I talk a lot these days about "extravagant computing". When you can
buy three terabytes of storage for a hundred bucks and gigaflops of
processing power by the minute in the cloud, we're at the threshold
of a revolution like the PC era which helped Autodesk succeed. The
difference is that in 1982 we could, and did, look for mainframe
applications which would become practical on the PC platform as the
technology continued to grow exponentially. Now we must look for things
which have never been possible before which will become feasible simply by
"brute-forcing" the problem with massive compute power and storage.
The next decade, when these technologies will become mainstream, is
what I have been calling "The Roaring Twenties".
It is fascinating to hear the perspective of a tech pioneer that was there in the beginning of the PC era and the company he founded still around and successful today 35 years later unlike the many that litter the alley of forgotten tech history. Although John has been away from Autodesk for 20 years, he still keeps up on the latest technology and trends as well as pitfalls.
I completely agree with John about Additive Manufacturing being in its early days and the large impact it will have on manufacturing and design in the future. John’s “Extravagant Computing” or as we call it “infinite computing” and “cloud computing” is also something Autodesk believes in as computing cores are getting cheaper and cheaper each year to process more data providing more computation and hyper accurate simulation including “Generative Design” where computers can optimize or design products.
I enjoy being the self-appointed historian at Autodesk and looking at all the history, memorabilia, progress, and change over the years. You can’t go forward without knowing where you came from, what you learned, and how you got here. It will be very interesting to look back in 35 years on where we are now.
Happy 35th Birthday Autodesk!
Autodesk and AutoCAD was created 35 years ago this year. There are many celebrations looking back over the years, and also looking forward to the future. Autodesk was founded by John Walker, so I emailed with John on his perspective for the 35 years and asked him some questions to share.
I'd say it was a tie between block insertion with scaling and rotation and cross-hatching. The block feature was superb for demos (such as the office and subdivision drawings we showed at COMDEX 1982), and the cross-hatching feature, although it was very easy to implement, impressed people since it showed how the computer could automate tedious drawing tasks. I have always been fond of BLIPMODE, since it did so little (it allowed you to turn the little blips made when you selected a point on the screen on and off).
I will share more Q&A with John walker in the future.
What has been your favorite feature or command over the 35 years of AutoCAD?
An AutoCAD Team member, Hill Fang has summited with his 35 years of AutoCAD flag. Hill Fang summited Muztagh-Ata, 7,546m / 24,757ft, on July 3rd,2017 with an “I Love AutoCAD” 35 Year anniversary flag.
Hill started using AutoCAD back in AutoCAD 2.x in the 80’s.
Climbing 24,757 feet is no small feat, neither is 35 years of AutoCAD.
Congratulations Hill Fang!
Back in the day Autodesk used to be fond of giving coffee mugs to people. I will never remember my first coffee mug as an Autodesk customer and beta tester in 1995. It was a black shiny mug with the Autodesk calipers logo and text in gold flake. A couple years back a fellow Autodesker gave me a much older Autodesk coffee mug for the collection. You can see the mug in the second photo sitting on an unopened early 90’s era AutoCAD Simulator product.
Speaking of mugs and Autodesk History. One of the more contemporary pieces in my Autodesk history collection was just added. Autodesk CEO and Chief Maker Carl Bass recently retired from Autodesk after evolving the company, products, and culture. He made a very big impact on Autodesk history and I felt it important to keep something that represented of that time period.
With Carl’s permission, I got his San Francisco office cube nameplate. Carl sat with all the employees in a cube desk area.
I maintain a list of all of these and a few more at: http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/autocad-release-history.html
AutoCAD Release History
What is the oldest release of AutoCAD you started using?
Yesterday Autodesk celebrated its 35th birthday and employees, partners, and customers joined in to mark the occasion. From Portland, San Francisco, Manchester, Boston, Toronto, Moscow, Neuchâtel, and many other locations and remote offices there were employees in old Autodesk memorabilia and cakes. It was a lot of fun seeing all the nostalgia and stories in Twitter, Facebook, and other social media as well as in person.
In the Lake Oswego Oregon office which is in a suburb of Portland, we had cake and I flew a drone outside the office to capture a photo from outside of the employees in their memorabilia on the inside. It was a lot of fun and I got to wear my AutoCAD R14 tee-shirt again.
To top it off even the New York financial powerhouse NASDAQ wished Autodesk a happy 35th anniversary.
Thank you everyone for participating. Without the outstanding customers, awesome employers, incredible partners, Autodesk would not be what it is today or perhaps even be here.
There will be other 35 year milestones throughout 2017 including the 35th birthday of AutoCAD in December. Stay tuned for more fun and nostalgia looking back and then looking forward to imagining, designing and creating a better world together.
On this day 35 years ago in Mill Valley California, Autodesk was founded. Our customers and partners around the world (technically outer space as well) have done so many amazing things over the past 35 years, and so many amazing things yet to come.
Today, many are wearing Autodesk old memorabilia such as old shirts and sharing old stories. I am wearing my “AutoCAD R14 Faster, Smarter, Better” tee shirt.
I have an office full of my old Autodesk shirts with some on good shape and others not so good and none of them ironed.
Mike had his original Autodesk badge, and while it was obscured I found a cleaner version of his early day employee photos. He is probably going to kill me for this or at least sick his dog on me but I am doing it in the interest of Autodesk historical record and for all those that know Mike over the many years back into the CompuServe days.
In complete fairness, here is my old Autodesk badge from 1998.
Please email me photos and stories from the past 35 years of Autodesk.
Here is to the next 35 years and everything that will be accomplished. If the past 35 years is any indication of the future, the next 35 years will be absolutely amazing.
PS: Stay tuned for a post of some of the parties, memories, and photos of the old memorabilia.
In response to my post about AutoCAD turning 35, my email inbox and twitter feed is full and I am so grateful for the response. It is so amazing to read about when you started using AutoCAD and the stories about Autodesk and also the photos. A little known fact is AutoCAD 1.0 wasn’t shipped to customers so the first release was actually AutoCAD version 1.1.
Here is quote from a customer that started on the very first shipping AutoCAD version.
Daniel J. Bounds
Armstrong World Industries / Armstrong Building Products
I started using AutoCAD in 1984 with Release 1.1 on the 5 ¼” floppy disk. I used it on an original IBM PC with 2 floppy drives. I think the PC was 2 megahertz or maybe 4. The AutoCAD program came on 1 disk. The AutoCAD program disk had to be in Floppy Drive A: and saved .dwg files on Drive B: If you only had one Floppy Drive. AutoCAD would prompt you to remove the AutoCAD program disk and insert a disk to save your drawing on.
It’s been a real trip over the years. I don’t touch AutoCAD much anymore as I’ve been using Inventor more and more over the last 10 years.
A:\ACAD to load in MS/DOS version 1.0
I will be sharing the photos and stories from AutoCAD users, employees, and partners, and more.
“I think the fondest moment was COMDEX 1982. From the first hour of the show, it was clear we had a hit in AutoCAD. Our ten by ten foot booth in a distant hall of the convention centre was mobbed, and almost everybody working on it began to lose their voice by the end of second day. In addition to our booth, AutoCAD was running in three other manufacturers' booths, and was a hit there as well, sending traffic to our booth. Driving back from Las Vegas (we'd rented a big station wagon to haul the stuff, since I wasn't confident my ten year old VW bus could make it; Greg Lutz and I took turns driving), it was clear the challenge was now making the most of the opportunity before us.”
More great memories and feedback from, John Walker to come.
In response to my post about AutoCAD turning 35, my email inbox and twitter feed is full and I am so grateful for the response. It is so amazing to hear the memories of so many including some that have used AutoCAD it’s entire life of 35 years.
Stay tuned for more on the 35 year celebration of AutoCAD and a compilation of the stories and the people that have used AutoCAD and the projects designed.
Shaan (AutoCAD since R10)
Next month AutoCAD will celebrate it’s 35th birthday.
Just think about it, AutoCAD is hitting middle age. It is a pretty amazing milestone not only as a software product that has been used by millions of people around the world, but also that it is still quite popular 35 years later it was released. AutoCAD has been around longer than Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Windows.
Autodesk and myself will have several special posts and events to celebrate the 35th birthday of AutoCAD. How long the length do you think the total line or polylines drawn would be, I would bet it would go to the moon and back thousands or possibly millions of times. It is mind boggling to think of all the things designed in AutoCAD over the years.
Please email me your earliest memories of AutoCAD, things designed using AutoCAD, and photos of AutoCAD. I will be creating something special highlighting memories from AutoCAD users over the past 35 years. I started using AutoCAD back in release 10.
It has been great being a user of AutoCAD before joining Autodesk in 1998 and seeing it change over the years, as well as the evolution of Autodesk and it products. Looking back we learn a great deal and have a lot to be proud of as we look forward to the future.
I received another great addition to my collection of old AutoCAD releases, a AutoCAD 86 version 1.40 manual circa February 1984 from Mike Boldrick. This was one of the first available releases of AutoCAD ever shipped to customers. I will publish more of this old manual in the future for nostalgic fun as we will soon celebrate the 35th year of AutoCAD.
In AutoCAD 86 version 1.40 there was no UNDO command, just an OOPS command as well as only 54 other commands. The old school method of UNDO was to not save the drawing and exit AutoCAD and then relaunch AutoCAD and open the drawing.
Thank you Mike, this 32 year old manual is in really great condition after all these years..
Survey Says, Be at Autodesk University for: DING!
Great classes, networking, seeing what the future holds, and fun!
Please join Heidi Hewett, Lynn Allen and me at the AutoCAD Family Feud Tuesday 1:00pm at Autodesk University.
We need your responses for the Feud at this survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Q25PT65. It only takes a minute or two.
Details on the social media reception coming soon for those that actively participate in social media throughout the year covering Autodesk products and technologies.There will also be once again this year some early morning runs after it being very popular and a great way to start the day with some fresh air. So much Autodesk University news coming as we get closer.
Did you know it is the 35th anniversary of AutoCAD next year? We might have a few fun flash back surprises in store for you at AU.
Think Autodesk University is not worth the effort and cost?
See you at AU,
Back in AutoCAD R12, R13, and R14 there was a bug that was not bad, a bug with benefits. The bug allowed you to speed up the plot regen by over 200 percent faster making the plot preview and plotting much faster. All you had to do what hit the keyboard spacebar while the plot was regenerating and BAM it sped up to light speed. Several years back when I was on the AutoCAD Team I discussed this good old bug with a veteran AutoCAD developer and why it might have occurred and got into a fascinatingly long geek discussion about evaluating fiber switching etc.
Today you no longer plot regen or have the ability to speed up plotting by hitting the space bar but things are faster these days and technology has changed dramatically but I will never forget walking up to a coworker when they were sitting there at the plot regen dialog and hitting their space bar and the regen speeding up and their look of amazement.
So not all bugs are bad as some have nice hidden side effects.
In 1997 I was an Autodesk customer working at Oregon Iron Works here in the Portland Oregon area. I gave an interview as an AutoCAD R14 early pre-release alpha tester on how much better AutoCAD R14 was than the previous AutoCAD R13 release. Rohit Arora found the AutoCAD R14 demo CD-ROMs today and posted to LinkedIn tagging me.
Warning: This image and video is not for the faint of heart.
I am in the process of updating my AutoCAD History page after we just released the new AutoCAD 2017 Monday March 21, 2016. AutoCAD 2017 was codenamed Nautilus in alpha and beta testing prior to being officially released publicly.
Update: My good friend Vladimir Michl of http://www.cadforum.cz spotted the error in my accounting he said AutoCAD 2017 should be 31 not 32 because I copy pasted an error and 2016 should have been release 30. While he is absolutely correct, I could go back and say R14.01 with its own codename of pinetop was technically a release adding networking and so much more bringing 2017 back to release 32, but I won’t. Thank you for keeping me honest Vladimir.