QCAD - getting started guides.

Discussion in 'CAD Corner' started by adrian, 29 March 2014.

  1. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Hi Rob,

    I recently sent PPD some artwork using four layers 'front etch', 'front metal', 'back etch' and 'back metal' they were happy with that. I didn't proceed with it due to the cost implications, but will add it to something else once I have completed the artwork, this needs the world to reopen so that I can visit Didcot for some 1 2 1 research.
    Rob Pulham likes this.
  2. Rob Pulham

    Rob Pulham Western Thunderer

    Thanks Phil,

    That's useful to know. It seems that there is a bit of conflicting info out there.
  3. JimG

    JimG Western Thunderer


    I suspect that PPD modify drawings to suit their requirements when they can and probably add a bit to their setup charge to cover the time spent. I match their requirements with a DWG file with the one side mirrored and both fills black, but I do my drawing work in red and blue layers as I've always done and make PPD layers at the end to suit them. All the layers are in the one DWG file sent to them so they get the lot.

    I don't know how they may react to using line widths to delineate half etch folds as you mentioned earlier in the thread. I had a look at how I might do that and found it a lot more complicated than using the Offset facility to generate two edges the appropriate distance apart to match the gauge of the metal which then become the sides of the filled areas adjoining the fold.

    Rob Pulham likes this.
  4. Rob Pulham

    Rob Pulham Western Thunderer

    Thanks Jim,

    It's all new, so I am really appreciative of advice from those who have things etched regularly.
  5. Rambler

    Rambler Active Member

    I have always sent my artwork to PPD as a DWG file in an "all colours in one drawing" format as per their current guidance:


    I don't use AutoCAD but I do check my artwork with the (free) Autodesk DWG TrueView tool, and I send a screen grab from that tool to accompany my artwork so that PPD know what I think its looks like. The following is a screen-grab that went with my most recent artwork:

    You'll notice that there isn't any blue, because this particular application doesn't need anything etching on the back.

    As far as I know, PPD don't alter any artwork. They do however check artwork to see whether it meets "etchability" criteria, e.g. are there any hole that are so small that they won't etch through, and this process may also spot errors. They will let you know and then its up to you to decide how to fix any issues. For the above artwork they noted that some of the holes had been inadvertently filled in during the "fill" stage (the above extract shows the corrected version).

    Back in the day when artwork was plotted using a pen-plotter it was normal to use a wide line for fold lines but I don't think it'll work with digital artwork. Having said that, text comes out OK. Another difference from those days is that its much cheaper now. An A4 sheet of brass or Nickel Silver costs between £60 and £80 for set-up, etching, and delivery, so you can afford to give it a try (IMHO). In the mid 1990's it cost £120 to have the same work done using physical artwork. What isn't different is that it still takes a lot of man-hours to produce your artwork!

    Regards, Eric.
    adrian, Rob Pulham and John Baker like this.
  6. Rambler

    Rambler Active Member

    Having posted the above information, I thought that some information about layers might be helpful.

    When I started producing artwork for digital processing (as opposed to artwork for pen-plotting) I was fortunate to get Autosketch 6 on a magazine-front CD. I later got version 9 from a vendor in the USA via Ebay, but it's now discontinued so I'm now moving to QCAD (which has broadly similar capabilities and complexity) for new work. So that's why the next screenshot of this artwork shows Autosketch layers.

    The top 8 layers (all locked) were used for drawing arrangement diagrams elsewhere on the sheet and the bottom 7 are the layers that will be used for the artwork. These layer names and colours are broadly in line with PPD's guidance sheet from a few years back. It will be noticed that there isn't a layer 2, which should be PPD02_Metal_Fill; this is because a lot of the Fill is lost when I export to the DWG format that PPD now require so I don't bother adding it at this stage. I think the problem is with complicated shapes, as there isn't a problem with tags. When PPD supported the native Autosketch format (.SKF files) I could just send them .SKF files complete with the Fill.

    To add the Fill, I edit the exported DWG files with TurboCAD. I've tried to use TurboCAD to produce drawings from scratch but its just not as intuitive as Autosketch (or QCAD - In the future I'm hoping that I can do everything in QCAD). However, TurboCAD is OK for making the minor adjustments which are often needed to get the Fill to work, e.g. for breaking up large complicated areas into smaller simpler ones. In TurboCAD the layers look like this:


    Only the "PPD" layers are present, and these now include layer 2. Layer 10 is given precedence (using the Order attribute) so that the text is on top of anything else.

    Getting Fill to work is always a bit fraught. If the lines that define an area don't quite meet then it flows out of the area you're filling into whatever space it can find! Sometimes it just doesn't work because the solution is too complicated to work out; this can often be overcome by hiding all of the Fill layers and doing a Fill using layer zero, then change the layer of that Fill from zero to whatever it should be (usually PPD02).

    Regards, Eric.
    BrushType4, Rob Pulham and John Baker like this.
  7. Rambler

    Rambler Active Member

    I've now got my etching back from PPD, the whole sheet looks like this (its about A4 size) :


    ..and one of the nine sub-frets looks like this (which corresponds to a photo in my post of 11th March) :