Project workbook…a good way to get something done

14 years ago, In the middle of a creative “gush”, I bought an artist sketch pad. It was page after page of white paper ready for any aspiring artist touch. However, the problem is that I don’t think of myself as an artist. At least I don’t see myself as a classic definition of one. But I really bought it to sketch out my thoughts and write down my ideas for my next welding project.

No, there was no charcoal, or color pencils or even water colors involved.  Rather just a little pencil work to sketch out my plans for dimensions, a material list, and cost list and a few notes along the way. My creations were not works of art, but works of function. I used rulers, compasses and protractors to give my work life. I never was trained in mechanical drawing or design, but I began to study some really good technical drawings and see how things were done.

I feebly began to import some of those ideas into my sketch pad. No, I never would pass for a draftsman or an engineer, but these sketches saved the ideas I had for a future date, and all the dimensional work that I tried to scale was preserved until I had time and money to get around to creating it.  Looking back over these items years later, I see how it organized me, and kept my thoughts about  my next welding project on track.  I am simply amazed at the quantity of work as was able to accomplish.

Now, I use a computer for basic design.  I am still not a draftsman and I don’t use auto cad, but just a simple drawing program.  These drawings can be preserved and as new ideas come, I can readily add to them and make notes.  If you are the kind of person that has good ideas, but never can get them done, try doing what I did.  There’s something great about seeing it on paper (or on computer).  It opens up your mind and it helps you to mentally problem solve any design flaws.  It can even be just a good exercise in stress relief.  But for me,  sketching a rudimentary plan for a project goes a long way in making things right the first time without a lot of head scratching during the building process.

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