Scaling on Drawings in PDF

Posted on 2011-05-02
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am not sure if anyone can help with this question, but I ave a client who receives PDF files of scale drawings.  When they try to work their measurements off the drawing they are way out.  The drawings says it is scaled to A2 size, yet they are printing in A3 size.

I am presuming this will throw out the scalings on the drawing.

Does anyone know of a way to resolve this or is it is case of if the drawing is created in A2 scale then you must print the file in this page size in order for scalings to work and be accurate?
Question by:mbelletty
    LVL 82

    Accepted Solution

    Though printing at the intended size should give better results, they should not really be making measurements on printed drawings.  While the programs and printers are good at relative position so that everything appears in the right order, they are not nearly so good at absolute position.  

    In order to make my own circuits board from the printouts on my old HP laserjet, I would first print out a copy with some known dimensions on it and measure them to see how far off my printer was.  Then I would adjust the printing scale in the program (in both the x and y directions) until it measured correctly and then I would finally print out a copy on the circuit board transfer paper.

    If the drawings don't have known x and y reference lines on them, it is difficult to even know whether your measurements are accurate.
    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    you need to check how the pdf file is being printed. in adobe acrobat there is an option in the bottom right of the printer settings window that gives options on the scale of the print. in order to keep the dimensions correct you should only print at 100% or no scale factor. if you wish to enlarge or shrink the drawing you can have the program apply a scale factor to the final print. you then need to apply this scale factor to the scale of the drawing as well. in other words, if you print a 1"=10' at 50% then the drawing effectivly becomes 1"=20'.

    the easiest solution to this is to place a scale bar on the pdf file before printing stating the reference scale of the drawing. then any prints and copies made can be checked against this scale bar to ensure the actual scale of the drawing.
    LVL 17

    Assisted Solution

    If the measurements are critical the draftsman should put a graphic scale on the original drawing that you can measure for comparison or annotate important measurements.

    Another source of errors can be your plotter.  I have measured plots of my own drawings that were off by as much as 2%.  Most plotters are close by not truly calibrated.

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