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What Is Drafting? - The 9 Major Kinds Of Technical Drawing

Updated: May 27, 2020

What the word drafting means, when it is used and if the profession is dying.

I have already heard this word a few times but right now I'm asking myself what drafting actually means. If you're wondering the same thing, let me summarize for you what I just found out researching.

What is drafting?

Drafting is the art of creating technical drawings. This technique is used to design almost every possible object imaginable. It is mainly used in architecture to design houses, streets or even sewage systems. It is also common in industry and engineering. For everybody to be able to understand, similar signs are being used.

So drafting is about drawing technically but in what areas is it divided? What are possible professions in the industry and what tools do you need for drafting?

I. What Are The Major Kinds Of Drafting?

1. Mechanical Drafting

2. Electrical Drafting

3. Architectural Drafting

4. Furniture Drafting

5. Topographical Drafting

6. Airplane Drafting

7. Naval Drafting

8. Structural Drafting

9. Sheet-Metal Drafting

Mechanical drafting is most often used in industrial circumstances. The draftsman responsible for the mechanical drafting tasks in a production company, for example, is in charge of constructing various types of machines.

In the production example, he or she could be creating a technical drawing explaining the exact structure and function of a machine that automatically produces plastic cups.

Electrical drafting is something I would understand nothing about, even after years of practice... Electrical drafts depict a plan for wiring diagrams connecting different types of transmissions in a house. For example, the wiring system connecting radio, television, and phone electronics.

Architectural drafting is known to be responsible for planning the construction of buildings of various kinds. Large offices, family houses, churches or warehouses are part of the architectural drafter's tasks.

About furniture drafting, I don't think I have to say quite a lot. This drafting method is pretty much self-explaining, right? Nevertheless, furniture drafters are not only in charge of planning the construction of closets, chairs, and desks but also of designing them.

Topographical drafting is explained pretty quickly, too. It is about creating maps for different kinds of purposes. Maps can be subdivided into dimensional, static, dynamic, and interactive maps.

What airplane drafting is all about is pretty easy to guess due to the fact that the name already reveals its meaning. For airplanes, there is also an extra section of drafting and requires special skills and knowledge to the others as well.

Not only planes are built using this technique but also helicopters, rockets, and even spaceships and as I'm just writing this sentence I think about learning this myself to become an airplane drafter one day. How cool would that be?

Naval drafting deals with the construction of machines used in naval areas. Mostly this method is utilized to build ships on water and underwater. What kind of ship is being drafted on the drawing board doesn't matter because the possibilities range from big oil tankers over yachts to submarines.

Structural drafting is about creating technical drawings, that will support the construction of very important parts of cities and infrastructure. Examples for that would be bridges, steel buildings, towers or dams.

What on earth is sheet-metal drafting you're asking? You're not alone, because I have never even heard this one before and couldn't imagining what it was about until I found the information I'll quickly summarize for you now.

Sheet-metal drafting is used for very simple mechanical objects—mostly consisting of metal—that don't have a very complicated structure. The technique is about depicting such objects from the front, back, top, bottom, the left-, and the right side without making it look three-dimensional.

A photographer would take a photo from a point of view that captures as many sides of the object as possible. The goal of sheet-metal drafting is the complete opposite of that procedure. The goal is to depict simple objects as simple as they are.

II. How is drafting exerted basically?

A draftsman is usually working with a piece of paper on a very smooth surface that has straight edges. The corners where the straight edges meet therefore have to have exactly 90 degrees.

These conditions are perfectly fulfilled by drawing boards. This tool ensures the drafter's ability to draw technical sketches precisely. Precision is essential for drafting since these plans are often supposed to describe complex machines.

There are also certain tools used in drafting that apparently only draftsmen seem to use. At least I have never seen anyone of my friends drawing with a so-called T-square. This T shaped object is used to simplify drawing straight parallel lines.

Another very common tool used is the compass. If I would have just listened to my math teacher back in school I could now tell you how exactly this tool is used to measure angles. But it is definitely also used to draw simple circles.

Mostly, drafters don't use normal tables as well. Let's talk about that more detailed in the subsequent paragraph.

III. What Is A Drafting Table?

For artists mastering technical drawing, there are special tables. They are called drafting tables and the difference to normal tables is that you can usually change the angle of the tabletop to the table legs. That allows the artist to look straight while working.

Having one of these drafting tables is almost mandatory if you want to get into drafting. Designing an architectural draft can clearly take up a considerable amount of time. So being able to look straight forward doing this is as important as in a regular 9 to 5 office job where you work on a computer and look at a screen for many hours per day.

The table is perfectly suited for every possible kind of drafting profession we've discussed earlier in this article. Do you want to become a draftsman? Get yourself a drafting table

IV. What Kind Of Drafting Jobs Are There?

There are drafting jobs in every industry from the first section of this article. They are mostly divided into three main categories: Mechanical drafting, electrical drafting, and architectural or civil drafting.

It's almost always a technical school's degree required when you want to apply as a draftsman in one of these sectors. The average annual salary in all of these sectors lies between 50,000 and 60,000 with the Electrical draftsman earning more than the others.

As a drafter, your job is to use blueprints or sketches to create complex project drawings describing the structure of machines e.g. In order for the manufacturers to build the object, the draftsman also needs to make precise calculations. Only by doing so you will be able to correctly design machines and other complex structures.

V. Is Drafting A Dying Career?

Originally the draftsman's profession was exerted with pencils on pieces of paper. Due to the transformation towards a more technological world also this job is almost completely digitalized by now.

Only a few drafters are still using pencil and paper for their work and the number is decreasing. This change makes many people wonder if the whole industry is dying now because of that.

The answer to that question is simple: No, it is not.

Drafting is a profession popular all around the globe and apparently, on the US market alone there are over 250,000 different drafting jobs you can apply to. In comparison to past decades and centuries, the job has drastically changed.

Every draftsman nowadays needs to have certain technical skills besides the obviously mandatory artistic skills. The technology that is commonly being working with today is called Computer-Aided Drafting or short CAD.

The software enables draftsmen to work on the computer and create their construction plans on a monitor. The program complies with all sorts of drafting industries and being able to work with that software is mandatory for this profession.

VI. What Is The Drafting Machine?

The drafting machine was invented in 1901 by Charles Little who also managed the first company worldwide to produce the newly invented machine. In the 1920s the machine became quite popular in several design offices.

The machine basically looks like a mechanical arm that is attached at the top of a drawing board or drafting table. At the other end of that "arm", a ruler is located. With the arm-like construction, you are able to move the ruler freely and easily over the paper.

This machine enabled drafting artists to create rather complex drawing exertions. Nowadays the number of drafting machines being used is dramatically declining due to the earlier mentioned digitalisation. Latter massively impacted the drafting industry.

VII. Related Questions

1. What Is Drafting In CAD?

CAD or Computer Aided Drafting is a software for professional draftsmen to exert their profession on a computer and create technical drawings on a monitor. In today's time, it is mandatory for everybody in this industry to understand the technology.

2. What Are The 12 Components Of Engineering Drawing?

Creating engineering drawings requires the following skills:

- Isometric Drawing

- Orthographic or Multiview Drawing

- Dimensioning

- Sectioning

- Assembly Drawings

- Cross-Sectional Views

- Half-Sections

- Sections of Objects with Holes, Ribs, etc.

- Where to Put Dimensions

You can read more about this topic when you click here.

3. What Is The Difference Between Drawing And Drafting?

Drafting is purely about the creating of technical drawings in different areas, such as architecture, engineering or civil construction. Drawing is a term with a wider variety of specifications, such as graphite-, charcoal-, still life- or caricatural drawing just to name a few examples.

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