What Is Mechanical Drafting?

Mechanical drafting is a process for making technical drawings and designs by hand or with computer-aided drafting (CAD). It entails using technical drawings to explain mechanical or engineering design concepts such as machine, tool, or mechanical system dimensions, materials, and specifications.

Key Takeaways

Mechanical drafting is a process for making technical drawings and designs by hand or with computer-aided drafting (CAD). It entails using technical drawings to explain mechanical or engineering design concepts such as machine, tool, or mechanical system dimensions, materials, and specifications.

Mechanical drafters utilize CAD software to create comprehensive 2D or 3D drawings, schematics, and blueprints that can be used to guide the production, assembly, and maintenance of mechanical equipment.

In this article, we will discuss what mechanical drafting is, its importance, and why you should pursue it as a career.

Mechanical drafters are also known as CAD and CADD operators and AutoCAD designers. They employ computer-aided design (CAD) software to develop detailed plans and drawings. These programs have very friendly user interfaces that can not only help draftsmen build complex mechanical designs from scratch but also manipulate them easily when incorporating feedback from their teams.

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Computer software allows drafting and design professionals to print their work for immediate use while also saving their blueprints for future projects. Users can use technical drawings to interface with a production system to create components, devices, or machinery. 

The ideal approach to start a profession is to graduate from a technical institution with an associate degree in drafting and design technology. The material provided below will assist you in understanding what you need to know about mechanical drafting.

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What Do Mechanical Drafting Experts Do?

Mechanical drafting professionals turn mechanical engineers' and factory operators' sketches, designs, and notes into technical drawings. These drawings are detailed working diagrams that serve as the foundation for the manufacture of components, gadgets, equipment, and machines. Drafters operate in a variety of industries, and their services are critical in the production process.

The layouts and drawings specify the requirements for the manufacture and/or assembly of parts and finished products. Drafters spend the majority of their time drafting and creating on computers and paper, but they do occasionally visit project sites to clarify designs.

They use their knowledge and abilities in the following areas:

  • Design and drafting techniques
  • Applications of engineering technologies
  • Mechanical Devices and their uses
  • Mathematics including algebra, geometry, and calculus 
  • Mechanical drafting and design employees' specific responsibilities vary depending on the industry and company where they work.
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Mechanical Drafting Standards Are Important

Mechanical drafting professionals develop world-class work by adhering to industry standards. The foundation upon which all mechanical drafting standards are built is a standardized drafting language that is globally agreed upon by all mechanical drafting professionals. This standardized language is critical because:

  • It helps draftsmen understand drawings shared by any other draftsman globally.
  • It enables other draftsmen to replicate and modify these designs without errors.
  • It helps communicate the exact specifications and details without ambiguity.
  • They aid in preventing mistakes, misunderstandings, and ambiguities that can result in expensive rework, holdups, or failures.
  • It helps any engineers that are involved in production read the mechanical drafts with ease.

Maintaining these standards increases the quality of components, tools, and machinery, allowing companies to stay competitive.

Drawing details describe material lists, measurements to follow, forms, and how components join together. Some drawings and plans incorporate part tolerances. Some businesses also have their own set of standards for standardizing some technical drawings.

Why pursue Mechanical Drafting?

Mechanical drafting is a vital ability for anyone interested in engineering, manufacturing, or product design. These are a few reasons why you should study mechanical drafting:

1. Understanding Technical Drawings:

Mechanical drafting entails making and comprehending technical drawings, which are used to transmit precise information about mechanical parts and products' design, measurements, and requirements. By mastering mechanical drafting, you can gain a full understanding of technical drawings, including how to read, make, and correctly interpret them.

2. Improving Design Skills:

Mechanical drafting is an important part of the design process for mechanical engineers, product designers, and other professionals in related industries. Studying mechanical drafting can assist you in developing the skills necessary to generate precise and accurate designs that meet specific specifications.

3. Advancement of Career Opportunities: 

Mechanical drafting skills can be a valuable asset in the job market, especially if you want to work in engineering or manufacturing. Many businesses in these sectors look for applicants with mechanical drafting experience because it is a necessary part of their job.

4. Improving Communication: 

In any engineering or design sector, effective communication is critical, and mechanical drafting can help you explain technical knowledge more effectively. You may explain your thoughts more effectively by learning how to generate correct technical drawings, decreasing the possibility of misunderstandings and errors.

Overall, mechanical drafting is a useful talent for anyone interested in engineering, product design, or manufacturing. Whether you want to work in these sectors or just improve your design and technical skills, learning mechanical drafting can be a terrific investment in your future.

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Equipment and Tools in Mechanical Drafting 

Mechanical drafting workers use both traditional tools and equipment as well as design software. These computer aided drafting programs have almost completely replaced traditional freehand drafting as students and professionals find them easier to use not just when designing but also when making any changes in the future. Drawing on paper, however, allows people to express themselves more creatively and uniquely in their work. 

These are some examples of traditional tools still in use:

  • Tools for measuring blueprints, compasses, and irregular curves.
  • Drawing boards, drafting dividers, and drafting paper.
  • Protractors, dividers, drafting scales, and French curves.
  • Stencils, stools, tapes, triangles, T-squares, and drawing pens.

An associate degree in drafting technology includes all of these tools, equipment, and software packages.

A Mechanical Drafter's Average Salary

In the United States, the estimated total pay for a mechanical drafter is $59,640 per year, with an average salary of $56,782 per year. These figures indicate the median, which is the middle of the salary ranges calculated by our proprietary Total Pay Estimate methodology and based on wages submitted by our users. The extra salary is anticipated to be $2,858 per year. Extra compensation may include a monetary incentive, a commission, tips, and profit sharing. 

The Importance of Mechanical Drafting

Engineers and architects are taught not just the technical talent of drafting mechanical designs, but also the transmission of concepts by hand. Below is a breakdown of the technical and psychological reasons why hand drawing should remain an important component of the learning process for young interns and rising architects:

  1. Sketching/Drafting is a type of graphical representation that teaches skills and service demands that would not be created if computer-aided drafting was used exclusively.
  1. Senior associates and architects continue to choose drawings/drafts for representing external data. It can be explained further as follows:
  • Diagrams help to preserve geographical and topographical data. It enables us to readily index and categorize data that will aid in the calculation process.
  • Mechanical drawings can combine numerous subsets of data into a single schematic and graphic. It is preferable to grasp the correlation of pieces in the design and how they will join to make the bigger picture after computerization rather than leaving it totally to the software.
  • Diagrams can employ a huge quantity of perceptual information that cannot be fully comprehended if represented directly on software.
  1. Drawing is a fundamental cognitive function that an architect needs for mental stimulation, representation of data that he sees on a daily basis, and externalizing the visual imagery that comes to mind when asked to come up with solutions to a construction project.
  1. Mechanical drafting is essential so that an architect may translate their mental image to an external memory media. To convert hand-drawn sketches into CAD designs, one must first understand the fundamentals of line drawing and scaling. Drawing a line by hand requires different cognitive abilities or processes than producing a line on AutoCAD or other drafting tools.
  1. Mechanical drafting demonstrates an architect's concept and cognitive ability, which is independent of the characteristics of their drawing. When they can decide the design aspects required to bring an idea to life on paper, or subsequently on a mechanical drafting software, it creates trust in themselves and their clients.
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The Advantages of Mechanical Drafting Services

  • Mechanical engineers frequently employ mechanical drafting, which can provide numerous advantages in the design of machines, parts, systems, or full devices.
  • It enables the Mechanical Design Services Company to reduce the likelihood of rework and maximize profit by shortening the product development cycle.
  • Engineers excel at designing components or parts in CAD software, which helps to improve design quality.
  • Because of the simple documentation procedure, designers may improve the model's accessibility.
  • CAD Drawing is more cost-effective than traditional drafting processes and produces designs that comply with established international standards.
  • Data pertaining to any project model can be saved and kept for future use, reducing the time required for rework.
  • It helps in removing the barrier of storing physical data rather, it is now stored in computers and servers that are freely accessible.
  • Drawing can account for model specifics, allowing designers and manufacturing staff to communicate conceptual concepts.
  • Mechanical Drawing Services operates as an interpretation tool, calculating missing dimensions in the drawings as they are prepared.

Evolution of Mechanical Drafting

If you are interested in mechanical drafting, it is also important to understand its history and evolution. Since the dawn of human construction, there have been mechanical or technical drawings. Even though it was considered primitive by modern standards, building or mechanical designs could be visually communicated as early as the early Egyptians. 

Man has used the technologies at his disposal to create enormous engineering marvels throughout history. And to make many, if not all, of these feats possible, mechanical drawing was used in some capacity.

The first mechanical drafts

To communicate concepts and ideas, images were chiseled into the faces of rocks by ancient civilizations. These are referred to as "petroglyphs," which is Greek for "rock inscriptions." As a kind of documentation, ancient people would engrave pictures of historical events or everyday activities. Images of monuments or buildings that were being constructed during the period were also common. 

Petroglyphs' inability to portray depth, however, was their main drawback. Drawings of ancient Greek architecture also lacked perspective or a feeling of depth. Although adequate for their time, these early drawings had significant flaws that were frequently made up for by physically constructing structures with erroneous dimensions.

The development of perspective

Mechanical drawing was unable to include all three dimensions until the Renaissance. An object that is nearby will appear larger than one that is farther away, according to the laws of perspective. Artists and draughtsmen had not yet succeeded in creating this illusion inside the two-dimensional picture plane before the Renaissance. 

Technical and mechanical illustration became considerably more effective as a result of the illusion of spatial depth and the associated scientific understanding, which also enabled architects to more precisely represent the structures they meant to construct.

The impact of the industrial revolution

Many technological innovations were developed during the Industrial Revolution (1760–1850). Machine and automated tool improvements in industry and agriculture came about at a phenomenal rate. 

This led to the requirement for an even more exact mechanical drawing. The working mechanical components of increasingly complicated mechanical systems require designers to depict them more precisely. 

With the introduction of linear three point perspective, the Renaissance's classical perspective was improved, and this led to significant advancements in the realms of technical and mechanical depiction. Most historians agree that this was the time when the foundation of modern graphic design was laid.

The ‘Cut-Away’ View

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, a new kind of mechanical drawing was developed. It was referred to as the "scientific cut-away" view. 

This kind of schematic entailed displaying a two-dimensional side elevation perspective of an object that had been rendered to appear as if it had been split precisely in half down the middle. 

Cutaway views enabled the complete mechanism to be presented in profile, along with a thorough representation of the interior working machinery. Engineers now had a clearer visual representation of how a machine's or object's external casing fit with its internal workings. 

Midway through the 20th century, automakers started to create three-dimensional cutaway views. These achieved the same fundamental objective as the two-dimensional views, with the added benefit of viewing the object more closely, resembling how we actually see it.

Modern Mechanical Drafting

The majority of mechanical drawing is done by computer in today's technologically advanced business environment. Although hand drawing may still be used occasionally in many industries, today's primary medium is computer software. 

Programs like AutoCad, Microstation, CorelDraw, Vector Works, or Adobe Illustrator are typically used for mechanical drawing tasks. 

The main advantage of these programs is that once an object is created in the software, it can be rotated and turned on any axis with a single mouse click. This makes it possible to view a single illustration from many perspectives.


Mechanical drafting has been used for decades to make detailed or technical drawings of parts, components, or the entire product. CAD drafting models can assist drafters in developing a 3D model that is built in software as parameters are added to it. It helps control expenses, saves time, and boosts productivity.

Modern mechanical engineering firms prefer to use CAD drafting for the design and development of a component, part, or product.

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