What Is Drafting

What is drafting? It's a process in which someone creates documents containing technical drawings that precisely convey the specifications and materials needed to create something, whether it's a building or a cellular phone. While today's drafting uses advanced computer technology, drafting has existed since ancient times.

Early Drafting
Babylon, Egypt, Greece, China and Rome all benefited from builders who put their ideas and instructions into drawings. These early drafters left evidence of detailed technical drawings on tablets, papyrus and paper that reveal details for buildings, bridges and temples. By the Middle Ages, architectural drawings provided details for monasteries, cathedrals, castles, bridges and other structures.

These early drawings lacked the explicit accuracy of Renaissance-era draftsmen, such as Leonardo da Vinci, who employed techniques such as perspective and incorporated geometric principles for incredibly accurate technical drawings. During the following centuries, even more accurate drawings emerged, with such conventions as elevation and section in place. Drafting evolved to fit niche fields throughout the 19th century as well, from mechanical engineering to military needs. By the turn of the 20th century, drafting plans were a pre-requisite for most industrial projects.

Computer-Age Drafting
Until the second half of the 20th century, drafting had consisted of hand drawings on a variety of media. Other tools included pencils, pens, protractors, compasses, triangles and erasers. The introduction of the computer changed the method of drafting and resulted in the most accurate and detailed technical drawings ever seen. Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) can create two- or three-dimensional images and can handle even the most complex projects, from aerospace to structural engineering. Images can be stored electronically, modified and printed as well.

Drafting As A Career
Drafting is a career that is in high demand and, for those seeking to get the training and experience in the field, there are a few different routes to making it. A college degree with CADD certification is essential in today's mechanical engineering or architectural fields. Courses include engineering, mathematics, physics and the computer programs that contribute to the field. There are other two-year programs at drafting schools that can train operators on the basics of the field.

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