When I tell people that we teach drafting and design at NTI School of Technology (Globe University), sometimes I get a blank look, then a question like “They still do that?” or a comment like “My grandfather did drafting”. The other day somebody asked me to define drafting and explain how it is still used in industry today.
Online dictionaries define “drafting” as:
- A drawing, sketch, or design.
- The systematic representation and dimensional specification of mechanical and architectural structures.
as well as other definitions including bicycling, writing a first copy of a paper, etc.
Architectural Drafting and Design (ADD)
Every building we have has been drafted during its conception and construction. In addition to the architect’s original concept drawings, there are floor plans, elevations of all sides, site plans, wall sections and many other types of drawings that must be made before construction can begin.
The drawings hold the most important information for the building: framing, dimensions of rooms, locations of windows and doors, materials, as well as plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems in the building. The drawings bring together the architect, engineer and construction workers. The drawings must be accurate and complete for the building to be right.
Engineering Drafting and Design (EDD)
Everything we put into a building or use to drive from one building to the next has also been drafted. Mechanical, or engineering, drafting is drawing all types of products – from large tractors to tiny heart implant devices. Every part must be sized correctly so assemblies can fit properly. Drawings are the most accurate way to represent an item, showing dimensions, orientation, material and important notes for manufacturing.
We still have buildings, we still have products to be engineered – so we must still need drafters. Drafting is still a profession – it just doesn’t look like it did when your grandfather did it. We have removed the old drafting board, and replaced it with computers with powerful software. Architectural students learn Autocad to draw 2D floor plans and elevations, then move on to Revit to create 3D models of buildings with all the information needed for the construction of the site (BIM – building information modeling). Engineering (or mechanical) drafting students start with the 3D parametric modeling software, Solidworks and continue with Pro-Engineer (Creo).
In doing a quick look at architecture/engineering craigslist this morning for the Minneapolis/St. Paul region, I counted 37 drafting/designer positions that have been posted from Monday, Sept. 10, 2012 to Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. All of these positions require a two-year degree in EDD or ADD and experience in software that we teach at NTI.
Drafting may be an old word – conjuring visions of old drafting tables, slide rules, compasses and triangles, but it is still very current, high-tech, and very much in demand.
If you are interested in getting an Associate’s degree in Architectural or Engineering Drafting, get more information here or call us at 1-877-303-6060.