How to Learn Technical Drawing

Written by john yarbrough
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How to Learn Technical Drawing
Learning technical drawing develops skills that open up many career options. (blueprint image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com)

Nearly everything that is manufactured or built requires the expertise of drafters to create the necessary technical drawings. These plans transcend all written languages to communicate an idea. There are several methods to learn technical drawing at any stage of your life. Such knowledge and skills open many doors to various careers in both architectural and engineering fields. Whether in high school, college, or at a vocational school, the steps to get up to speed remain relatively the same.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Technical drawing textbooks
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Basic drafting toolkit
  • Architectural and engineering scales
  • Drafting table with installed parallel bar
  • Computer-aided Drafting (CAD) software

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Read books about technical drawing. Search your libraries and your bookstores for several books about technical drawing. While many of them may explain the same concepts, each author explains the subject matter in a different manner. It is always better to read three books once than to read the same book three times.

    How to Learn Technical Drawing
    A variety of books on technical drawing are available in bookstores and libraries. (libri image by mariolina from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Learn the scales used. Architectural and engineering drawings require different scales, so be sure to learn how to read each one properly. You will need to know how to read measurements from drawings with these scales and you should be able to manually draw lines to a specific scale.

    How to Learn Technical Drawing
    Most drawings are to a specific scale to fit on standard paper sizes. (blueprints image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Practice with a drafting board and tools. Using the knowledge you have acquired through reading, practice the principals learnt. Let your mistakes serve as valuable learning lessons. Be sure to develop line and lettering techniques. You will learn to develop your own style that allows you to create neat drawings as quickly and as accurately as possible. Obtaining feedback from an experienced drafter regarding your progress is also advisable

    How to Learn Technical Drawing
    Learn to use the basic tools of manual drafting before learning CAD software. (drafting image by Kimberly Reinick from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    Learn Computer-aided Drafting (CAD) software. If you are a student with a valid .edu e-mail address, Autodesk is one of the more widely known software vendors that permits students to download academic versions of their software free of charge. This is incentive to practice your skills. You can also purchase legal versions of numerous CAD titles for commercial use, but that can become expensive. In either case, after working with the drafting board, you will likely learn to appreciate how CAD software works. There are many techniques learnt from the drafting boards that can be applied to a virtual drafting environment. Several modern CAD software packages allow the user to create three-dimensional models of buildings or machine parts to make the task of creating technical drawings a snap.

    How to Learn Technical Drawing
    Various modern CAD titles allow for 3-D rendering and modelling. (architectural composition 3 image by aleksey kashin from Fotolia.com)
  5. 5

    Enrol in drafting classes. If you are currently in high school, this is a great time to learn technical drawing. At the college level, there is practically no excuse for engineers and architects to not know technical drawing. Technical and community colleges also offer short courses and degree or certificate programs for those who wish to study technical drawing. The truth is that if you are in a technical field, or plan to enter one, you need this knowledge to effectively communicate technical information.

    How to Learn Technical Drawing
    Taking classes and earning a degree or certificate can bring legitimacy to your credentials. (computer classroom image by araraadt from Fotolia.com)

Tips and warnings

  • If you decide to study technical drawing at a postsecondary school, be sure to check out more than one school before committing to one.
  • Be sure you have a plan to repay any student loans you take out for any classes or degree studies.

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