Drafters are specialised artists who prepare plans and technical drawings for architectural and engineering purposes. Most modern drafting is done using CAD, or computer-aided design, methods. However, traditional drafting tools and techniques still have their place. There are a few advantages that traditional drafting tools can offer, especially to students, which computer tools don't provide.
Traditional drafting tools are generally far less expensive than computer tools. According to the Public Schools of North Carolina, most traditional tools, such as T-squares, French curves and eraser shields, are under £65. Most are significantly less--a full architect's design kit costs less than £32 as of 2010. Computer tools such as AutoCAD may cost thousands of dollars, putting them out of reach for beginners.
Traditional drafting tools are not dependent on software updates, Internet connections or a power supply. This makes them more reliable than computer tools. Traditional drafting tools are also easier to transport. Drafters in environments without reliable power or in situations where services are temporarily unavailable benefit from knowing how to use traditional tools.
Computer-aided design techniques are faster than traditional methods, but may become obsolete more quickly. Drafters who learn to use only a single program may find it difficult to learn new techniques when the industry standard changes. Traditional drafting tools methods are more versatile. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that while drafters use CAD extensively, knowledge of traditional techniques is important for fully understanding and explaining concepts.
- Public Schools of North Carolina: Drafting II – Architectural
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Drafters
- “Architectural drafting and design”; Alan Jefferis, David Madsen; 2000
- Autodesk Store: AutoCAD 2011
- Utrecht Art: Alvin Architect's Design Kit