Today’s technical drafting professional prepares technical drawings and plans used by production and construction workers to build everything from manufactured products, such as toys, toasters, industrial machinery, or spacecraft, to structures such as houses, office buildings, or oil and gas pipelines. These drawings and technical details provide visual guidelines, showing the details of the products and structures and specifying dimensions, materials to be used, and procedures and processes to be followed. Drafting professionals fill in the details, using drawings, rough sketches, specifications, codes, and calculations previously made by engineers, surveyors, architects, or scientists.
Drafting professionals use knowledge of building materials, engineering practices, and mathematics to complete drawings. They may work from existing drawings or may use rudimentary sketches, notes, or specification sheets. They draw maps, diagrams, and profiles using cross-sections and surveys to represent elevations, topographical contours, subsurface formations, and structures. Drafters also draw interior room arrangements for residential and commercial projects.
Plans always need approval from clients, upper management, or building inspectors. Blueprints are almost always prepared, listing dimensions and detailing the arrangements of walls, fixtures, and other features of a project. In order to 'sell' the project design, drawings of buildings, landscapes, or interior designs may be made for presentation to clients.
Sometimes wooden models or three-dimensional computer representations are made as well. Drafting professionals may also determine procedures and instructions to be followed according to design specifications and quantity of required materials. They may analyze technical implications of the architect's design concept, calculating weights, volumes, and stress factors.
Architectural and Civil Drafters make detailed drawings of architectural and structural features of buildings, foundations, landscapes, and other construction projects. They also produce drawings and topographical relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and public works.
Electrical and Electronic Drafters make wiring diagrams and schematics of electrical circuits for use by those who install and repair electrical systems such as those found in buildings, communication centers, and power plants. Most Electrical Drafters use computer-aided drafting (CAD) systems to prepare drawings.
Mechanical Drafters use CAD and solid modeling systems to prepare drawings. These systems permit them to easily and quickly prepare variations of a design. They use their knowledge of engineering and manufacturing theory and standards to draw the parts of a machine in order to determine design elements, such as the number and kind of fasteners needed to assemble it