Lost art of technical drawing / drafting

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Little Scrapper, Jan 30, 2019.

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  1. Jan 30, 2019 #21

    Pops

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    I started scaling up plans for model airplane magazines when I was 8/9 years old. My mother bought me a Cleveland kit of a Clipped Wing MonoCoupe with a 32" wing span ( little sticks and tissue), for my 8th birthday. After that I was hooked, and couldn't afford to buy plans or kits so I scaled the mag plans up, drew my own plans and my saved my penny's for material. I can remember my first Quarter, sure helped my money collection. So been doing technical drawing all of my life.
    I have worked with a group of engineers that couldn't pass a high school mechanical drawing class. I would check their drawing and circle their mistakes after printed off with a big red pen. They liked that. :)
     
  2. Jan 30, 2019 #22

    Topaz

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    My father had mechanical drawing skills beyond belief. What was most impressive, within that skillset, was his lettering. You'd think it was from a typesetting machine or computer. It's sometimes hard to remember, when looking at manual drawings, that even the lettering was hand-drawn. When that clicks in your head, you get an entirely new understanding of the level of artwork and careful effort that went into these things.

    I've done a lot of hand-drafting, particularly back in school, when CAD systems were just coming online and we still had to learn manual drafting, but I never approached my father's skill. I never had to do it for a living, so I never got enough practice.

    Manual drawings have a warmth and an artistic quality to them, above and beyond their technical accuracy. CAD modeling may be more efficient, and more useful in the modern world of computer-aided manufacturing, but manual drafting is just beautiful, as well as practical.
     
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  3. Jan 30, 2019 #23

    mcrae0104

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    It's still alive if you look in the right places. These are not examples of technical drafting per se, but all the same concepts of graphic communication and three-dimensional thinking (i.e. analytic geometry) still apply.

    The pencil will never be obsolete. (These all come from a humble #2.5 Ticonderoga.)
     

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  4. Jan 30, 2019 #24

    Pops

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    Yes, its an Art. Beautiful Art.
     
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  5. Jan 30, 2019 #25

    Aerowerx

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    Yes.

    First quarter at Ohio State. All engineering students had to take a required course in Engineering Drawing. Learned how to draw cams from the required repetitive linear motion. And round to square sheet metal fairings.

    I'm still a firm believer in "if you can't put your thoughts on a piece of paper, a computer ain't gonna help".

    There used to be a copy of French around here. Hope I still have it. Not the language, but the author. IIRC the story, he started out as a janitor (1920s???) and ended up as a professor of Engineering Drawing and Architecture at Ohio State. Literally wrote the book on it. It was the go-to authority for several decades.

    A pet peeve of mine...

    In electronics schematics. Inputs on the top and left of the page, outputs on the bottom and right. Everything for that part of the circuit should be on the same page. Label the arrows to show what page that signal goes to/comes from. After playing with electronics for 50 years (and sometimes getting paid for it :) ) the worst documentation I have seen is at the post office. They don't follow this rule.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  6. Jan 30, 2019 #26

    mcrae0104

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  7. Jan 30, 2019 #27

    Little Scrapper

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    Holy smokes man, I have a whole new level of respect for you after looking at those drawings. Very very cool.
     
  8. Jan 30, 2019 #28

    Little Scrapper

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    I've always been good at drawing but never did a lot of technical drawing, just fun cartoon stuff.

    That looks like a really enjoyable hobby just in itself.
     
  9. Jan 30, 2019 #29

    AJLiberatore

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    Yes I had drafting in H.S. (only one module) and in Community College (2 or 3 modules) before the advent of CAD. I also did line drawings in the work world even Ink on Mylar in Aerospace. Yes, their is something about a beautiful drawing. If the design intent is spot on and the draftsman adds a little of his own flair, you do notice it. I've heard people complain about some of the old school homebuilt plans and I see just the opposite from having done it for a living. 2 examples, I think the DA-2A/B drawings are way better than the detractors denote. John Dyke's Iso-like rendering of the Dyke Delta on the front sheet of his plans IMHO is a work of art.

    I am subbing/teaching Blueprint reading and next week I am 1st up to bat teaching an Intro to Solidworks class for a non-profit that is in the per-apprentice/apprentice space. A lot of the Drafting basics remain, and are done in the software so they do students need to be exposed to it and learn it, even though the systems make it much faster to accomplish. A Core Competency that can't be stressed enough is Spatial Skills, it is a must and either you are born with it or you have to learn it. Top-Front-Right to Isometric (and back) is the underlying methodology of constructing sketches on Planes or Surfaces in Solidworks to make your 3D Solid and to view it in a view such as ISO. If you are on the machining side of the biz knowing your view and what axis you are on in a cut in the CNC world, is a must. Even in this new world of 3D Models, if you are working in Design, Engineering, Manufacturing and Inspection they still rely on you understanding what this Model looks like for you to do what needs to be done in those disciplines. But that all goes back to drafting basics IMHO. Pretty neat when you think of it....
     
  10. Jan 31, 2019 #30

    mcrae0104

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    Aw, shucks, Scrap. You actually build airplanes, which is way more important than drawing. Looking forward to seeing more of your work!
     
  11. Jan 31, 2019 #31

    Vigilant1

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    +1. My dad had a 2 year engineering degree, so not a licensed engineer. But back in the 60s and early 70s, it was apparently enough to support a family in SoCal. His lettering was amazing--regular, clear, and done rapidly. Shopping lists, notes to himself, that's how he wrote everything.
    And if he sketched something out for me, the perspective view was uncanny.
    Folks of his generation designed and built some amazing things.
     
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  12. Jan 31, 2019 #32

    Jay Kempf

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    Started on the board. My first job at an industrial clutch company. I got the job because the then chief engineer thought my model airplane hand drawn plans were exceptional.

    Done every sort of way to make technical marks on paper, velum, mylar, yadda... then got into computers.

    What pisses me off about computers it the complete lack of attention to details of technical drawings. They are fast and generic. A means to an end. There is no turning back and believe me I love all the upside stuff. I have lots of cnc stuff and I have contractors making parts of all types from around the world and I love working for people remotely.

    But there was something about a rendering of a perspective sectioned assembly of machine parts. It was an art. I still scribble that way before moving to the computer. Clients and customers are all moving so fast now which is annoying in its own right.

    I ain't old enough to be this nostalgic... :(

    Billski... Remington? Illion? Do tell... That's a resume bullet of another color... Only visited there once. Like stepping back in time. Course part of my growing up was in Utica.
     
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  13. Jan 31, 2019 #33

    Jay Kempf

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    And me loves some vintage slide rules.
     
  14. Jan 31, 2019 #34

    proppastie

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    12 yrs on the board....only thing I miss is how old I was.
     
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  15. Jan 31, 2019 #35

    Monty

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    I'm the last generation to be taught on both the board and CAD...

    Though students marvel and ask "HOW did you draw that circle!!!????" when I freehand sketch something, and their sketching efforts look like pre-school efforts to me...I'd never go back. IMHO what they need is art-not drafting class..and lettering ability is highly overrated..even if I can do it, I'm not a printer...

    Engaging the artistic part of the brain is the most important result from manual drawing.

    Scumbags, electric erasers, and eraser shields....I don't miss them, and none of that allows 3D printing, CNC machining, laser cutting, water jet, or CNC punch press.....Plus everything must be drawn OVER and OVER again....No 3D database...I'm not nostalgic.

    Monty
     
  16. Jan 31, 2019 #36

    BJC

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    I still have a scumbag and a couple of eraser shields in my office desk drawer. Haven’t used either this century.

    I had an inexpensive drawing table that I repurposed. I used it as a backing plate to get a flat lay-up of the structural bulkhead at the firewall.


    BJC
     
  17. Jan 31, 2019 #37

    fly2kads

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    My dad did, too. He was an architect and technical illustrator at various times in his career. I always enjoyed going to his office to see what he and his colleagues were producing. I took drafting (the manual kind) in high school, and it was enough to make me really appreciate the level of skill my dad had. I have never done it enough to come close.

    I have a small, but growing collection of aircraft plans. I enjoy pulling them out and studying them, I imagine, in much the same way as a philatelist would enjoy his stamps. I enjoy the esthetics of manual drawings: the finesse, style, lettering, and even the imperfections. I understand Monty's point of view, though, on the utility of CAD in today's manufacturing world.

    My collection of aircraft design books includes a few related to aircraft lofting and drafting. Several of these are from the WWII era, when the aviation industry had to rapidly staff up large departments of designers and draftsmen.
    AircraftDraftingBooks.jpg
     
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  18. Jan 31, 2019 #38

    mcrae0104

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    I gave up my electric eraser a long time ago. It was a silly extravagance. These still see regular use, though.

    Capture.jpg
     
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  19. Jan 31, 2019 #39

    lr27

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    The difference in style between architectural drawings and mechanical ones is always striking to me.

    I used to work with a guy who did a bunch of hand drawn, exploded, isometric drawings. Not sure how much was done with formal construction and how much he did freehand, but they were really impressive.

    I haven't done many complex drawings by hand, but probably one diopter in my glasses prescription is from lettering. Ugh! However, that experience means that if I really slow down, I can print by hand, very legibly, even sort of neatly. Never understood how those guys who worked in ink managed not to make mistakes, though.

    Anyway, CAD relieves me of the burden of lettering.
     
  20. Jan 31, 2019 #40

    lr27

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    P.S. I've seen some model airplane plans that, although almost certainly done with CAD, have a certain personality.

    I have a copy of French, too, which I got for my own amusement. Have very seldom looked at it.

    Something I HAVE looked at is a book on geometrical tolerancing. Unfortunately, it seemed most of our vendors charged more for drawings dimensioned that way, even though you can give them more wiggle room. So I have to admit I haven't made myself an expert on those. I can't even remember the name of the standard.

    Speaking of old books, I'm at least the third owner of a 1922 rubber bible*. Lots of wild stuff in there. The first page deals with poisoning, the second with burns. There's a table showing the strength of wood! Amazing how much info they could cram in there. Much smaller than more recent ones, of course. I also have two math rubber bibles that once belonged to my dad. The one from 1973 must have 5 times as much paper as the one from 1952.


    *Chemical Rubber Company Handbook of Math and Physics. And it's so old it's really a hand sized book.
     

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