CNC And CAD – Print Reading And Drafting
When I went through college I learned how to read prints and draft. We had a bag of physical tools that we purchased and hauled around campus. T-Squares, French Curves, compasses, pencils and erasers filled this bag. Then you had a pad of drafting paper and a drafting desk. You would pin or tape the paper down and begin drawing or drafting.
Drafting paper has a grid to help keep you aligned as you began you design. In CAD, there is a grid you snap to, or guides to keep you straight. We had hard plastic templates to draw curves. CAD has numerous tools to draw curves and lines. We had calculators to figure out distances and ratios. CAD does this automatically.
Overall, you can view CAD as replacing Drafting. CAD moved the same type of process into a more flexible and efficient environment. CAD has also helped out with networking of designs. Different designers and engineers can work on the same assembly in different parts at the same time. This team effort really moves the overall process along much faster.
However, as far as print reading goes, that is about the same as it was before. Drafting outputs prints and CAD outputs prints. A human still needs to be able to read them and make sense of them. A plus with CAD is that it is much more standardized and clear. Many times before, prints were unique to their maker. Similar to handwriting, you could not always figure out what the engineer wanted to convey to you. CAD cleans all that up.
CAD is the way we work today. I would be very surprised if you could come across a shop that has hand drawn prints. It just isn’t practical. Precision and accurate prints are the way manufacturing increases efficiency.