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  • John Davi

5 Advantages of Manual Drafting and CAD Drafting

Updated: May 15, 2021

Technical drawings remain an essential part of the construction industry and manufacturing industry regardless of product type. The technology may have changed, but the techniques and the principles are essentially the same. Even with the advent of modern Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting and the prevalence of digitization tools in design and drafting, students and professionals alike see the significance of learning technical drawing skills by hand. There are both advantages and disadvantages in both manual drafting and CAD drafting. Earlier the only source for draftsmen was pencil, stencil and paper for drawing sketches. The CAD Drafting has many advantages over manual drafting because of the tools and automation the software offers.

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Many times articulating your ideas might not be just enough, thus getting that idea designed with CAD can give a full picture of your concept. The traditional method of manual drafting is iterative and time consuming. After the advent of CAD, there has been a paradigm shift from traditional manual drafting to Computer Aided Design and Drafting. The clarity that can be achieved is easier to convey with the traditional drafting rather than the CAD drawing techniques. Manual drawings are necessarily created on paper, but the CAD drawings are environmental friendly and can be stored and used electronically without using paper. CAD Drafting has been a real breakthrough in the Architectural Engineering Construction industry by becoming the primary source of communicating design intent. In this article we will discuss few major advantages of the traditional manual Drafting and CAD Drafting.

Five major advantages of manual drafting:

  1. Work Done is Original: In the past, drafters sat at drawing boards and used pencils, pens, compasses, protractors, triangles, and other drafting devices to prepare a drawing by hand. When doing manual drafting, most of the drafting work is done by technical people like the architect / engineer / diploma holders making their work to be genuine. The ability to bring creative style and expression to drawings is higher in manual drafting.

  2. Low Cost of Drawing Equipment: In manual drafting, all you need is a drafting table or a drawing board, pencil/eraser, a straightedge, a t-square, triangles, French curves, a mini-drafter, and a compass. A drawing board, mini-drafter and pencils/eraser are much cheaper than a CAD package.

  3. No high-tech and Cutting Edge Technology Required: Like in the CAD system, you do not need state of the art technology, systems engineer(s), IT engineer and expensive air conditions and AC technicians to maintain a pencil and paper. Whereas you have to have systems engineers, IT Engineers and AC technicians to keep the CAD system running.

  4. No Training Required: Apart from the training that we get when we study, there is no need for the designers to be taught the CAD package being used. The Architects and Engineers would draw their sketches and later developed by assistants who are diploma holders or architectural and engineering draughtsmen in their respective trades. Even in the modern days Engineering, Architectural and Design majors are taught manual drafting techniques alongside digital software at most colleges.

  5. No Yearly Subscriptions: Unlike the CAD systems, there are no software update costs or operator training. With the CAD systems, you would need yearly subscriptions for the CAD software, operating systems and other supporting software applications. Sometimes with yearly updates, the CAD operators would need additional training on the updated CAD software.

Five major advantages of CAD drafting:

  1. Better Quality Designs: The CAD software provides great tools for design professions that will help in carrying out design and analysis of a proposed design. These tools also help in producing designs with high accuracy like in Shop Drawings and the scope for errors is much lower when compared to hand drawing. The higher accuracy will lead to better designs and these better designs helps in manufacturing faster. Manual design not only takes more time but the errors caused will delay the process in overall.

  2. Easy Saving and Sharing: All the designs and drawings created with the help of CAD can be easily saved and preserved for future use and reference. These saved drawings can also be edited and printed whenever required. Some components from the drawing can also be standardized for future uses. Unlike the manual drafting, the CAD drawings require less space and can be stored in hard drive, USB pen drive or cloud and can be shared easily.

  3. Modify and Reproduce Faster: Creating a digital blueprint with CAD has several advantages when compared to creating a traditional blueprint. Modifying the CAD geometry is easy with all the tools available. Correcting any errors is much quicker when compared to using a pencil and paper. Earlier the draughtsmen used to take days to complete a drawing by manual drafting, and reproducing the drawing meant recreating the drawing from the scratch. But, in case of the CAD drafting, you can reproduce the drawing in no time and make as many copies as you want.

  4. Ability to Create 3D CAD Models: CAD has the capability to transform an idea into a visible sketch in a matter of few minutes. With a rough draft, one can create something with the CAD software. Creating 3D CAD models manually is a very difficult and tiresome job. 3D CAD packages have many more powerful features for creating the 3D models easily. CAD models are logically connected, or in other words you cannot create a CAD model which is not possible practically. Building Information Modeling is the latest in CAD technology that helps in management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a building.

  5. Template and Database Creation: You can create any number of CAD templates with basic details that can be used and reused any number of times. These templates can save time by providing basic information. The CAD files can be used to create a database as well. Once created, the CAD templates and CAD database can be accessed through a wide area network. The drawings created by manual drafting can only be stored locally.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) drafting, and more recently, building information modelling (BIM) have changed the drafting techniques, in particular allowing modifications to be made with relative ease. Many companies and institutions will have scanned their hand drawn copies into computers and digitized these, and the original drawings will be kept in a locked drawing cabinet in an archive room that is secure.

Regardless of the industry, be it architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, fashion etc., they use CAD in some form. There are more uses of CAD drafting over manual drafting and that is why CAD is used widely rather than manual drafting. One of the main reasons why professional designers are comfortable with CAD drafting is because of its growing popularity. With various benefits over traditional manual drafting, it's a matter of time for CAD drafting to take over the world of planning and designing. Contact us for further info on the CAD drafting services we offer.

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