The Drafter prepares technical drawings and plans, which are used by production and construction workers to build everything from microchips to skyscrapers.
Tasks for Drafters:
- The Drafter‘s drawings provide visual guidelines and show how to construct a product or structure. The drawings include technical details and specify dimensions, materials, and procedures. Drafters fill in technical details using drawings, rough sketches, specifications, and calculations made by engineers, surveyors, architects or scientists. For example, many drafters use their knowledge of standardized building techniques to draw in the details of structures.
- Some Drafter’s use their understanding of engineering and manufacturing theory and standards to draw the parts of a machine; they determine design elements, such as the numbers and kinds of fasteners needed to assemble the machine. Drafters use technical handbooks, tables, calculators, and computers to complete their work.
- Most Drafters use Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) systems to prepare drawings. In this case these Drafters are referred to as CADD Operators. The CADD Drafters can create and store drawings electronically so that they can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into automated manufacturing systems. CADD systems also permit Drafters to quickly prepare variations of a design. Although Drafters use CADD extensively, they still need knowledge of traditional drafting techniques in order to fully understand and explain concepts.
- Aeronautical Drafters prepare engineering drawings that detail plans and specifications used in the manufacture of aircraft, missiles, and related parts.
- These Drafters usually work for government facilities or airlines that build their own aircraft. Normally they work as a team and must be able to maintain a quota, pass quality control, as well as, doing their job function to meet government rules and regulations.
- Architectural Drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for new construction projects. These types of Drafters may specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial, or in a kind of material used, such as reinforced concrete, masonry, steel or timber.
- Civil Drafters prepare drawings and topographical and relief maps used in major construction or civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, pipelines, flood-control projects, and water and sewage systems.
- Electrical Drafters prepare wiring and layout diagrams used by workers who erect, install, and repair electrical equipment and wiring in communication centers, power plants, electrical distribution systems, and buildings.
- Electronics Drafters draw wiring diagrams, circuit board assembly diagrams, schematics, and layout drawings used in the manufacture, installation, and repair electronic devices and components.
- Mechanical Drafters prepare drawings showing the detail and method of assembly of a wide variety of machinery and mechanical devices, indicating dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements.
- Process piping or pipeline drafters prepare drawings used in the layout, construction, and operation of oil and gas fields, refineries, chemical plants, and process piping systems.
Drafters work environment and educational requirements
Most drafters work in very comfortable offices that are usually provided with air conditioning, and other amenities. Some Drafters are provided with a break area that is comfortable and suited for them to have guests. The reason for such a large office with so many conveniences is that they may need to confer with a large variety of clients in order to determine what is needed for a project. The Drafter needs to know what the client wants, as well as, checking with other resources to determine costs etc. All this requires the Drafter to be able to hold meetings either privately in their offices or in board rooms when a larger group has to meet. Often the drafter needs to work with other team members to determine what process is needed for a particular project.
The Drafter is expected to have completed postsecondary school training in drafting, which is offered by technical institutes, community colleges, and some 4-year colleges and universities. Employers are most interested in applicants with well-developed drafting and mechanical drawing skills; knowledge of drafting standards, mathematics, science, and engineering technology; and solid background in CADD techniques. Most Technical Institutions offer intensive technical training, but they provide a less general education than do community colleges. Programs do vary considerably in length and in the types of courses offered. Many technical institutions offer two year associates degree programs. A person interested in a career in Drafting should determine what they want to specialize in before they select their school. They need to make sure that they will be getting all the appropriate courses in order to complete the drafting program of choice.