Computer aided design, or CAD as it is commonlyknown, is used by computer age mechanical draftspersons to translate product design concepts into accurate and detailed technical drawings and specifications for engineering, manufacturing or other purposes. These drawings describe the size, shape and function of objects and mechanical components for the use of design and production firms. A CAD draftsperson generally works closely with the production team, explaining or adjusting the drawings as work progresses. They must ensure that their drawings conform to the project's requirements, while considering the limitations of the materials being used.
CAD drafting techniques have changed the work of the mechanical draftsperson, because the computer is faster, more accurate, allows design variations to be easily accomplished and has eliminated many of the repetitive tasks formerly associated with this profession. However, even though its use is rapidly replacing traditional manual drafting methods, much of the same knowledge of technical and engineering materials, practices and conventions is still required by this occupation.
Traits & Talents
To work as a mechanical CAD draftsperson you should enjoy challenges, be interested in computers, building things and drawing, and possess strong math and science skills. You need to be able to visualize the size, shape and proportions of two-dimensional drawings in three dimensions. Successful draftspersons are creative, analytical, well organized, interested in accurate measurements, capable of intense concentration and able to follow instructions and drawings carefully and concisely. If you are inquisitive about how things are made and why they work the way they do, you might enjoy a career in this profession.
Mechanical draftspersons generally work at specialized computer work stations, usually as a member of a design team in a cooperative team development atmosphere. The majority are employed by manufacturers, engineering companies and private industrial design or drafting firms. Their work is almost always done in a workroom, office or at home, commonly following a conventional work schedule, although longer hours and overtime can be expected for special projects. While they often work on large staffs of up to several hundred employees, they can also work independently or be self-employed and hired on a project-by-project basis.
- Industrial Designer
- Technical Illustrator
- Architectural Draftsperson