To read mechanical blueprints, an individual must understand the frame of reference to which the sheets are being drawn, the naming conventions of every section, the scale and content of each page, and the symbols used by the specific draftsman. The most important part of reading a set of blueprints is being able to visualize three-dimensional structures represented in two-dimensional space.
Blueprints are a set of technical drawings that depict architectural or engineering designs. Throughout the construction process of any building, workers must read and understand blueprints to guide them through each step of construction.
- Understand the frame of reference
- Understand the naming conventions
- Identify content and symbols.
Blueprints typically come in three different styles, the plan, the elevation and the section. The plan view is a bird's eye view of the structure that shows where everything will be located. The elevation is a vertical side-view that shows the structure in its environment and finally the section view shows specifically how one section will be built. Along with those views, there will also be sheets for plumbing and foundation.
Each sheet will have a title block with a number and letter sequence. Know which section goes to which structure. For example, workers building a specific wall will say they are working on section "F-6".
It takes practice, but a worker must learn to quickly identify whether they are looking at a plumbing, elevation, plan or section sheet. Being able to quickly convert the markings on a blueprint into a three-dimensional idea is a sign of an experienced builder.