What Is Drafting?

Stephanie Richard/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Drafting is the creation of a drawing or other graphical representation of a building, mechanical device or other structure for the purposes of determining how the device should be created. Drafting is used as a part of the design and fabrication processes. Drafting can be done by hand or using specially designed computer programs and mechanical drawings.

Drafting creates an outline of all the components and elements needed to make the finished product. It is a detailed technical drawing that can cover one segment of the mechanical device or structure or all of it. When the drawing is of only one piece, it is usually enlarged to show detail for fabrication. With mechanical drawings, all the pieces that make up the equipment are drawn to scale. The drawing demonstrates how all the pieces fit and work together while also showing to what dimensions they should be made.

When drafting is used for buildings, there may be dozens of drawings that are needed to show dimension, detail of each room and detail of the systems of the building, such as duct work, plumbing and electrical wiring. During the design stage, drafting is used to communicate ideas and collaborate between the designer and manufacturer.