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Thread: What makes a great technical drawing?

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    Default What makes a great technical drawing?

    This is a question that comes up frequently. I'm sure that you all have your own opinion - based on your industry and your companies needs.


    I'm interested in hearing your views. Is accuracy important? Or is it a given that all drawings should be correct? Should drawings be done to a standard? Is it more important that your drawing are done on time, or within the budgeted hours? Does the CAD part of the job matter? If the information you need to communicate is on the page - that's good enough right?

    I'm interested to hear what you have to say.

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    Certifiable AUGI Addict tedg's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a great technical drawing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Munford View Post
    This is a question that comes up frequently. I'm sure that you all have our own opinion - based on your industry and your companies needs.


    I'm interested in hearing your views. Is accuracy important? Or is it a given that all drawings should be correct? Should drawings be done to a standard? Is it more important that your drawing are done on time, or within the budgeted hours? Does the CAD part of the job matter? If the information you need to communicate is on the page - that's good enough right?

    I'm interested to hear what you have to say.
    That's a great question.
    In my opinion and my experience:
    1. Drawings need to be created to good drafting standards, lineweights, clarity, accuracy, to a given Cad Standard.
    2. Only enough detail for the purpose of scope and/or deliverables (ie: concept, 35% review, issued for bid, etc.).
    3. Keep within time/budget if possible, if the scope outweighs the budget; bring it up to the PM before you go over budget.
    4. Don't over-dimesion! Dimension in one location like the plans, and reference them on details and sections, easier to change once instead of chasing them all.
    5. All disciplines' drawings should match if possible, atleast have the same building orientation. Of course there are exceptions like Civil will have grid north and Arch, Struct, MEP would have Plan North.

    Does that help?

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    Default Re: What makes a great technical drawing?

    Accuracy.
    Standards.
    Layout.
    Spelling.

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    Default Re: What makes a great technical drawing?

    Great stuff Tedg and Jaberwok.

    And a fast reply too!

    Spelling is a personal challenge of mine - One thing that AutoCAD has over Inventor is a spell checker

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    Default Re: What makes a great technical drawing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Munford View Post
    Great stuff Tedg and Jaberwok.

    And a fast reply too!

    Spelling is a personal challenge of mine - One thing that AutoCAD has over Inventor is a spell checker
    As I client, I don't care about lineweights or text styles or dims, etc. We look at the plans primarily electronically, panning and zooming and XLISTing, whatever.

    The important thing to me is completion and accuracy.

    I HATE when we've just had some contractor drill through something they shouldn't have, the engineers and I are digging through the plans, we find the plan, see the section or detail called out... and then when we flip to the referenced page IT'S NOT EFFING THERE... or, even better, it doesn't even remotely match what was actually put in (hey, we specify AND pay for 'as-builts', not 'design' drawings).

    ~smiles beatifically~ We do a CAD Standards check when receiving the files. I can easily check for random z elevations, non-standard layer names, whether OSNAPS have been used... all of the basic drafting quality control.
    But, as much as that makes the lives of our readers much easier, it's only a fraction as important as being able to find the information when we need it.

    There is no way on earth I'd ever have the time to run down each section and detail in each drawing set for every project being done on our campus, spot checks rarely catch them, so we tend to find these out the hard way... five years later, long after the project has ended.

    Oh, and don't get me started on horrific spelling, please. ~pained expression~ It does cause one to worry about attention to detail in other parts of the project, even though I know cognitively there probably isn't a direct correlation.
    For example, my husband, previously a civil and structural designer is THE most detail-oriented person I know, is a horrible speller... but, as someone who is also an editor, it's a big irritant.

    ~chuckles~ A favorite one recently: We have a building, named after a benefactor, which is constantly misspelled. However, this most recent project took the cake, as the building name was spelled THREE DIFFERENT WAYS on one set. Really? Consistency is key folks. If you're going to screw it up, at least screw it up consistently. Again, it comes back to worries about sufficient attention to details.
    Melanie Stone
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    Archibus, FMS/FMInteract and AutoCAD Expert (I use BricsCAD, Revit, Tandem, and Planon, too)
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    Default Re: What makes a great technical drawing?

    Accuracy, completeness, standards complience, etc. - all of that (and more) compose a good technical drawing.

    A great technical drawing will fully satisfy the concept and purpose of a technical drawing. To elaborate, my understanding of a technical drawing is to relate the drawing to that of a language, a means of communicating from the mind of the creator to the hand of the maker without another means of interaction.

    Does the drawing communicate in a precise way?

    Does the drawing leave anything open to mis-interpretation?

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    Default Re: What makes a great technical drawing?

    Does the drawing communicate in a precise way?

    Does the drawing leave anything open to mis-interpretation?
    @Patrick - I think that that is the most concise reply I've had yet

    @Melanie - So you mean that the 'As Built' set actually gets read by someone? I thought we just printed off 15 Operation and Maintenance manuals (along with associated plan sets) and sent them off in a huge van for a laugh! Shame on us... (end of sarcasm).

    I completely agree with you that (in the construction industry at least) a drawing rarely exists on it's own. All drawings need to be considered as part of a set,which needs planing as much as the individual drawings do. Being able to lead the reader through a set of drawings so that they can find the information that they need is completely achievable - it jut requires a bit of thought before you start. (and you need to complete what you started, of course!).

    This problem might be alleviated with BIM. Of course - just giving someone access to the BIM and saying 'all the information you need is there' doesn't mean that they will find their way to the information they need. Even a BIM needs to provide the viewer/user with some way to drill down to the specifics. This may be through drawings,or maybe there is a new interface coming that we haven't quite conceived yet.


    I'm going to come back to you on my next question - what do Architects (or in your case clients) want from a set of drawings?

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    Default Re: What makes a great technical drawing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Munford View Post
    @Melanie - So you mean that the 'As Built' set actually gets read by someone? I thought we just printed off 15 Operation and Maintenance manuals (along with associated plan sets) and sent them off in a huge van for a laugh! Shame on us... (end of sarcasm).
    I'm going to come back to you on my next question - what do Architects (or in your case clients) want from a set of drawings?
    Concise? Psssh... we're here to rant... erm, I mean, share the extent of our experiences.

    LOL... you're sarcastic when you say that, but, really, most of our contractors seem to think that they don't really need to bother with decent docs because 'you're just going to throw them into a desk somewhere and never look at them.' (Seriously, I've heard that sooooooo many times.)

    Yes, sir. ~waits patiently~
    Melanie Stone
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    Archibus, FMS/FMInteract and AutoCAD Expert (I use BricsCAD, Revit, Tandem, and Planon, too)
    Technical Editor
    not all those who wander are lost

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    Default Re: What makes a great technical drawing?

    Quote Originally Posted by duhvinci View Post
    Accuracy, completeness, standards complience, etc. - all of that (and more) compose a good technical drawing.

    A great technical drawing will fully satisfy the concept and purpose of a technical drawing. To elaborate, my understanding of a technical drawing is to relate the drawing to that of a language, a means of communicating from the mind of the creator to the hand of the maker without another means of interaction.

    Does the drawing communicate in a precise way?

    Does the drawing leave anything open to mis-interpretation?
    Right!
    Technical drawing is a language - that's why people have to learn to "read" drawings.

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    Smile Re: What makes a great technical drawing?

    How's this, I agree with everyone here. Also great drawings mean fewer phone calls/emails in turn smoother job which makes for happy client. Happy clien equals word of mouth which brings me to my favorite, more work. Everyone happy.

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