What is a Drafter?

Drafters create drawings for products that need to show technical details. Because these types of detailed drawings are needed in so many fields, drafters can choose to specialize in either mechanical, civil, pipeline, aeronautical, electrical, or architectural drafting.

What does a Drafter do?

Drafters use software to create schematics and to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings and plans.

A drafter sitting at a desk and drawing out plans.

Many drafters are referred to as CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) operators. With CADD systems, drafters create and store drawings electronically so that they can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into automated manufacturing systems.

Drawings can be programmed directly into (BIM) Building Information Modeling systems and (PDM) Product Data Management systems. These drawings can be used to build everything from microchips, toys, skyscrapers, and spacecraft.

Through three-dimensional rendering, BIM software allows designers and engineers to see how elements in their projects work together. PDM software helps users track and control data, such as technical specifications related to projects. Just as BIM is changing the work of architectural drafters as well as engineers and designers, PDM is changing the work of mechanical drafters. These software systems allow drafting and design work to be done at the same time as the work done by other professionals involved in the project.

A drafter will typically do the following:

  • Design and prepare plans for using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software
  • Produce effective product designs by using their understanding of engineering and manufacturing techniques
  • Add structural details to architectural plans from their knowledge of building techniques
  • Prepare multiple versions of designs for review by engineers and architects
  • Specify dimensions, materials, and procedures for new building projects or products
  • Work under the supervision of engineers or architects

Are you suited to be a drafter?

Drafters have distinct personalities. They tend to be artistic individuals, which means they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. They are unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

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What is the workplace of a Drafter like?

Drafters can work in a variety of areas, such as engineering and drafting service firms, architectural and landscape architectural firms, medical industries, automotive and manufacturing industries, aviation, and even multimedia design.

Like many other workers who primarily use computers to do their work, drafters work indoors and full time, although overtime is not uncommon.

Drafters are also known as:
Draftsman Draughtsman Architectural Drafter Architectural Draftsman CADD Operator