An engineering drawing is a type of technical drawing that is used to convey information about an object. A common use is to specify the geometry necessary for the construction of a component and is called a detail drawing. Usually, a number of drawings are necessary to completely specify even a simple component. The drawings are linked together by a master drawing or assembly drawing which gives the drawing numbers of the subsequent detailed components, quantities required, construction materials and possibly 3D images that can be used to locate individual items. Although mostly consisting of pictographic representations, abbreviations and symbols are used for brevity and additional textual explanations may also be provided to convey the necessary information.
The process of producing engineering drawings is often referred to as technical drawing or drafting (draughting). Drawings typically contain multiple views of a component, although additional scratch views may be added of details for further explanation. Only the information that is a requirement is typically specified. Key information such as dimensions is usually only specified in one place on a drawing, avoiding redundancy and the possibility of inconsistency. Suitable tolerances are given for critical dimensions to allow the component to be manufactured and function. More detailed production drawings may be produced based on the information given in an engineering drawing. Drawings have an information box or title block containing who drew the drawing, who approved it, units of dimensions, meaning of views, the title of the drawing and the drawing number.
Technical drawing has existed since ancient times. Complex technical drawings were made in renaissance times, such as the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. Modern engineering drawing, with its precise conventions of orthographic projection and scale, arose in France at a time when the Industrial Revolution was in its infancy. L. T. C. Rolt's biography of Isambard Kingdom Brunel says of his father, Marc Isambard Brunel, that \"It seems fairly certain that Marc's drawings of his block-making machinery (in 1799) made a contribution to British engineering technique much greater than the machines they represented. For it is safe to assume that he had mastered the art of presenting three-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional plane which we now call mechanical drawing. It had been evolved by Gaspard Monge of Mezieres in 1765 but had remained a military secret until 1794 and was therefore unknown in England.\"
Engineering drawings specify requirements of a component or assembly which can be complicated. Standards provide rules for their specification and interpretation. Standardization also aids internationalization, because people from different countries who speak different languages can read the same engineering drawing, and interpret it the same way.
For centuries, until the 1970s, all engineering drawing was done manually by using pencil and pen on paper or other substrate (e.g., vellum, mylar). Since the advent of computer-aided design (CAD), engineering drawing has been done more and more in the electronic medium with each passing decade. Today most engineering drawing is done with CAD, but pencil and paper have not entirely disappeared.
Some of the tools of manual drafting include pencils, pens and their ink, straightedges, T-squares, French curves, triangles, rulers, protractors, dividers, compasses, scales, erasers, and tacks or push pins. (Slide rules used to number among the supplies, too, but nowadays even manual drafting, when it occurs, benefits from a pocket calculator or its onscreen equivalent.) And of course the tools also include drawing boards (drafting boards) or tables. The English idiom \"to go back to the drawing board\", which is a figurative phrase meaning to rethink something altogether, was inspired by the literal act of discovering design errors during production and returning to a drawing board to revise the engineering drawing. Drafting machines are devices that aid manual drafting by combining drawing boards, straightedges, pantographs, and other tools into one integrated drawing environment. CAD provides their virtual equivalents.
Producing drawings usually involves creating an original that is then reproduced, generating multiple copies to be distributed to the shop floor, vendors, company archives, and so on. The classic reproduction methods involved blue and white appearances (whether white-on-blue or blue-on-white), which is why engineering drawings were long called, and even today are still often called, \"blueprints\" or \"bluelines\", even though those terms are anachronistic from a literal perspective, since most copies of engineering drawings today are made by more modern methods (often inkjet or laser printing) that yield black or multicolour lines on white paper. The more generic term \"print\" is now in common usage in the U.S. to mean any paper copy of an engineering drawing. In the case of CAD drawings, the original is the CAD file, and the printouts of that file are the \"prints\".
Almost all engineering drawings (except perhaps reference-only views or initial sketches) communicate not only geometry (shape and location) but also dimensions and tolerances for those characteristics. Several systems of dimensioning and tolerancing have evolved. The simplest dimensioning system just specifies distances between points (such as an object's length or width, or hole center locations). Since the advent of well-developed interchangeable manufacture, these distances have been accompanied by tolerances of the plus-or-minus or min-and-max-limit types. Coordinate dimensioning involves defining all points, lines, planes, and profiles in terms of Cartesian coordinates, with a common origin. Coordinate dimensioning was the sole best option until the post-World War II era saw the development of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), which departs from the limitations of coordinate dimensioning (e.g., rectangular-only tolerance zones, tolerance stacking) to allow the most logical tolerancing of both geometry and dimensions (that is, both form [shapes/locations] and sizes).
An auxiliary view is an orthographic view that is projected into any plane other than one of the six primary views. These views are typically used when an object contains some sort of inclined plane. Using the auxiliary view allows for that inclined plane (and any other significant features) to be projected in their true size and shape. The true size and shape of any feature in an engineering drawing can only be known when the Line of Sight (LOS) is perpendicular to the plane being referenced.It is shown like a three-dimensional object. Auxiliary views tend to make use of axonometric projection. When existing all by themselves, auxiliary views are sometimes known as pictorials.
An engineering drawing is a legal document (that is, a legal instrument), because it communicates all the needed information about \"what is wanted\" to the people who will expend resources turning the idea into a reality. It is thus a part of a contract; the purchase order and the drawing together, as well as any ancillary documents (engineering change orders [ECOs], called-out specs), constitute the contract. Thus, if the resulting product is wrong, the worker or manufacturer are protected from liability as long as they have faithfully executed the instructions conveyed by the drawing. If those instructions were wrong, it is the fault of the engineer. Because manufacturing and construction are typically very expensive processes (involving large amounts of capital and payroll), the question of liability for errors has legal implications.
For centuries, engineering drawing was the sole method of transferring information from design into manufacture. In recent decades another method has arisen, called model-based definition (MBD) or digital product definition (DPD). In MBD, the information captured by the CAD software app is fed automatically into a CAM app (computer-aided manufacturing), which (with or without postprocessing apps) creates code in other languages such as G-code to be executed by a CNC machine tool (computer numerical control), 3D printer, or (increasingly) a hybrid machine tool that uses both. Thus today it is often the case that the information travels from the mind of the designer into the manufactured component without having ever been codified by an engineering drawing. In MBD, the dataset, not a drawing, is the legal instrument. The term \"technical data package\" (TDP) is now used to refer to the complete package of information (in one medium or another) that communicates information from design to production (such as 3D-model datasets, engineering drawings, engineering change orders (ECOs), spec revisions and addenda, and so on).
1986 Addition: Awards and diplomas presented to Pupin by American and European universities and charitable organizations; drawings and prints by Yugoslav artists; and miscellaneous correspondence, manuscripts, blue prints, architectural drawings and maps.
Ink and watercolour drawings by Henry G. Acres as student in mechanical and electrical engineering at the Ontario School of Practical Science from 1900-1903. Each drawing is signed \"H.G. Acres\" and dated.
71 engineering drawings (on 15\"x22\" drafting paper and linen), 3 lettering cards and 3 practice sheets compiled by Edward Harrison while a student in civil engineering in the Ontario School of Practical Science; 2 photoprints, including the last graduating class (1906) of the school.
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