This article defines technical drawing (drafting or projection) and uses different images to illustrate the meaning, and types of technical drawing widely taught in schools and practiced in industries. The eBook/technical drawing PDF document for this article is available for free download at the end of the article (along with a list of world-class technical & engineering drawing/graphics books in electronic form/PDF, available for sale at cheap prices). Both the article and eBook discuss the following topics:
- 1.0 Definition of technical drawing
- 2.0 Types of technical drawing: parallel projection (orthographic: first angle, and third angle; oblique: cavalier, and cabinet; axonometric: isometric, dimetric, and trimetric), and perspective projection (1-point, 2-point, and 3-point)
- 3.0 Objectives of technical drawing
- 4.0 Purpose of technical drawing
- 5.0 Application of technical drawing
1.0 Definition of technical drawing
Technical drawing can be defined as the graphic representation of an object, concept, or idea using a universal language that consists of graphic symbols produced with the aid of drawing equipment/tools that can be used to measure straight and curved lines according to specified dimensions, scales, and codes of practice.
Technical drawing is used in many professions (engineering, architecture, manufacturing, construction, estate management, etc.) to draw or draft ideas and different views of physical objects like drainages, culverts, septic tanks, incinerators, houses, etc. Drawing—either artistic or technical—is one of the oldest forms of communication, and is believed to be older than verbal communication. Generally, there are two types of drawings: artistic drawing, and technical drawing:
Artistic drawing is the type of drawing that is abstract because its meaning is unique to the person/artist who creates it. In order to understand the meaning of an artistic drawing, one has to understand the artist’s point of view or motivation for producing a particular artistic drawing.
Sometimes, it is necessary to understand an artist in order to understand their artistic drawing because artists often take a unique/abstract approach when communicating through their drawings. This type of approach gives rise to various interpretations when their drawings are exposed to public view.
Regardless of how complex artistic drawings may appear, they express the clear feelings, beliefs, philosophies, and ideas of the artists who create them. Artistic drawings are generally freehand drawings or drawings made without the use of drawing instruments/tools.
Technical drawing is the type of drawing that is not abstract because it doesn’t require an understanding of what its creator has in mind; rather, it requires an understanding that can only be gained by studying and using universally accepted tools, codes, and conventions applicable to technical drawing.
In addition to the previously stated definition of technical drawing, we can say that technical drawing clearly, precisely, and concisely communicates all important information conveyed by an idea produced in graphic form by the use of universally accepted codes of practice, tools, dimensions, notes, symbols, and specifications.
Technical drawing can be done manually on paper, or technologically on computers. When any idea or object is drawn on a computer, it is said to be drafted by computer-aided design (CAD). One major advantage of using CAD is that revisions can be easily and speedily carried out on any draft.
Any student, architect, engineer, etc., must understand the theory behind projections, dimensioning, and conventions if they wish to become proficient in drafting and interpreting drafts. It is very important for people to understand manual (traditional) drawing/drafting before exposing themselves to CAD softwares. Why? Because an understanding of manual drawings would make it easier to use CAD.
2.0 Types of technical drawing
Technical drawings are constructed on the basis of the fundamental principles of projection. There are two main types of technical drawing or projection: parallel projection, and perspective projection. (Note that each projection has various categories which will be illustrated further below.)
A projection is any drawing, draft, or representation of an idea or object that is carried out after considering views from various imaginary planes. Projections, which are quite similar to the direct views that one can see on televisions, can be used to represent actual objects if the following are employed:
- the eye of the viewer looking at the object.
- an imaginary plane of projection as dictated by the direction of the eye(s) of the viewer.
- projectors or imaginary lines of sight.
The theories behind projection have been widely used to draft 3-dimensional objects on 2-dimensional media such as papers and computer screens. The theory of projection is based on two variables:
- line of sight.
- plane of projection: plane from which images can be projected—depending on the axis.
2.1 Parallel projection
Parallel projection is the type of projection in which the lines of sight or projectors are parallel to each other, and also perpendicular to the planes of objects or images. Parallel projection can be categorized or divided into orthographic, oblique, and axonometric projections.
(1) Orthographic projection
Orthographic projection (or drawing) is the type of projection in which 3-dimensional objects are represented in 2 dimensions by projecting planes (consisting of 2 major axes) of objects so that they are parallel with the plane of the medium they are projected on.
Orthographic projection can also be defined as the type of projection in which views are taken on different planes of objects and drawn (or represented) in 2 dimensions as illustrated by the principal views shown in the figures below:
There are two types of orthographic projection: first angle projection, and third angle projection:
In first angle projection (i.e., European/international system) the front view is placed at the top of a medium (paper, computer screen, etc.) along with the right side view which is placed at the left side of the front view, while the left side view is placed at the right side of the front view, and the plan (T) is placed alone beneath the front view.
In third angle projection (i.e., American system) the plan (T) is placed alone at the top, while the front view is placed beneath the plan, and the right side view is placed at the right side of the front view, while the left side view is placed at the left side of the front view. (Note that third-angle projection is more popular than first-angle projection.)
If you would like to read more details about orthographic projection or drawing, click here.
(2) Oblique projection
Oblique projection is the type of projection in which an object is drawn in 3 dimensions, with each of the 3 dimensions (or major planes) consisting of two lines (or major axes: either xy, or yz, or xz) perpendicular to each other (i.e. 90°), and one of the 3 planes parallel to the plane of paper, or computer screen, etc.
In addition, one of the 3 planes is projected at either 30°, 45°, or 60° to the x-axis. Oblique projection is of 2 types: cavalier, and cabinet projection.
In cavalier projection, one of the 3 planes is drafted to represent a plane of an object “according to a given scale”, while in cabinet projection, one of the 3 planes is drafted to represent half of a plane of an object “according to half of a given scale”. A scale is any ratio (examples: 1:10, 1:100, 1:1000, etc.) of the size of an object on paper to the actual size of the same object in real life.
(3) Axonometric projection
Axonometric projection is the type of projection that consists of three-dimensional drawings in which each of the 3 major axes (x, y, and z) of an object is drawn perpendicular to each other by either 30°, 45°, or 60°, and no plane of the object is drawn parallel to the plane of the medium—paper, computer screen, etc. Axonometric projection/drawing can be categorized into three types: isometric, dimetric, and trimetric projections.
Isometric projection is a method of projection/drawing in which the edges of 3-dimensional objects are represented by 3 axes perpendicular to each other and inclined to each other by 120° on the plane of media—paper or computer; also, 2 of the 3 axes are inclined at either 30°, 45°, or 60° to any imaginary x-axis on any medium.
In dimetric projection, 2 angles between any 2 major axes are unequal, while in trimetric projection, the 3 angles between the 3 major axes are unequal. Two different angles are required to construct 2 planes of objects in dimetric projections, while 3 different angles are required to construct 3 planes of objects in trimetric projections.
2.2 Perspective projection
Perspective projection is the type of projection in which objects appear smaller as their distances from an observer increases: objects’ dimensions along a line of sight appear shorter than they actually are.
There are 3 types of perspective projections: 1-point, 2-point, and 3-point projections. One-point perspective projections consist of 1 vanishing point, while 2-point and 3-point perspective projections consist of 2 and 3 vanishing points, respectively.
A vanishing point is a point of convergence where all lines of sight meet.
3.0 Objectives of technical drawing
The general objectives of studying technical drawing include the following:
- to develop skills in using universally accepted tools, symbols, scales, and conventions to draw any visible object or invisible idea on paper, and computer.
- to understand orthographic and isometric projections and employ them in drafting/drawing ideas and objects using both projections, respectively.
- to understand and interpret technical drawings, sketches, and working drawings.
- to develop the ability to use imagination to observe, visualize and draft objects, ideas, or concepts.
- to develop the ability to produce clean, accurate, neat, and informative drawings in a moderate amount of time.
- to develop the ability to take on any projects and draw environmental health science, civil, and environmental engineering objects/structures.
4.0 Purpose of technical drawing
To draft and design objects or structures, and assess how they would appear in real life after they are manufactured, fabricated, assembled, constructed, or built. For example, houses, septic tanks, drainages, etc., must be designed and assessed before they are built.
5.0 Application of technical drawing
Technical drawings have wide applications in any field in which planning and designing are required, such as architecture, manufacturing, engineering, construction, environment, estate management, etc.
Sanitarians, surveyors, environmental scientists, and civil/environmental engineers use technical drawings to supervise the construction of layouts, structures, objects, and boundaries for various types of properties (houses, etc.).
Technical drawings are also used in situations where ideas/designs for objects and structures need to be modified, and different 2-dimensional views need to be assembled into 3-dimensional views.
Generally, technical drawings are used by a variety of professions, including but not limited to:
If you are interested in downloading the eBook of this article for free, click here. It contains all the information in this article and extra important information on its last page which has a link to images of hundreds of various shapes and sizes of objects in 2 & 3 dimensions, and categorized under different types of projections.
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The titles of the books (arranged in decreasing order of priority [from 1 to 6]—based on our assessment) and their respective number of pages and titles of chapters are as follows:
1. Technical Graphics Communication, 4th Edition, by Gary R. Bertoline, Eric N. Wiebe, Nathan W. Hartman, William A. Ross (1335 pages), 2009
Chapter 1: Introduction to Graphics Communication, pg.5
Chapter 2: The Engineering Design Process, pg.27
Chapter 3: Design in Industry, pg.46
Chapter 4: The Role of Technical Graphics in Production, Automation, and Manufacturing Processes, pg.109
Chapter 5: Design & Visualization, pg.135
Chapter 6: Technical Drawing Tools, pg.187
Chapter 7: Sketching and Text, pg.237
Chapter 8: Engineering Geometry and Construction, pg.305
Chapter 9: Three-dimensional Modeling, pg.399
Chapter 10: Multiview Drawings, pg.488
Chapter 11: Axonometric and Oblique Drawings, pg.577
Chapter 12: Perspective Drawings, pg.631
Chapter 13: Auxiliary Views, pg.652
Chapter 14: Fundamentals of Descriptive Geometry, pg.691
Chapter 15: Intersections and Developments, pg.716
Chapter 16: Section Views, pg.759
Chapter 17: Dimensioning and Tolerancing Practices, pg.818
Chapter 18: Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GDT), pg.875
Chapter 19: Fastening Devices and Methods, pg.908
Chapter 20: Working Drawings, pg.949
Chapter 21: Technical Data Presentation, pg.1064
Chapter 22: Mechanisms: Gears, Cams, Bearings, and Linkages, pg.1105
Chapter 23: Electronic Drawings, pg.1146
Chapter 24: Piping Drawings, pg.1163
Chapter 25: Welding Drawings, pg.1187
2. Technical Drawing with Engineering Graphics, 15th Edition, by Frederick E. Giesecke, Shawna Lockhart, Marla Goodman, Cindy M. Johnson (1077 pages), 2016
Chapter 1: The World-wide Language for Graphic Design, pg.2
Chapter 2: Layouts and Lettering, pg.30
Chapter 3: Visualization and Sketching, pg.62
Chapter 4: Geometry for Modeling and Design, pg.124
Chapter 5: Modeling and Design, pg.170
Chapter 6: Orthographic Projection, pg.234
Chapter 7: 2D Drawing Representation, pg.284
Chapter 8: Section Views, pg.326
Chapter 9: Auxiliary Views, pg.362
Chapter 10: Modeling for Manufacture, pg.414
Chapter 11: Dimensioning, pg.502
Chapter 12: Tolerancing, pg.546
Chapter 13: Threads, Fasteners, and Springs, pg.592
Chapter 14: Working Drawings, pg.636
Chapter 15: Drawing Control and Data Management, pg.710
Chapter 16: Gears and Cams, pg.730
Chapter 17: Electronic Diagrams, pg.756
Chapter 18: Structural Drawing, pg.780
Chapter 19: Landform Drawings, pg.808
Chapter 20: Piping Drawings, pg.828
Chapter 21: Welding Representation, pg.846
Chapter 22: Axonometric Projection, pg.W870
Chapter 23: Perspective Drawings, pg.W900
3. Engineering Drawing & Design, 6th Edition, by David A. Madsen and David P. Madsen (1104 pages), 2017
Chapter 1: Introduction to Engineering Drawing and Design, pg.2
Chapter 2: Drafting Equipment, Media, and Reproduction Methods, pg.39
Chapter 3: Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD), pg.61
Chapter 4: Manufacturing Materials and Processes, pg.109
Chapter 5: Sketching Applications, pg.162
Chapter 6: Lines and Lettering, pg.181
Chapter 7: Drafting Geometry, pg.205
Chapter 8: Multiviews, pg.228
Chapter 9: Auxiliary Views, pg.259
Chapter 10: Dimensioning and Tolerancing, pg.277
Chapter 11: Fasteners and Springs, pg. 347
Chapter 12: Sections, Revolutions, and Conventional Breaks, pg.387
Chapter 13: Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing, pg.409
Chapter 14: Pictorial Drawings and Technical Illustrations, pg.495
Chapter 15: Working Drawings, pg.526
Chapter 16: Mechanisms: Linkages, Cams, Gears, and Bearings, pg.561
Chapter 17: Belt and Chain Drives, pg.601
Chapter 18: Welding Processes and Representations, pg.617
Chapter 19: Precision Sheet Metal Drafting, pg.644
Chapter 20: Electrical and Electronic Drafting, pg.669
Chapter 21: Industrial Process Piping, pg.717
Chapter 22: Structural Drafting, pg.773
Chapter 23: Heating, Ventilating, and Air-conditioning (HVAC) and Pattern Development, pg.847
Chapter 24: Civil Drafting, pg.899
Chapter 25: The Engineering Design Process, pg.950
Engineering Drawing and Design Student Companion Website, pg.973
4. Engineering Design and Graphics with SolidWorks by James D. Bethune (829 pages), 2017
Chapter 1: Getting Started, pg.1
Chapter 2: Sketch Entities and Tools, pg.41
Chapter 3: Features, pg.123
Chapter 4: Orthographic Views, pg.225
Chapter 5: Assemblies, pg.299
Chapter 6: Threads and Fasteners, pg.375
Chapter 7: Dimensioning, pg.439
Chapter 8: Tolerancing, pg.509
Chapter 9: Bearings and Fit Tolerances, pg.605
Chapter 10: Gears, pg.639
Chapter 11: Belts and Pulleys, pg.699
Chapter 12: Cams, pg.725
Chapter 13: Projects, after pg.774
5. Interpreting Engineering Drawings, 8th Edition, by Theodore J. Branoff (530 pages), 2016
Unit 1: Introduction: Line Types and Sketching, pg.1
Unit 2: Lettering and Title Blocks, pg.11
Unit 3: Basic Geometry: Circles and Arcs, pg.15
Unit 4: Working Drawings and Projection Theory, pg.22
Unit 5: Introduction to Dimensioning, pg.39
Unit 6: Normal, Inclined, and Oblique Surfaces, pg.52
Unit 7: Pictorial Sketching, pg.67
Unit 8: Machining Symbols and Revision Blocks, pg.78
Unit 9: Chamfers, Undercuts, Tapers, and Knurls, pg.86
Unit 10: Sectional Views, pg.91
Unit 11: One- and Two-View Drawings, pg.110
Unit 12: Surface Texture, pg.117
Unit 13: Introduction to Conventional Tolerancing, pg.130
Unit 14: Inch Fits, pg.142
Unit 15: Metric Fits, pg.150
Unit 16: Threads and Fasteners, pg.161
Unit 17: Auxiliary Views, pg.181
Unit 18: Development Drawings, pg.190
Unit 19: Selection and Arrangement of Views, pg.196
Unit 20: Piping Drawings, pg.202
Unit 21: Bearings, pg.214
Unit 22: Manufacturing Materials, pg.220
Unit 23: Casting Processes, pg.232
Unit 24: Violating True Projection: Conventional Practices, pg.249
Unit 25: Pin Fasteners, pg.264
Unit 26: Drawings for Numerical Control, pg. 274
Unit 27: Assembly Drawings, pg.280
Unit 28: Structural Steel, pg.289
Unit 29: Welding Drawings, pg.294
Unit 30: Groove Welds, pg.305
Unit 31: Other Basic Welds, pg.315
Unit 32: Spur Gears, pg.328
Unit 33: Bevel Gears and Gear Trains, pg.337
Unit 34: Cams, pg.347
Unit 35: Bearings and Clutches, pg.353
Unit 36: Ratchet Wheels, pg.362
Unit 37: Introduction to Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing, pg.368
Unit 38: Features and Material Condition Modifiers, pg.380
Unit 39: Form Tolerances, pg.394
Unit 40: The Datum Reference Frame, pg.402
Unit 41: Orientation Tolerances, pg.415
Unit 42: Datum Targets, pg.432
Unit 43: Position Tolerances, pg.440
Unit 44: Profile Tolerances, pg.461
Unit 45: Runout Tolerances, pg.469
6. Architectural Graphic Standards Student Edition, 12th Edition, by The American Institute of Architects (689 pages), 2017
Chapter 1: Functional Planning, pg.3
Chapter 2: Environment, pg.31
Chapter 3: Resilience in Buildings. Pg.53
Chapter 4: Architectural Construction Documentation, pg.77
Chapter 5: Concrete, pg.93
Chapter 6: Masonry, pg.107
Chapter 7: Metals, pg.125
Chapter 8: Wood, pg.141
Chapter 9: Glass, pg.165
Chapter 10: Element A: Substructure, pg.176
Chapter 11: Element B: Shell, pg.203
Chapter 12: Element C: Interiors, pg.363
Chapter 13: Element D: Services, pg.427
Chapter 14: Element E: Equipment and Furnishings, pg.517
Chapter 15: Element F: Special Construction, pg.565
Chapter 16: Element G: Sitework, pg.581