Learn CAD drafting 2

Strategies to Become a Better CAD Drafter

Do you remember your first encounter with AutoCAD? Seeing it for the first time in all its technical glory? That is one thing you, I and every other CAD drafter have in common...we all became aquatinted with AutoCAD from the same starting block, when we saw the software for the very first time. My first brush with the software was in 2004 when I had just started technical college. I remember seeing AutoCAD with the big black screen and if I am honest I found it somewhat intimidating. The lecturer showed us some basic shapes we were going to create and I was nervous as I was horrible at drawing with my hands and I thought that this would have some impact on my ability. However within the first class I took to AutoCAD like a duck to water! Watching that screen fill up with all these cool shapes that I created, I felt excited with the possibilities of this software. I had always wanted to be an engineer of some sort when I was younger but after that class I enrolled in the evening course and I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life..........Design and create.

So while we all have a starting with AutoCAD the important issue at hand is how to be the best you can. There are a few simple steps you can take to hone your drafting skills and to keep up to date with current trends and workflows. These not only make your life easier but will aid in the development of your skill set making you as desirable as possible to your current and future employer.

Blogs & forums.

These are great ways to interact with similar minds, and share in thoughts & ideas. My advice is not to be a passing member, get involved ask questions and provide insight. I am a big believer of self-education and here you have an endless source of information, problems and solutions for you to explore. Keep a list of your favorite's and pass by and interact regularly. People on these sites and in particular bloggers want to interact and share ideas so don’t be shy.


There are 3 different styles ways in which we are able to process information and learn new things; auditory, visual & kinaesthetic. With the launch of YouTube it has changed the way we can consume information and has aided the visual & kinaesthetic learners to have access to information in a form they never had before. Furthermore there is so much free information online it’s unbelievable, so use it. For example if you have run into a problem most likely someone else has encountered it and has posted a solution. There is how to guides for beginners to solutions for complex issues. This is due to people wanting to get recognised in their field or sometimes can be as simple as someone having an issue that drove them crazy and didn’t want someone else go through the same pain. Regardless of why the information is there, make the most of it and educate yourself.

Explore other areas

As a draftee it’s very easy to get comfortable in your role doing a different job in the same manner as before and that is totally understandable as the more you do something the better you get. But to really expand your skills you should be exploring other areas and other software, CAD software is constantly changing for example the introduction of building information management knowing as BIM. Also parametric modelling software such as inventor, solidworks and solid edge have been around for a while now and are extremely powerful tools to have in your arsenal so it’s important you have a basic understanding of other software so if a new opportunity arrives you are not starting from scratch.

Share information

This is something that is very important to me and is something I personally believe very strongly in. They say information is power and that is true, but I like to say information empowers. I would love to live in a world where all information was easily available to anyone who wanted to utilise it regardless of age, race or class. However as we do not live in this sort of world yet what we can do is share the information we currently have. Teaching someone a few of the skills you have is a great way to share information and is very rewarding. As there is no such thing as a selfless dead teaching someone gives you confidence in what you already know so it also has great benefits for you. So weather it’s for a local school or just spending some time with the junior draftee in the office it’s worth the effort and you might just learn something too.


0 # Mat 2015-11-09 15:25
I hated AutoCAD, it took me about 6 months to get the hang of it.
Wouldn't be without it now. :lol:
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0 # Pierre 2015-11-10 19:13
I learned on ACAD, and can't stand it now. :-x I mostly do 3D, so ACAD is not the best for this.
I can, however, do 90% of my work in ACAD in CleanScreen mode (Ctrl+0), using only keyboard shortcuts.

My tips for being a better drafter: 8)
Pretend you are a comany with different clients, and they all have different layer standards. Practise making/modifyin g layers, titleblocks, plot styles, etc. Create a bunch of template using these, just to get the hang of it. Learn how the software behaves behind the lines: background color, customizable variables (Pickbox, Cursorsize, Zoomwheel, Zoomfactor, etc.), get to know the software.
Learn a little programming (Lisp, VBA or VB.Net) to help you automate the recurring boring tasks that we all hate.
And as soon as ACAD is too small for you, go for better: upgrade to Revit or ACAD electrical, Inventor or whatever your area of expertise is.
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0 # Alan 2015-11-12 09:28
I've never commented on anything before but I like this blog and I like what you lads are saying. I really do think sharing info and tips is the way forward. After all we are creative by the very nature of our work! Looking forward to hearing more.
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0 # Super User 2015-11-23 06:47
Cheers Alan,
Glad you like :lol:
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0 # AB Douglass III 2015-11-13 13:21
Study the markups...yours and others'. This is the BEST indicator of time ($$$) actually spent during the design process. Look for patterns of repetitious marks that can indicate either a change of practice or development of a new tool is required. Also, pay attention to the process of integrating previous work or "typical" details. If it takes more than a few simple steps, review the companies standards and/or practices for anything that might make the integration more efficient.
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0 # Super User 2015-11-23 01:29
Great addition and great additional advice
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0 # alvin 2015-12-15 08:27
I'm using AutoCAD for a living.
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