What Is A General Drafter

By | March 14, 2017

The term “General Drafter” is defined as a draftsman or drafter who can draw almost anything they are asked to technically draw. This is a correct term to a certain degree, as long as you’re trained in the various disciplines of drafting.

I’ll give you an example but you’ll need to read carefully to keep up. My original training involved mechanical drafting which is the art of making technical drawings for machine and fabrication shops. This was through courses given while I was in the U.S. Navy and in its self is one discipline.

When I left the navy, I found a job with a land surveyor who was willing to train me in the field of boundary and topographical survey drafting. This gave me my second drafting discipline. This surveyor from time to time would hire me out to an architect who worked closely with his surveying office. This particular architect would have me revise his drawings according to his specifications. This exposed me to architectural drafting in a major way.

Later on in my career I trained in architectural drafting to create residential and commercial building plans from sketches and ideas of an architect. I apprenticed under this professional for years and from time to time was asked to create drawings for structural steel for a steel fabrication shop. This was for the buildings the architect by the steel fabricator that the architect worked closely with.

So far then I received training and experience in mechanical drafting, boundary and topographical drafting, then architectural, both residential and commercial, then steel fabrication. That adds up to four different disciplines so far.

Finally I opened a drafting office with a clientele that included a large area dairy company, two plastic injection molding companies, several home builders, an automotive parts manufacturer, a civil engineer, and two surveyors.

The injection molding companies had me create quite a few parts designs and then patent drawings over the years, which added a fifth discipline of patent drafting. The dairy company hired me many times to create loading dock fixtures from their designs which added a sixth discipline in another form of mechanical drafting. The automotive company along with the dairy, and plastics manufacturers all had me to create plant layouts, which added a seventh discipline called industrial layout.

The plastics companies both had me to take the drawings I had created of their parts and turn them into sales brochures. Since many of these had to be in a real life type drawing, I had to learn and master 3D modeling. So that created the eighth discipline, commercial illustration.

And that is the definition of a general drafter. Actually, over the years I have had drafters under me, giving the title of senior and then master drafter. There is quite a bit that can be accomplished if you just put your mind to it. And mind you, this accumulation of knowledge took well over thirty years to complete.

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