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History

In industry, drafting is the conversion of ideas from people's minds to precise working specifications from which products can be made. Many people find it much easier to give visual rather than oral or written directions, and to assemble new equipment if the instructions include diagrams and drawings. Often, this is especially true in complex situations or when a large number of people are involved; drawings allow all aspects to be addressed and everyone to receive the same information at the same time. Industry has come to rely on drafters to develop the working specifications from the new ideas and findings of people in laboratories, shops, factories, and design studios.

Until the 1970s, drafting and designing were done with a pencil and paper on a drafting table. While some drafters still use pencil and paper to create drawings, most use computer-assisted design (CAD) and drafting technology. Today, there are tens of thousands of CAD workstations in industrial settings. CAD systems greatly speed up and simplify the designer's and drafter's work. They do more than just let the operator "draw" the technical illustration on the screen. They add the speed and power of computer processing, plus software with technical information that ease the designer/drafter's tasks. CAD systems make complex mathematical calculations, spot problems, offer advice, and provide a wide range of other assistance. Today, the majority of drafting tasks are done with such technology.

As the Internet has developed, CAD operators can send a CAD drawing across the world in a matter of minutes attached to an email message. Gone are the days of rolling up a print and mailing it off via snail mail. Technology has once again made work more efficient for the CAD designer and drafter.

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