Engineering drawing tutorials are lessons that move students of engineering drawing closer to becoming professional engineering drafters. These tutorials are presented in schools accredited by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA), which is comprised of professional drafters. Such formal training is needed because of the complexity that engineering drawing can take, and because of the complexity that some drawing techniques and tools can take, especially computer-based tools.
Drawing a Simple Object Tutorials
This tutorial consists of producing an engineering drawing from an existing, simple object. Examples of such objects include shoeboxes, aerosol cans, and other objects whose structure is clearly composed entirely of basic forms like the following: a sphere (i.e. ball); a box whose sides and edges are perpendicular; a cylinder; or a cone. Such shapes are easy to visualize and thus depict in two dimensions.
The essential step in this tutorial is drawing the two dimensional (2-D) shape of each side of the object. The tutorial instructs students to produce the drawing using rulers for the object's straight lines, a T-square or triangle drafting instrument for right angles, and a pencil compass for circles.
Another tutorial shows engineering students how to dimension an existing drawing. Dimensioning is the part of an engineering drawing that describes, using numbers, the exact position and size of each component of a structure. A student who has drawn the top view of a soda can design, for example, is instructed to draw a line segment whose length equals the diameter of the circle representing the can's top. The tutorial instructs the student where to draw this line: close to but apart from the circle, so as not to clutter the drawing. The tutorial also instructs the student to write the circle's diameter in the center of the line segment, using the Gothic typeface commonly used in engineering drawings.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) Tutorials
Many tutorials in engineering drawing are written for CAD software, which is a set of digital tools for producing drawings. One tutorial shows the student where each of the essential drawing functions is in the user interface of a particular CAD program. For example, students learn under which menu the tool for drawing rectangles is listed. This tutorial includes instructions for specifying the rectangle's initial shape, which typically involves clicking and dragging the mouse pointer in the program's main drawing area.
Another CAD tutorial shows students how to draw, modify and realistically render 3-D "primitives," which are the boxes, cylinders and other basic shapes described in an earlier section of this article. Included in this tutorial are instructions for combining one primitive with another to form a more complex object. For example, instructions for creating the design for a desk lamp from a cylinder and cone primitive may be given.