How to Draw Nuts & Bolts

By Darrin Koltow
Bolt and nut

Drawing realistic nuts and bolts is possible by observing the items closely and sketching exactly what you see. However, it's easier and faster to draw authentic-looking nuts and bolts when you use a ruler and drafting compass. Besides these tools, which are for drawing by hand, many two- and three-dimensional software applications make nut and bolt rendering a simple task. But using software denies you the satisfaction you can only get from making manual drawings.

Lightly draw in the center of a clean sheet of paper a series of four horizontal lines with these characteristics:

The top line is at least four inches long. The second highest line is a quarter of an inch below the top line, and parallel to it. Line three is about one inch below line two, and parallel to it. Line four is parallel to line three and a quarter of an inch below it.

These lines will guide your drawing of the bolt's threads.

Use a ruler to plot between five and ten equally spaced points on line 1 (the top line). Space each point one-quarter inch from the previous point.

Repeat step 2 to plot points for line 2. However, plot the first point exactly midway between the first line's two points. The resulting points should appear staggered with line 1's points.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 to create points for lines 3 and 4. When you're done, verify that line 3's points are offset (staggered) from line 4's points.

Form the outline of the bolt's threads. Draw a line segment connecting line one's first point and line 2's first point. Then, connect line 2's first point to line 1's second point. Continue creating these segments for the remaining points on lines 1 and 2. The result will be a series of connected "V"s, i.e., a uniformly wavy line.

Repeat step 5 for lines 3 and 4. Line 4 corresponds with line 1, and line 3 corresponds with line 2.

Form the bolt's threads. Draw a segment that connects the first "V"s valley from lines 1 and 2, with the second "V"s peak from lines 3 and 4. This segment should appear slightly diagonal, moving down and to the right.

Finish the threads. Repeat step 7 to connect the remaining "V"s between the top and bottom pairs of lines. Cap the bolt's right side with a strictly vertical line segment.

Form the bolt's head. Draw two strictly vertical lines from line 1 to line 4. The first line starts at the leftmost "V"s peak or valley. The second vertical is one-quarter inch left of the first.

Form the bolt head's facets. Draw two horizontal segments connecting the two vertical segments from step 9. The upper segment is one-quarter inch below line 1, and the lower segment is one-quarter inch above line 4.

This step completes the side view of the bolt.

Form the nut. Using a drafting compass, draw a circle with a radius of at least two inches.

Place the compass' non-pencil point at any place on the circle's outline, then sweep an arc that crosses the circle.

Move the compass's non-pencil point to the intersection you just made, and repeat step 12. Continue this progression, moving around the circle until you have six intersections.

Connect, using a ruler, each pair of adjacent intersections. The result will be the nut's outline.

Form the nut's hole. Decrease the radius of your compass by about half of what you used for the outer circle. Then, draw another circle inside the outer one. Use the same center as the outer circle. The result will be the completed nut.

About the Author

Darrin Koltow wrote about computer software until graphics programs reawakened his lifelong passion of becoming a master designer and draftsman. He has now committed to acquiring the training for a position designing characters, creatures and environments for video games, movies and other entertainment media.