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A Day in the Life of a CAD Drafter

A CAD drafter straddles two worlds, the traditional world of paper drafts and the modern technology of CAD. In a typical day, a CAD drafter may be asked to translate a set of paper plans to CAD, update or fix an existing CAD plan or complete a design. CAD drafters are in communication with master architects as well as the estimating offices of contractors implementing the design. A CAD drafter may be asked to translate a design concept over several stages of media. Because of this, mastery of both traditional drafting methods as well as CAD are necessary for the CAD drafter.

CAD drafters use their education on the job everyday. The literacy in plan reading provided by architectural training allows CAD drafters to understand and implement assignments. A typical assignment might involve adding engineering specifications to a floor plan provided by the master architect. Once the floor plan is in CAD, the drafter must use his/her knowledge of CAD’s engineering capabilities to detail the structural considerations: the load-bearing requirements of walls, the sheer forces they must be built to withstand, etc. These assignments and others incorporate knowledge both of the program itself and of engineering in general.

Education is crucial to a career in drafting. The best advice of working professionals is to get a strong background in traditional engineering and to familiarize yourself with the latest developments in CAD technology. As the industry continues to diversify both in the terms of CAD applications and the power of those applications, a strong understanding of CAD opens greater possibilities to the student.

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CAD Drafter