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# Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman9

## Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

(OP)
Hi All,

I would like to ask how actually you coordinate between yourself and your draughtsman? How do you organize the project between you two? And how strict are you with the deadlines etc?

Thanks.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Why are you using the term "strict"? Is the nature of your relationship such that you are unable to discuss goals and deadlines like adults?

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

I'm guessing the answer to that would be very industry specific. In the auto industry we often start from something similar to the intended design, the draughty pushes ideas around, and finally comes up with a design that fits his many requirements (manufacturability, clearances and ground clearance and design for assembly etc), shunts it across to me to analyse, I find problems, suggest solutions, give him a revised solution and he sees if it works from his point of view. That can take weeks.

Cheers

Greg Locock

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Back when I was doing 'hard engineering' (1971-1980) about half the time I did my own drawings, but then we were designing and manufacturing what you would call discreet machines, often with made 300 or 400 parts, about half were purchased and half were fabricated and of those, many were so-called 'standard' parts which had already been used in a previous design so sometime you might only need 50 new parts. On large jobs where I was the head designed/project engineer I would have a team of three or four draftsmen, which actually created more work for me and/or my boss. Also note that for things like control panels and conduit layouts, we would turn that over to the guys in the electrical group. We were responsible for locating and mounting electrical components, like motors, limit-switches, electric eyes/sensors, cam-boxes, etc, but the actual wiring and design and locating of the control panel(s) and junction boxes was someone else job. Granted we had the final say because we were responsible for the functioning of the machine, but most of the time the electrical was added without much of our input or concern.

Now I have to admit that our industry was not like others since most work was simply updating what already existed or modifying some existing machine to meet a customers specific needs. In my nine years as designer/project engineer, I only worked on two large programs where we started from scratch. I also managed a couple of minor projects where we developed completely new machines, one of which we applied for and was issued a patent (US 4132320). My other patent was for adding a unique feature to an existing machine that was sufficient enough that a new patent could be applied for (US 3877592).

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

2
I always just looked over their shoulders and made comments. Then along came CAD, and everything looked really good, but was actually awful. Took a lot more time marking up prints, then checking the comments had been carried through.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

best set up I worked with had product engineer with two project engineers. Each project engineer had two design engineers. Each design engineer had two drafters. Everybody had enough going onto keep everybody else busy. Deadlines are expected to be met unless reasons are given and given early enough for the senior staff to react.

I've never understood a 1:1 engineer:designer ratio

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Are you both local (same office) to each other or remote (different country, region, or buildings)?

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

1. I design the part or assembly then create and save the model in PLM.
2. Drafting is notified, creates a pretty print, and saves that to PLM.
3. I'm notified to review, review, and email markups as necessary.
4. Repeat 2&3 as necessary.
5. Once I approve, checking is notified for review.
6. They gripe about corporate drafting standards, sending markups as necessary.
7. Repeat 2-6 until both myself and checking are happy.
8. 16 other people input nonessential data into PLM about part/assembly packaging (ala shipping for parts sales), manufacturing/assembly details, etc.
9. Senior management sees enough boxes checked and blindly signs off.

Ive usually had a single draftsman for about every 10 engineers, no real need for much interaction aside from emails and edited/highlighted pdfs/screenshots for markups.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

I get the brilliant idea and model it up in our CAD package. Then the lazy draftsman fiddles around, screwing up the tolerancing and such, and creates a drawing that manufacturing piddles red ink all over, so it goes through a couple of revisions just to get something that they can make with their worn-out chisels and hacksaws. Sometimes I take the draftsman to lunch, hoping maybe it's low blood sugar that makes him such a turkey to work with. Sometimes I think it's a lack of beer. At least I'm only buying one lunch...for me...because I am that draftsman.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Forty years ago, I had two designers, each of whom had two drafters, all spreading lead under my direction, with informal design reviews at least once a day.

Twenty years ago, I oversaw the efforts of four designers, by uncovering their layouts at night and leaving notes and sketches, in what was a part time job for me. I was able to stop and chat for only a short time each day.

Starting ten years ago, whoever happens to sit in front of a CAD station is called an engineer,
without regard to education or skill. Some of them have an idea what they are doing. Their MBA bosses can't tell the difference.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Everyone seems to be assuming that you are the engineer in this relationship.

Are you?

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

I thought a drafter was the guy who served the draft (draught) beer...

As for the coordination, I have to go to the head of CADD in advance to see what his backup is and plan ahead a week or two, if possible, top have the information to draft to him for assignment when he has an opening in his schedule.

CADD is the bottleneck here and coordination helps, but the delay still happens.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

When I started out my career in the early '80's, there was typically one engineer to 3 draftsmen (draftpersons?.....draftpersbodies????)

In the 1990's there was 1 to 2 engineers for every draftsman.

In the 2000's perhaps 3 to 4 engineers to one draftsman.

Currently all our engineers do our own drawings and details.
With BIM/Revit there's no better way. We have no drafting personnel...only engineers.

Having said that, when I do (did) use a draftsman:

How do you organize the project between you two?
Depends on the skill level of the drafter. If they are more of a tech, then they can many times put together pretty good initial plans and details on their own once briefed on the project.
If they are novices, then there may be more on-going hand-holding and actual sketches/redlines that need to be provided by the engineer.

And how strict are you with the deadlines etc?
Always looked at that as my job as the engineer to watch the pace and progress and work with the drafters on getting done on time....too broad of a question in that there are all sorts of schedules and all sorts of drafters with different speeds.

One thing I did find common is that new employee drafters tend to work very fast and get a lot done. As time progresses many (not all) slow down and pace themselves.

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

I had a draftsman once. . .

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Historically I've been my own draftsman like btrue, and frankly despite as many mistakes and errors as I've made I'm as good or better a designer/draftsman/CAD Jockey as just about any I've ever worked with.

I'm a pretty lousy Engineer though but hey, can't have everything.

I've tried delegating tasks on various occasions but they generally do a mediocre job and I spend as much time checking their work and giving them input and getting mediocre out put as it would typically take me to get on with it and turn out slightly less mediocre product.

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

#### Quote:

Starting ten years ago, whoever happens to sit in front of a CAD station is called an engineer, without regard to education or skill. Some of them have an idea what they are doing. Their MBA bosses can't tell the difference.

Sadly the opposite is true as well, whoever sits in front of the PC is often called a draftsman without regard for education or skill. Most with engineering degrees have little clue what they are doing and their engineering managers cannot tell the difference.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Kenat, with your lousy engineering and my lousy drafting, we might team up and average things out...with me drafting and you engineering, we could really screw $#%$# up.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

I had a mechanical designer that did his own drafting. I much prefer that setup to the "typical" one we use where the draftsman has no idea what the part is supposed to do which means the dimensions rarely reflect the design intent on the first go through. I'd much rather bicker over GD&T specifics than to have to play telephone with the designer to confirm I'm on the same page and then back to the drafter to fix. That said, the designers are far more talented at coming up with clever mechanisms than I am so I'm glad I don't have to draft their crazy ideas.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Ok I started as a Draughtsman, In the old days pre 1970's the engineer came over with a bunch of chicken scratching on a ring binder scratch pad. We would take what he had and prepare a draft layout. He would then come over and vomit red ink all over it.
We would take a fresh sheet and do a new layout incorporating the changes he had made. When that was satisfactory, we would do the first drawing.
Nowadays with cad you erase and re draw while the engineer watches. Or you send him/her a PDF which he scribbles on with red ink .You then change that to suit. Or the engineer draws the whole thing, gets what he/she wants then gives you the finished lousy looking drawing, and says make it look pretty . You do that , then do an interference check on all of the other drawings in the assembly and notify the engineer of the points where the parts will not fit. The engineer vomits red ink all over the drawings and hands them back to you.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

#### Quote (JAE)

Currently all our engineers do our own drawings and details.
With BIM/Revit there's no better way. We have no drafting personnel...only engineers.

JAE, I'd like to know more...

How large is the firm? How difficult is it to switch between your engineer and draftsman hat? Do you find projects are generally more profitable as compared with using drafties? What are the downsides of your current arrangement?

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

4
How large is the firm?
Not a large firm (<30)

How difficult is it to switch between your engineer and draftsman hat?
The design effort gets rather seamless at times. There is a gray fuzzy line between when design ends and drafting begins. Especially with BIM where the design decisions tend to happen much earlier in the process as the building is modeled out as to what it is (rather than sketched in rough idea-fashion and then designed later on). There are also a lot of analysis/design modeling that goes on at the same time as the BIM build model (think RISA Floor - to RISA 3D - to RISA Footing design and then convert over to Revit). Our engineers can draw as fast or faster than any draftsman I've ever worked with.

Do you find projects are generally more profitable as compared with using drafties?
We think so. The issue with engineers doing their own drawing (modeling) is that you are paying a higher rate to draw vs. a lower rate draftsman. However, when you look at the alternative you have something like this:
1. Engineer sketches up the design or the draftsman (if they are good) will set up plans and sections preliminarily.
2. Draftsman gives first take drawings to engineer.
3. Engineer reviews, calculates, designs, etc. the engineered element and hands back the information to the draftsman.
4. The draftsman draws it up and returns a copy to the engineer for "final" review.
5. The engineer redlines up the "final" and returns it to the draftsman.
6. The draftsman finishes up the redlines.
7. The engineer may re-check the "final" and there may be another cycle.

The back-and-forth of this takes a lot of time. Meeting and briefing the draftsman on the project takes time. When you add it all up you most times have more cost than just having the engineer do it all as a matter of a continuous process within one person's head.

What are the downsides of your current arrangement?
The only thing I can think of is that it seems as though it is more difficult to have more than one engineer working on a project at a time. I think this is more due to Revit/BIM though and not the engineer-draftsman issue.

I'll add some upsides to the arrangement:
1. Quality assurance/quality control is much simpler and quality seems to me higher (comparing the years of working both systems)
2. The engineers have a much more intimate knowledge of the engineered product and drawings.
3. I've seen over the years a lot of personnel conflicts between engineers and draftsman (especially with young engineers and older draftsman) that is avoided by using engineers in the drawing process.
4. Your firm is a leaner cost firm...not as many moving parts.

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Top post, JAE.

I'm currently looking into bringing myself up to speed in Revit (~3.5 years design experience). At first, I'd like to be able to do basic things such as note changes, adding/editing typical details, taking sections and drawing rebar/PT. Know any good beginner tutorials?

Take the rebar/PT drawing as an example, one can spend a few hours doing up a nice markup of the rebar/PT in Bluebeam which is then handed onto a draftsmen. This usually involves a few cycles of back & forth to get the drawing 'right.' Now wouldn't it be logical for younger, with <10 years experience who are good with software, to draw the rebar/PT directly in Revit? This method eliminates a whole lot time spent red penning drawings several times over.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

JAE's post reminds me of when we had typists. Now quite obviously paying an engineer to do a typists job is ridiculous, but that's what we do. So unless the entire western world is insane there must be advantages that outweigh the cost.

Cheers

Greg Locock

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Greg,
That reminds me of when I first started writing G code, I would write the lines on an 8 1/2" x 11" pad , then hand them to a typist who typed the thing out on a teletype machine , They would not trust me to type them out on the machine myself.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

"Now quite obviously paying an engineer to do a typists job is ridiculous, but that's what we do. "

Thank goodness; I might otherwise be out of a job The time it took to write out a proposal longhand, get it typed up, proofed, revised, rinse&repeat, was a very tedious process.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Besides, you can now 'cut & paste' stuff from the last five proposals that you did...

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

I might add that there are some draftsman (I'd call them techs) that are very very good and can do essentially what the engineer can do in terms of putting designs together, details, notes, coordination and checking, etc. They are rare and it takes a few years to develop their skill set but they do exist. I've known some - one in particular taught me how to design bridges.

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

"Besides, you can now 'cut & paste' stuff from the last five proposals that you did..."

Yeah, the managers like to say, "Just dust off XYZ proposal; it shouldn't take more than a few hours..."

But, just like resumes and cover letters, proposals do need considerable tailoring, so it's sometimes easier just to write the proposal directly to the subject matter.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

One thing to keep in mind is that much of today's technology utilized in what's called PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) is the capturing of what we referred to as 'tribal knowledge'. Now the motivation for this is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Is the need for capturing more of the expertise of existing staff members the results of the potential that they will soon be leaving due to issues like retirement? Or is this simply a way of being able to do the job with less people and therefore we'll capture this knowledge as a precursor for choosing to not hire new staff and thereby accomplish the existing tasks with less bodies?

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

#### Quote:

JAE's post reminds me of when we had typists. Now quite obviously paying an engineer to do a typists job is ridiculous, but that's what we do. So unless the entire western world is insane there must be advantages that outweigh the cost.

Like most decisions in life I would say that choosing the "best" process depends on the details of the task at hand. Sure, most engineers are plenty capable of creating a half decent print for simple parts given the usual 100+ classroom hours of GD&T. Give an engineer a complex part however and tell them the print has to meet a book of corporate drafting standards and the situation changes entirely, time lost due to markups, discussion, and correction is miniscule compared to time for print creation where the draftsman is much more efficient. Something else to consider if you are selling to repeat customers is the very real cost of lesser quality prints and models, its a pretty commonly tracked supplier quality metric today bc of this practice of combining roles. Should your combination engineer/draftsman release a couple bad prints to a customer you might regret not having the extra oversight that an experienced draftsman provides. In the same vein, not having separate engineering roles (analyst vs component design vs systems etc) often leads to the proverbial "jack of all trades, master of none" that's sadly common today due (I believe) to technology.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

I do both the control system design and AutoCAD drawings for those designs. My leaders can't seem to remember that I'm not just creating drawings off of existing designs or sketches.

We could not just hire a draftsman to do what I do. He (she) would just be printing out blank sheets w/title blocks. Admittedly, a good draftsman can take a sketch and run with it but our stuff is all serial #1.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

#### Quote (CWB1)

Give an engineer a complex part however and tell them the print has to meet a book of corporate drafting standards and the situation changes entirely, time lost due to markups, discussion, and correction is miniscule compared to time for print creation where the draftsman is much more efficient.

CWB1 - I think this brings up a good point. In your world - what you engineer and create may have vastly different drawing/modeling requirements than what my world has in doing structural building designs.

We just don't have that tight of requirements for drafting standards, layer setups, text fonts, etc. Our standards actually just come from we engineers who understand how to properly communicate a design to a contractor bidding and constructing the building. We can do it much faster I think than the option of back-and-forth interplay with a draftsman.

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Ok Kenat,
Having drawn it , who do you get to check it?
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

What's a checker?

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

berkshire - we have other engineers who review each other's work prior to going out. This includes both the drafting and the design.

If you have other draftsman checking other's drawings you still need to pay for engineers to check the design in any case.

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

JAE,
What you say is true, The job of the drafting checker is not to second guess the engineering ( Although some of them do.) The Checkers job is to make sure Dimensions and tolerance stack ups work properly, that all words are spelled correctly, that material call outs are correct for the job, that the drawing has the correct revision number, and even that the drawing number is correct. In short they are an editor who's main function is to make sure the drawing leaves the office as a working document that can be read by a third party with no glaring typos or errors that prevent production of the part.
An old saying that is still true today is " The error is always, in the thing you, know, is absolutely correct.".

Since you are mostly involved in structural drawings, you would be more involved with steel and concrete sizes and sections. Most times I have been trying to put equipment into the structure.
I have had my times on a light table with 6 or 7 layers of mylar stacked up trying to snake a duct or chute down past machinery and other equipment avoiding columns and walls in the process. New CAD drafting programs like Revit take a lot of the heartburn out of stuff like that, But like any computer program it depends on the operator, Engineer or drafter.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

I must say I have had good draftsman question designs at times and reveal issues.
Hat tip to my old friend Reg who's no longer with us. He used to occasionally, and with some glee, point out design issues.
He also would occasionally leave off an arrow head on a leader - just to see if we would find it.

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### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

KENAT, not sure where you read a universal truth in my posts, the point of the last two was that there is no universal truth bc SOME companies save more than enough money and time to justify dedicated draftsmen.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

I wish I could do all my own drafting where I am currently.

We do not have engineers do drafting, but I grew up on Revit (haha still relatively new to the Structural engineering world) and it feels like home to me. I can draft very quickly in Revit, but our draftspersons love to be in control on the revit model. You added one additional thing? Why didn't you tell me!!!! I can no longer properly layout my sheet!!!

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Sticks and triangles ,
You just broached a whole other subject, You added one additional thing? Why didn't you tell me!!!! I can no longer properly layout my sheet!!! Revision control, that deserves a post all on its own.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Berkshire,

Typically revisions are not a big deal for me in terms of formatting unless the project has already gone out for bid. Before then, it can be a free for all haha.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Ok I want to clarify, Is the draughtsman complaining because you revised the drawing and surprised him, or are you complaining because there was a revision you did not know about ?
Either way if they generate change orders on stuff already out for bid , or actually under construction it is not good.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

Structural Engineer here. Small firm, we have an engineer in their 50's, 40's, 30's, 20's. The older bunch uses a modeller/draughter and I can see how long they take and the communication errors happening between them. Myself and the young gun do the AutoCAD or the Revit ourselves and we crank projects out in half the time. And on top of that, we control the project and the modeller can't hold the production hostage. And on top of that, we can make promises on product delivery a lot more confidently.

In short, communication and control is the issue when it comes to the drafter/engineer relationship. Both better be good in order to be efficient! Otherwise, get to learning the CAD machine!

### RE: Coordination between Engineer and Draughtsman

CAD changed a lot of office workflows and processes, and in my humble (and biased) opinion, mostly for the good, albeit at the expense of many purely drafting headcount.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

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