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# Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

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## Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

(OP)
Hello all,
Most of the drawings, architectural or engineering, have their notes, either leaders, explanatory or specs, in all caps.
I am trying to find a reason why this is practiced like this?
What I do in my drawings is just to follow standard grammar rules, not all caps of course, only if it is an acronym, but start the sentence with Capital, then small ones and so on. Nobody has ever told me otherwise.

Maybe I do need to go and do it in all caps to be at the same tune with anyone else?

Thoughts?

Regards

Mixtli

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

I suspect because it's just easier to read and less ambiguous. And to that point, the mechanical aids created over the years to assist in adding text to a drawing, be it lettering guides, Leroy-sets, stick-on transfers and even the 'Varityper' that was used to add long notes to Drawings (at least the one we used in our Drafting office back in the 70's) was all-caps. Besides, it was referred to as 'lettering', NOT 'writing'. The real document was the Drawing itself. The text is there to add clarity and to provide non-graphical information.

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: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

ASME Y14.2M standard states that upper case letters shall be used for all lettering on drawings.
Lower case may be used to correctly represent things like equipment markings or standard designations like "mm"

If your customer requires compliance to ASME Y14.100, then ASME Y14.2M is automatically included.

The rest is up to you. Compliance to the standards is otherwise voluntary.

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

If following the ASME Y14 series of standards, upper case lettering is required on drawings with the exception of units (i.e. mm).

"Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively."
-Dalai Lama XIV

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

And, a little history, is that drawings used to be done by hand. By forcing all caps (GOTHIC lettering or SLANT lettering), every draftsman assured a clearly legible print. Mixing upper and lower case... well, we've seen people's hand writing.

1/8" high hand lettering was definitely a skilled art, as was the use of an erasing shield.

--Scott
www.aerornd.com

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

"... the use of an erasing shield" as was the electric eraser (cut the tip off with an exacto for very accurate use) once they became available.

"Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively."
-Dalai Lama XIV

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

(OP)
Hey John,
Is it not easier to read if it is written following standard grammar rules? I think the standard grammar rules take precedent, no?
and about ambiguity, is "HSS" a word? or an acronym? how about someone typed the "S" instead of the "A", since they are closer together, and wanted to say "HAS" as in have in second person. As I see it, ambiguity could work in both directions, no?

I learnt to draft on the board, with a Leroy set, and making all the line width equal was essential for the presentation if one was lazy giving the right space for the g's and the y's and the j's, so to avoid different line width, we just went all caps.

Aside from this, anybody have another justification for the all caps?

Cheers!!

M.

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

I have never seen a drawing that was not all caps. Doesn't matter if it was done to ASME, ISO, BS or DIN specs, this year or 100 years ago. The OP is free to do what ever they want but "standard grammar rules" definitely do NOT apply.

----------------------------------------

The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

lps dgallup!

"Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively."
-Dalai Lama XIV

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

Ironically, text in all-caps is not easier to read than mixed case text – at least when it comes to passages of text. Mixed-case text exists for a reason – and legibility and ease / speed of comprehension is a big part of it. When did you last read a novel which was printed in all upper-case text?

IRONICALLY, TEXT IN ALL-CAPS IS NOT EASIER TO READ THAN MIXED CASE TEXT – AT LEAST WHEN IT COMES TO PASSAGES OF TEXT. MIXED-CASE TEXT EXISTS FOR A REASON – AND LEGIBILITY AND EASE / SPEED OF COMPREHENSION IS A BIG PART OF IT. WHEN DID YOU LAST READ A NOVEL WHICH WAS PRINTED IN ALL UPPER-CASE TEXT?

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

Drawings are not works of literature. Drawings use ALL CAPS in circumstances where they would otherwise be entirely inappropriate.

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

Using capital letters only has a number of advantages over mixed case. For one, the lack of descenders means that lines of text cannot interfere with each other vertically with any non-zero vertical spacing for the baseline. There are only 26 upper case (English) letters; lower case would add another 26, doubling the number of letters. There are a few lower case letters that resemble upper case ones - lower case "l" and upper case "I" in sans-serif fonts are typically identical. Finally, lower case letters typically contain a significant number of curves, making writing them far more complex than upper case letters. For a long time data processing did not support mixed case letters, so early automation would reinforce upper case only.

At this point the use of computers has made these all of little consequence and it is not clear, besides tradition, why it persists. I suppose it's why paper sizes for formats still persist. There's no pressing reason to change what has worked for the last 100 years.

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

I think the biggest reason is for legibility when the drawing is photographically reduced and/or enlarged. I say this because while maps and drawings today, or back to about the 1900's, use all caps, earlier versions use script fonts and/or printed mixed case. Google historical plat maps for townships (mechanical drawings seem to be harder to find) from before the 1900's i.e. when film cameras and englarging/reducing equipment became common).

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

I usually do drawings and markups in Bluebeam. Where I can switch to make notes in mixed upper and lower case is certainly not obvious, so my computer generated drawings have upper case only.

If you are offended by the things I say, imagine the stuff I hold back.

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

I think the standards have not kept up with technology once again. In the 1970's they taught us that multi-line text had to have equal lines and to achieve that you couldn't allow the letters that extend below the line. That was it. No other reason was given. Today you couldn't find many draftsmen who even know what an eraser shield or Leroy are. They're in AutoCAD, SolidWorks, etc. Producing better drawings that communicate way better than the majority of the old drawings ever achieve.

I've done a lot of patent searches lately and when the old hand-drafted drawings were done properly, they were a thing of beauty, but so many of them are just plain lousy. Pretty. But leaders not going to the right place, labels incorrect, and notes illegible. I start seeing that kind of nonsense around WWI and continuing until the 1990's when drawings start being done in CAD and the general quality is significantly better. The drawings generally are not something you would put on the wall, but the information is correct. CAD is our present (and likely our future). All CAPS is a holdover from a different era and needs to go away.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

I have a General Plan of Farm Bridge and Abutments from Engravings of Plans, Profiles and Maps Illustrating the Standard Models from which are Built the Important Structures on the New York State Canals. The plan was part of an accompanying document for the State Engineer's Report for 1858. Only the drawing title is in all caps. The notes are all initial caps with following lower case.

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

(OP)
So far no good reason other than keeping what has been going on for 100 years.....
I remember using 1.5 line width to be able to draft the "j" with my Leroy set, after some experience acquired, I would be able to accommodate for the "j" type letters by eye, just extending the spacing between letters accordingly.

Anyways, these days everybody uses computers I hope. I drafted my last by hand in 1993, I think, when I had Acad 10 and a pen plotter.
So why don't we switch for a better looking drawing. Also, I use bluebeam for iPAd and can do mixed letter no problem.

The reason, as I read here, for writing in all caps is no more, so.............

Cheers

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

... so someone on the ASME Y14 committee needs to step up and propose a change.

Actually, doesn't ASME have a form to submit requested changes to the committee? If we each submit a similar request, maybe it'll get revised in the next release. (I'm not well versed in other standards organizations' equivalent specifications, but those should be revised also.)

--Scott
www.aerornd.com

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

Posting here as a dinosaur who used hand lettering Leroy , an eraser shield with both a hand eraser and a power eraser . I would voice the opinion that the biggest driver for upper case lettering was the practice of Micro filming, in the late 60s, at that time, a minimum size for lettering on drawings was 3/16" ( 5mm) so that they could be read with a viewer. Lower case lettering on those drawings was just about un readable.
B.E.

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

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

I still have my eraser shield and the sharpener for my mechanical drafting pencil as well as a full set of circle and ellipse templates. While I never personally had a Leroy set (the company had one) I do have some lettering templates and of course several compasses of different sizes, as well as a couple of triangles and drafting scales. And last but not least, my old horse-hair brush for dusting off my drawings

Oh, and I almost forgot, up on a shelf in the garage I have an old Bruning Drafting machine (the image below is identical to mine), complete with scales, which I bought back in the mid-70's for $10 when our office replaced the old parallel 'pulley & band' drafting machines with the newer horizontal/vertical track-type machines (a couple years later we started to buy CAD/CAM systems). They also got us new drafting stools and I bought my old one for$5 and still use it at my workbench in the garage.

I also have a drafting table in the garage, but it's currently being used as a radio stand for another antique, a Hammarlund HQ-180AC general coverage radio receiver, vintage 1965, as seen below:

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: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

JohnRBaker,

Here is me on my drafting board at home. This is my first attempt at drafting for over twenty years. The whole exercise takes half and hour. Feel free to scroll ahead.

--
JHG

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

Drawoh, the only thing you are missing is a lettering guide taped to your green mating. I used an E-sized print of horizontal lines spaced 1/8" apart over the entire sheet. Really easy to see through the vellum or mylar.

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

Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of these Forums?

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

Text is in all caps on drawings because technical folk are usually not very concerned with adhering to the rules for capitalization that were taught in elementary school, they are more focused on content. Instead of having to think about what is or is not capitalized, we use all caps. Lazy? Perhaps. But does it really make a difference? Besides, those who read the drawings don't care that its in all caps either. Its just easier to turn on caps lock and type away.

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

I have done that in the past, and I considered doing it this time. Note how I deliberately used a lead holder, and not a 0.5mm pencil, especially for the line work. I was trying to use old tools.

--
JHG

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

Grammar doesn't apply simply because they're notes, not sentences, and capital lettering of notes is proper English.

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

drawoh,
I noticed you using a lead holder, but you were cheating , you were using a rotary pencil sharpener. the purist would have used a file and an emory board to fashion a proper chisel shape for the lead, so that the line width did not vary as the lead wore.
Of course when the Pentel pencil came out with different lead diameters, you did not have to worry about that anymore.
B.E.

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

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

No, you still had to rotate the Pentel mechanical pencils while scribing the lines in order to maintain consistent line width. Otherwise they would bevel on one side - because everyone knows how to properly tilt their pencil - and cause a calligraphy look to your lettering.

--Scott
www.aerornd.com

### RE: Hello all, Most of the drawings, a

A chisel point is used on compass leads because you cannot rotate it while drawing. But those have to be sharpened regularly.

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