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Lazy designers/drafters
12

Lazy designers/drafters

Lazy designers/drafters

(OP)
thread731-193707: Lazy designers/drafters

This topic is very interesting to me as are the opinions that have been expressed here but I am not seeing my side of the story being voiced. I'll try to keep it short.

I am a CAD monkey. I have referred to myself as a designer past depending on the position. Some may call it embellishing but I don't feel I'm wrong if, for example, I was trusted making decisions as to how and where components were mounted (even when all GTOL is at +/- .005 :D) or what side of the street a trench was going to be.

The position I hold right now is new to me. It is a sales environment in a construction field where time is a factor. We rent/sell products and when requested provide drawings for concrete forming. We have a large product line which makes for many, many solutions to any problem.

I've seen a lot of complaints here about drafters being lazy and won't doubt them, but I think it needs to be said that often in my position a lot of time can be saved if engineering would keep in mind the difference between their position and ours.

I am often asked in this position why I did "this" and not "this", or why didn't I just do "this" and it's to the point where, now, my answer is always "because I'm a drafter not an engineer".

I am onboard when it comes to learning from mistakes being unacceptable. Being consistent is an absolute priority when drafting.

When someone asks what I do and I say drafter without fail it seems, they'll have the notion I can draw them a house or design a bridge. I'll explain to them it's more like this: Someone will bring me a song they wrote and want other people to hear. I make sure the mic is on sound is coming from both speakers and can be heard clearly. Whether or not it's a good song and all the parts are in order is (and should be for good reasons) on the engineer.

If you made it this far thanks. I must get back to work now. Probably look like I’ve just been staring at the screen for 45 minutes.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Drafter: capable of turning hand drawn lines into straight lines on a computer. Best employed in offices with engineers who don't know how or don't want to use CAD and draw everything by hand. I personally have little use for them. And as turnovers continue they won't be employable much longer unless they're entry level.

Designer: not quite an engineer, but technically competent and knows how (in my case) a building goes together (perhaps it's a car or an airplane or a pump station for others). I can hand him/her a set of architectural drawings wither basic direction and get back a reasonable framing arrangement, beam locations, etc. If they're really good, maybe even an initial beam size. Then I can do the engineering and "fill in the blanks" and have them finish out a nice drawing set that I can QC and submit. (Process is greatly shortened for the benefit of a forum post...) These folks are incredibly valuable and help make for a very efficient workflow. I'd love to find a good one to hire right now.

In both cases you can have those who are lazy and those who are hard working. At my last job we had a drafter that was incredibly hard working. Didn't know a thing but could draw like a mad man. Over time he learned what we were doing and grew into my definition of a designer - and a really good one at that. We also had a designer. Knew quite a bit and could have done really well...but he was lazy. You'd give two very similar projects out, one to him and one to another designer. The other designer would be done and this guy would just be coming to you with questions. I can't tell you how many times I walked up behind him in his cubicle with my project on the screen but his phone tucked down in his lap watching cartoons. Everyone knew he did it, but management wouldn't do anything about it.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

(OP)
Thank you for your time phamENG. As I read your description of a designer I was thinking to myself, "how is a designer capable of all this if not through on-the-job, trial-and-error experience?". It seems to me be a tall order unless you rehire or poach the competition. This notion was reaffirmed when I read about your draftsman. But...

Please tell me you see the irony in calling a draftsman lazy if he isn't lightening an engineers workload.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

great post pham...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

If you're smart enough to be a good drafter, you absolutely are smart enough to design.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Our best CAD people are on the same payscale as engineers (slightly meaningless as the ranges inside a grade are huge). The older generation tended to have gone the toolroom apprenticeship route, so they have a great appreciation of manufacturing methods as used in our plants, where we turned cast iron ingots and rolls of sheet metal into complete cars. All gone now.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

3
I've seen less laziness amongst designers and draftsmen than the effect of micromanagement and other demeaning attitudes in lousy organizations causing a robotic response. In those circumstances designers and drafties will do exactly as asked, no more/no less, no matter how good or bad the idea bc jackwad arrogant engineers and managers have spent years nitpicking pointless details and insisting on endless changes for no benefit. As I've told several, if you want every detail to be done exactly your way then go stand over the designer/drafty all day while they work, otherwise dont open your mouth unless a detail is incorrect. I've seen the same with engineers when a manager spends hours belittling subordinate engineers by nitpicking every detail, offers a lousy half-baked suggestion for improvement, then wonders why someone wasted 12 hours on that lousy idea. Enough of this treatment and folks become robots with the only cure being a change in management.

As to the future of designers (3d) and draftsmen (2d), designers are virtually extinct IME having been returned ~Y2k to the drafting depts from whence they came in the 80s. In the auto industry I cannot think of an engineering role outside software development where one could survive at most companies without being competent with 3d CAD, its how everybody from the core design team to niche analysts to test teams communicate. Draftsmen converting 3d to 2d OTOH have a solid future IMHO. Corporate manufacturing usually has 1k+ page drafting standards defining every cell which no engineer has time to learn, and smaller companies generally realize the marketing/sales value of high quality prints so usually want dedicated draftsmen. Model-based definition has potential to replace some/all drafting but I've seen almost no growth in the 15 years I've been (very rarely) using it.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Shrugs I run ADAMS and do other vehicle dynamics and other stuff and don't have 3d cad on any of my computers. Our CAD runs on hardpoints and the master numbers are in spreadsheets, not CAD.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

JoeVan - yes, a designer has to learn on the job, just like every engineer and every other professional or tradesman out there. I learned a lot in school, but it was only through on the job experience that I learned how to apply those principles to the real world. A doctor learns a lot in med school but has to spend years in residency before they can practice alone. An electrician can spend 2 years going through an advanced tech school, but until that first sensation of 450V across your hand when you screw up, you don't really respect what electricity can do. We all learn most of what we need on the job. So become a drafter first (being able to draw is sort of key to all of this), and then learn about what you're drawing.

I don't call somebody lazy for not doing somebody else's work. But I also know several drafters who are appalled by the notion that they might be expected to think about what they're drawing. Are they lazy? Not if they draw what they're given in a timely manner. But are they useful? Not really (at least not in my workflow).

Managers, engineers, and designers/drafters need to be clear on the job description up front. Using my distinctions above, if management hires a drafter the engineer shouldn't expect them to behave as a designer. If management hires a designer then I would call the designer lazy or accuse them of shirking their duties if they didn't participate in the expected level of design.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Good posts by both phamENG and CWB1, gave each a star. It always helps me in these situations to recall that people are individuals, not categories. I mean that there are lazy designers and energetic designers, lazy doctors and energetic doctors, lazy police officers and energetic police officers, lazy teachers and energetic teachers, ad infinitum.

Also people are situationally different in their approach. From personal experience I can tell you of times I busted my backside to show initiative for leadership that challenged and inspired me, and how I became a mindless robot, doing exactly what I was told when stuck with poor leadership.

Going back to my early days when a lot of engineering firms used drafters, I found that a drafter who had seen a lot of drawings was a valuable resource of information. Sometimes they could tell me, "In most of my drawings the engineer solved this issue by X method. You chose Y method and I thought you might not know about the X method." Sometimes I did not know about method X and from the exchange I learned a new way to solve the challenge, and sometimes method X was a better choice.

so I agree with OP that there are stories of lazy designers/drafters and some are certainly true, but that is normal in any vocation and that focusing on that really does not benefit anyone.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Generalizations are usually a bit silly but most of us make them, for instance my issues with Industrial Designers (thread731-254646: Working with industrial designers being just one example) have led me to have a healthy skepticism of them.

For another generalization, I've rarely in my career for the last 10 years encountered anyone (Engineer, Designer, Draftsman, Outsourced CAD monkey)... who can 'draft' worth a damn and they were few and far between the 5 or so years before that so 'y'all suck'.bigsmile

It would be nice to occasionally meet someone that does the little things like rough tolerance analysis as they go along to help weed out poor design approaches rather than rush to the pretty model so that project management & E-staff get all excited and chant 'send it to the molder' then get all grumpy when I point out potential tolerance concerns.

Even better currently I get to try and make that persons design work by magically sprinkling 'GD&T' all over their half assed attempts at drawings. Never mind about process capability just put numbers that make it work (even though the math doesn't allow that even at RSS if you pay even the slightest attention to manufactures claimed tolerance abilities).

Oh well, if we're lucky the company founder may get his dream of modifying each battery pack on the line to fit into the end product.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

I'm not even sure drafters really exist in my field (AEC). With CAD, and now Revit, the engineer just does everything at once. Sure, there are higher and lower level engineering task. But a person who just drafts from a paper sketch doesn't seem to exist anymore. I try to imagine how a drafter would even save me time. Like when I draw a duct, I need to determine the air flow rate. The size is calculated in Revit (and not by hand or 3rd party software like in the old days). It is just easier for me to do it myself instead of explaining to someone how to do it.

Where I work the Civil engineers used to have drafter (paper!). 20 or so years when they started using MicroStation. All the drafters got reassigned away from any design work to other jobs since the engineers just use CAD now.

My work (HVAC, some architectural, lighting etc.) is just done by myself and I literally do everything alone. I never can curse the drafter, designer, or engineer for any problems....

Drafting (or correctly BI-modeling) is what an engineer has to start to learn in college or at the beginning of a career. But it is a skill or tool to put the actual engineering into reality. It isn't a job in itself unless it is a BIM manager career. But ultimately this BIM manager needs to be a very capable person who also knows the design.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

4
At one time I thought there was a hierarchy of engineers over designers and drafters. Now, I just look it as a job that I don't want to do and if I can find someone who can take a little direction and run with it, they are worth their weight in gold. I would get too bored with a lot of the stuff a designer has to do to do it well. There are a lot of a lazy drafters and designers but the good ones are peers with engineers and I don't care that they get paid the same. I think now, I would get livid, if a younger engineer got lippy with a good designer.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

2
I know I am old-school, but I really appreciate a good drafter. My company is moving toward having the engineers do the drafting, and our drawings are usually muddled messes. Notes overlapping object lines, inconsistent line work, too much repetition, imprecise geometry, odd notes repeated on every page. It's pretty much a nightmare. One could argue that the engineers are too lazy to turn out good drawings, but why not have drafters who are experts in making drawings clear and presentable.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

A trained and skilled drafter has the potential to really booger up a project. Imagine the chaos that would ensue when under-competent designers and engineers have to check and approve drawings they don't understand.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Companies are free to do as they wish, but sacrificing print quality to save money is pretty silly IMHO given the potential consequences.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

JoeVan1979,

How many people today are pure drafters? In other words, how many CAD operators have zero design authority, and who spend their days carefully following the instructions of engineers, with the engineers doing all the thinking?

I am a mechie on SolidWorks. 3D CAD is powerful, but not the least bit idiot resistant. It is a design tool, and nobody should be allowed to touch it unless they are trusted to make decisions. That rules out drafters and CAD operators. It is very quick and easy for designers to prepare adequate fabrication and assembly drawings, since they know how everything works.

Back in the day when we worked on drafting boards, there was a place for guys with good lettering and line-work, but now? I am not totally sure those days existed back then.

--
JHG

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

There is still a place for drawings that are complete, concise, and subject to only one interpretation. This seems to be missing in many enterprises.

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

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

One thing that deprecated the pure drafter as a job was the constant coordination required to get an engineer's vision onto CAD via hand sketches and verbal communications. Getting a mental vision of anything onto something concrete through another person is often fraught with misunderstandings, etc.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

I recall a project about 30 years back... I was looking at the CAD operator's screen and there was a line through one of the corners and I asked the operator what the line was... guess what, "It was a property line." He was an operator, not a drafter/designer...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Like most other thing; it depends.
I've many times had a draftsman pick up an error or suggest a better way of doing something.
I've also many times had draftsmen who couldn't do basics or worse, didn't care.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

I think drafters/designers are a very valuable asset. They look at a project from a different perspective than an engineer. Typically, an engineer takes a myopic view of a design and misses the bigger picture. A drafter provides a second set of eyes to catch errors and fit the individual design into the project as a whole. At times the drafting process seems slow but they need to be thorough,

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

I started out as a draftsman. I think all engineers should learn drafting skills, and machining skills, to be an engineer. I have worked with so many people that do not know how to create a drawing correctly, or dimension/GD&T correctly. Have a crappy drawing that is unreadable or not dimensioned correctly can add cost to a part.
I also feel anyone that creates drawings should get experience working in a machine shop.

ctopher, CSWP
SolidWorks '19
ctophers home
SolidWorks Legion

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Yes, I worked summers for better then fours years as a Draftsman while I was in engineering school and during my last summer I was doing some basic design type work. When I graduated, the company offered me job as an machine designer. They gave me seniority credit for 25 months on day one and I didn't have to go through any sort of probation period, as they already knew my capabilities and qualifications. Besides, they offered me a salary which ended-up near high end of the range earned the year by BSME graduates from my university. Of course, I took the job and worked there another nine years, which means that when I left, I had over 10 years of seniority, with my summer months included, I left with a fully-vested pension, which I'm still collecting today.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
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: Lazy designers/drafters

JMO after growing up in a diesel shop and working a decade in the trades before college, but drafting and machine work are both distinct enough from engineering that the knowledge and skills gained working in those positions are nearly useless to an engineer. Restoring antiques, renovating houses, and any number of other hobby activities have served me equally as well as the automotive, machine ops, and welding certs I've collected. If I had to set any sort of arbitrary non-college prerequisite for junior engineers, it'd simply be that they spend a few years living a low-income lifestyle to both gain healthy conservative financial habits and force/teach them to repair things rather than hiring others.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Quote (CWB1)

but drafting and machine work are both distinct enough from engineering that the knowledge and skills gained working in those positions are nearly useless to an engineer
Sorry, but I disagree. Those skills are not useless. They can be used for effectively designing parts. Knowing standards radii, holes, etc, and how to create them, helps with scheduling and pricing of parts.
Most engineers that have never stepped foot in a machine shop will argue with me. A lot of them think they know how to make a part. I see non-standard radii and holes called out all the time, and on illegible drawings, that create long lead times to make the part.

ctopher, CSWP
SolidWorks '19
ctophers home
SolidWorks Legion

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Drafting skills and site experience are invaluable to a structural engineer, IMHO.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Quote:

Sorry, but I disagree. Those skills are not useless. They can be used for effectively designing parts. Knowing standards radii, holes, etc, and how to create them, helps with scheduling and pricing of parts.
Most engineers that have never stepped foot in a machine shop will argue with me. A lot of them think they know how to make a part. I see non-standard radii and holes called out all the time, and on illegible drawings, that create long lead times to make the part.

I never said those skills/knowledge were useless, I said they were nearly useless. A good design engineer needs a macroscopic/mile-high knowledge of both drafting and fabrication among other specialties. They don't need to intimately know every detail of workholding, cutting/grinding/forming tool geometry/selection, speeds or feeds for a large variety of materials, inspection, nor how a specific machine's flex will impact its accuracy and repeatability near travel limits or various machine controls' programming quirks. They also don't need to know the best/most efficient way of drafting a 10-sheet print, only how to read/understand them and draft a half-decent prototype print. Many learn that in college design, drafting, and manufacturing courses, and a few hard lessons in the school shop/labs fabricating class projects. Others become reasonably competent on the job thanks to standard process designed to reject and prevent garbage from getting to drafting, nvm suppliers. Design isnt really a field necessitating much "real" job-shop or drafting experience.

I was groomed as a kid to takeover the parents' diesel shop, the grandparents job shop, and several other family businesses on the homestead. The first two did everything from working on custom semis to automotive machine work and hydraulics in-house, field welding, and line-boring on heavy equipment. Consequently I have far more formal education and certs in the trades than most bc of it, which actually became a pretty sore subject when siblings and I walked away for other careers. As an engineer I've worked primarily in design of cast, forged, welded, and machined parts and yes, I am better for the previous experience as I am all of my life's experiences. I have also known many who were my equals from entirely unrelated experience tho so wouldn't put mine above others, even hobby experiences. JMO but junior engineers would learn far more spending a year studying my shelves of trades texts than a year spent on the shop floor bc it would give them a more useful, broad but mile-high knowledge base.

RE: Lazy designers/drafters

Quote:

nearly useless to a USELESS engineer

Funny, that might hurt if I wasn't consistently complimented and paid near the top of the industry for exactly the opposite reason.

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