Drafting today is much different than it was 10 years ago. Originally, drafting was done by hand with a parallel ruler and series of drafting triangles. With the dawn of computers, drafting software has been developed to help make the drafting process quicker and easier. Ultimately, drafting comes down to personal preference and how the draftsman prefers to produce his drawings.
Drafting by Hand Advantages
Drafting by hand is a time-proven method that allows the draftsman to integrate a much more personal feel than if he was simply clicking away on a computer. For example, a draftsman must become comfortable with different leads of varying hardness to create proper line weights for drawings. Overall, drawings done by hand represent a direct link from the head to the hand of the designer without computer software in the middle of the design intent.
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Drafting by Hand Disadvantages
While drafting by hand is the foundation for designing, it is often less practical in today's workplace. Most engineers and architects use CAD, computer-aided drafting, programs that allow for drawings that are more mathematically precise than a hand drawing. Also, the computer allows for a mass reproduction of drawings and mass editing of drawings quickly and efficiently. When drawing by hand, one must retrace an entire drawing to make it presentable. Also, editing a drawing requires erasing and redrawing when hand drafting.
Drafting Software Advantages
Drafting software allows for the designer to draft more quickly and precisely simply by clicking the mouse. The designer can type exact dimensions and the computer will draw these more accurately than the hand ever could. This is most useful when drawing curves, ellipses or other intricate shapes that require mathematical calculation. Another advantage to computer-aided drafting is that many times these programs can be linked to 3D modeling programs to take design to the next level.
Drafting Software Disadvantages
Drafting using computer software also has its downfalls. For one, the computer often constrains designs. Unless all of the program's functions are known to their full extent, the designer is limited by what he knows about the program. Another disadvantage is simply dragging and dropping instead of designing. For example, instead of designing his own furnishings or mechanical systems, the designer can easily import these items with the click of a mouse, ultimately leaving intricate details out of the drawing.