CAD drafters are specialists in computer-aided design (CAD) who use CAD software to create technical drawings to be used in product manufacturing and building construction. They are responsible for including product specifications, codes and methods to be used in the manufacturing process. The drawings created by CAD drafters contain information about the materials to be used in production, as well as about dimensions of the product which is being manufactured.
CAD drafters use CAD drafting systems to create technical drawings and detailed schematics which are then stored on computers, so that they can be accessed by all members of the team working on a given project. The drawings can also be directly programmed into automated manufacturing systems.
CAD drafters are responsible for incorporating the input of specialists from the relevant fields, such as engineering, electronics or architecture, when creating final versions of technical drawings. They can specialize in different areas, including civil, mechanical and architectural drafting, and their job responsibilities will vary accordingly.
CAD drafters must have an advanced knowledge of computer-aided design and drafting tools, as well as strong general knowledge of the principles and techniques used in design. They must be familiar with both CAD and manual drafting principles and methods, as well as with the basics of engineering. Strong IT skills and proficiency in Microsoft Office software are very important.
Strong communication skills are essential, as CAD drafters regularly consult with experts from related fields, from engineers and architects to surveyors, to get the technical details necessary to complete drawings and drafts. They must also be able to read and interpret drawings created by other drafters.
CAD drafters must have at least an associate's degree, with training in design, drafting, computer graphics, science, engineering, and math. Formal training in drafting systems and CAD design is usually a requirement. Candidates with a bachelor's degree in design usually get access to a wider range of quality jobs in the field, but a four-year degree is generally not a job requirement. Any combination of relevant training and experience that provides the required skills and knowledge is sufficient to most employers in the field. However, employers will generally favour candidates with the right industry knowledge and several years of experience working with specific drafting tools.
CAD drafters create drawings and plans for the manufacturing of various products and construction of different types of structures. They are responsible for coordinating the gathering of relevant data and specifications and for incorporating these into technical drawings. They often use CAD drafting tools to create multiple versions of a specific design, so that teams of specialists working on the project may discuss the best options for the product which is being developed for manufacturing. Drafters are also typically responsible for modifying and revising drafts, maps and drawings, copying project drawings, and creating manual drawings for various projects when necessary. CAD drafters also maintain project files and records, and are responsible for updating them.
These professionals are usually employed full-time and work 40-hour weeks, with occasional overtime to meet deadlines. They typically report to project managers, chief engineers, and engineering designers.
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