Drafting Symbols

"Symbols Used on Plans and Blueprints"

Drafting Symbols are icons, found on architectural and engineering drawings, which represent various construction trade items.

Nowadays, it is usually the job of a CAD (computer aided drafting) operator or drafts-person to place these symbols on professional drawings, sketched out by designers, architects and engineers.

Twenty years ago most symbols for drafting were hand drawn on a drafting board, although some draftsmen still work with these manual methods today.

Plans that depict architectural features, such as walls, doors, windows and so forth, would contain architectural drafting symbols.

These blue print symbols are accurately placed on scaled drawings to inform contractors, builders, plan reviewers, etc., where certain features are located.

Additionally, the same concept follows for other trades, such as plumbing, electrical, structural and landscaping.

Plumbing symbols are placed on mechanical drawings to show all concerned where hot and cold water pipes, sanitary sewer lines, valves and tees are to be located during construction.

Electrical symbols also tell the electrical contractor where to position electrical outlets and switches, ceiling fans and more.

On a set of construction drawings, a legend is usually included that denotes what each blueprint symbol represents.

Using a legend keeps the set of plans less congested with information, as it sums up what each symbol means on one page.

CAD drafters are always looking to make their lives easier by reducing repetitive tasks, such as redrawing detailed symbols.

These symbols are known to Auto CAD drafters as “blocks”.

Blocks are pre-drawn symbols that can be quickly inserted into a drawing. Most of the time these blocks can be used “as is”, requiring little manipulation.

Although many CAD symbols for drafting can be found across the net as free AutoCAD blocks, it is often worthwhile, to both the CAD drafter and employer, to obtain an entire library of useful symbols.

Using pre-drawn symbols will save the CAD drafting operator’s time, thus saving the company money.

The time savings usually far outweighs the cost required to purchase the drafting block CAD library.


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