Drafting machine arm

Drafting machine arm DEFAULT

In this era of advanced workstation PCs and computer aided drafting and manufacturing (CAD-CAM), a traditional mechanical drafting machine is still a very useful tool in technical drawing used in many engineering offices and drafting rooms.

Using an Indusrial Drawing Board

A drafting machine consists of an articulated protractor head that allows an angular rotation and a pair of scales attached at a right angle for rotation of the table. Drafting machine work is achieved with some combination of other instruments including a drafting compass, T-square, triangle, and drafting mechanical pencils. These tools are used to measure all angles and to draw horizontal and vertical lines.

Standard drafting machines are the universal type and the track type. Both have multiple, different graduation scales. They are rigidly built machines and can accurately hold layout projects. They also provide a visible view of the drawing beneath. Graduations and numbers are on the underside of a scale, which helps to avoid parallax distortion. The graduation scales are protected by raising the rib to prevent capillary action when inking. Scales are provided from 32 and 50 parts to the inch. A standard drafting machine has a universal chuck to accommodate other drafting machines, available in 12" and 18 " lengths, with the graduation parts to the inch. Standard drafting machines come in different sizes, with many having full protective plastic dust covers large enough for both the machine and drawing surfaces.

Track-type drafting machines are complete with a drawing board that features a modern compact, precision design. Functional drawing boards with a precision ball bearing, vertical sliding track drafting system and a brake lever on vertical sliding track offer three positions. Double action hinged system allows the head and scales to be tilled vertically from the broad surface. It will also compensate for any broad irregularities. 150 degree drawing head with two sets of Plexiglas scales is included- one set is metric and the other is in full and half inch graduations. The tracking drafting machines are designed to have an easy rotation of the protractor head with a quick release mechanism when depressed by a thumb. They also have index settings at comfortable 15 degree with intermediate lock and good adjustment

Drafting Work Station - Components

A standard mechanical drafting station will comprise some fluorescent lights, a locking desk with a see-through pull-up top, a built in lock with key, a power strip, drafting board mat, board riser, steel backstop, top support, and laminated work surfaces. These work stations are designed for typical technical drafting operations. Components are available for different configurations of the stations.

Helpful Tips for Users

Mechanical drafting is highly skillful. New users will have the important task of developing drawings needed to manufacture a wide array of mechanical devices and machineries. The occupation is a good choice for individuals who are mechanically inclined and detailed oriented or new users wanting to make careers in mechanical drafting. Drafting is a specialist career in technical drawing that solely concentrates on defining blue print of machines and components used by engineers on a daily basis.

It can help users develop solid drafting techniques, skills, both knowledge of machine components, manufacturing processes and applications. Users can also develop basic drafting skills and learn the different terminologies used in the drafting processes, including projections and geometrical methods. This core mechanical drafting will teach new users how to draw, interpret, and present orthographic and isometric designs of mechanical products and their individual components.

Mechanical drafting focuses on dimensioning and tolerances, sectioning, fastenings, and pictorial drawings. Mechanical drafting goes into further instruction regarding areas like mechanical and structural detailing, contour mapping, electrical-piping-fluid power schematics and kinematics.

To help and support new users in a mechanical drafting career, new users will learn how to operate the drafting machine, identify drafting tools, be able to set square paper, understand the use of scales (like horizontal and vertical types), and arrange title blocks. The user must also be familiar with protractor dial/arm adjustment and use the mechanical drafting machine to produce technical drawings and other conditions in force relating to the job description.

Conclusion

The mechanical drafting machine has long been a conventional (table) method used in many industries to produce technical drawings of mechanical parts and components of mechanical system. They evolved to use a predictable, combined set of specific tools so any draftsman would know what to expect to have available when using one. Today employers and drafters are looking for computer aided design because it is both versatile and fast in drafting production. However, there are still many of these machines around, and they still find use. Both the CNC/CAD/CAM technician and the draftsperson today provide a company with manufacturing support.

References

Mechanical drafting www.draftingzone.com

Vemco Drafting Products www.vemcocorp.com

Drafting Steals www.draftingsteal.com

Image: Courtesy of Vemco

Sours: https://www.brighthubengineering.com/machine-design/120009-using-an-industrial-drawing-board/
  1. 05-21-2017, 03:22 AM#1
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  2. 05-21-2017, 07:45 AM#2
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    Not sure what you mean by "not stable"?

    Do you mean the clutch slips in certain positions but not in others? That would be kind of odd.

    I have several drafting machines though none of your brand.
    Generally the detent and the 2 clutches are separate functions. There will be a clutch to set the scales. Basically, rotate the big knob to free the index and rotate to put the scale in a detent, say -0-. Probably every 15 deg. but it could be other. Then with the index solidly in a detent, find the clutch lever that lets you rotate the scale head so the scales are horizontal and vertical. Set the scales, lock that clutch.

    next, try rotating the detent out of -0-, (H/V) to say 7° using the scale, now find the clutch that will lock and hold this.

    (Note: If the clutch that locks the head to the scale instead of letting it detent is currently engaged, you will have to find and release it to do the above steps.)

    Once you have identified those 3 functions, you can determine which clutch to adjust and probably start to get an inkling of "how" to do it from inspection.

    Another thought - if what you meant by "not stable" is that the detent does not engage fully at some points, then you probably have to clean the fuzz out of it, or give it a shot of penetrating oil to loosen some gum in that area? Usually just wiggling the knob will cure it, though.

    smt

  3. 05-21-2017, 08:00 AM#3
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    its sad but i have seen a lot of drafting tables go in the scrap lugger. engineer would be embarrassed to use as everything is CAD now. even if engineer did a drawing that way he would get criticism from other engineers for using it

  4. 05-21-2017, 08:12 AM#4
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    I'm not a professional CAD person or engineer so I find it much faster to noodle away sketching designs on paper first before CADing em. Personally, I'd like to have a vertical drafts table like the OP's friends. Old fashioned? Yup!

    Lucky7

  5. 05-21-2017, 08:17 AM#5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky7View Post
    I'm not a professional CAD person or engineer so I find it much faster to noodle away sketching designs on paper first before CADing em. Personally, I'd like to have a vertical drafts table like the OP's friends. Old fashioned? Yup!

    Lucky7
    most CAD you have to do a tutorial following a book or ebook. then it is 100x easier to do CAD. literally not do tutorial and you can be bad and slow at CAD for decades. i have also done tutorial and after a few days i could do CAD on my own. many different programs i have done each having to do or learn the tutorials first. if i had no tutorial literally many programs i could not figure out how to use software ever. too many hidden features

  6. 05-21-2017, 08:50 AM#6
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    Making a living with a generic one

  7. 05-21-2017, 09:10 AM#7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF_TomBView Post
    engineer would be embarrassed to use as everything is CAD now.
    I'm in the middle of engineering school right now, got "certified" in AutoCAD in highschool and last semster had a 3D modeling class with Creo.

    I'd love to have that drafting machine myself. Really should practice my engineering/architerual handwriting. Never quite got the hang of it unfortunately.

  8. 05-21-2017, 05:47 PM#8
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    Quote Originally Posted by alskdjfhgView Post
    I'd love to have that drafting machine myself. Really should practice my engineering/architerual handwriting. Never quite got the hang of it unfortunately.
    Matt -

    The OP machine is a beauty. I'm one of the last of the slide rule engineers - graduated in 1970. And I actually did much more complex drawings in the 2 years of drafting I took in high school than I did in college. I was never great at lettering - and arrow heads gave me fits - but then I had a very demanding high school teacher. But it paid off later. And I was always amazed at the engineers I ran into over the years who could not draw at all - nor read a print. Not many, but they do exist.

    I just enjoy using a board - have a 60s vintage in the shop that is a refugee from the IR plant that used to be here years ago, surplussed when they went CAD. I'm technically literate on a computer but just seem to enjoy it more on a board and for me it helps the thinking/designing process.

    But then a retired engineer does not have to make rate anymore, nor please anyone but myself when it comes to the drawings.

    Dale

  9. 05-21-2017, 06:09 PM#9
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    I sold my A0 drawing board - parallel motion only, but still have my Rotring Rapid A3 Rotring Rapid Drafting Board A3 52243 + Drawing Head 522345 | What's it worth

    I can't recall how much but I know it was a lot of money when I bought it, around about 1972, virtually ''had'' to have it for my apprenticeship Tech College homework, .....along with the Rotring pens.

    alskdfhg I wouldn't worry about the lettering too much, .....there used to be a saying (and not without foundation) along the lines of ''good neat clear lettering and numerals? - this drawing will be rubbish.''


    Anyone notice how the tracing girls in the drawing offices always used to be a bit broad in the beam
    Last edited by Limy Sami; 05-22-2017 at 05:54 AM. Reason: tyx fipo

  10. 05-22-2017, 04:32 AM#10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomasView Post
    Not sure what you mean by "not stable"?

    Do you mean the clutch slips in certain positions but not in others? That would be kind of odd.

    I have several drafting machines though none of your brand.
    Generally the detent and the 2 clutches are separate functions. There will be a clutch to set the scales. Basically, rotate the big knob to free the index and rotate to put the scale in a detent, say -0-. Probably every 15 deg. but it could be other. Then with the index solidly in a detent, find the clutch lever that lets you rotate the scale head so the scales are horizontal and vertical. Set the scales, lock that clutch.

    next, try rotating the detent out of -0-, (H/V) to say 7° using the scale, now find the clutch that will lock and hold this.

    (Note: If the clutch that locks the head to the scale instead of letting it detent is currently engaged, you will have to find and release it to do the above steps.)

    Once you have identified those 3 functions, you can determine which clutch to adjust and probably start to get an inkling of "how" to do it from inspection.

    Another thought - if what you meant by "not stable" is that the detent does not engage fully at some points, then you probably have to clean the fuzz out of it, or give it a shot of penetrating oil to loosen some gum in that area? Usually just wiggling the knob will cure it, though.

    smt
    ok thanks for your feedback

    I am not familar with usage of the drafting machine, its a fantastic item and hope an engineer or architect may end up with it

    just to discuss further, the machine is stable/solid

    so the black knob with rulers attached to it should rotate which puts pressure against the board and holds it in a position or do you do work with it all over the board and just leave it sitting in a position like in the photo's?

    any video links on how they operate would be of a great help

    thnks again
    sapphire120

  11. 05-22-2017, 08:02 AM#11
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    It sounds like I totally misunderstood what you meant by "not stable"

    It sounds like what you really mean is that you want to place the arm in any position, remove your hands, and it will stay there, balanced?

    If that is all you mean, it probably is not going to happen "everywhere". Just the nature of things. (Menaing someone could have designed one such, but the extra cost would be more than what a "normal" machine cost at the time.)

    No, don't press on the black/dk brown knob. You can use that for a hand grip fo moving. On all 3 of my different syle and brand machines, the hand knob is rotated to release the angle detent, to rotate the scale head without losing the -0- position for return. I assume it is the same on yours. On all of mine, there is a clutch release or other facility to adjust the scales to horizontal/vertical when the detent is in any position, presumably -0-. There is a separate clutch mechanism to lock the rotating head with the knob to any degree other than the detent positions.

    I thought you must be having a problem with one of those. On re-reading, I get the impression that is not what you were asking. Apologies.

    Beautiful machine, BTW. My 2 big board machines (a K & E, and a Vemco) are parallel track machines with the same style scale head as yours, running up and down (& lockable) on the vertical track. The smaller machine (Universal "Boardmaster") that I grew up with in grade and HS is a broken arm style very similar to yours. Except mine is based on steel bands inside the arms tensioned around wheels at the joints and scale head (you can't see them, just describing the principle). Yours is based on the parallelogram/pantographic principle.

    smt

  12. 05-22-2017, 08:12 AM#12
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    Like some others I prefer the board and drafting machine to CAD. We had earlier versions of different CAD programs where I worked. Our original was Auto Trol. It was a great program but relied on a mainframe. When the mainframe went away we switched to Auto-Cad. In reality the early versions had less features than the old mainframe based program, and were not user friendly.

    At work I had a PC based version of Auto Cad for several years. I also bought a drafting table and return for use at home. At that time everyone was switching to CAD so boards and machines were a dime a dozen. I purchased a 72" Mayline board with an adjustable base, and a desk return, a Mutoh drafting machine, over a dozen different scales, a drafting light, and all the tools and supplies I could fit into my truck for $50.00. At the time just the table and desk were still listing for over $3,700.00 in the Mayline catalog. Today the only ones in the catalog are a few stand alone boards meant for artists and layout work.

    When I retired the Auto-Cad couldn't be updated because it needed to be connected to the corporate network. After a while I went back to using the board. Fortunately for me drafting classes were a requirement as a freshman engineering student. It was a skill that was left dormant for many years. However just like riding a bicycle it all comes back quickly. I still love the board and still use it today. Now that the shop is getting over crowded I sometimes think I should have purchased a smaller board.

  13. 05-22-2017, 08:38 AM#13
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    A little off topic but I was taught to call that a drafting arm. A drafting machine,at least I in my local was the type that has a rail on top and a vertical rail that slides on it. The head / scales slide in the vertical rail.

    JR

  14. 05-22-2017, 11:35 AM#14
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    that is a beautiful piece, I still use my Vemco with the Vemco lamp and prefer to work out designs on paper and then pass it onto Solidworks guy. about 6 years ago I had a large counterweighted Hamilton Standard drawing table with the machine but no scales that I got 450 bucks for. But that was a very long shot.
    this may be more salable as restaurant art than a functional drafting machine,

  15. 05-22-2017, 01:57 PM#15
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    Quote Originally Posted by alskdjfhgView Post
    I'm in the middle of engineering school right now, got "certified" in AutoCAD in highschool and last semster had a 3D modeling class with Creo.

    I'd love to have that drafting machine myself. Really should practice my engineering/architerual handwriting. Never quite got the hang of it unfortunately.
    I have a drafting arm you are welcome to.. It's been in the shop for years might need some cleaning up.. Just the arm, no table, have to make your own.

  16. 05-22-2017, 06:31 PM#16
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    Quote Originally Posted by swatkinsView Post
    I have a drafting arm you are welcome to..
    Cool, thanks.

    No idea when id be able to get it. Getting wisdom teeth pulled Wendsday and then summer classes start June 6th.

  17. 05-23-2017, 04:55 AM#17
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    thanks for info on this, i know it has been well maintained over the years and I have the confidence to sell it knowing everything is fine

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New Professional Drafting Machine! With Protractor And Articulated Arm!

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Introduction: Drafting Machine

This is an instructable on making your own drafting machine. This is a drawing aid that mounts to any desk, and will give you a moving set of rulers that will keep to a right angle in relation to your board. It's not hard to make one, and it's a huge help for hand drafting. These can be made from any material, and since I'm going to add CNC capability to mine I used metal and I have space on the elbow piece for servo motors. I hope to post another instructable soon on how to make one of these draw or cut on its own from vector files. I made this all at the TechShop, and so can you.

Step 1:

Get the dimensions of the board you plan to mount this to.
The length of each of your four arm bars should be an inch longer than half the diagonal length of the board. The shape of your pieces makes no difference so long as your joint holes are exactly as shown. Also, keeping the arms straight gives a wider range of motion.

Step 2:

Decide beforehand whether you want your arms to be perpendicular to one another or angled. You can make the angle of the top two bars different so long as you also make the shoulder joints at the corresponding angle in relation to the board. Either design will still allow your square to remain perpendicular to the top of the board itself. The reason one might choose diagonal is to give the arm a greater range of motion.

Step 3:

Cut your arms, elbow, hand and shoulder parts. Precision is very important here, and remember to have each pair of holes the same distance apart. Secure each piece tightly, but with some ability to move. I recommend lock washers, or the short two-piece wide head screws I used on the shoulder and elbow. Of critical importance is eliminating any slippage from your joints. If they have any room to move, the angle of your square will not be 90 degrees.

Step 4:

You can cut two pieces for the shoulder, with a larger hole at the top so that you can use them to clamp onto a table or board by fastening them together with a nut and bolt.

Step 5:

You can mount different tools on the hand, rulers, a square, or a different drawing accessory.

Now go ahead and draft your next project!

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Machine arm drafting

Sawmill Creek Woodworking Community > Woodworking Topics > General Woodworking and Power Tools > Drafting machine advice


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Steve Rozmiarek

01-22-2011, 4:41 PM

Anybody an expert on this technology? I much prefer to use pencil and paper to sketch projects and for years I've been using a t-square and it's various accesories. I think it's time to step into the 20th centuary and get a Vemco or similar machine now though. Luckily this old tech is now cheap second hand, but I know nearly nothing about it, so...

First question, elbow or track type? I'm inclined to get both, but for furniture sketching, is that just silly?

Second, scales. Any recommendations on which scales, and for educational reasons, why? I'll be working on furniture and light architectural sketches. I suppose those two uses would benefit from different scales?

Thanks,


Ron Bontz

01-22-2011, 5:44 PM

I use the elbow type Brunning I think. My advice is save the space and learn to use a CAD program like Sketchup, or turbo cad , something like that. There is also VIA cad, Design Cad and of course AutoCad. Best of luck.


Paul M Miller

01-22-2011, 6:15 PM

I've always preferred the elbow arm type machine over a track or parallel. I always removed the vertical scale on the machine; it was easier to just use a triangle resting on the horizontal scale. A triangle is easier to accurately position to your tick mark than moving the whole machine. I also very seldom used the machine scale for measuring, preferring to use a 12" scale because the edge is sharper and sits closer to the paper.

An "opposit bevel scale" is much handier to use than a flat scale. With an opposit bevel you can push down on one side which lifts the opposit side to get your fingers under it to pick it up. I never cared for the 3 lobe type....too much searching to find the side you want to use.

I don't have much experience with architectural drafting. That might be a different ball game.

Paul


Kevin Neal

01-22-2011, 6:28 PM

I'm not an expert, but I can relate to the love of pencil and paper for drawings. I always used a Vemco track type setup and preferred it to the elbow/swing arm style. I still have my big strat-o-steel drawing table in my office at work. Take your pick of scales. Any will work you'll just have to pick the kind you like and set your measurements to match. I have always preferred engineering scales myself.

I miss the old days of hand drafting when drawings were a work of art with drafters own personality. However, I wouldn't be caught without my AutoCAD now. The precision and speed just can't be matched with a pencil. Working in 3D model space allows you to completely visualize and then break apart a project into individual pieces. Keep your tradition, but if you haven't already, learn the new software tools as well.


Steve Rozmiarek

01-23-2011, 2:39 AM

Thanks guys. I bought an elbow style Vemco, it's shipping, and I think I will get a track type too. Just seems to me that the track type fits my "style" better.

I have zero training with drafting, so being self taught is probably what makes learning CAD unatractive. I've messed with sketchup, and I just spend so much more time fiddling then I should, that the creative train of thought soon disappears. Paper is way faster and more fluid for me.

Room for drafting is no problem. I'm actually working on the new shop, which is the trigger for the desire for a Vemco, and in it will be a little loft space for drafting, if all goes as planned.

By scales, I meant the interchangeable rule type that attach to the machines, not the free floating triangle type. Thanks again,


Eric Getchell

01-23-2011, 7:51 AM

By all means, whatever is the easiest!

I too tried SketchUp a while back and found it very difficult to use, so abandoned it and went back to paper. However, about a year later I downloaded the electronic version of "SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers" by Timothy Killen (Taunton Press) and have since done all my projects on the tool. I didn't realize the product is initially configured for architectural drafting of large objects (buildings), so the first thing the author does is walk you through the configuration changes to set the product up for woodworking. Within the first 30 pages I was off and running and never looked back. With any new tool (electronic, paper, or power), the first use is always the most difficult.

Again, only my experience as I was at the same crossroads you were, and by no means trying to sell you on anything - be it a book or a new drafting process!


Larry Edgerton

01-23-2011, 8:22 AM

Hi Steve

Another Vemco user here. I have a drafting table that originally had a parrallel on it but I took it off and just use the arm. I too tryed a cad program but I was spending so much of my effort trying to get the program to do what I want I was losing my creativity. Went back to paper, I like the process better for the kind of work I do. If I was better at the mechanics of cad it would be nice when you decide on wholesale changes and have to start clean sheet, but that is the price I pay for being computor illiterate. I would never be good at computors as it just doesn't click with me.


ian maybury

01-23-2011, 9:34 AM

Most of my design time has been in engineering, with CAD becoming mainstream only as I was moving out of full time hands on design. Since then my design has been hobby and DIY related.

The big problem with CAD for a relatively new user to my mind is that until you have spent enough time at it so that it's become automatic it's stressful and tiring to use - which bungs up the creative process. It does for me anyway.

For sure CAD on the other hand is unbeatable for clarity, visualisation, ease of re-working/re-using modules - and as an enabler for design tools that use data entered in the initial model...


Mike Malott

01-23-2011, 10:14 AM

I'm a track type fan as well.

If you can find a Mutoh, they are a quality, later version (1980s) Japanese drafting machine. I have a Mutoh Model S from ~1982... great machine.

I've always used clear 18" scales, full scale inch & half-scale inch graduations, on my drafting machines.

Mike


Gregory Lyons

01-25-2011, 4:11 PM

My own 2 cents, as an old school board drafter, is to go with a parallel bar setup instead. Even the best elbow type machines end up flexing by the time you get to the end of the straight edge and the handle/pivot tends to rub on the paper and smudge your work. A properly setup parallel bar will not flex and tends to leave your drawing in better shape at the end of the day. I dabbled with various machines over the years and alway came back to the parallel bar; I still have 2 or 3 at the house.


Paul M Miller

01-25-2011, 4:35 PM

I agree with the the stability of a parallel, but I always had too much stuff like triangles, lead pointer, erasers, etc on my board that got in the way of a parallel. Maybe if I was a little more organized and kept my tools on a table or drawer off to the side it would have worked for me. Another plus for drafting on a board vs CAD is that for a large drawing, you need a large plotter. Trying to scale a piece of furniture to an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper is difficult to see. I'm not against CAD, I used AutoCad and SolidWorks for years, and they are great tools, but for my personal shop drawing, I like the board.

Paul


Pat Barry

01-25-2011, 7:32 PM

I think you should step all the way to the 21st century and brush up your computer skills a bit. Download the latest free version of Sketchup from Google, watch a bunch of you tube videos and have at it. You get a little proficient and just a little time and you won't regret it.


Gregory Lyons

01-25-2011, 8:27 PM

Well, as I still make my living running AutoCad (Civil 3D actually), I have access to several large format printers so output isn't an issue. I do occasionally get nostalgic for my drafting board days, but there is no way I could be anywhere near as productive on paper as I am on screen.


Ted Calver

01-25-2011, 9:22 PM

It depends. I have a Vemco in the shop that I use for quick straight line layouts. It's mostly a big easel though. On the same board is a thick pad of large size sketch paper that gets used for free form and conceptual design (the most use). For serious stuff that needs precision, I run Civil 3D and/or SketchUp and like Greg, prefer the screen and a large format plotter.


Steve Rozmiarek

01-26-2011, 11:25 PM

Got the elbow machine yesterday, don't know how I drew without one. Need to upgrade the "drafting" plywood sheet though. Good stuff!

I downloaded the ebook that Eric mentioned too about Sketchup as well. I can see how useful it is, and someday I will take the time to learn it. Tonight though, back to the Vemco!


Erik France

01-27-2011, 10:46 AM

If you're talking about the drawing surface you might take a look at the white bathroom wallboard. We used that on all of our mayline tables in college. It's harder than the table mats, but a whole lot cheaper. It's the stuff that looks like a dry erase board.


Jon McElwain

01-27-2011, 3:40 PM

Congratulations on going old school! I am also dependent on AutoCAD for my living, and while it is certainly a much faster tool than drafting by hand, the old pen and paper definitely has its appeal. I still have an old Vemco drafting arm, but I like my made in the USA Vemco Track system the best.

As far as scales go, I would start with some scales in standard inches first. Architectural scales will translate to your shop much more fluidly than engineering, unless you plan to buy a tape measure in tenths of an inch (usually used in heavy construction - roads etc.). The engineering scales are easier to work with for the math, (no fractions) but at some point you will have to translate them into standard inches for constructing your project in the shop.

You will need some accessories as well. Get a quality drafting compass, with articulated legs and quick release - I use a Staedtler Mars 552 should be around $30 online. Next, use a decent mechanical pencil - get a 5mm and 7mm to start so that you can make different line weights. Remember to ALWAYS roll your pencil while you are drawing a line to make sure you maintain consistent line thickness. A draftsman will have several pencils/pens set with different lead hardnesses for light lines used to lay out your drawing, and heavy lines to make the final drawings. I use HB for my final drawing/dark lines, and 4h for lighter construction lines or layout lines. As far as type of mechanical pencil goes - I have used every high end drafting pencil out there, but now I pretty much only use my pentel side click advance pencils. They work well, they are comfortable, and they hole lead without slipping. Avoid the super cheap ones. Yo can use regular wood pencils, but you have to sharpen them about every 6-10 inches of line that you draw to maintain a consistent line thickness. Mechanical is much better.

Get an Alvin eraser shield as well. This is a very thin stainless steel sheet with precision cut holes through which you can erase. Lay the shield with one of the hole shapes over the portion of the line you want to erase and erase precisely. Should be less than a buck - way worth it. A good T-square will help you precisely set up your drafting arm. I respectfully disagree with a previous poster who recommended only using a horizontal scale. Having the vertical scale set up accurately is far faster. You would have never seen a professional draftsman without the vertical scale - he would have been fired for going too slow.

These are the basics, but you should be able to do most of what you want to with them. After all that, a French curve, various templates with ovals, repeated shapes like hexagons etc. are useful. A can of Alvin drafting powder applied to your drawing will minimize the otherwise inevitable smudging. A good articulated light is highly recommended as well. Mount it so that it can be positioned over the hand opposite of your drafting hand for the best lighting. If you want some really cool old school drafting stuff, google "Leroy lettering machine." This was a device that attached to your drafting arm and actually drew your letters for you. I am guessing they are not made any more, but I am sure they are available on e-bay. One last thing, for your drawing surface, use a 3/4" melamine board, edge it, and use a vinyl drafting board cover. The vinyl cover will take a compass point securely, and is a semi-soft surface for nice crisp lines. It can be cleaned with sponge using Bon Ami powder cleaner (like Comet) and a little water.

Hope that is helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Jon


Steve Rozmiarek

01-28-2011, 1:16 AM

Jon, Erik, thanks for the advice. Jon, I'm going to read that a couple more times, and I will be taking you up on that offer for more info!


Paul M Miller

01-31-2011, 12:27 AM

[QUOTE=Jon McElwain;1621292] I respectfully disagree with a previous poster who recommended only using a horizontal scale. Having the vertical scale set up accurately is far faster. You would have never seen a professional draftsman without the vertical scale - he would have been fired for going too slow.

As with most things, there are usually several ways to accomplish the end goal. It's a matter of getting used to a particular method and doing what works best for you. In over 30 years as a "professional draftsman" I was never slowed down to the point of getting fired by using triangles in place of a vertical scale. I worked next to a guy who had done engine cavity layout for Buick for many years. He didn't use a machine of any kind; just two triangles. He was one of the fastest drafters I've ever seen. It worked for him.


Paul


Jon McElwain

02-01-2011, 4:19 PM

In over 30 years as a "professional draftsman" I was never slowed down to the point of getting fired by using triangles in place of a vertical scale. I worked next to a guy who had done engine cavity layout for Buick for many years. He didn't use a machine of any kind; just two triangles. He was one of the fastest drafters I've ever seen. It worked for him.
Paul

Wow, I would have liked to have seen that! Obviously I stand corrected. In our civil engineering office, that draftsmen largely left their triangles on the shelf near their workstations. I suppose there will be some significant differences between civil and mechanical drafting. More parallel lines in mechanical? Anyway, the owner at our office hated the triangles, so they were not used often.

Regards,

Jon


Gregory Lyons

02-01-2011, 5:03 PM

Wow, triangle hate? With all due respect, that just sounds silly. Honestly, drafting machine, parallel bar or T-square, it all comes down to personal preference, but I have a hard time picturing anyone being a productive drafter without using triangles.

I worked in civil engineering also (still do); back in the good ol' days we had a drafting room (the bullpen) with 25-30 drafters and maybe 2 or 3 used drafting machines. While the track type are better than the elbow, there's just too much flex in any of the machines I worked with. There were a bunch of them downstairs in the print shop storage area.


Ron Jones near Indy

02-02-2011, 3:34 PM

A lost of good info in Jon's post. As a retired drafting teacher I liked either the T-square or the parallel straight edge. Why, easily used by left handers and right handers alike.


Marty Paulus

02-02-2011, 3:51 PM

25 years ago (wow am I getting old!) I learned to draw using several different tools. Depending on what I was working on would dictate which method I would use. For product design work I would use triangles. I felt they were more accurate. For tool design I used an machine with an elbow. It was much faster as the scales were the arms and speed was the name of the game in that area. Today I have been trained on a very high end CAD system for work but rarely use it. I actually like using sketch up for most of my personal work. Quick and easy and I have cut list to help lay out the work on the lumber.


Mike Schuch

02-04-2011, 3:46 AM

For a big table and big drawing I would definitely go for the bar type. Much easier to maintain straightness over a long line.

For a smaller table and smaller drawing the bar type tend to get in the way and the arm type is more maneuverable. On a small drawing the scales are going to be pretty much the width of the velum so you don't have to worry about trying to maintain a straight line from one end of the velum to the other.

I have never had rubbing problems with either.

The elbow of the arm type will hang over the edge of the table most of the time so that may be of concern if there is something directly next to your table.

I prefer the clear scales as opposed to anything opaque. It is much easier to measure when you can see the tick mark over the reference line rather than just next to the line.


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Drafting Machine Components

Drafting Machine Components

RPMG(Structural)

(OP)

Hey all, this should be a fun one. I have a drafting machine that I intend to repair. Some components work, and some don't:



  1. Probably a horizontal slide stop. Does not work
  2. Embedded metal plate that slides. I believe that 2 locking screws are missing.
  3. Working vertical slide stop.
  4. Dial lettered V at current location, lettered H at 270 degrees.
  5. Working rotation lock.
  6. Some sort of lock.
  7. Some sort of lock.
  8. Toggle switch on the handle.
  9. Dial 5'-5 degrees. I assume this is a memory device.
  10. I can't count. Call this a placeholder.
  11. At the top, there is a working switch to calibrate the vertical angle.
  12. There are strings below, which are probably related to 1 and 2, but are too loose to be effective.
This is an open ended topic. The goal is for better definition and to repair it, but I don't think that should limit the discussion.

I also have acquired an electric eraser, which is awesome.

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