Engineering Drawings: How to Make Prints a Machinist Will Love

Engineering drawings are the most important deliverables that a design engineer produces. They provide all the instructions needed to make your parts exactly as you intended. But bad drawings will make you look like a bad engineer, and parts made from them are sure to have problems. In addition, many machine shops refuse to quote jobs that have bad drawings, because nothing is more disruptive to them than having to call the engineer for missing dimensions or clarification. In this video, we give you some tips for making clear, complete drawings so you don’t embarrass yourself.

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10 Responses

  • very helpful I am taking a mechanical engineering class for my second semester and I am trying to make my drawings as professional as possible so this is very helpful keep making more videos and helpful notes.

  • On your drawing checklist and at 5:45 in the video you mention “tolerance stack”, can you define what that is? The video is great, can’t wait to see the GD&T.

    • Hi there! Every dimension of a feature has an upper and lower limit (either explicitly defined on the drawing like +.005″/-.000 or inferred via titleblock tolerances, or with GD&T). If we are designing a part and need to make sure everything will fit/work/operate/etc. together as intended, we perform a “tolerance stack” and add up all of these dimensions and tolerances to make sure that the upper and lower limits fall into the design intent. We also incorporate thermal expansion/contraction on features’ size limits. Tolerance stacks are a huge part of mechanical design and we plan on doing an instructional video since they get complicated quickly!

  • This is beautiful work you’ve done to make this available. True story: “A lot of new engineers really struggle with making drawings. Especially because most universities do an awful job teaching the concept.”

  • The effort you and detail you have put into your videos is beyond anything I have seen anywhere else. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to put this together. By the way, the juxtaposition of your two voices really adds to the professionalism. I am a home machinist but I want to do as close to professional quality work as I can and your videos are a great part of that.

  • Hey guys! Thank you for sharing all these valuable informations with the community. If I’m not asking for too much, can you make a title block template for Fusion360 for the ISO metric system? I find very hard to change the general template measurement unit from in to mm because it appears to be “hard coded”.

    Thank you in advance!

    • Hello! We may make one, thanks for the suggestion.

      In the meantime, here are instructions on how to modify and save the drawing template:

      – Download our template from website
      – Upload to a folder in Fusion
      – File > New Drawing Template
      – Browse and select the uploaded template in the Fusion folder
      – Edit the title block with metric instead of inches by right-clicking in the tree > Edit Title Block
      – Save (this creates a new copy, then either change the name or delete old copy)

  • Man, this is really helpful. I’m an Aerospace Engineering student and even though I’ll soon be starting a role in structures, I still haven’t been taught how to make clear, readable drawings.

    About a year ago, I met an older automobile machinist at a gathering with friends, and he said that lately newer engineers have been sending drawings that are impossible to manufacture. I think it’s a combination of the impact of 3D printing, 3D CAD and a lack of education about machining. The result is that we have very strong analytical skills (stress analysis), but not great “practical knowledge” and wisdom about how the part will be built.

    I recently sent some drawings to be machined for a project, and it’s been embarrassing how many things I messed up. I’m glad I found this blog! I’m going to practice a lot and make sure my drawings are more professional. I’ve also shared this link and the video with the rest of my team.

  • This is of great help, it allowed me to improve a lot but it would be much better to also have examples for the ISO standard

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