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Drafting Paper
Getting your design
in black & white

Drafting paper, is that still used ? Are we not supposed to be living in a "paperless society" ? Well, not quite. We probably use more drafting paper than ever before and in more varieties. High speed plotters and printers have made it possible to consume forms of paper in enormous amounts.

In the past making a large drawing was half as much making a work of art as well as making an accurate engineering document. You had to plan things out to a great degree to avoid multiple revisions, especially if you were drawing in ink. Now even the most complicated illustrations can be printed several times to get them just right.

Types of Drafting Paper

  • Bond - This is similiar to the paper we use everyday in our office printers. It's the least expensive paper and is usually supplied in roll form for drafting plotters. Bond is available in different weights. 18 to 24 lb Bond is most commonly used, but much heavier weights can be used for posters and presentation work.

  • Mylar - This is a drafting film made from plastic material. It has the advantage of being eraseable which, if you are working in ink, is a great advantage. It's also semi transparent, making it possible to overlay mylar drawings on a light table to check if linework matches up. The film is more resistant to tears and is more durable than paper. It is still used with drafting plotters and is available in roll form and in cut sheets. Mylar has a shiny side and a "matte" side which you draw on. The surface of mylar is quite slippery, and in the past special pens and inks were developed specifically for drawing on it. Modern plotters may have problems printing on mylar because the mylar does not absorb ink quickly like bond paper does. The ink stays wet and may smudge. Mylar is also quite expensive.

  • Vellum - This is a linen based paper that has traditionally been used in drafting offices. The high linen content makes it durable and allows pencil work to be erased and revised multiple times. It's not as strong as mylar but also is not as expensive. Vellum also has a smooth surface which does not absorb ink as fast as bond paper. That may cause problems in plotters with ink smudging.

  • Photo - With the advances in drafting printers and plotters photo media became available in roll form for printing super size renderings and images. It's a costly media and is usually reserved for the best of presentation graphics. But it allows the engineering office to do more by taking on work that was previously done by the print shop and the graphic designer.

  • > Paper used in engineering drawings
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    AAA Drafting Blog
    A SolidWorks designer talks about stuff related to CAD and mechanical design
    • Sketching on a SolidWorks drawing

      If you are new to SolidWorks, there can be times when things are a little frustrating. One of those simple things is adding notes or sketching lines on an exisiting drawing with several views.

      You add your note or centerline and then move one of the views but the note you added stays where it is and you end up having to move it seperately.

      Or you have a note that belongs somewhere else in the drawing that gets moved when you are rearranging views when you dont want it to.

      The solution to these problems is found in these excerpts from the SolidWorks help section.
      Lock View Focus.
      Allows you to add sketch entities to views, even when the pointer is close to another view. You can be sure that the items you are adding belong to the views you want. You can also double-click views to lock the focus.
      So if you want to add a note or a line to views and have them move when you move the view, click in the views, right click and lock the view focus, then add the items you want.

      Once you are finished just click the views and unselect the lock view focus. Now your items should move in lock step with the views.

      What about notes that you want to be part of the sheet. Say you have some general material or heat treatment notes that you dont want to have moved when views are manipulated. You need to use lock sheet focus.

      Lock Sheet Focus.
      Allows you to add sketch entities to the sheet. Otherwise, the sketch entities belong to the view that is closest to where you begin sketching. You can also double-click a sheet to lock the focus. Lock Sheet Focus is available when at least one drawing view is present. When Lock Sheet Focus is enabled, the drawing sheet border is pink.

      Finally if you are in a situation where you want to lock certain projections in postion use lock view position. I find this useful when I want to use a single projection to show an open or closed position by superimposing views on top of each other:

      Create two views of the same part or assembly. Align them horizontally or vertically as required. Right-click anywhere in the desired view and select Lock View Position. Then you can line up the copied views right over top of the original, making it look as if both are the same.
      Following these directions should help so that notes and sketched lines dont end up where they are not supposed to be!