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Drafting Business

  1. May 3, 2005 #1
    Does anyone here run a drafting business? I am in search of information on what I would need to start one, how it works, and all that and would appreciate reading about others personal experiences.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2005 #2
    I am still looking for a reply. Since I am starting mechanical engineering studies, I was thinking along the lines of some small business next year (after getting lots of CAD experience). I was thinking of servicing small contractors who don't have full time employees to do their own in-house drafting. My service would be hired to turn designs into renderings. I could work on small projects such as room additions, swimming pool etc.

    I don't know too much about this stuff which is why I ask for advice or opinions. How could I start up this venture? What tools would I need?
  4. May 14, 2005 #3


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    do you want to be just CAD drafter or a CAD/CAM rapid prototyping kind of business? You would probably need an engineer for the latter, but as far as I know people become CAD drafters without a college education - a single CAD course is sufficient to start things off
  5. May 15, 2005 #4


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    I don't know if there would be a place for a draftsman doing work for individual contractors. I have a good friend who is a carpenter and most of the work he does that would need a plan drawn up, the owners have already drawn a plan. He is familiar enough with the laws to tell them what needs to be where. His suppliers look at the plan and then measure out the site for ordering material. They handle ordering the correct size joists and etc. while making sure that if a beam needs to be placed across a basement ceiling to support the floor for instance they give him a few options such as larger floor joists with a smaller beam and things of this nature. There is NO charge for this. They are very good at working with the carpenter. The same thing is done with the roof. The material supplier takes his measurements and sends them to a truss company and they send back a drawing of the roof and a quote.

    Don't get me wrong, there are probably a few carpenters out there that would not be as on top of things as my friend. But I think in the end you will be working for the owner and not the builder.
  6. May 16, 2005 #5


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    IMO, the CAD drafting that you are looking at is going the way of the personal secretary. It is becoming extinct. Like you said, most firms, companys etc... are doing it themselves because 2D and some 3D packages are relatively easy to use with not much of a learning curve. I would suspect that someone in a skilled trade like your friend is not going to part with money that will make it worth your time, just to get a print drawn up.

    I have known a few people to do this sort of thing on the side, but just as some extra money, not as their main source of income. They had to be very broad in their realm of what they would do as well. Projects from topographical maps to electrical schematics came through.
  7. May 16, 2005 #6


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    I think Fred's concern is pretty valid. Most of the CAD houses that I used a few years ago have suffered as a result of more accessible software, and cheaper hardware becoming readily available. Even small engineering consultancies now tend to have their own CAD facilities, and A0 plotters. CAD isn't a niche market any more. The aforementioned CAD houses have now had to diversify, doing more things like commercial posters, printing of digital photos, and some graphic design, but even this type of work is diminishing with the increasing availability of easy-to-use software, and cheap hardware.
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