Updated: Feb 8, 2021
I have been creating and reading CAD drawings for ten years now. Occasionally I get asked what are some easy tips to improve drawings and make them more useful. Here are a few tips that I would recommend:
1. Always include an isometric view.
1.1 Readers will have a much better understanding of what the blueprint represents at a glance and this can reduce manufacturing errors.
2. If you have to ask yourself whether or not another view is needed to be easier to read, then the answer is yes.
2.1. Rarely will you get a complaint about too many unique views and reference dimensions. Not having enough of either will rapidly fill your inbox with issues.
3. Keep the blueprint format consistent throughout the company.
3.1. For example, always put note blocks in the upper left-hand corner of a drawing.
3.2. Readers will miss important details if notes, bill-of-materials, warnings, or other important information is inconsistently scattered across multiple blueprints.
4. Make sure that you balloon every item on an assembly blueprint.
4.1. Guesses and personnel interpretation lead to mistakes.
5. Ensure that dimension leaders and other important points can be seen without a magnifying glass when printed.
5.1. I have personally seen many assemblers struggle with blueprints under a magnifying glass because the designer tried to crowd too much information onto a single view. Whitespace is your friend.
6. Be extremely diligent with revision tracking and blueprint change processes.
6.1. Future readers, or even yourself, will always be glad that changes, and the reasons behind them, were carefully documented at the time the change took place.
7. Provide an easy method for blueprint feedback.
7.1. Many talented people will utilize your blueprints during its lifetime and they will often have valuable feedback on layout and needed changes.
8. Use macros to simplify your mundane tasks.
8.1. A little macro programming can save you many hours of work every month.
8.1.1. Automatically fill out title blocks
8.1.2. Sort bill-of-materials according to part number
8.1.3. Save all drawings included within a project to PDFs
9. Make sure that everyone has easy access to related blueprints and documentation.
9.1. The quicker that people can get to the blueprints they need, the more efficiently they will work.