The Importance of Drawing
in the Mechanical Design Process
Computer & Graphics Vol.14, No. 2, pp. 263-274, 1990
Pergamon Press plc.
David G. Ullman E-mailUllman
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon 97331
This paper is a study on the importance of drawing (both formal drafting and informal sketching) during the process of mechanical design. Five hypotheses, focused on the types of drawings, their necessity in mechanical problem solving, and their relation to the external representation medium, are presented and supported. Support is through referenced studies in other domains and the results of protocol studies performed on five mechanical designers. Videotapes of all the marks-on-paper made by designers in representative sections of the design process were studied in detail for their type and purpose. The resulting data is supportive of the hypotheses. These results also give requirements for future computer aided design tools and graphics education, and goals for further studies.
The goal of this paper is to study the importance of drawing (both formal drafting and informal sketching) in the process of mechanical design. This goal can be extended to state that we intend to show the necessity of drawing during all the developmental stages of a mechanical design. Through the information presented here, the requirements for future computer aided design tools, graphics education, and further studies will be developed.
All mechanical engineers are taught drafting. Thus, most engineers are skilled at making and interpreting these formal mechanical drawings. These drawings are representations of a final design (the end product of the design process) and they are intended to archive the completed design and communicate it to other designers and manufacturing personnel. Additionally, engineers are notorious for not
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