Tag Archives: drawings

A little while ago I posted about drawings.  You may have noticed that although I can extol their virtues, I’m not one of life’s great drawing enthusiasts. The less I have to force myself to sit down and work on them the better. Actively put, I seek drawing avoidance. One way to avoid having to deal with drawings excessively is, of course, to design less stuff. A good way of doing that is to cut down on the number of components you have to design in the first place. In order to achieve that, you’ll probably need new design and production methods. Enter additive manufacturing, stage left. 3D printers have started their seemingly unstoppable march towards the mainstream. Whilst true mass production with additive manufacturing remains a long way off, it is starting to enter the consciousness of businessmen as well as engineers (The Economist has carried articles on them like this of late). Proofs…

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An article in the Guardian newspaper today drew my attention to a rather stunning online archive of drawings and sketches from the engineers who designed and built Britain’s railway network in its 19th and early 20th century heydey. I heartily recommend you have a browse here. Whilst that collection is certainly a wonderful resource, I have a rather ambivalent relationship to engineering drawings. Like butterflies pinned into collection books, they are a fixed, dead representation of what once was an idea fluttering merrily through an engineer’s mind. Throughout the initial phases of concept and the first wobbly-lined and crossed-out sketches, to 3D CAD models spinning and rotating on the monitor, through to prototypes, parts take on a life of their own. They grow from chrysalis to caterpillar, evolve before your eyes and then – they are ossified, sectioned, labelled and numbered like any other sample. Their drawings sit there gathering dust on the desk, yellowing…

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