What does an Electrical Drafter do?

Mary McMahon

An electrical drafter is someone who prepares technical drawings of electrical wiring and electrical systems. This can include drawings laying out everything from the schematics of automotive electrical systems to developing wiring diagrams for skyscrapers. Electrical drafters work on projects in a wide variety of industries and work with people such as electrical engineers and general contractors to develop technical drawings which will be accurate, useful, and helpful. Drawings prepared by an electrical drafter are filed with permit and patent applications along with other supporting schematics and plans.

Thanks to CAD technology, an electrical drafter can now do his job more quickly, producing more designs than in previous years.
Thanks to CAD technology, an electrical drafter can now do his job more quickly, producing more designs than in previous years.

Electrical systems are laid out on paper before they are installed just like other aspects of a project. Having technical drawings creates a map for workpeople to follow and it also creates a record which can be used in the future when a system needs to be updated, maintained, and repaired. For example, an electrical drafter could create a wiring diagram for a residence which will later be used by an electrician to determine which electrical outlets are linked together on the same circuit. Likewise, wiring diagrams for vehicles are used in vehicle repair, and diagrams of electrical systems in big buildings may be used by emergency responders when they assess safety before entering a building.

Electrical drafters often learn computer aided design.
Electrical drafters often learn computer aided design.

Like other drafters, electrical drafters must go to school to learn their trade. While in school, electrical drafters learn about how electrical systems are created and may acquire special skills which allow them to work on projects such as laying out generating, transmission, and distribution facilities. Most electrical drafters also learn to work with computer aided design (CAD) drafting systems.

Historically, an electrical drafter would have had to work on a technical diagram by hand. Today, it is more common to use a computer for drafting. There are a number of advantages to using CAD systems, including the ability to make changes easily and quickly without having to redo the entire draft, and the ability to allow the computer to make calculations which will be used to make sure that the system is safe and meets industry standards.

In addition to laying out electrical schematics, electrical drafters also do things like costing systems, checking systems for code compliance, determining how long it should take to install a system, and calculating the specifications and limitations of a system, such as the maximum load a system can handle before it will fail. An electrical drafter has broad knowledge and must engage in continuing education to keep current with industry standards, available equipment, and changes to code requirements.

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