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CHAPTER XXI. MECHANICAL DRAWING.
Machine-drawing may in some respects be said to bear the same relation to mechanics that writing does to literature; persons may copy manuscript, or write from dictation, of what they do not understand; or a mechanical draughtsman may make drawings of a machine he does not understand; but neither such writing or drawing can have any value beyond that of ordinary labour. It is both necessary and expected that a draughtsman shall understand all the various processes of machine construction, and be familiar with the best examples that are furnished by modern practice.

Geometrical drawing is not an artistic art so much as it is a constructive mechanical one; displaying the parts of machinery on paper, is much the same in practice, and just the same in principle, as measuring and laying out work in the shop.

Artistic drawing is addressed to the senses, geometrical drawing is addressed to the understanding. Geometrical drawing may, however, include artistic skill not in the way of ornamentation, but to convey an impression of neatness and completeness, that has by common custom been assumed among engineers, and which conveys to the mind an idea of competent construction in the drawing itself, as well as of the machinery which is represented. Artistic effect, so far as admissible in mechanical drawing, is easy to learn, and should be understood, yet through a desire to make pictures, a beginner is often led to neglect that which is more important in the way of accuracy and arrangement.

It is easy to learn "how" to draw, but it is far from easy to learn "what" to draw. Let this be kept in mind, not in the way of [79] disparaging effort in learning "how" to draw, for this must come first, but in order that the objects and true nature of the work will be understood.

The engineering apprentice, as a rule, has a desire to make drawings as soon as he begins his studies or his work, and there is not the least objection to his doing so; in fact, there is a great deal gained by illustrating movements and the details of machinery at the same time of studying the principles. Drawings if made should always be finished, carefully inked in, and memoranda made on the margin of the sheets, with the date and the conditions under which the drawings were made. The sheets should be of uniform size, not too large for a portfolio, and carefully preserved, no matter how imperfect they may be. An apprentice who will preserve his first drawings in this manner will some day find himself in possession of a souvenir that no consideration would cause him to part with.

For implements procure two drawing-boards, forty-two inches long and thirty inches wide, to receive double elephant paper; have the boards plain without cleets, or ingenious devices for fastening the paper; they should be made from thoroughly seasoned lumber, at least one and one-fourth inches thick; if thinner they will not be heavy enough to resist the thrust of the T squares.

It is better to have two boards, so that one may be used for sketching and drawing details, which, if done on the same sheet with elevations, dirties the paper, and is apt to lower the standard of the finished drawing by what may be called bad association.

Details and sketches, when made on a separate sheet, should be to a larger scale than elevations. By changing from one scale to another the mind is schooled in proportion, and the conception of sizes and dimensions is more apt to follow the finished work to which the drawings relate.

In working to regular scales, such as one-half, one-eighth, or one-sixteenth size, a good plan is to use a common rule, instead of a graduated scale. There is nothing more convenient for a mechanical draughtsman than to be able to readily resolve dimensions into various scales, and the use of a common rule for fractional scales trains the mind, so that computations come naturally, and after a time almost without effort. A plain T square, with a parallel blade fastened on the side of the head, [80] but not imbedded into it, is the best; in this way set squares can pass over the head of a T square in working at the edges of the drawing. It is strange that a draughting square should ever have been made in any other manner than this, and still more strange, that people will use squares that do not allow the set squares to pass over the heads and come near to the edge of the board.

A bevel square is often convenient, but should be an independent one; a T square that has a movable blade is not suitable for general use. Combinations in draughting instruments, no matter what their character, should be avoided; such combinations, like those in machinery, are generally mistakes, and their effect the reverse of what is intended.

For set squares, or triangles, as they are sometimes called, no material is so good as ebonite; such squares are hard, smooth, impervious to moisture, and contrast with the paper in colour; besides they wear longer than those made of wood. For instruments, it is best to avoid everything of an elaborate or fancy kind; such sets are for amateurs, not engineers. It is best to procure only such instruments at first as are really required, of the best quality, and then to add others as necessity may demand; in this way, experience will often suggest modifications of size or arrangement that will add to the convenience of a set.

One pair each of three and one-half inch and five inch compasses, two ruling pens, two pairs of spring dividers, one for pens and one for pencils, a triangular boxwood scale, a common rule, and a hard pencil, are the essential instruments for machine-drawing. At the beginning, when "scratching out" will probably form an item in the work, it is best to use Whatman's paper, or the best roll paper, which, of the best manufacture, is quite as good as any other for drawings that are not water-shaded.

In mounting sheets that are likely to be removed and replaced, for the purpose of modification, as working drawings generally are, they can be fastened very well by small copper tacks driven along the edges at intervals of two inches or less. The paper can be very slightly dampened before fastening in this manner, and if the operation is carefully performed the paper will be quite as smooth and convenient to work upon as though it were pasted down; the tacks can be driven down so as to be flush with, or below the surface of, the paper, and will offer no obstruction [81] to squares.

If a drawing is to be elaborate, or to remain long upon a board, the paper should be pasted down. To do this, first prepare thick mucilage, or what is better, glue, and have it ready at hand, with some slips of absorbent paper an inch or so wide. Dampen the sheet on both sides with a sponge, and then apply the mucilage along the edge, for a width of one-fourth or three-eighths of an inch. It is a matter of some difficulty to place a sheet upon a board; but if the board is set on its edge, the paper can be applied without assistance. Then, by placing the strips of paper along the edge, and rubbing over them with some smooth hard instrument, the edges of the sheet can be pasted firmly to the board, the paper slips taking up a part of the moisture from the edges, which are longest in drying. If left in this condition, the centre will dry first, and the paper be pulled loose at the edges by contraction before the paste has time to dry. It is therefore necessary to pass over the centre of the sheet with a wet sponge at intervals to keep the paper slightly damp until the edges adhere firmly, when it can be left to dry, and will be tight and smooth. In this operation much will be learned by practice, and a beginner should not be discouraged by a few failures. One of the most common difficulties in mounting sheets is in not having the gum or glue thick enough; when thin, it will be absorbed by the wood or the paper, or is too long in drying; it should be as thick as it can be applied with a brush, and made from clean Arabic gum, tragacanth, or fine glue.

Thumb-tacks are of but little use in mechanical drawing except for the most temporary purposes, and may very well be dispensed with altogether; they injure the draughting-boards, obstruct the squares, and disfigure the sheets.

Pencilling is the first and the most important operation in draughting; more skill is required to produce neat pencil-work than to ink in the lines after the pencilling is done.

A beginner, unless he exercises great care in the pencil-work of a drawing, will have the disappointment to find the paper soon becoming dirty from plumbago, and the pencil-lines crossing each other everywhere, so as to give the whole a slovenly appearance. He will also, unless he understands the nature of the operations in which he is engaged, make the mistake of regarding the pencil-work as an unimportant part, instead [82]of constituting, as it does, the main drawing, and thereby neglect that accuracy which alone can make either a good-looking or a valuable one.

Pencil-work is indeed the main operation, the inking being merely to give distinctness and permanency to the lines. The main thing in pencilling is accuracy of dimensions and stopping the lines where they should terminate without crossing others. The best pencils only are suitable for draughting; if the plumbago is not of the best quality, the points require to be continually sharpened, and the pencil is worn away at a rate that more than makes up the difference in cost between the finer and cheaper grades of pencils, to say nothing of the effect upon a drawing.

It is common to use a flat point for draughting pencils, but a round one will often be found quite as good if the pencils are fine, and some convenience is gained by a round point for free-hand use in making rounds and fillets. A Faber pencil, that has detachable points which can be set out as they are worn away, is convenient for draughting.

For compasses, the lead points should be cylindrical, and fit into a metal sheath without paper packing or other contrivance to hold them; and if a draughtsman has instruments not arranged in this manner, he should have them changed at once, both for convenience and economy.

Ink used in drawing should always be the best that can be procured; without good ink a draughtsman is continually annoyed by an imperfect working of pens, and the washing of the lines if there is shading to be done. The quality of ink can only be determined by experiment; the perfume that it contains, or tinfoil wrappers and Chinese labels, are no indication of quality; not even the price, unless it be with some first-class house. To prepare ink, I can recommend no better plan of learning than to ask some one who understands the matter. It is better to waste a little time in preparing it slowly than to be at a continual trouble with pens, which will occur if the ink is ground too rapidly or on a rough surface. To test ink, a few lines can be drawn on the margin of a sheet, noting the shade, how the ink flows from the pen, and whether the lines are sharp; after the lines have dried, cross them with a wet brush; if they wash readily, the ink is too soft; if they resist the water for a time, and then wash tardily, the ink is good. It cannot be expected that inks soluble in water can permanently resist its action after drying; [83] in fact, it is not desirable that drawing inks should do so, for in shading, outlines should be blended into the tints where the latter are deep, and this can only be effected by washing.

Pens will generally fill by capillary attraction; if not, they should be made wet by being dipped into water; they should not be put into the mouth to wet them, as there is danger of poison from some kinds of ink, and the habit is not a neat one.

In using ruling pens, they should be held nearly vertical, leaning just enough to prevent them from catching on the paper. Beginners have a tendency to hold pens at a low angle, and drag them on their side, but this will not produce clean sharp lines, nor allow the lines to be made near enough to the edges of square blades or set squares.

In regard to the use of the T square and set squares, no useful rules can be given except to observe others, and experiment until convenient customs are attained. A beginner should be careful of adopting unusual plans, and above all things, of making important discoveries as to new plans of using instruments, assuming that common practice is all wrong, and that it is left for him to develop the true and proper way of drawing. This is a kind of discovery which is very apt to intrude itself at the beginning of an apprentice's course in many matters besides drawing, and often leads him to do and say many things which he will afterwards wish to recall.

It is generally a safe rule to assume that any custom long and uniformly followed by intelligent people is right; and, in the absence of that experimental knowledge which alone enables one to judge, it is safe to receive such customs, at least for a time, as being correct.

Without any wish to discourage the ambition of an apprentice to invent, which always inspires him to laudable exertion, it is nevertheless best to caution him against innovations. The estimate formed of our abilities is very apt to be inversely as our experience, and old engineers are not nearly so confident in their deductions and plans as beginners are.

A drawing being inked in, the next things are tints, dimension, and centre lines. The centre lines should be in red ink, and pass through all points of the drawing that have an axial centre, or where the work is similar and balanced on each side of the line. This rule is a little obscure, but will be best understood if studied in connection with a drawing, and perhaps as well [84] remembered without further explanation.

Dimension lines should be in blue, but may be in red. Where to put them is a great point in draughting. To know where dimensions are required involves a knowledge of fitting and pattern-making, and cannot well be explained; it must be learned in practice. The lines should be fine and clear, leaving a space in their centre for figures when there is room. The distribution of centre lines and dimensions over a drawing must be carefully studied, for the double purpose of giving it a good appearance and to avoid confusion. Figures should be made like printed numerals; they are much better understood by the workman, look more artistic, and when once learned require but little if any more time than written figures. If the scale employed is feet and inches, dimensions to three feet should be in inches, and above this in feet and inches; this corresponds to shop custom, and is more comprehensive to the workman, however wrong it may be according to other standards.

In sketches and drawings made for practice, such as are not intended for the shop, it is suggested that metrical scales be employed; it will not interfere with feet and inches, and will prepare the mind for the introduction of this system of lineal measurement, which may in time be adopted in England and America, as it has been in many other countries.

In shading drawings, be careful not to use too deep tints, and to put the shades in the right place. Many will contend, and not without good reasons, that working drawings require no shading; yet it will do no harm to learn how and where they can be shaded: it is better to omit the shading from choice than from necessity. Sections must, of course, be shaded—not with lines, although I fear to attack so old a custom, yet it is certainly a tedious and useless one: sections with light ink shading of different colours, to indicate the kind of material, are easier to make, and look much better. By the judicious arrangement of a drawing, a large share of it may be in sections, which in almost every case are the best views to work by. The proper colouring of sections gives a good appearance to a drawing, and conveys an idea of an organised machine, or, to use the shop term, "stands out from the paper." In shading sections, leave a margin of white between the tints and the lines on the upper and left-hand sides of the section: this breaks the connection or sameness, and the effect is striking; it separates the parts, [85] and adds greatly to the clearness and general appearance of a drawing.

Cylindrical parts in the plane of sections, such as shafts and bolts, should be drawn full, and have a 'round shade,' which relieves the flat appearance—a point to be avoided as much as possible in sectional views.

Conventional custom has assigned blue as a tint for wrought iron, neutral or pale pink for cast iron, and purple for steel. Wood is generally distinguished by "graining," which is easily done, and looks well.

The title of a drawing is a feature that has much to do with its appearance, and the impression conveyed to the mind of an observer. While it can add nothing to the real value of a drawing, it is so easy to make plain letters, that the apprentice is urged to learn this as soon as he begins to draw; not to make fancy letters, nor indeed any kind except plain block letters, which can be rapidly laid out and finished, and consequently employed to a greater extent. By drawing six parallel lines, making five spaces, and then crossing them with equidistant lines, the points and angles in block letters are determined; after a little practice, it becomes the work of but a few minutes to put down a title or other matter on a drawing so that it can be seen and read at a glance in searching for sheets or details.

In the manufacture of machines, there are usually so many sizes and modifications, that drawings should assist and determine in a large degree the completeness of classification and record. Taking the manufacture of machine tools, for example: we cannot well say, each time they are to be spoken of, a thirty-six inch lathe without screw and gearing, a thirty-two inch lathe with screw and gearing, a forty-inch lathe triple geared or double geared, with a twenty or thirty foot frame, and so on. To avoid this it is necessary to assume symbols for machines of different classes, consisting generally of the letters of the alphabet, qualified by a single number as an exponent to designate capacity or different modifications. Assuming, in the case of engine lathes, A to be the symbol for lathes of all sizes, then those of different capacity and modification can be represented in the drawings and records as A1, A2, A3, A4, and so on, requiring but two characters to indicate a lathe of any kind. These symbols should be marked in large plain letters on the left-hand lower corner of sheets, so that the manager, workman, or any one else, can see at a glance what the [86] drawings relate to. This symbol should run through the time-book, cost account, sales record, and be the technical name for machines to which it applies; in this way machines will always be spoken of in the works by the name of their symbol.

In making up the time charged to different machines during their construction, a good plan is to supply each workman with a slate and pencil, on which he can enter his time as so many hours or fractions of hours charged to the respective symbols. Instead of interfering with his time, this will increase a workman's interest in what he is doing, and naturally lead to a desire to diminish the time charged to the various symbols. This system leads to emulation among workmen where any operation is repeated by different persons, and creates an interest in classification which workmen will willingly assist in.

When the dimensions and symbols are added to a drawing, the next thing is pattern or catalogue numbers. These should be marked in prominent, plain figures on each piece of casting, either in red or other colour that will contrast with the general face of the drawing. These numbers, to avoid the use of symbols in connection with them, must include consecutively all patterns employed in the business, and can extend to thousands without inconvenience.

A book containing the pattern record should be kept, in which these catalogue numbers are set down, with a short description to identify the different parts to which the numbers belong, so that all the various details of any machine can at any time be referred to. Besides this description, there should be opposite the catalogue of pattern numbers, ruled spaces, in which to enter the weight of castings, the cost of the pattern, and also the amount of turned, planed, or bored surface on each piece when it is finished, or the time required in fitting, which is the same thing. In this book the assembled parts of each machine should be set down in a separate list, so that orders for castings can be made from the list without other references. This system is the best one known to the writer, and is in substance a plan now adopted in many of the best engineering establishments. A complete system in all things pertaining to drawings and classifications should be rigidly adhered to; any plan is better than none, and the schooling of the mind to be had in the observance of systematic rules is a matter not to be neglected. New plans for promoting system may at any time arise, but such plans cannot be at any [87] time understood and adopted except by those who have cultivated a taste for order and regularity.

In regard to shaded elevations, it may be said that photography has superseded them for the purpose of illustrating completed machines, and but few establishments care to incur the expense of ink-shaded elevations. Shaded elevations cannot be made with various degrees of care, and in a longer or shorter time; there is but one standard for them, and that is that such drawings should be made with great care and skill. Imperfect shaded elevations, although they may surprise and please the unskilled, are execrable in the eyes of a draughtsman or an engineer; and as the making of shaded elevations can be of but little assistance to an apprentice draughtsman, it is better to save the time that must be spent in order to make such drawings, and apply the same study and time to other matters of greater importance.

It is not assumed that shaded elevations should not be made, nor that ink shading should not be learned, but it is thought best to point out the greater importance of other kinds of drawing, too often neglected to gratify a taste for picture-making, which has but little to do with practical mechanics.

Isometrical perspective is often useful in drawing, especially in wood structures, when the material is of rectangular section, and disposed at right angles, as in machine frames. One isometrical view, which can be made nearly as quickly as a true elevation, will show all the parts, and may be figured for dimensions the same as plane views. True perspective, although rarely necessary in mechanical drawing, may be studied with advantage in connection with geometry; it will often lead to the explanation of problems in isometric drawing, and will also assist in free-hand lines that have sometimes to be made to show parts of machinery oblique to the regular planes. Thus far the remarks on draughting have been confined to manipulation mainly. As a branch of engineering work, draughting must depend mainly on special knowledge, and is not capable of being learned or practised upon general principles or rules. It is therefore impossible to give a learner much aid by searching after principles to guide him; the few propositions that follow comprehend nearly all that may be explained in words.

1. Geometrical drawings consist in plans, elevations, and sections; plans being views on the top of the object in a horizontal plane; elevations, views on the sides of the object in vertical [88] planes; and sections, views taken on bisecting planes, at any angle through an object.

2. Drawings in true elevation or in section are based upon flat planes, and give dimensions parallel to the planes in which the views are taken.

3. Two elevations taken at right angles to each other, fix all points, and give all dimensions of parts that have their axis parallel to the planes on which the views are taken; but when a machine is complex, or when several parts lie in the same plane, three and sometimes four views are required to display all the parts in a comprehensive manner.

4. Mechanical drawings should be made with reference to all the processes that are required in the construction of the work, and the drawings should be responsible, not only for dimensions, but for unnecessary expense in fitting, forging, pattern-making, moulding, and so on.

5. Every part laid down has something to govern it that may be termed a "base"—some condition of function or position which, if understood, will suggest size, shape, and relation to other parts. By searching after a base for each and every part and detail, the draughtsman proceeds upon a regular system, continually maintaining a test of what is done. Every wheel, shaft, screw or piece of framing should be made with a clear view of the functions it has to fill, and there are, as before said, always reasons why such parts should be of a certain size, have such a speed of movement, or a certain amount of bearing surface, and so on. These reasons or conditions may be classed as expedient, important, or essential, and must be estimated accordingly. As claimed at the beginning, the designs of machines can only in a limited degree be determined by mathematical data. Leaving out all considerations of machine operation with which books have scarcely attempted to deal, we have only to refer to the element of strains to verify the general truth of the proposition.

Examining machines made by the best designers, it will be found that their dimensions bear but little if any reference to calculated strains, especially in machines involving rapid motion. Accidents destroy constants, and a draughtsman or designer who does not combine special and experimental knowledge with what he may learn from general sources, will find his services to [89]be of but little value in actual practice.

I now come to note a matter in connection with draughting to which the attention of learners is earnestly called, and which, if neglected, all else will be useless. I allude to indigestion, and its resultant evils. All sedentary pursuits more or less give rise to this trouble, but none of them so much as draughting. Every condition to promote this derangement exists. When the muscles are at rest, circulation is slow, the mind is intensely occupied, robbing the stomach of its blood and vitality, and, worse than all, the mechanical action of the stomach is usually arrested by leaning over the edge of a board. It is regretted that no good rule can be given to avoid this danger. One who understands the evil may in a degree avert it by applying some of the logic which has been recommended in the study of mechanics. If anything tends to induce indigestion, its opposite tends the other way, and may arrest it; if stooping over a board interferes with the action of the digestive organs, leaning back does the opposite; it is therefore best to have a desk as high as possible, stand when at work, and cultivate a constant habit of straightening up and throwing the shoulders back, and if possible, take brief intervals of vigorous exercise. Like rating the horse-power of a steam-engine, by multiplying the force into the velocity, the capacity of a man can be estimated by multiplying his mental acquirements into his vitality.

Physical strength, bone and muscle, must be elements in successful engineering experience; and if these things are not acquired at the same time with a mechanical education, it will be found, when ready to enter upon a course of practice, that an important element, the "propelling power," has been omitted.

(1.) What is the difference between geometric and artistic drawing?—(2.) What is the most important operation in making a good drawing?—(3.) Into what three classes can working drawings be divided?—(4.) Explain the difference between elevations and plans.—(5.) To what extent in general practice is the proportion of parts and their arrangement in machines determined mathematically?



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