In Form One, 1968, we were introduced to Technical Drawing, whereby we learned concepts such as 2D projections of 3D objects, cross-sections, dimensioning protocols, line types, etc.
Looking back, it seemed that I took to Technical Drawing like a duck to water. Everything was like second nature to me, as I drew lines and curves with pencils of various hardness grades.
One basic tool used in drawing practice was the indispensable T-Square, which served as the movable horizontal datum, upon which set-squares were placed, to produce lines which were to be at 90/30/60/45-degree angles to it. And of course, that wooden “drawing table” which supported the drawing paper.
Later on, in the Technical Institute, Penang and even in the University of Malaya, many hours would be spent hunching over the Drafting Table, with T-Square sliding up and down.
35 years ago (as of 2019) I entered the second phase of my working life – doing what I love best, ie., designing products.
In those days, there was no CAD yet, and everything had to be done by hand, aided by drafting machines. Many people were still using pencils, but in the company that I worked for, we used “Drafting Pens”. These were high quality instruments that produced very uniform lines of precise widths.
There were several brands then, such as Faber-Castell, Staedtler, etc. But the “Rolls-Royce” of these pens were from Rotring – every draftsman worth his lines had to be seen in possession of a set.
With these pens, our ideas were put onto drawings, which were then used by toolmakers to produce the tools and products as required.
Alas, these prized instruments are now museum pieces.
Before computerization massively invaded the realm of design (circa early 1980s), all ideas for making a product, constructing a structure, an electrical schematic, etc had to be presented via a drawing, painstakingly hand-drawn on paper, mylar or other media.
Each drawing was a personal masterpiece of draftsmanship, where the lines were drawn between concept and tangible creation.
And there was the indispensable supporting equipment to facilitate this task and impart the professional touch to the drawings – the Drawing Board.
The drawing boards evolved quickly into sophisticated equipment known as drafting machines, among which the brand Mutoh was my favourite.
My career foundation was set on these, but with the advent of software like AutoCAD, Pro-E, etc, I found that I had to go “back to the drawing board” to re-chart my way forward. But, no regrets.