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Practical Drafting: Applied Engineering Graphics Workbook Review by Deborah Wuehler

Melvin G. Peterman
Insight Technical Education

The first page of this workbook speaks volumes to me as Mr. Peterson acknowledges the Lord Jesus Christ and dedicates this book to Him. He also has a quote from Patrick Henry and two scriptures to finish off the page. A drafting book with scripture in it? This is a major plus from this selective mom.

The Practical Drafting workbook would certainly build on what a student has learned in the Complete-A-Sketch series, in that, when they have been successful at the beginning level of technical art offered, they will be ahead of the game in familiarity and practice when beginning Practical Drafting. However, this book is designed to stand alone as well. You don't need to have completed the other series to begin this workbook. If you have an older child who enjoys art and all things technical, then you could place them directly into the Practical Drafting workbook with no problem. My husband is going through it all with our 14 year-old, 9th grade son who is an artistic and hands-on mechanical kid, making this a good fit.

Although it is designed to be self taught and parental involvement is not necessary, it does my heart good to see father and son working on this together, and they are enjoying it as well. Mr. Peterman states, "This study is geared to be used by students without outside instruction. The study is built with the intent of helping to promote the use of hand and computer drafting skills."

He recommends that the lessons be done by hand first, and then after learning manual drafting, to complete the lessons on a computer with a CAD program. Note, this study does NOT come with CAD software, but can be ordered from their website. We are having our son complete the books manually and if he shows skill and interest, we will check out purchasing a computer software drafting program in the future.

Practical Drafting begins much the same as the Complete-A-Sketch series - with simple lines and lettering, and then progresses to drafting tools. It then delves into Geometric Shapes and Constructions and much more difficult and complex sketching - the likes of which you would see in real-life on the job drafting situations. Mr. Peterman goes over all views of an object in sketching, drawing and isometrics in an easy to understand fashion with examples and practice projects on every page.

You will need some basic drafting tools such as a small drafting board, circle templates, triangles, T-square, a bow compass and a few more items found in most office stores. And Mr. Peterman has graciously allowed as much copying of the contents of the book for your own personal use as you wish.

My husband is an electronics engineer and took drafting in college. He is very picky about curriculum when it comes to anything technical. So, to tell you that he thinks Insight Technical Education's offerings are an excellent choice for drafting products should give you an indication of their quality.

The workbook also includes references to many of the most common used symbols, weights and measurements, as well as a Useful Multiplier section where you can find hundreds of formulas. For example, you can look up what to multiply horsepower by in order to obtain foot-pounds/minute, or you can find that you can multiply gallons by 3,785 to obtain cubic centimeters. How about multiplying inches of water by 0.5781 to obtain ounces/square inch? Fascinating stuff included here for many fields of study.

The fact that I don't have to be there watching over my son's shoulder is a definite benefit. The fact that he is learning drafting from an expert is another. This is a very comprehensive self-teaching workbook that will take your child from the basics of drafting at a high school level and on through to college level type study without stepping foot outside your door.

This book covers drafting for construction, welding, sheet metal, gears, piping, electrical schematics and much, much more. If you have a child interested in any of these fields, going through this workbook would greatly enhance their progress towards pursuing those fields. As Mr. Peterman says, "Most science and engineering disciplines require a level of drawing skill that allows easy communication. This is why virtually all science and engineering schools require courses in drafting. Documenting ideas is imperative." And, he says, "The basic intent of Practical Drafting is to introduce students to the basic principles of drafting and to awaken the student to the possibilities of career options. Drafting is just one tool that is used in many different engineering, construction, and technical fields. Drafting alone will probably not be a career. However, it will always be a part of technical work. Being able to draw without a computer is an important skill for life, even if the student does not go into a technical field. Practical Drafting is a book that can help direct, change, or set a career path for your student." "Drafting is the language of engineering. In the engineering field today, it is imperative that all participants, drafters, designers, engineers, machinists, electricians, builders, etc., must understand this language."

If you have a teen that is technical, hands-on, mechanical or construction minded, and/or likes art, I would highly recommend they go through this Practical Drafting Workbook. Although we don't know what occupational field our own son will enter, we are confident he will be better prepared for a majority of jobs because of this experience with Practical Drafting. It has the feel of a complete college level course, yet has the ease of use and student self-direction that would excel in the homeschool environment for any of your junior or senior high school aged children.

-- Product Review by Deborah Wuehler, Devotional Editor, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2006