Understanding Basic Blueprint Concepts

ESL Resource for Aerospace Pre-Employment: AIR
Brian Briggs
Community Colleges of Spokane
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What will I learn in this lesson?
 The definition of a blueprint
 Important vocabulary and pronunciation
 The difference between CAD and CAM
 Common parts of a blueprint
 Basics of measurement: parts of an inch
What is a blueprint?
 A blueprint is a plan or
design which describes how
a product should be made.
It shows the measurements,
dimensions, and materials.
In the past, blueprints were
drawn by hand on special
blue paper. Today, many
blueprints are made on a
computer using a special
program called CAD
(Computer Aided Drafting)
Reading Blueprints
 To read a blueprint, it is important to understand the
special vocabulary. You must be able to speak the
language of blueprints. It is a universal language.
Important words to know- Line \ˈlīn\
 Dimension \də-ˈmen(t)-shən\
 Section \ˈsek-shən\
 Process \ˈprä-ˌses\
 Geometric positioning \ˌjē-ə-ˈme-trik pə-ˈzi-shəniŋ\
 Note \ˈnōt\
 Tolerance \ˈtä-lə-rən(t)s\
 Material \mə-ˈtir-ē-əl\
 Lines give a shape to the object and details about it.
 Dimensions give the size and location of parts and
 How big are the parts?
 Where do the parts go?
 Sections show how the object looks inside if it were
cut apart.
 Processes explain how the part is to be produced.
 Geometric positioning shows exactly how far apart
objects should be.
 Notes should be clearly lettered (printed).
 Tolerances show exact measurement and dimensions
of finished surfaces.
 Materials are used for making parts. The blueprint
also includes information about the weight, strength,
and hardness. Some common materials are iron, steel,
aluminum, carbon fiber, fiberglass, titanium, and
 Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) is a computer
program which helps you draft or draw blueprints on a
 CAM stands for Computer-Aided Manufacturing.
Things you will see on most
 Name of the part
 Quantity (how many are needed)
 Drawing number
 Dimensional tolerance
 Material
 Linear or straight line measurement
Measured point
Reference point
Line of measurement
Basic size=
Inch units
 Drawings might use either inch units, metric units, or
 Fractional parts of an inch
1/64”, 1/32”, 1/16”, 1/8”, 1/4”, 1/2”
 Decimal (mils) parts of an inch
.010”, .050”, .100”, and .500”
 Metric dimensions are usually given in millimeters. If
you need to change measurements from one system to
another, please use a conversion table.
 Go to the quiz and see if you understand the
Unless otherwise specified, this work by Air Washington is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

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