Engineering Drawings vs. Manufacturing Drawings

Engineering drawings, manufacturing drawings. Tomato, tomato. Right? – Wrong. Although these two terms can sometimes be used interchangeably, there is in fact, a distinction between the two.

The truth is, there is a big distinction between engineering and manufacturing altogether! Most of the time, there are departments that are for each within a company since they require a different set of skills. Although there is a difference between the two, they go hand in hand and work together for the end result. However, in smaller companies, the distinction can become lost since one or a few people handle the engineering and manufacturing together. This article will demonstrate the difference between the two types of drawings and why they are both important to have.

Engineering Drawings

Engineering drawings are usually more complex than manufacturing drawings because it includes all the engineering of how the product goes together as a whole and complete product. Engineering departments usually have engineers who do the design, electronics (schematics, circuit boards, etc.), and mechanics (fit, form, and function). Engineering drawings include the following:

  • Bill of Materials
  • Component drawings
  • Assembly drawings
  • Schematics
  • Printed circuit board layouts
  • 3D renderings

All these items above come together for a complete specification for the finished product. These items don’t necessarily describe how the parts and components are manufactured, but rather entail all the specifications of the design, the various components, and how they go together.

Manufacturing Drawings

Manufacturing drawings are pretty self explanatory. They show all the detailed specifications of the product so it can be manufactured. Of course, depending on the manufacturer, production quantities, and other factors, the method of actually manufacturing the product is determined by the manufacturer. The manufacturing drawings provide a plethora of information for the manufacturer. This information includes:

  • Material type
  • Full dimensions
  • Welding information
  • Surface/cosmetic finish
  • Hardware

This information on a manufacturing drawing sets the stage for how the part is to be made by the shop floor. It is the medium that is used to communicate how to fabricate the part based upon the specifications. It also acts as a foundation of how the manufacturing will be planned and made based upon the detailed information on the print.

How they come together?

Although these two types of drawings are different due to the information they provide and the purposes they have, they both come together as they are both necessary for the success of a consistent product. Whether you get a product manufactured by a small or large company or in the United States or in China, the product should come out the same based upon the engineering and manufacturing drawings.

Why they are both important to have?

It is important to have both and keep both separated since they provide different information for the same product and because they serve a different purpose. Once a product has been fully designed and engineered, the engineering drawings are complete. However, the based upon the manufacturing methods and production quantities, the manufacturing drawings can evolve and the engineering drawings should not change.

9 thoughts on “Engineering Drawings vs. Manufacturing Drawings

  1. How do you control the revision process of two different drawings of the same part? And how to prevent manufacturing drawings from effecting engineering BOMs?

    • Hi James,

      It can be better to have only one drawing with one part number for the same part that can be shared with other parts. This is known as a common part, and takes care of the configuration management of the drawings.

      Can you clarify your second question? Effecting engineering BOMs in what way?

  2. I would like to find a competent engineer who can follow my drawings and compile a set of manufacturing and engineering drawings prior to production.

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