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2.2: Standard lettering

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  • Standard lettering

    The letters and numbers on a drawing or sketch are as important as the lines. Scribbled, smudged, or badly written letters and numbers can become impossible to read. This may lead to time-consuming and costly errors. Lettering is necessary to describe:

    • the name or title of a drawing
    • when it was made
    • the scale
    • who sketched it
    • the dimensions
    • the special notations that describe the size
    • the materials to be used
    • the construction methods

    The American Standard Vertical letters (Figure 12) have become the most accepted style of lettering used in the production of manual drafting. This lettering is a Gothic sans serif script, formed by a series of short strokes.

    Font styles and sizes may vary in computer drafting. Note that all letters are written as capital (upper case) letters. Practise these characters, concentrating on forming the correct shape. Remember that letters and numbers must be black so that they will stand out and be easy to read. Lettering and figures should have the same weight and darkness as hidden lines.


    1. Standard lettering


      Abbreviations are commonly used to help simplify a drawing and conserve space. Although many fields share common abbreviation conventions, there are also field- or trades-specific conventions that you will see as you become more specialized. Here is a common list of abbreviations that are used on drawings. Each trade will have specific abbreviations from this list, and therefore a set of drawings will usually include an abbreviation key.

      AB anchor bolt

      ABT about

      AUX auxiliary

      BC bolt circle

      BBE bevel both ends

      BCD bolt circle diameter

      BOE bevel one end

      BE both ends

      BL baseline

      BM bench mark

      Btm bottom

      BP base plate

      B/P blueprint

      BLD blind

      C/C centre to centre

      COL column

      CPLG coupling

      CS carbon steel

      C/W complete with

      CYL cylinder

      DIA diameter

      DIAG diagonal

      DIM dimension

      DWG drawing

      EA each

      EL elevation

      EXT external

      F/F face to face

      FF flat face

      FLG flange

      FW fillet weld

      Ga gauge

      Galv galvanized

      HVY heavy

      HH hex head

      HR hot rolled

      HT heat treatment

      HLS holes

      HSS hollow structural steel

      ID inside diameter

      IN inches

      INT internal

      ISO International Standards Org.

      KP kick plate

      LH left hand

      LAT lateral

      LR long radius

      LG long

      MB machine bolt

      MS mild steel

      MIN minimum

      MAX maximum

      MAT’L material

      MISC miscellaneous

      NC national course

      NF national fine

      NO number

      MOM nominal

      NTS not to scale

      NPS nominal pipe size

      NPT national pipe thread

      O/C on centre

      OA overall

      OD outside diameter

      OR outside radius

      OPP opposite

      PAT pattern

      PBE plain both ends

      POE plain one end

      PSI pounds per square inch

      PROJ project

      RD running dimension

      R or Rad radius

      RND round

      REF reference

      REQ’D required

      REV revision

      RF raised face

      RH right hand

      SCH schedule

      SI International System of Units

      SPECS specifications

      SQ square

      SM seam

      SMLS seamless

      S/S seam to seam

      SO slip on

      SEC section

      STD standard

      SS stainless steel

      SYM symmetrical

      T top

      T&B top and bottom

      T&C threaded and coupled

      THD threaded

      TBE threaded both ends

      TOE threaded one end

      THK thick

      TOL tolerance

      TOC top of concrete

      TOS top of steel

      TYP typical

      U/N unless noted

      VERT vertical

      WD working drawing

      WP working point

      WT weight

      W/O without

      XH extra heavy

      XS extra strong

      Figure 13 shows a simple drawing. Notice that the dimensions are given between arrows that point to extension lines. By using this method, the dimensions do not get in the way of the drawing. One extension line can be used for several dimensions. Notice also that the titles require larger letter sizes than those used for dimensions and notations. It is important that the title and sketch number stand out, as shown in Figure 13. When you begin lettering, you may wish to use very light lettering guide lines to ensure uniformity in lettering size and alignment.


    2. Standard lettering sizes