Industry Standard GA Software?


I am studying product design at Central Saint Martins, and here they teach Ashar Vellum Graphite as general arrangement drawing software. I find it quite slow to use and buggy to boot.
Yesterday I was speaking to a designer in the industry and she told me that she too was also taught to use the program (having done the same course many years ago) and that NO ONE in the industry uses it.

I forgot to ask what it is they DO use, I’m assuming AutoCAD/Vectorworks? I’d rather learn to use something that is used in the industry and hand in my GA that way.

So, what do you guys recommend as the best program to learn?


  • Roo

This may not be true for some specific engineering disciplines (or perhaps companies that are a bit behind tech-wise), but the industry standard in product design is to not use GA specific software (and also to not call it GA, perhaps technical drawings or control drawings, in my experience). The standard is to make it in 3D and have it spit out your 2D drawings. Something like Graphite may be quicker to make some quick and simple 2D drawing, but 3D has so many other advantages and once the part is modeled it can spit out whatever views you want instantly.

I actually used Graphite as well in a college course (graduated 2006). It was Technical Drawing and we did the first half by hand and then switched to computers for the latter half. Despite rarely ever using the software again (never after I learned 3D) it was actually good to have to learned 2D drawings before using 3D software, because it made us concentrate more on how to read the views and put them together to make a 3 dimensional object. Once you use 3D a lot less effort goes into making the 2D drawings (fully dimensioned drawings are a still a pain, but not every product needs them and that usually falls to an engineer). Less effort is good, but the fundamental understanding helps.

So I say don’t worry about using a different software just for GA, because either way you won’t use it in a year or two. That’s assuming you’re going to be learning 3D software somewhere in the not too distant future.

What’s GA? :blush:

From : Mechanical Engineering Drawings - Roymech

General Arrangement Drawings

This drawing shows overall views of the equipment and provides all of the information to produce transportation, layout and installation drawings. The drawing includes a list of the arrangement drawings. The drawing includes overall dimensions, installation details, overall weight/mass, weights of sub systems, and service supply details.

The general arrangement drawing includes references to the design documents. The drawing often also identifies relevant internal and external contract numbers. An example of a typical general arrangement drawing is a roller conveyor system comprising a number of conveyors with independent drives and guards.

The drawn separate assemblies and parts will be identified with leader lines to balloons which include the arrangement reference number linking to the list of arrangement drawings.

I’ve never used the term, and it seems like it’s more used for naval vessels or other big things that need multi-system layouts, like the roller coaster example. Those things have different needs than the product design I’ve encountered, where we do drawings but they’re just part or assembly drawings referred to as either technical or control drawings, based on detail. Maybe this professor’s experience is in industries that would use the term GA.