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Mechanical Designers create technical drawings for the design of mechanical devices. They work closely with engineers and architects to complete this work, and they develop drawings for a wide variety of machines, from computers to buildings.

A Mechanical Designer is usually a member of an engineering team, and much of their work is collaborative. They typically report to the director of their engineering team. The majority of Mechanical Designers work for architectural or engineering services firms, while a sizeable amount work within the manufacturing industry as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field for Drafters and Mechanical Designers is expected to decline by 3 percent over the next ten years due to the development of software that increases the efficiency of their job.

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Mechanical Designer Duties and Responsibilities

In order to create drawings for machines, Mechanical Designer performs many different tasks. We analyzed job listings for Mechanical Designer in order to identify these core duties and responsibilities.

Prepare Calculations

Before completing technical drawings and designing machines, the Mechanical Designer must first prepare calculations on the proposed machine. They calculate things like tolerance, dimensions and thermal and structural analysis. Using these calculations, they are able to develop effective mechanical designs.

Create Technical Drawings

Typically using AutoCAD software, Mechanical Designers sketch and draw up designs using input from engineers and architects on their team. They work on preliminary designs as well as final designs. Their designs must be in line with company procedure, regulations and client standards, as they provide the foundation for a quality product.

Revise Existing Products

While Mechanical Designers create drawings for new products, their job often involves revising the designs for existing products as well. They use customer feedback and data to upgrade, improve or repair the company's existing machines.

Provide Installation Support

Mechanical Designers submit their drawings to upper management and construction teams, but their work is not done there. Along with the engineering team, the Mechanical Designer will provide support during the building and installation process, ensuring that the machine is being built properly and according to design specifications.

Mechanical Designer Skills

Mechanical Designers are analytical and creative. They’re problem-solvers who are quantitatively skilled but also have an eye for good design. Leaders and decision-makers, they’re capable of guiding others and being assertive. Collaboration and cooperation is crucial, so Mechanical Designers are also great at working as a part of a team.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Mechanical Designers with these core skills. If you want to work as a Mechanical Designer, focus on the following. Go getter enthusiastic ambitious
  • Possessing a relevant technical degree
  • Showing proficiency in AutoCAD and 3D software
  • Having industry-specific knowledge
  • Being proficient in Microsoft Office
  • Obtaining drawing and design experience

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Mechanical Designer toolbox and broaden your career options.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in Engineering
  • Previous supervisory experience
  • Experience designing industry-specific products

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Mechanical Designer Resources

We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Mechanical Designer. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.

On the Web


Building and construction design issues and tips


Urban Analyst Aaron Renn looks at city design and construction

Machine Design

A blog on machine design

Industry Groups

American Society of Civil Engineers

By membership, one of the largest professional networks of Civil Engineers

American Institute of Architects

Largest organization for professional architects

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Foundation for mechanical engineers

Mechanical Designer Books

507 Mechanical Movements

A book on mechanisms and devices

Structural Analysis

Thorough and broad overview of structural analysis

Mechanical Design Engineering

A handbook for mechanical engineers

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