How To Make Patent Drawings

How to Make Patent Drawings

Do you have an idea that you’re looking to protect? If your answer is yes, then you should be looking at filing a patent. In order to file a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) you will first want at least one patent drawing (aka a patent illustration).


Importance of Patent Drawings

Patent drawings are the key method of communicating the unique features of your invention. Although drawings are not required by the USPTO for provisional patents, the USPTO may require them to be submitted as deemed necessary. In order to prevent any delays in your patent, you will want to pay extra care to ensure that your drawings meet with USPTO requirements outlined in 37 CFR § 1.84 – Standards for drawings.


Industrial CAD Software

Professional drafters use professional CAD (computer-aided design) software such as SolidWorks®, Autodesk® Inventor®, or Autodesk® Fusion 360™ in order to generate patent drawings. CAD software is great for generating the 2D drawing views that USPTO requires based on a 3D model. Having a 3D CAD model of your invention is also helpful for the design process, communication and collaboration, generating product renders, generating shop drawings, and more.

Industrial CAD platforms

SolidWorks®, CATIA ™ and Autodesk® Inventor® are very similar CAD platforms and are both popular among engineers, drafters, designers, and others. They offer powerful features including solid and surfaces support, an abundance of design and analysis support features, support for complex assemblies, generation of drawing sets, and more.

Note: At ASR Engineering we use SolidWorks®, CATIA ™, Autodesk® Inventor®, and any other platform customers request.

Autodesk® Fusion 360™ is a lower-cost cloud-based platform alternative to SolidWorks® and Autodesk® Inventor®. Due to the low cost of Fusion 360™, it has become popular among hobbyists for additive manufacturing (3D printing), CNC, modeling, and more.

Autodesk® AutoCAD® was one of the first CAD platforms made and is still heavily used for generating drawings. AutoCAD® specializes in 2D design and generates drawings that meet with USPTO drawing requirements. The downside to AutoCAD® is the difficulty in generating 3D models, however it is more affordable than most 3D CAD platforms.


Modeling Software

A low-cost alternative to industrial CAD software is to use modeling software such as SketchUp which offers free versions. These products, however, do not typically offer the ability to easily generate a 2D view based on a 3D model. While you can create a 2D view which is required by USPTO, you will typically have to do so separately from the 3D model which allows for creating mistakes and takes additional time and effort. For this reason, while modeling software is great for generating a concept model or render, it is more difficult when compared to 3D industrial CAD platforms to generate the drawings you need for a patent.


Hand Drawn Drawings

The lowest cost option is to manually draw your patent drawings. Should you decide to go this route, make sure to purchase an architect scale, engineering paper, and dark and bold pens or pencils. The scale will be used as a straight edge and reference to ensure that every part of your drawing is drawn to the proper scale. Engineering paper also offers guidelines that won’t show up when a drawing is scanned as well as properly sized margins. The dark and bold pencils or pencils or pens are required to meet with USPTO requirements for being scannable.

Most hand drawn patent drawings today are noticeably less professional than drawings generated with the use of CAD, however, if you follow drafting standards then you can generate a great looking hand drawn set.

The following is an excellent reference to manual drafting: https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Manual_drafting_techniques


ASR Engineering offers in-house concept to production engineering services which includes generating the drawings you need to protect your intellectual property with a patent. Contact us today for a free quote on your project.

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