What Paul said. Not to dissuade you from building a drafting machine if you want to, but I think CAD is the way to go. I've done manual drafting, but now I use ProgCAD Smart! 2009. It's free and is largely a clone of the AutoCAD user interface. (That is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation; just stating a fact.)
It is primarily for 2D drawings, though with considerable pain it can be coaxed into doing some amount of 3D. Anyway, the price is right. There is admittedly quite a learning curve. I learned by getting an AutoCAD LT for Dummies book, starting at the beginning, and working my way through the pages and examples. About a quarter of the way through the lightbulb went on and I "got" the AutoCAD view of the world and the commands so it suddenly all made sense...mostly, and I could go on without the book. There is still a lot about the program I don't know about or use, but I know enough to do what I want.
It is mostly compatible with 64-bit Windows 7. There are a few glitches, but nothing too serious. Installation on W7 requires some manual intervention, which is described in a posting on the program's Help forum.
Downloadable from here:
There are other free or cheap packages available online; this just happens to be the one I use.
Last edited by SGW; 03-26-2012 at 11:15 AM.
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Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.