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2 The Language of Lines


You have heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. This statement is particularly true in regards to technical drawings.

It would be almost impossible for an engineer, designer, or architect to describe in words the shape, size, and relationship of a complex object. Therefore, drawings have become the universal language used by engineers, designers, technicians, as well as craftsmen, to communicate the Information necessary to build, assemble and service the products of industry.

It is Important to remember, as you study Print Reading, that you are learning to communicate with the graphic language used by Industry: Lines are part of that language.

Since technical drawings are made of lines, it is logical that the first step in learning to “read” a drawing is to learn the meaning of each kind of line. Generally, there are 11 basic types of lines. Each kind of line has a definite form and “weight”. Weight refers to line thickness or width. When combined in a drawing, lines provide part of the Information needed to understand the print.

Being able to interpret a blueprint and accurately build objects is a needed skill to become successful in all trade crafts.  It is a skill, like many others you will learn, and it will take time and practice to fully understand and become proficient.

Object Line

A visible line , or object line is a thick continuous line, used to outline the visible edges or contours of an object.

Solid object showing the use of thick lines

Hidden Line

A hidden line , also known as a hidden object line is a medium weight line, made of short dashes about 1/8” long with 1/16”gaps, to show edges, surfaces and corners which cannot be seen. Sometimes they are used to make a drawing easier to understand. Often they are omitted in an isometric view.

L shaped solid showing the use of hidden lines which are not solid

Section Line

Section lines are used to show the cut surfaces of an object in section views. They are fine, dark lines. Various types of section lines may indicate the type of material cut by the cutting plane line.

Solid block sliced in half with, showing thin lines at a 45 degree angle.

Center Line

Center lines are used to indicate the centers of holes, arcs, and symmetrical objects. They are very thin (size), long-short-long kinds of lines.

Rectangle with circle in middle indicating the use of a thin center line type

Dimension Line

Dimension lines are thin and are used to show the actual size of an object. There are arrowheads at both end that terminate at the extension lines.

Rectangle showing a dimensioning line type.

Extension Line

Extension lines are also thin lines, showing the limits of dimensions. Dimension line arrowheads touch extension lines.

A "C" shaped rectangular object showing the use of dimensioning.

Leader Line

Leaders are more thin lines used to point to an area of a drawing requiring a note for explanation. They are preferably drawn at a 45° angles.

Round object with a dimension line at a 45 degree angle indicating the diameter.

Cutting Plane Line

A cutting plane line (very heavy) helps to show the internal shape at a part or assembly by slicing through the object.

A rectangular block sliced in half to show internal features using the cutting plane line to indicate where it is cut and what the view is as a result.

There are three kinds of break lines used in drawings. They are used to remove, or ‘break out” part of a drawing for clarity, and also to shorten objects which have the same shape throughout their length and may be too long to place on the drawing.

Break lines usage to show a shortened part for better documentation of rectangular or cylindrical objects

Short and long break lines are used for flat surfaces. Cylindrical are used on rods, dowels, etc.

Phantom Line

Phantom lines are long-short-short-long lines most often used to show the travel or movement of an object or a part in alternate positions. It can also be used to show adjacent objects or features.

Rectangular object shown in start and finished rotated positions.

Border Line

Borderlines are very thick, continuous lines used to show the boundary of the drawing or to separate different objects drawn on one sheet. They are also used to separate the title block form the rest of the drawing.

Shows use of border lines that are used to outline drawing title box.

Directions: Name the types of lines shown below. Check your own answers

3 geometric shapes using the lines discussed in this chapter.

Identify the various line types used in this drawing. (instructor will provide a copy of this drawing)

Name the types of lines shown below. Check your own answers.

what is a phantom line definition

  Directions: Draw and identify the lines needed to complete the figures as indicated.

Various geometric shapes asking the student to draw the missing line.

Basic Blueprint Reading Copyright © 2019 by Linn-Benton Community College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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  • Phantom Lines

Phantom lines have several uses on a drawing.  Phantom lines can be used to show how other parts are positioned relative to the part shown.  In the illustration below, a cylinder is placed on a v-block to be inspected.  The position of the cylinder relative to the v-block is illustrated using phantom lines.

Phantom lines can show alternate positions of moving parts.

Phantom lines are used to show repeated detail.  For instance, a spring or threaded part may consist of a lot of detail that is not necessary to understand the form of the part.

  • Short Break Line
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what is a phantom line definition

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  1. PPT

    what is a phantom line definition

  2. Phantom Lines

    what is a phantom line definition

  3. Type of Line used in (ED) Engineering Drawing

    what is a phantom line definition

  4. Phantom Lines in Triangles

    what is a phantom line definition

  5. PPT

    what is a phantom line definition

  6. Engineering Drawing : Class 02

    what is a phantom line definition


  1. Most Skillful Play in Phantom Forces

  2. Rolls Royce Phantom Assembly

  3. Line

  4. Definition

  5. WAYV

  6. Pay to Win or Tactical Perfection? Ghost Recon Phantoms


  1. The Language of Lines

    Object Line . A visible line, or object line is a thick continuous line, used to outline the visible edges or contours of an object. Hidden Line. A hidden line, also known as a hidden object line is a medium weight line, made of short dashes about 1/8” long with 1/16”gaps, to show edges, surfaces and corners which cannot be seen. Sometimes ...

  2. Basic Types of Lines Used in Engineering Drawings

    Phantom lines represent the outline of an adjacent part, show alternate positions of a moving part, or replace repetitive details such as gear teeth and threads Break Lines represent an area of an object that has been removed for clarity or convenience/ used when it is desirable to shorten the view of a long part Cutting plane lines

  3. Phantom Lines

    Phantom lines can be used to show how other parts are positioned relative to the part shown. In the illustration below, a cylinder is placed on a v-block to be inspected. The position of the cylinder relative to the v-block is illustrated using phantom lines. Phantom lines can show how an object is related to the position of another object.

  4. Phantom Lines

    PHANTOM LINES consist of long dashes separated by pairs of short dashes (fig. 2-11). The long dashes may vary in length, depending on the size of the drawing. Phantom lines show alternate positions of related parts, adjacent positions of related parts, and Figure 2-11.—Phantom-line application. repeated detail.