The Rise of Digital Drafting Tables: Microsoft Surface Studio & Dell Canvas

The Future of Drafting & Design

It’s starting to look like 2017 could be the year where technology will finally catch up to what I’ve always dreamed of when I thought of drafting and design in the Future. Since I can remember I’ve wanted to have a “Digital Drafting Table” for working on designs at my day job or at home. My bucket list for this table consisted of a few key items like a touchscreen that’s adjustable to angles similar to a traditional drafting table, a high resolution display (for obvious reasons), a large (full size sheet ideally) screen, accurate pen/stylus recognition and software that worked specifically with it.Wacom cintiq

I’ve always hoped and known this wasn’t a very tall order for a product, and new it would be available sooner than later. I actually attempted to piece together something similar with a monitor and an older wacom tablet years ago with decent results but it just wasn’t very useful or close to hand drafting. Now though, you can actually already get an all in one Pen/Touch Display from Wacom, the Cintiq and it looks really great, wacom currently has the best stylus recognition and smoothness so it’s worth checking out for sure, I know I want to try it out as soon as I can.

But today I want to highlight two new products that are coming out/are out this year specifically aimed at designers, drafters and illustrators. First up is the Microsoft Surface Studio, an all-in-one pc, stylus and touch screen aimed at professionals who want an Apple like all inclusive package for their design needs. It looks awesome and the pre launch trailer for it is a must watch, I’ll post it below:

I’m hoping to get a chance to try out the Studio soon to see how it does with some drafting software and ideally a modelling package like Inventor. From the videos and info I’ve seen of the Studio it looks like it is basically a dream all-in-one drafting table for designers and the new Surface Dial looks like it could be a cool tool for software companies to integrate in their new releases along with finally adding some decent touch integration cough AutoDesk cough in general to drafting programs.

Microsoft Surface StudioOverall, I really love the design of the Studio and the specs are definitely up to the task of todays design packages, my only concern is the closed system and the ability to upgrade in the future but it’s a minor gripe if this is your day job and will be upgrading systems every couple years anyway.  Oh and that display is honestly amazing looking!
Specs are customizable but pretty high end and can be checked out here:


Ok, so next up is the newly announced Dell Canvas, unlike the Studio, the Canvas is not an all-in-one but actually a very large touch display specifically designed for artists, creators, designers and related professionals. The Canvas boasts a massive 27inch full touch display that look like it would be a perfect fit for a designer that already has a powerful PC (maybe even someone exactly like me, ahem Dell;)) and wants to add a drafting/artists table to it with its own unique features.

Check out this Video look at the Dell Canvas:

One thing I really like about the Canvas and am excited to see in person is the somewhat matte finish of the display which could be better than the gloss finish of the studio for an office environments glare and fingerprints. Dell has also made a great choice by using the technology from Wacom and their industry leading touch/stylus options.


One thing I noticed and saw many negative comments about were the large bezels around the display, especially the sides, but if you’re like me and tend to rest your hand or arm on your paper or desk I think this could be really helpful and aid in not accidentally pressing things when you put your hand down on the display.

Since the Canvas runs off your current PC the specs aren’t as important but the 27″ monitor boasts QHD (2,560-by-1,440 resolution) which, while not 4k, will still look good and probably run a little better on most pcs.

Overall, I am really excited for both and for the future of technology for creators and designer and couldn’t be happier that these large companies have seen the need and are innovating and creating new tech for our niche market. I can only see the industry getting better in the near future and look forward to seeing where it goes this year and beyond.

What do you think about the rise of Digital Drafting Tables this year and which one would you pick? Let me know in the comments below.
Cheers and Happy drafting!


Also published on Medium.

The following two tabs change content below.
Brandon is a Civil Designer, Aspiring Blogger/Creator, Husband, Father to two Amazing Kids and Tech Aficionado from a small town in Canada. He has been obsessed with design and technology since he can remember and working as a Civil Designer for nearly as long. Brandon’s blog and Youtube channel, has been his outlet and excuse for keeping up with new tech and trends in the CAD design world for the last 10 years growing to more than 60,000 subscribers and over 15,000,000 views, while also being the source of many great friendships and unique opportunities. If you would like to Sponsor CAD Intentions or Work together in some way, Please visit my About Page and send me an email: