I am researching the weapons and systems that exist in the present day to better understand and extrapolate the jargon that my characters will be using.

I have found many interesting pieces of information related to my story in patent applications however most patents do not detail their inventions sufficiently as industrial blue prints would (probably to make their invention difficult for others to create as well as increase scope of legal claims in their IP portfolios so they can threaten litigation).

What is a good resource for writers looking to review industrial schematics or blue prints?

Specific Context: weapon schematics or aerospace blueprints... the genre I am working within is science fiction so I need a couple detailed weapons and also some airplanes or tanks I'm thinking to get enough detail into this stuff I'm working on.

  • I am hoping someone can do better than my current source/solution which is to search patent applications. For example here is a famous patent with some schematics, but it is ancient and as patents have become less about protecting an invention and have instead become litigation fuel for large firms they seem to be more cryptic and exacting than the old famous ones. Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 15:00
  • Curious, why would you need to go to that level of detail? most readers will have glazed eyes by time you break it down that far in your story. Explaining the theory at a high level is great and allows readers of all levels to understand the systems without breaking it down into a technical report.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 15:28
  • Also it depends on what kind of technology, and how recent of a technology the weapons are. Many devices currently used by the military will be hard to find if at all. Their schematics are protected to prevent enemies from being able to reverse engineer/create our weapons. So if you are looking for a full technical readout of the latest and greatest fighter jet, you will probably need to wait until they are out of commission to view it.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 16:23
  • Great commentary... I’m probably getting carried away except from illustrations. Maybe Wikileaks crap has something on the new stuff... I’ve never actually looked into it. Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 16:29

1 Answer 1


Are you writing a hard science work? What I mean is, how in-depth do you plan on getting with the details?

If the answer is "not very" you can learn a lot by just reading the wikipedia article for whatever weapon/vehicle you need. Maybe watch a few youtube videos on the subject. For instance, for 19th and 20th century firearms, Forgotten Weapons is fantastic. When he's showing a gun, he always goes into the history of it, and often even disassembles it and explains how it works.

If the answer is "Very" you probably need a degree in the subject. If you try to be too realistic, your audience will hold you to that. Meaning if you're not an expert yourself, one in your audience will certainly find fault somewhere.

  • Makes sense. I don’t need much more than that, but it would be nice to identify an accurate and modern source of industrial schematics better than I currently have identified. Mainly I’m using them for drawing purposes... I want to illustrate a couple scenes and potentially transition the work to a graphic novel. Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 15:58

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