Drafting Tools Every Architect Needs
Even if architects these days spend a portion of their time using digital devices to create planes, many still use hand drawing to communicate their ideas as part of the design process.
When it comes to tools for drafting, there are certain must-haves for every kind of architect, whether they design commercial buildings, landscapes, industrial designs, or residential homes. The highest quality tools will make any architect’s job easier and allow them to provide more precise and easy-to-understand blueprints.
Here are some tools that every architect should have on hand for drafting:
A mechanical pencil set with different led sizes allows you to draw different width lines. A set that is color-coded for different led sizes and clearly labeled is most convenient. Choosing a matte textured set will ensure the pencils are easier to grip, thus making sketching easier.
Drawing guides such as a T-square and a compass will enable you to create more accurate renderings.
A T-square, essential for any architect, is used primarily to draw accurate horizontal lines, but it also is used to draw vertical or diagonal lines. As its name implies, a T-square is shaped like a letter “T” and is essentially a long ruler attached at a 90-degree angle to a wide, straight-edged head.
The longest portion is called the blade. T-squares come in various sizes and materials, but any type of metal is recognized as a very durable option.
Architects use compasses to draw perfect circles. Compasses are usually made of metal or plastic and consist of two arms, one that holds a small pencil, and another, ending in a needle, that fixes to the center. Compass leads are pencils that are specifically designed to fit compasses.
When rendering a design, you won’t want your drafting paper slipping all over your surface, preventing the precision that a detailed, technical drawing requires. Various types of adhesives will keep your paper affixed to a table while preserving the integrity of your paper.
Drafting dots are small circles backed with an adhesive that won’t tear or leave a sticky residue on your drafting paper. Colorful drafting tape specifically created for the same purpose is an option as well. It will hold your paper firmly in place, but, unlike masking tape, you can remove it easily from delicate surfaces.
Sometimes, what you take off your paper is just as important as what you put on. And to effectively remove extraneous marks or lines, you need efficacious erasing tools.
Erasing brushes allow you to wipe eraser debris or excess graphite off your paper without inadvertently ripping it or smudging existing lines. Kneaded erasers have a soft texture, so you can pull small pieces off to erase very limited areas or for subtractive drawing techniques.
An erasing shield is a flat metal rectangle with different size holes, which enables you to place one of the holes of the shield over your drawing and erase only the finite area for which you wish to remove. An eraser set, including an array of erasers, an erasing brush, and an erasing shield, is a worthy investment.
Templates are stencils with symbols that can be used to represent various design elements. Landscaping design templates can be used to include existing and/or proposed features and include symbols for different types of plants, trees, shrubs, and hardscape elements.
House templates have symbols for the details you would find in a home’s interior, including furniture, appliances, cabinets, and plumbing and electrical fixtures.
Both types of templates include measurements so that you can draw to scale.
In addition to drafting paper and tracing paper, you’ll want to include graph paper in your repertoire as it’s one of the most useful and practical tools for all types of design drawing because it allows you to draw to scale and designate a measurement for each square, such as one square foot per each square on the paper. When selecting graph paper, choose one that is durable and won’t tear easily.
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