Which materials are required to create a technical drawing?
Before we can use innovative products and technical developments, they need to be constructed. That is what technical drawers do. A new building, the engine for a vehicle or a production facility for a company – architects, engineers or graphic designers take all of the measurements and make sure all of the dimensions are laid out correctly. Even though nowadays a large part of their drawings are depicted using CAD computer programs, working with paper and classic materials is still very important. But which materials are actually required to create professional technical drawings? Here is a brief look into the history of technical drawing and the most important tools used by specific user groups and areas.
The first technical drawings were drawn into fine sand using a thin stick. The drawing board came a little later, into which drawings were etched with a so-called "reissbley" (graphite). Shortly after that, the graphite pencil was invented, but was replaced by Chinese ink to make the drawing indelible. The pencil was the perfect device for precision with drawing rulers, compasses and T-squares. This constellation for technical drawings on paper has basically remained unchanged to this day, with only a few drawing utensils added over time.
Engineers, architects, graphic designers and students – they all create technical drawings for their work or studies. There is a variety of different tools available for this kind of professional work:
- Mechanical pencils
- Clutch pencils
- Technical pens
- Drawing boards
Special mechanical pencils for technical drawings, like the Mars micro 775 by STAEDTLER, feature a cylindrical tube. This protects the nib so it doesn’t break off as easily. This allows you to use the pencil along the edge of a ruler or a sketch, circular or lettering stencil with ease. Make sure that the mechanical pencil features a non-slip rubber grip on its shaft. This ensures that you will not slip up when creating precise sketches. The biggest advantage of a mechanical pencil is that the lead is placed inside and can be pushed out the end of the shaft using the button on the top of the pencil. Because the pencil doesn't need sharpening, it maintains its shaft length over time and the line width remains consistent. Clutch pencils have all of the same advantages. Their 2-mm lead diameter makes them even harder to break. This comes out at the push of the button. The lead can be sharpened, e.g. using the integrated sharpener on the Mars technico 780 C pencil by STAEDTLER, using the special lead sharpener 502.
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The technical pen is an absolute must-have when it comes to technical drawing because it is a high-precision drawing device. It can be refilled with cartridges. Technical pens are available in different widths, so the perfect one can be found for using specific stencils. The line width can be seen from the colourful marking in accordance with ISO or DIN. An important thing to note when using technical pens is that they must be emptied and cleaned out when not in use for longer periods of time. Otherwise the technical pens will not write anymore. Simply let water run through the pen and give it a good shake for a thorough clean. This process should be repeated as many times as it takes until the pen no longer leaves any ink behind on paper.
Professional rulers for technical drawings are made of aluminium, plastic or Plexiglas. They have what is called an "inking edge": A small gap between the template edge and the paper prevents any ink from the pen from flowing between the paper and the ruler, so the drawing will never get smudged. Rulers and set squares allow you to draw straight lines, measure distances of up to 50 cm, as well as define angles. Special items like a reduction scale ruler make it quick and easy to work on different scales while preventing time-consuming measurements and calculations. Curved lines can also be easily achieved using a curved ruler.
Precision compasses for technical hand drawings are made using solid metal. The STAEDTLER Mars professional is the perfect utensil for creating technical details because it has the following features:
- A push button that can be used to quickly lock in different radii
- Extension rods that can be used to extend the maximum circle diameter up to 635 mm
- A centre wheel that can be used for fine-tuning. The wheel is placed in such a way that any accidental movement is avoided.
- Universal adapter with a separate short pencil for drawing precise circles with different writing and drawing implements.
- Removable pieces that can be placed parallel and used to draw very large radii more accurately.
Drawing boards come in a variety of different dimensions:
They are made of impact-resistant and unbreakable plastic that is also resistant to any number of jabs with a compass. A paper-securing function on both sides of the board also keeps the paper in place, which guarantees that all your lines and angles will be correctly positioned in relation to each other. Accurate drawings can also be created thanks to the click-in function for rulers, which prevents your technical pen or pencil from slipping out of place while you draw. There is a provided scale with pin holes for your compass on the edge of the board for precise setting of different radii. The drawing board can also be extended with a drafting head, which can be used to draw clean right angles, for example.
Tip: If the drawing board needs to be transported to/from school or work and home, then it should be stored in a water-repellent drawing board case to protect your completed drawings.
Erasers are available in all sorts of sizes and designs: STAEDTLER erasers are particularly soft. They conform nicely to the paper, which helps them to remove smudges better. These erasers produce very few crumbs, which is a very useful advantage when creating technical drawings on a drawing board. If you are using Indian ink to create technical drawings, then the Mars plastic combi is recommended for corrections. This has a blue part that can erase ink as well as Indian ink.
Sharpeners are available in a variety of different models. The blades in each are set to a different sharpening angle, depending on which type of pencil they are made for. You will not need a sharpener if you are using a mechanical pencil. If, on the other hand you are using a clutch pencil, then you will need a specialist sharpener, like the STAEDTLER Mars 502 or use the integrated sharpener in the Mars technico 780 C.
If you are yet not a professional and would like to learn technical drawing, then a guideline is highly recommended. The purchase of said guideline will most likely be recommended by whichever study program or professional apprenticeship you are doing. They can give you recommendations on which implements are best suited to get started. Because of the globalisation of business, it is necessary for technical drawers to ensure they have their notes and annotations written in English on their drawings. Because not all technical terms to do with technical drawing are common knowledge, it is also important to pick up a dictionary to help you along.