Exploring the Craft: Manual Drafting Equipment and Supplies for Architects

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In the realm of architecture, the art of manual drafting stands as a timeless tradition—a practice where creativity meets precision, and every line drawn tells a story of vision and meticulous planning. While digital tools have transformed the field in recent decades, many architects still cherish the tactile experience of drafting by hand. In this guide, we'll delve into the essential equipment and supplies that architects use in the age-old craft of manual drafting.

Drawing Instruments



A T-square is a classic tool for drawing straight lines. It consists of a long, straightedge (the blade) that attaches to the top edge of the drafting table, ensuring precise horizontal lines.

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Drafting Triangles


Triangles come in various angles, including 45-45-90 and 30-60-90 configurations. Architects use them to draw accurate angles and perpendicular lines, complementing the T-square's horizontal lines.

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Drawing Compass


For drawing arcs and circles, architects turn to the compass—a simple yet indispensable tool. With adjustable legs and a pivot point, the compass allows for precise curvature in designs.

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Architect Scales

Architect Scale Ruler

Scale rulers are essential for maintaining proportional accuracy in drawings. Architects use them to convert real-world dimensions into scaled-down representations, ensuring consistency and coherence in their designs.

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Architectural Templates

Architectural Symbols Drafting Templates

Architectural Symbols Templates

These templates contain symbols representing architectural elements such as doors, windows, stairs, and fixtures.

Architects use these templates to incorporate standardized symbols into their drawings, making it easier to communicate design elements and features. For example, door symbols indicate the location and swing direction of doors, while window symbols represent different types and sizes of windows.

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Geometric Shapes Templates

Basic Geometric Shapes Templates

These templates include various shapes such as circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles.

Architects use these templates to quickly and accurately draw basic geometric shapes in their drawings. Circles may represent elements like columns or light fixtures, while squares and rectangles may denote rooms or building footprints.

View General Shapes Templates

Technical Pens and Pencils

Mechanical Pencils for Drafting

Mechanical Pencils

Mechanical pencils offer architects precision and control over line weight. With various lead thicknesses and degrees available, architects can achieve different line styles, and levels of detail in their drawings.

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2mm Lead Holders

2mm Lead Holder

A 2mm lead holder is a mechanical pencil designed to hold 2mm lead refills. It allows for precise and consistent drawing or writing with a thicker lead size compared to traditional mechanical pencils, making it suitable for drafting, sketching, and technical drawing tasks.

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Technical Inking Pens

Inking Pens

Ink pens provide permanence to architectural drawings. Architects often use pens with archival-quality ink, producing clean, crisp lines suitable for reproduction and presentation.

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Non-Photo Blue Marking Pencil

Non-Photo Blue Pencils

Architects use non-photo blue pencils for sketching and drafting preliminary drawings, as the blue lines they produce are not picked up by photocopiers or scanners, allowing for freedom in sketching without interfering with final presentations.

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Drafting Paper and Pads

Tracing Drafting Paper & Sketch Paper

Tracing Paper

Tracing paper or "Onion Skin", with its translucent and durable qualities, serves as a versatile medium for sketching and overlaying design iterations. Architects use it to refine concepts and explore different possibilities without committing to permanent marks.

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Drafting Vellum


Vellum, a smooth and high-quality drafting paper made from cotton that offers excellent contrast for ink drawings. Architects prefer vellum for its durability and resistance to smudging, making it ideal for producing final drafts and presentation drawings.

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Erasers and Correction Tools

Handheld Erasers

Vinyl Erasers

Vinyl erasers are gentle yet effective at removing pencil marks without damaging the paper surface. Architects rely on them for precise corrections and adjustments in their drawings.  

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Erasing Shield

Erasing Shield

Architects and drafters use erasing shield to cover specific areas of a drawing while erasing, ensuring that only the desired marks are removed.

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Dusting Brush

Dusting Brush

A drafting brush is used to remove eraser debris and excess graphite from drawings, keeping the surface clean and free of smudges.

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Drafting Dry Cleaning Pad

Drafting Pad

A drafting cleaning pad, also known as a Scum Bag or blotter pad, absorbs excess ink and moisture from a drawing surface to prevent smudging and maintain cleanliness. It's placed under the hand while working and can be used to blot excess ink after completing a drawing.

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Drawing Boards & Accessories

Drafting Table

Drafting Table

At the center of any manual drafting setup sits the drafting table. These tables provide architects with a stable and adjustable surface for drawing, typically featuring an angled top and a smooth, durable finish.

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Parallel Bar Straightedge

Parallel Bar or Straightedge

A parallel rule, affixed to the drafting table, allows architects to draw parallel lines at various angles without the need for readjustment, enhancing efficiency and accuracy in drafting. 

View Parallel Bar Straightedges 

Portable Drafting Board

Portable Drafting Board

A portable drafting board allows architects to work on their designs in various locations, whether in the office, on-site, or while traveling. This flexibility enables architects to adapt to different work environments and collaborate with clients or colleagues more effectively.

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Drafting Tape

Drafting Tape/Dots

Architects use drafting dots and drafting tape for various purposes in the drafting process. These tools are essential for securing drawings to the drafting surface, attaching additional sheets or overlays, masking off areas, labeling components, and presenting drawings professionally.

View Drafting Tape

Manual drafting remains a cherished practice in the architectural profession, embodying the marriage of artistry and technical precision. While digital tools offer convenience and efficiency, there's a unique satisfaction in the tactile process of drafting by hand—a connection to tradition and craftsmanship that endures through the ages.

So, the next time you witness the intricate lines of an architectural drawing, remember the skilled hand and the array of tools that brought it to life—a testament to the enduring art of manual drafting in the ever-evolving world of architecture.

Explore the tools of architectural drafting with ease and affordability at Drafting Equipment Warehouse (DEW). As your go-to source for drafting supplies, we boast a comprehensive line of quality products, readily available at competitive prices. From drafting tables to technical pens, we ensure architects have access to the essential equipment needed to bring their designs to life. Elevate your drafting experience with our vast inventory and unbeatable value.

Happy drafting!

Not sure where to start?  Check out our pre-made Drafting Kits

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