Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Is A French Curve?

The French curve comes in many styles. The normal style of this curve is a drafting template which is made out of several different materials. The materials that normally compose a French Curve template will be metal, wood, or plastic. Regardless of the material it is made of, this particular type of template will be composed of many different types of curves.

This type of curve template is normally employed during the course of routine manual drafting. When the French style is employed, it is possible to draw very smooth curves, very close together or as far apart as needed.

The radii of each curve can vary as needed. The shapes created by this particular curve will fall under the heading of separate segments of the Euler spiral. Some may know this spiral under the name of "Clothoid" curve.

In order to create this special type of curve, the draftsman will first place the template onto the drawing material. After doing so, he or she will then trace around the curves with a pencil, knife, or special curve template instrument of their choice. The operation will be repeated until the desired result is achieved.

Using This Type Of Curve

The French style of curve has many different shapes, sizes, and permutations. One of the most famous and frequently employed styles is the Burmester set. There are several different styles that the Burmester set breaks down into. Each is useful for creating different shapes.

For example, one particular set of Burmester may be used to create to create elliptical curves, while a second will be used to make large hyperbolas. A third set of Burmester is frequently used in order to create very large parabolas.

The French style of curve will very often be employed by specialists such as architects, mechanical engineers, and shipbuilders. Burmester and other sets of curve templates are commonly found in the workshops of such highly specialized employees.

Employment In Modern Times

In modern times, the French style of curve is largely recreated using 21st century digital technology. For example, computer aided drafting (CAD) systems are used to carry on this long and proud tradition, using modern technology to largely replace the old, purely analog Burmester and other templates.

Using modern CAD systems with vector based graphic enables modern draftsmen to achieve the creation of a drawing that utilizes an extremely precise radius. Digital computer graphics are excellent tools for generating sets of coordinates which are employed in order to describe, with unfailing accuracy, the precise points of an arbitrarily determined curve. The points along this arbitrary curve can then be connected with line segments. In doing so, a curve is approximated using digital means, which describes a shape with incredible accuracy.

Modern digital representation programs have, to a large degree, taken the place of old fashioned Burmester sets. And although CAD systems can meet the needs of many applications that were, in the not too distant past, the job of skilled draftspersons, the need still exists for hand drawn plans, designs and drawings.  There exists a connection between the right side of the brain and an artist, drafter or architect’s hand holding a drawing instrument that it would likely still take a room full of hardware to duplicate.  Remember the showdown between IBM’s “Watson” vs. Ken Jennings on "Jeopardy"? It took a room full of IBM’s best machines and minds to beat one human brain, and that contest was about hard facts; creativity did not enter into the match.  Perhaps a modern day Leonardo would be sitting at his laptop, designing things that had never even been dreamed of before.  But perhaps not.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blueprint Storage Solutions

People who have worked with engineers and architects are familiar with the piece of paper known as a blueprint. This is the method used in copying large construction and architectural drawings. Blueprints are the original or future plans and designs of a home, building or an addition to a structure. They include vital data regarding the equations that are used in their construction. These prints make sure that the structure will be properly built, following the correct measurements. For these reasons, blueprints are important, and they need to be kept in a secure place, with the help of blueprint storage solutions.

There are different kinds of blueprint storage solutions, and it is always important for users to choose the ones that would best suit their needs. In this regard, there are some factors that they need to consider before making their purchase.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Blueprint Storage Solutions

•    Number of blueprints

First of all, it is important to determine the number of blueprints that people want to store. They should also have an estimate on the development of this collection in the future.

•    Easy access to files

They may need a quick retrieval of plans. So, this requires the storage solution to be located near the people who use these files the most. It is not practical to keep these important documents in a storage room that is far from the users, when they often need them.

•    Security

There are certain blueprints that need to be kept secure so they need a storage solution to keep them protected, yet readily available..

•    Protect an investment

Blueprints can be reproduced easily when they are backed up by a computer network administrator. This is an advantage in case a disaster like fire happens. However, when drawings are drawn by hand, contain important notes or happen to be the only available copies, these can be lost forever to disasters such as this. So, it is best to find a storage solution that will protect their valuable investment.

Different Kinds of Storage Systems for Blueprints

•    Flat file cabinets

Flat file cabinets are made of durable steel construction, allowing it to store large and heavy format documents. The 5-drawer files can hold up to 500 active files, 750 semi-active files and 1000 inactive files. The 10-drawer files enable quick retrieval of files. Flat files provide a bigger capacity and more protection than any other storage solutions.

•    Roll Files

These provide a variety of options for rolled storage such as upright roll files and blueprint storage tubes, among others. Roll files give the advantage of lower costs and the ability to be situated near workers so that they can have easy access to the drawings that they need. These can also offer more protection for blueprints.

•    Blueprint Plan Racks

Also known as blueprint holders and vertical files, they offer fast and easy access to the prints that people often use. Moreover, they can be placed close to those who need them the most. They are more convenient and flexible than either flat or roll files.

When it comes to caring for important files such as blueprints, people can choose from the different storage solutions that offer their own advantages. Most users opt for multiple storage systems to meet their different needs such as quick retrieval, better security, lower costs and more protection for their investments.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hand Counters Can Help Alleviate Stress

There are many situations where a reasonably accurate count of persons, items, or animals must be taken. In the case of theaters or auditoriums, livestock farms or theme-park rides, head-counts and item counts must be taken. The easiest and most accurate way to do this is with the use of a hand counter.

Let's say, for instance, that a news outlet wants to estimate the number of people who showed up at a rally or a demonstration. By taking an accurate count of a certain area, then extrapolating that count to cover the rest of the area, a very close estimate of the total number in attendance can be found.

If a concert hall or outdoor area with open admission has a limitation on the total number of spectators, a hand counter can prevent the event managers from running afoul of fire codes and inspectors.

Hand counters are simple devices, but they provide an invaluable service to anyone running or reporting on an event. One of the biggest advantages of these devices is that the user can continue to watch what is going on without looking at the counting device in his or her hand. This is a big advantage to anyone who is responsible for crowd control.

Another possible use is in school administration. If the supervising teacher or administrator wishes to maintain a certain number of students in a given location, a tally counter can enable this method of management very well.

A good tally counter will do the job without fancy batteries, without recharging. This type of device is simple, but very reliable and effective. When there is any event where a large number of individuals must be counted, there is always a bit of stress involved with keep track of the number of individuals. This is true in farm and factory settings as well as venues where a large group of people are milling around. A simple aid like these will alleviate a lot of the stress involved in keeping an accurate count of the number in the group.

In a farm setting, where livestock are being moved, a counter will enable the user to maintain control of the herd while still keeping a good count of the number of head.

These devices can also be used to maintain a count of how many times something has transpired. Take the example of a political speech. Let's say I want to count how many times a politician has used the phrase “The American people,” or “the fiscal cliff” for example. Trying to note things down with a pencil while attempting to comprehend what is being said is not easy, and there is a large margin for error, especially if taking a shot of tequila every time the phrase is uttered is involved. With a counter, the answer to a question like that is easily accomplished and without too much undue distraction from the content of the speech or the drinking of tequila.  Does anyone ever read these articles?????

These simple devices are versatile, convenient, and have a very wide range of uses. It's hard to imagine any organizations functioning well without them.          

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Visualize Fresh, New Decor with Room Design Templates

The first question which usually comes up when a decision has been made to redesign a room is: Where to start? Using a room design template is the easiest solution, and provides ordinary homeowners a tool used by professional interior designers to get everything in proportion and well balanced in a room. Using a template is a much better option than simple freehand sketching or attempting to use standard graph paper which results in everything being so small as to be incomprehensible, or so uncoordinated that it makes no sense.

Design templates come in a variety of forms to suit every need. There are free online downloadable templates from a number of sources, including paper room grids which can be printed out. In addition to grids you can also download templates which are cutouts of standard furniture sized pieces for living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms, which can then be positioned on the room grid to create the layout of furniture in a room. This way they can be rearranged as needed until the placement is perfect, without having to make numerous versions of a design to get it just right.

Paper templates also come with tips and tricks for perfect placement of furniture pieces, examples of arrangements, and some even provide instructions on how to make proper measurements. Some offer samples of just exactly what notes you need to make about the room to assure that every important element that goes into great room design has been taken into consideration before you finalize your room plan.

Professional interior decorators recommend the use of paper templates as the easiest, most convenient and effective way to make decisions about the design of a room. Today, there is no reason that anyone cannot create a professionally planned room by utilizing one or more of these amazing and simple tools. Adding a color wheel to your design tools will help you to understand the ways in which colors relate to one another and make sure that you have complimentary colors, rather than a montage of colors which clash.

When a truly professional looking room design is needed or wanted, there is another technique which can be used to complement the room template. Simply make a collection of design elements to see how they will coordinate with one another. Photos of specific furniture items and decorative pieces, fabric and paint swatches, flooring and tile samples can all be arranged on a board (cork, magnetic, poster board or even cardboard can be used).

In this way textures, shapes and colors can be compared and coordinated, and changed as needed until the perfect combination of design elements is found. Professional designers use this technique when they design rooms and it works just as well for a novice. This technique is a matter of collecting the separate components of a room and then putting them all together in a visual and tactile form which will provide a clearer picture of the finished design. When this is combined with the use of a room design template, a personal, yet professional room design can be accomplished by anyone. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Looking For the Best Drafting Table?

There are hundreds of drafting tables on the market today, but many feel that the best drafting table available is the Alvin Designmaster Drafting Table. The Alvin Designmaster provides a durable and steady base for the work of all engineers and architects. As always, it comes with the Lifetime Guarantee expected from all Alvin products. The Alvin Designmaster Drafting Table can be purchased in a variety of specifications.

The Table Top

The Alvin Designmaster table top comes in two sizes, 37.5 x 60 inches and 37.5 x 72 inches. The table top can be adjusted from zero degrees to 45 degrees to provide the optimum angle for all drafting. The varying angle provides the versatility needed and most comfortable setup for all drafters. The table top board is made from 3/4 inch melamine that provides a smooth and durable surface for working. The surface is scratch resistant so it remains smooth and allows the drafter to draw lines that are consistent and straight without flaws for years to come.

Optional Tool and Reference Drawers

The Alvin Designmaster comes with the option of adding tool and reference drawers with a lock on the tool drawer for securing all design equipment. While on the job site or at home, all tools can be left securely stored inside the drawers. Even if the drawers are not bought when the drafting table is originally purchased, they can be added later, as the Alvin Designmaster comes from the manufacturer with the drawer rails already included beneath the drafting table. The two drawers provide optimum space for housing drafting tools and papers.

The Base

The base of the Alvin Designmaster Drafting Table is a four post design to provide maximum stability and strength. The posts are made of 3 x 2 inch steel. The base comes in black which provides good contrast to the white table top, and gives the drafting table a professional look suitable for all environments. The base is also powder coated in a scratch resistant material which will keep the drafting table looking like new for years to come.

The overall look, design, and optional specifications are what make the Alvin Designmaster Drafting Table the best drafting table on the market. This drafting table was designed for the Professional drafter, but is just as versatile and appropriate for the beginner or novice drafter. When purchasing a drafting table, the Alvin Designmaster Drafting Table should not be overlooked.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Perfect Mechanical Pencil Set

If you are looking for a professional-grade mechanical tool set, there is little point in not getting the best set that you can afford.  Not only will better equipment make the job easier, but in most cases, a finely made tool will improve the finished product of your efforts.

Take a look at Drafting Steals - they have everything that would make anyone from artist to architect drool. If you’re looking for hobby tools, they have them as well. But when you need a mechanical pencil set, you can find anything from the simple to the most fantastic. Even the best drawing and mechanical work can be done with these tools. If you are planning on taking any classes on these subjects, be prepared with the best.

You can even see the type of mechanical drawing pens are required by the most exigent instructors of design, engineering or architecture. These tools are used by old school or new.  Yes, CAD programs can turn out some pretty amazing results, but they can’t compete with the true artistry that a trained drafter or architect can produce.  Because detailed, well done mechanical drawings truly are art.

Of course there are the mechanical pencils that people want and use for general practice and usage. But they come in all sorts of sizes and colors. They come with grip or no grip, plastic or metal.

These aren't the special pencils that are required for drafting classes however. They're not the kind that causes you to make a commitment to 'art' and drawing. From this point, you know you're really an artist, an architect, or an engineer. Your investment in a mechanical pencil set isn't frivolous; it's necessary.

Of course, if you are interested in the regular mechanical pencils for non professionals, but you just love the look and feel of the best quality instruments, then you will love all the models available here. While you do your shopping, you can look at other kinds of 'artistic candy' that you will find you don’t want do without. Hobbyists will love the cool tools offered, as well, and if your bent is towards sewing and crafts, they have drawing tools to help you with that as well.

Once you have had your first quality mechanical pencil or other professional drawing tools, the pedestrian variety will never feel as good. As with any craft, be it woodworking, quilting, painting, etc., the correct tools will make the work more pleasurable, and improve the finished project. 

Having a professional-grade mechanical pencil set, for either a student or professional drafter or architect is not an indulgence - it’s a necessity. Perhaps you would like to carry it in your shirt pocket; some of these sets, like the Draft/Matic Mechanical Pencil set by Alvin come complete with a handy, dandy pocket protector.  After all, the 'geek' look is in now, and if you're a real one, why hide it? And if your present career necessitates a choice of mechanical pencils, of course it’s not really such an indulgence, but more like permission to have what you really want and need, and at a good value.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Drafting Chairs Allow More Time on the Project

When artists and designers are ready for professional equipment, it is time to look into quality drafting chairs. Sitting puts stress on the lumbar area of the body, and chairs that are used for extended periods of time should give support, and encourage the good posture which lessens stress, and allows the user to concentrate on his project, instead of his muscle strain.

Modern chairs offer comfort, and support that enables users to spend more time at the table. They are available in a number of styles and sizes that fit most budgets, and they adjust to accommodate table and user height. Drafting chairs come in a variety of materials and complexity, from the most basic to luxurious leather seating.

Boss has an entry-level chair that features a contoured back and seat. The frame is reinforced nylon, and the fabric upholstery comes in gray, burgundy, blue or black. The Boss chair has a 17” by 17” seat and a 20” foot ring. The pneumatic gas-lift seat adjusts from 28” to 33” high. There are optional soft casters which lessen the impact of the chair on wood floors.

Alvin offers a basic quality chair. The Griffin, by Alvin, Mesh Drafting Chair has pneumatic height controls that adjust the chair from 23” to 33”. The height-and-depth adjustable 16” by 18” mesh fabric backrest is breathable. There is an 18” foot ring, and the base has a 25” diameter.

The Prestige Chair by Alvin features an articulating fabric backrest and seat. The roomy 19” seat is constructed of molded foam with a 2” cushion. There is an adjustable 20” diameter foot ring and a 24” reinforced nylon base.

Safco has a basic chair which features a vinyl seat and backrest. The seat height control is one-touch pneumatic, and the back rest adjusts manually. The chair will support 250 pounds, and has a 360 degree swivel. The chair materials are anti-microbial and fire-retardant.

When choosing a chair, it is crucial to consider body size. One size definitely does not fit all. Alvin and Co. sells a model called “The Olympian Heavy Duty” which accommodates big and tall people up to 280 pounds. The extra-thick molded 21” by 22” seat has a 4” foam cushion, and a waterfall edge for extra comfort. The Olympian has pneumatic adjustment for height, adjusting from 17” to 21”, but extensions which allow up to a 28” height are available.

On the luxury end of chair models, Alvin offers “The Art Director.” It boasts an extra-thick seat cushion, and high back covered in buffalo leather. Arm rests and seat height extensions come with this model. The seat is 19” by 20”, and the chair rests on a 26” reinforced nylon base.

At either end of the spectrum, quality and durability are a must. Artists and designers who are ready for a “step up” can find exactly what they need, and want, in today’s drafting seats.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Telescoping Document Tubes

No matter the types of document that an individual has, they will always have a need to protect the actual original copy. This could range from all types of documents. Especially in the case of odd or oversized ones, the way that they are protected best is by being placed in a telescoping document tube. This type of document carrier is designed to ensure that the document inside of it doesn't get damaged or creased in any way. They are also going to be waterproof and will keep out any moisture to ensure the document or documents stay intact.

Some of the items that would benefit from the protection of telescoping document tubes are drawings, whether that would be an artist's rendering, a poster, large photographs or a drawing for a blue print. Maps can also be kept in these tubes to ensure they stayed rolled up. This is also a great way to keep really old maps that could potentially be collectible and are actually very valuable. These tubes make it perfect for those documents that are falling apart from being old and suffering from hard use, but that one wants to keep intact as long as possible. It's best to leave those types of maps in the tube  or properly mounted for wall display, with acid-free mounting and protection from sunlight.

The telescoping document tubes don't only make great storage but are perfect for travel. The documents can be safely placed on a plane or in a car and they will not get wrinkled or damaged in any way. Paper tears very easily and this could be a problem if the document is really important or old. They are also perfect for when someone needs to mail out a blueprint, oversize photo, poster, artwork or large document. They can travel in the mail and be ensured to protect the document wherever it is going.

These tubes also come in many different sizes. The sizes that are available range to meet the document types needs. When shopping for a tube it is best to know the measurements of the documents that are going to be stored inside of them. This way when the document is rolled up in it's tightest form, it will be able to fit into the tube without any problems. The tubes are going to be priced for the type of material they are made of, which is usually plastic, and for the size that they are. If someone has important documents they need to store, transport or ship, these tubes are highly recommended.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


A protractor is one of the best tools that you want to have on hand when drafting. For drawing any angles other than the basics - 30, 45, 60 and 90 degrees - you want to have a protractor to ensure your accuracy, especially for odd angles like 71 degrees and everything in between. There are three types of protractors: semicircular, circular and adjustable protractors which serve slightly different purposes. All of these types of protractors are made from different materials depending upon what exactly they are going to be used for and how often. Some protractors are available as solid or with the centers cut out. Center cut out protractors are easier to work with than solid ones.

The most common type of protractor you will come across is semicircular with a 180 degree arc. Sometimes these are referred to as half-circle protractors. There are also circular protractors that encompass the full 360 degrees of a circle, but this variety is used much less often and only in very specific instances. The most accurate of all protractors are the true angle adjustable type. Like circular protractors they are capable of measuring a full 360 degrees. They allow you to define and then make even more precise angles in your work. They have a dial and two blades you can rotate to hairline degrees. These protractors allow for accuracy to half of a degree and it can be accomplished with the same ease of creating a 90 degree angle.

Professional protractors are made of more heavy duty material than academic and recreational protractors. Often they are composed of laminated PVC or vinyl while more common, everyday use protractors are typically just hard plastic. For both the semicircular and circular varieties, a cut out protractor is considered to be more convenient than a solid one because they are easier to lift and place for more guaranteed accuracy in producing angles. Protractors made specifically for drafting additionally have more accurate and die-stamped gradations. In general, the smaller the increments of gradations the more accuracy you can produce. The gradations of some of these more advanced and professional protractors are sometimes sandwiched between two laminated plastic sheets so that they do not rub off from frequent use. This prolongs the life of a protractor, so that it will meet all of your drafting needs for years to come.

Both semicircular and circular protractors can be purchased with cut out centers. Cut out protractors will often come equipped with finger lifts as well as beveled edges. All protractors are available in an assortment of sizes. Semicircular protractors can have diameters of six or seven inches with a radius of three or three-and-a-half inches, respectively. Circular protractors are usually either four, six or eight inches across. The adjustable protractors can be several increments between six inches up to twenty-four inches. The thickness of the protractor depends upon its purpose. Professional protractors are usually slightly thicker. Depending upon your needs, you may want to consider different types of protractors.