Drafting Pencil Comparison
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Drafting Pencil Buying Guide
Things to Consider
There are several things you want to consider when looking for a good quality drafting pencil. These things will help you sort through the different choices and choose a quality drafting pencil that will perform well no matter what application it is used for.
- Design – You want to look for drafting pencils that have a durable and hearty design that is easy to use as well. Most drafting pencils are constructed from materials including high quality plastic, brass and aluminum or stainless steel. For precise control, having textured or knurled grips are preferable.
- Lead Sleeve – You want the lead sleeve to be long and narrow which makes them much better suited for using with a straight edge ruler or templates. This lead sleeve is also called the guide pipe. This sleeve gives an unobstructed view of the end of the pencil for accurate drawings that need to be made. The lead sleeves of drafting pencils are very fragile and can make holes in the case or pocket they are kept in. Many quality drafting pencils will feature retractable sleeves which prevent this from occurring.
- Lead Grade Indicator – There are many different hardness grades available when it comes to drafting pencil leads. Professionals almost always use several lead thicknesses at a time during a given project. In packs where there are 3-4 pencils in a pack, each pencil has a different grade of pencil lead. The lead indicator allows the user to see what size lead is in each pencil so the user grabs the right one for the project they are working on.
- Erasers – Almost all drafting pencils have a small eraser that will be hidden underneath the push button. They are also where extra leads are kept. If you have small corrections to take care of, this is the type of eraser that can handle them. You will want to keep a larger eraser on hand for any large scale mistake corrections that need to be made.
- Lead Size – Leads for drafting pencils will come in different thicknesses and hardnesses. The most common size is 0.5 and 0.7. The majority of brands also offer 0.3, 0.4 along with 0.9 as well. In packs, you will usually see groupings of 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7 or something similar to that. Buying drafting pencil packs allows you to have the different sizes and hardnesses that you need in one place so you can adjust as needed.
- Clean Out Rod – Lead jams are inevitable when you use the drafting pencil for an extended time period on a daily basis. You can get rid of any jams by cleaning out the broken pencil lead pieces that get stuck inside the lead sleeve. Many pencils have a clean out rod available that is part of the pencil and works to keep jams out of the way.
Differences Between Drafting and Mechanical Pencil
Many people think that mechanical pencils and drafting pencils are one and the same but this is not the case. There are slight differences but they are differences are important in how the pencil works.
- Longer sleeves – Measuring anywhere from 3-5mm. this longer sleeve on the drafting pencil allows better gliding along a template or ruler.
- Variety of lead sizes – this is good for multiple pencil projects. Lead sizes will usually include 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 0.9. Sometimes there even may be 0.4 as well.
- Professional/artistic uses – Drafting pencils are most often used for professional applications and artists also tend to prefer them.
- Shorter sleeves – Measuring around 2mm. This makes them better suited for casual use rather than professional due to the much shorter sleeves.
- Limited lead sizes – Most mechanical pencils come in either 0.5 or 0.7 sizes and do not offer a variety of choices.
If you are a professional engineer or drafter, you want to have the best quality tools you can have and that includes a well made set of drafting pencils that offer a variety of lead sizes. This will make projects much easier to accomplish and do well with. Even if you are not a professional, some people just prefer using a good quality drafting pencil.
There are many different price points available when it comes to drafting pencils. If you are purchasing a single unit it can vary in price by 3-4 dollars. Packs typically come with 2-4 pencils that have s variety of leads. This gives you a good amount of variety available for your projects or artwork.
Choosing a good drafting pencil or set of pencils will in many cases, be personal preference but you want to keep the factors in mind that we have mentioned so you get a good quality drafting pencil rather than one that is more of a frustration to use.
A higher price does not necessarily mean a higher quality, so do your homework on brands and stick to the companies that are known for producing high quality drafting pencils. Pentel, Staedtler and Alvin are all excellent companies that are known for their quality drafting pencils that are sturdy, easy to use, comfortable to hold and that offer a variety of lead sizes.
- Staedtler – https://www.staedtler.us/en/
- Alvin – https://www.alvinco.com/
- Pentel – http://www.pentel.com/