Using an Architect’s Scale Ruler

An Architect’s or scale ruler is a specialized ruler designed for use by architects and engineers. It is designed to calculate dimension in a blue print or building plan without the use of any time-consuming or complicated math equations. A scale ruler is marked with a range of calibrated scales. To have good accuracy and longevity the material that is used should be stable and durable. Traditionally they were created from wood, but today they are usually made of aluminum or a strong plastic.

When using a scale ruler you must first determine the scale of the drawing or item that will be measured. Once you have figured out the scale of the drawing, turn the ruler to the corresponding scale factor. For example on the ruler is a scale that would convert inch on the drawing to 1 foot. It would represent a drawing with a scale of being 1 foot. Make sure to select the right scale on the ruler. There is a scale on each edge of the ruler. One reads left to right and the other right to left.

Now start by lining up the zero mark on the scale that you selected with the beginning of the item being measured. You should then determine at what point on the scale the end of the item you wish to measure is. Remember the number that is closest to the ending point of the item being measured. Always round this number down even if you are close to the next number. The measurement you calculate equals how many feet the line actually is at full scale dimensions. Now slide the ruler so that the number you noted lines up with the end of the item being measured. Now if you go back to the zero point of the scale ruler the fractional feet to be measured will be represented by the distance of the start point of the object being measured to the zero point. Take the reading from this part of the scale (depending on the scale this may be graduated smaller or larger than 1″) and add this number to the whole feet you came up with earlier.

Using the scale ruler might seem a little difficult at first but once you get used to it and understand its principle you can quickly convert scale drawings to real measurements without having to use any math at all.

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