The Benefits and Characteristics of Drafting Mechanical Pencils
Although computer-aided design software is becoming increasingly more popular, and drafting by hand is slowly ceasing to exist, drafting pencils are still very popular. Drafting pencils are designed to stand up to heavy use and abuse, which makes them popular among designers, artists and people whose job revolves heavily around their writing instruments.
Oftentimes, the terms drafting and mechanical pencils are confused, and the truth is, there aren’t any hard rules that separate them. That being said, you can find them under the term drafting mechanical pencil, and they usually feature a couple of characteristics that separate them from other types of pencils.
First and foremost, their design style is rugged and utilitarian. They’re usually made of durable materials capable of enduring abuse in rough conditions, such as high-quality plastics, aluminium or brass. They oftentimes feature knurled or textured grips which help improve the users control over them for more precise drawing and writing.
Next, each and every drafting mechanical pencil has a narrow, long lead sleeve also known as a guide pipe. This little part plays a crucial role in making the use of the pencil easier with a template or a straightedge. Moreover, it gives a better view of the tip for more precise drawing and writing. The lead sleeve is very sharp and delicate, and it can poke through pencil cases and pockets. Some models get around that issue by having retractable sleeves.
Drafting pencil leads come in a couple of hardness grades, and most designers keep multiple lead grades on hand in different models. Most of them include an adjustable grade indicator to help keep track of which lead is in which pencil. Moreover, leads are available in a couple of sizes. The most common sizes are 0.5 and 0.7mm, but most drafting pencils usually have more options, like 0.3, 0.4 and 0.9mm.
Lastly drafting pencils feature a thin, small eraser which is usually hidden under the push button, and it can also act as a stopper for the lead tube. This feature can be invaluable when mistakes are made in a complex drawing. However, it’s still advisable to have a separate, proper eraser on hand for large-scale projects. Another thing that goes hand in hand is a clean-out rod, as lead jams are likely to occur on heavy use. The clean-out rod helps clean the tiny broken lead pieces that are stuck in the sleeve. Many models include this feature, and it’s located right under the eraser.