For this post, I have put together a list of the architect tools we use most often. Whether it is sketching, drafting or model making, these will get the job done.
UPDATED: March 13, 2019.
In no particular order, here are 50 Must-Have Architect Tools.
1. Architect's Scale
High-quality, black anodized aluminum scales have a large profile, hollow core, and tapered edges. Printed white graduations and color inlaid furrows.
Supplied in hard plastic case. All architect scales have the following graduations unless otherwise noted: 3/32, 3/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 3/8, 3/4, 1 1/2, 3 inches to the foot; one edge to 16ths.
2. Moleskine Classic Notebook
This basic, yet classic Large Squared notebook is one of the best-selling Moleskine notebooks. This reliable travel companion, perfect for calculations, thoughts and passing notes, has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners, acid free paper, a bookmark, an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket that contains the Moleskine history.
3. Metal Architect Swing Arm LED Desk Lamp
Revolutionary Design - Advanced LED technology goes with modern design, redefine architect desk lamp.
Easy on Your Eyes - Patented diffusion panel with reflection light, 144pcs of high quality LED bulbs，Ra85 high CRI LED, protect your eyes comprehensively.
Memory for Brightness & Modes - Memory function for 6 levels of brightness and 4 lighting modes, free to adjust and easy to keep personal setting.
Incredibly Adjustable - 360° swivel head, 16.3+16.3 inches 170° adjustable long arm, infinitely rotatable body. Strong clamp supports up to 2.36 inches tabletop.
Longevity & Energy Saving - 24-Month Warranty, 50000 hours lifespan, 20% energy consumption as a incandescent bulb does.
4. Handheld Laser Distance Meter
Designed with versatile functions and especially for high-precision distance measurement. Lightweight and very simple, instant, reliable to measure. Remarkable accuracy and fast measurement. Smart volume and area calculations based on measured length, width and height.
5. Drawing Storage Tube
Affordable, Black Plastic Telescoping Document Poster Tube with 3.5" diameter that expands from 24.5" up to 40".
Poster Tube is made of a very rigid plastic to protect contents from bending or creasing in transit. Tube is also water and light resistant, protects materials against fading from exposure to sun light
Now includes an Extra Long Shoulder Strap that is comfortable for use even when the tube is fully extended.
Twist off, threaded lid with contact card for easy labeling of tube's contents.
6. Liner Pens
Pigment liner bonus sketch set of 6 line widths (0.05mm, 0.1mm, 0.2mm, 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.8mm)
4+2 free pack in stand up easel case
Lightfast waterproof smear free ink
Long write out length
Polypropylene barrel for long life and long metal tip
7. Tracing Paper
High transparency permits several overlays while retaining legibility.
Accepts pencil, ink, charcoal, as well as felt tip markers without bleed through.
Exceptional quality for detail or sketch work.
8. Self Healing Cutting Mat
You get a smooth surface even after multiple uses. The cutting mat possesses unique self healing properties allowing the cutting mat to reseal itself after every cut.
The self healing mat contains different sets of clear grid lines, ⅛ measurements to help the cutting process.
Thick and double sided to protect your tables or work areas.
9. X-ACTO Knife Set
Take on any project with the versatile X-ACTO Compression Basic Knife Set.
The 3 included knives are designed to make clean and accurate cuts in light-, medium-, and heavy-weight materials, while the 13 included blades offer different cutting abilities for any project or craft.
Each knife features the easy-change blade system, making it easy to quickly change blades for the right cut.
The included nylon zippered compression case keeps everything together in one convenient and safe kit that can be stowed away or taken on the go.
10. LED Light Box
Super thin tracing light box, super convenient, masterpiece designed drafting table.
No shadow, no glare. The drawing pad provids the most comfortable lighting environment for animators, designers, art enthusiasts, children and readers.
Dimmable touch technology of the LED lightbox helps to achieve the ideal light level and provide ideal working lighting environment for penmanship and design.
11. Feet-inch-Fraction Calculator
A huge time saver for adding and subtracting fractional dimensions.
12. Adjustable Triangle
Draft any angle with this tool.
13. Engineer's Scale
Not to be confused with the Architect's Scale, the Engineer's Scale uses base 10 divisions instead of fractional - depends on the drawing discipline.
14. Easy Cutter
The perfect tool for cutting bass and balsa wood for model making.
15. Technical Mechanical Pencil
The go-to drafting pencil.
16. Rotary Action Lead Pointer
Keep your mechanical pencil on point with this sharpener.
17. Small Mitre Box Kit
Perfect for cutting small scale wood pieces for your models.
18. 3M Super 77 Spray Glue
The best glue for attaching paper or card for presentation boards or models.
19. Gel Super Glue
The best, fastest-drying glue for making models.
20. Metal Rulers
Essential when cutting a straight line. Plastic or wood rulers can't stand up to a knife.
21. Mini L-Square
Perfect for cutting small model components.
22. Drafting Brush
Keep your drawings clean with this handy brush.
23. Electric Eraser
If you happen to make a mistake, this will make it as painless as possible to reverse.
24. 3D Printer
Take your model making skills to a whole new level. Create limitless forms and geometries.
25. Laser Cutter and Engraver
Cut through up to 3mm wood or acrylic in any shape imaginable.
26. Clear Ruler with Metal Edge
Great for model making. See what you are doing while cutting along a metal edge.
27. Cut Resistant Gloves
Save your fingers from a meeting with your Exacto knife when model making.
28. Architectural Graphic Standards
The must-have resource for every architect.
29. Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
I use these every day. A must-have for any architect or architecture student to avoid distractions at work or in studio.
30. iPad Pro
Sketch your ideas with the revolutionary stylus.
31. 48" Metal Ruler
Keep your fingers safe when cutting large sheets of material.
32. 12" Paper Trimmer
Perfect for trimming small scale drawings.
33. 43" Paper Trimmer
A huge time saver when trimming large scale drawings.
34. Measuring Tape
Essential tool for any architect verifying dimensions on site.
35. Drawing Set
Contains two bow compasses, a divider, an extension beam, ink bow attachments, and a slip handle for ruling pens.
36. French Curve Set
Get outside of the straight line box when drafting.
37. Circles Template
Large and small circles drafting template.
38. Retractable Knife
Use for thicker model materials like foam board and cardboard.
39. Graph Paper
Not just for engineers, layout designs and sketches.
40. Drafting Board
Perhaps the most "architect" thing on this list. The must have tool for hand drafting.
42. Electric Foam Cutter
Great tool for cutting foam for quick massing models.
43. Drafting Dots
Keep your sketch paper in place with these drafting dots.
44. Professional Drafting Dry Cleaning Pads
Use this to prevent smudging on your sketches or hand drawings.
45. Stainless Steel Erasing Shield
Erase only what you want and keep the rest.
46. Modeling Clay
You are only limited by your imagination with this model making material.
47. Scale Figures
Give your models a human touch. Different scales available.
48. Drafting Chair
Stay comfortable while drafting.
49. Architect Lamp
The classic architect lamp design.
50. Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop is THE resource for architects creating or editing images.
I hope this list of architect tools has been helpful, feel free to comment below if you feel something has been left out.
Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
Have a suggestion for a future blog post? Please let me know in the comments below.