In arts, there is one essential instrument that will always be needed – a pencil. No matter what profession you are in, whether it be an engineer, teacher, architect, or even a student, pencils will never go out of significance. Although the main use of all pencils is to write, there are different types of pencil for different kinds of usage. There’s a graphite pencil for sketching, colored pencils for adding colors to your drawings, carpenter’s pencils to mark on surfaces, and a lot more.
In this writing, we are going to talk about drafting pencils.
First of all, let’s talk about what drafting is, who does drafting, and how is it done?
Also known as technical drawing, drafting is the making of the illustration of buildings, houses, architectural designs, basically almost everything you see in the streets where people stay in. Blueprints, for example, is an illustration using drafting pencils.
Yet, there are different techniques that can be done with just a single drafting pencil. These techniques, although it looks simple is kind of hard to do if you are not skilled and experienced enough to get the job done. Draftsmen or draftsperson are those who do the drafting.
During drafting, subjects (e.g, house, building, a still object, etc.) are drawn in different views: Top view, side views, main view, and the internal view. The outcome of the drawing is very detailed that even window jams are specified. This type of drawing is used in the engineering field at times, yet is more used in architecture.
Here, I listed 5 superb drafting pencils that can be a great tool for the technical artists out there:
Top 5 Best Drafting/Mechanical Pencil Reviews (April 2019)
Top 5 Reviews On The Best Mechanical Pencils
1. Rotring 800 - Mechanical Pencil
• Retractable sleeve keeping the lead safe inside bags
• No rubber-grip system
• Heavy and durable, fixed-lead guidance system ensuring precise lines when ruling
• No built-in eraser to erase small mistakes
Rotring, one of the most well-known brands when it comes to technical drawing, has proven its lasting performance throughout the years. I personally like Rotring because of its availability and accessibility in the market, almost all department stores sell Rotring. Yet, what we have here is the Rotring 800, a great technical pencil for intricate designs.
What’s ironic about this pen is its full-metal body which ensures its durability for a long time. In my own opinion, the heavier the pen is, the more you are in control of every stroke, this one is kind of heavy because of its composition. Unlike other pens, the barrel of this one is hexagonal that contributes proper grip, reducing the risk of slips. In some, they use rubbers. So, for grips, this may not be too friendly for sweaty palms.
The sleeve, the hole where the lead comes out, is also a great feature when I saw this pen. Sometimes, when ruling a paper, the actual line we draw is impeded by the pencil preventing us to see where the actual line is. With its fixed-lead guidance system, accurate lines are drawn.
Quick question, have you tried placing your pen inside your bag and the sleeve is broken when you take it out? I know, it sucks when that happens. Here’s the good news, Rotring 800 has a retractable sleeve by a twist and click mechanism. No more poking, broken sleeves!
2. Steadtler 925-25 - Mechanical Pencil
• Sleek design
• Non-retractable sleeve
• Three different barrel colors
• Rubber grip system helps in preventing slips while in action
• ISO color coding system which aids in choosing the right lead thickness
Aside from Roting, Steadtler is also one of the well-known brands for technical drawings. Like the Roting 800, has a metal barrel too but the grip is made of rubber and I think this is suitable for sweaty hands.
In Steadtler pencils, they use an ISO color coding for lead thickness, yellow for 0.3, orange for 0.5, blue for 0.7, and red for 0.9. Sometimes, when choosing a specific lead, small fonts are hard to read. Steadtler has incorporated this feature to help a user quickly identify a specific lead. Although, it would take time to memorize the color coding scheme.
Prone to pokes and broken sleeves, the Steadtler does not have a retractable sleeve. The lead can be retracted though.
I am a very visual person and colors are kind of fun for me. I know that Steadtler’s color is blue but they have silk, black, and blue versions of this.
3. Uni Shift Pipe Lock - Drafting Pencil
• Simple yet sleek design
• The upper body barrel is made up of plastic
• Shift Pipe Lock mechanism which protects the pen during trips
• Low center of gravity which ensures proper navigation in every stroke
This one from Uni looks very simple and direct with the design and offers clear-cut lines for strokes. I could say that among the pens in this list, the Uni Shift Pipe Lock is the visual masterpiece. Manufacturers made sure that the shift-lock technology to protect the sleeve and lead. That is why it is called shift pipe lock. The center of gravity of the pen is positioned closer to the tip which makes it easier to navigate.
However, while some have full-metal bodies, this one from Uni has a plastic upper body and a metal lower body. Although it is not too significant of a difference, the Uni Shift Pipe Lock wouldn’t be as durable as other full-metal pens.
But, the color choices they offer are great. I like the red one personally because of how it gives an off impressive look.
4. Pentel Graph Gear 1000 - Automatic Drafting Pencil
• Refillable with Pentel Polymer leads
• Non-retractable sleeve
• Removable pocket clip to reduce incidents of losing the pen
Pentels pens, in my own experience, are one of the brands that are friendly even to the beginners and enthusiasts who want to pursue drafting careers.
The 4mm sleeves help in preventing broken leads, even when the pressures during strokes are a bit high. So, if your stroke pressure mastery can’t be controlled yet, this could work out great for you.
Some claim that the chiseled metallic grip works for them, but for me, the grip of the Pentel Graph Gear 1000 is a bit hard to get used to. I like grips that are soft that helps prevent blisters. Yet, if you are one of those who prefers hard grips, this could work out for you.
I am one of those people who easily lose a pen. If you are like me, then maybe you’d like the pocket clip incorporated in the barrel of this pen. But, if you do not like pocket clipped pens, the Pentel Graph Gear 1000’s pocket clip is removable.
5. Zebra Tect 2-way - Mechanical Pencil
• The rubber grip apart from its main feature appears stylish
• Not too common in the market which makes it hard to purchase apart from it being immediately available online
• More affordable compared to other famous technical pens
• Common design
The Zebra Tect 2-way drafting pencil is one of those pens that conclude elegance and meticulousness. You probably haven’t heard of the brand Zebra because this brand is not too common in the market. Maybe, only those who are invested in the technical drawing world know this one.
Compared to the Steadtler 925-25 with the rubber grip, the Zebra Tect-2’s grip is also rubber but in rings resulting in an uneven feels to the finger that is in contact with the pencil. It may be hard to some but I can deal with the rubber rings as grips.
When it comes to the design, it may be comparable to common mechanical pens since there is no special design. But, the barrel which is made of metal ensures precision when drawing lines and other small details.
There we go the 5 superb drafting pencils that I find accurate, user-friendly, and stylish.
Some may be expensive but it is always better to invest in one thing that would last longer in your hands than frequently buy something all the time.
For beginners and enthusiasts alike, choosing what drafting pencil that would suit you in your long journey as a technical artist, can be hard. That is why it is advisable to try everything little by little until you conclude on one pen that you can consider as an extension of your hands.
For me, these 5 are what I consider efficient and does wonders. Although each pen has features that we prefer compared to others, it’s not bad to use more than one brand of drafting pencil for innovation and variance.