A ruler is for drawing lines, a scale is for measuring. Classic drafting scales are triangular, with a different drawing ratio on each face for a total of six. The scales are used in conjunction with the drawing scale.
The typical drafting scale is 12 inches long, made of wood, plastic or aluminum. The higher quality items have a center core of bamboo and plastic for the scale markings.
Mechanical engineer scale
Mechanical engineer scales are inch graduated, with common drawing scales on each face. These are used to make drawings of mechanical parts.
Architect scales are used for architectural drawings. The scales are graduated in feet and inches. For example, a quarter of an inch equals a foot. They are used for drawings of buildings.
Civil engineer scale
Civil engineer scales are used for civil engineering applications and have feet and inch graduations. They are used to draw from surveying data. For example, one inch equals 10 feet.
The difference with metric scales is that they are in the metric system instead of inches.
Drafting rulers are typically made of plastic or aluminum, and are either inch or metric. They are attached to a drafting machine that has a protractor to make straight or angled lines. Normally, one edge has a full scale and the other could be what the user would find most helpful.
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