The AlumiDrafter is an evolution of the traditional three-sided  architectural/engineering scale that can lay flat in a folio or briefcase. The product, a result of the work of many different partners and crowd  sourced fundraising, incorporates functions from a number of other drafting  tools.

The theme of the EP Exhibit 2016 is It Takes a Community. Selected projects showcase the best work from young designers highlighting community impact and engagement.

The AlumiDrafter is a product of frustration. Traditional three-sided architectural and engineering scales do not lay flat in a folder, folio or briefcase. Previously, the only alternative was to buy a two sided-scale, but they do not have all of the calibrations that are on a three-sided scale. In an attempt to remedy this frustration, I began to design multiple iterations to address the problem. I determined that additional “perimeter” area was needed in order to locate the calibrations that were missing from the two-sided scale. This was achieved through the opening in the middle of the scale.    

After resolving that design problem, I continued to ask questions about the tool. “How can I add functionality and incorporate other features?” I looked through my drafting tool box and realized that I had compasses that were essentially the same, a ridiculous number of drafting triangles, protractors and a ruler I used as a cutting edge. Through additional iterations, I was able to incorporate these features into the design of the AlumiDrafter.    

Upon settling on the design, I didn’t want to stop. The next challenge was to make this a commercially viable product. I knew I did not want to manufacture and sell rulers because this would take time away from my passions of design and problem solving. I contacted Alumicolor because their products match the quality that I had envisioned for the AlumiDrafter. After proposing my idea to them and negotiating terms, we agreed to work together to bring this product to the market. During my discussions with Alumicolor, I knew I would incur costs associated with developing and launching the product. Financing was simply another part of the process that required creative problem solving. After building financial models and brainstorming options, the use of the Kickstarter website quickly became the best method to address this part of the process.    

Over a time period of approximately 18 months, an idea that was born out of frustration became a real product that I am happy to say can be purchased directly from the AIA Store.

Image credits


Matthew Gulsvig