Help me make objects to scale for an architectural plan.
April 24, 2010 8:16 PM   Subscribe

Help me make objects to scale for an architectural plan.

In the plan, 10 feet = 4.5 inches.
I have dimensions of objects that I'd like to make to scale for my plan, say, one is 15 x 36 inches. How do I convert this? Is there an easy way to convert many of these objects?
posted by Jason and Laszlo to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How are you drawing this plan? By hand? Using CAD of some sort? Making models? What sort of tools and materials do you have available -- specifically, do you have a scale rule available?
posted by Commander Rachek at 8:20 PM on April 24, 2010

the plan has already been drawn and is on paper. I don't have a scale rule. Is that easy to learn?
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 8:25 PM on April 24, 2010

You can make your own scale! Just take a piece of paper (heavyweight if you have it) and mark off 4.5" on the edge - that's 10 feet. Now make hash marks to divide that segment into 10 equal sections (by my quick estimation that's about 7/16" each, but check the math), and you have your 1' markings. Use this scale to measure and draw the objects.
posted by Fifi Firefox at 8:36 PM on April 24, 2010

Architectural scales are usually noted in the form of a fraction of an inch equaling one foot. A typical scale would be 1/4" = 1'-0", but that would be 2.5 inches for 10 feet. At 1/2" = 1'-0" you would have 5" to go 10'. So, it sounds to me like it is possible your plan isn't to an accurate scale.

With that said, it is all a matter of proportions. 36" is 3', so to put it to scale you want to go 3/10 = x/4.5, solve for x and you have the length in inches for that dimension. It is just a bit of math, but nothing you can't figure out dimension by dimension if necessary.
posted by meinvt at 8:39 PM on April 24, 2010

solve for x?

another piece of the puzzle: I have jpegs of the objects that I'd like to make to scale, then print them out. Thanks!
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 8:43 PM on April 24, 2010

solve for x?

meinvt means to do the algebra to calculate what x should be to make the equation true. You don't really need to do that, though. A little shortcut which will do the same thing is this:

Take the size of the real-life object in feet and multiply it by 0.45. This is the size in inches of the object in your drawing. So if the object is 1.25 feet by 3 feet, you multiply

1.25 * 0.45 = 0.5625


3 * 0.45 = 1.35

So the object you put in the drawing will by 0.5625 inches by 1.35 inches, which is pretty close to 9/16 inch by 1 and 11/32 inches.

Printing out accurately scaled pictures is actually rather difficult, and usually requires the use of a special kind of printer called a plotter. If you want the pictures to be a very specific size, I suggest going to a professional printing place (such as Kinko's) and asking them what they can do for you.
posted by Commander Rachek at 9:01 PM on April 24, 2010

thanks Commander. the scaled objects don't need to be exact. It's just to get an idea how objects will fit in the space.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 9:05 PM on April 24, 2010

Nah, it won't be that hard to print out objects at an accurate size. Make a square, say, 7 x 7 inches at 300ppi (so 2100px x 2100px) and print that out on the page. Now take a ruler and measure how big the printed square actually is. Take 7 and divide that by the actual measurement, and multiply by 100 to get your percentage of enlargement. Next time you print, print with that percentage.

So for example, if your printed square is actually 6.8 inches by 6.8 inches, 7/6.8 * 100 = 102.9, or 103, so next time you print ask the printer to scale the square to 103% of the original size. Keep in mind you might get cropping at the edges if your image extends beyond the boundaries of the paper after printing.
posted by suedehead at 9:11 PM on April 24, 2010

Architectural scales are very cool rulers, and they're pretty cheap at your average art supply store.
posted by salvia at 10:06 PM on April 24, 2010

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