Metric scales

A triangular metric scale is similar to the architectural scale in that it has six edges, but it has only one scale ratio per edge. The ratio is marked at the left end of the scale. For example, the scale of 1:50 means that 1 mm on the drawing represents 50 mm on the object. This means that the object is 50 times larger than the drawing of it. An object 450 mm long would be represented by a line 9 mm long (450 mm/50).

Figure 7 shows one of the three sides of a metric scale. The scale labelled 1:50 is read from left to right, from 0 to 15 m. The 1:5 scale (on the bottom) can also be read from left to right (0 to 600 mm) by turning the scale around.

- One side of a metric ruler
If the ratio is 1:1, it means that 1 mm on the drawing represents 1 mm. In other words, the object in the drawing is being drawn to its actual size.

The ratios most often used in drawings are 1:100 for larger buildings, 1:50 for smaller buildings, and 1:20 for details.

You will notice that all the edges on a metric scale are marked with spaces that are 1 mm apart, similar to a metric tape measure. The difference is that each edge is marked off or labelled according to a different ratio, so that proportionate lengths are read directly from the scale. This eliminates the need to calculate dimensions.

Figure 8 shows common metric scales for comparison. Notice that all the scales shown are labelled in metres and that 0.5 m = 500 mm. All the scales in Figure 8 are marked at the scaled position of 250 mm.

- Metric scales marked at 250 mm
The length of an object represented on a drawing in a metric scale is found by measuring the drawn object with a metric ruler of the proper scale. You can also measure the drawing with any metric tape measure and multiply that by the scale ratio.