Category Archives: Technical Drawing

Student Equipment Kits for Art, Design and Engineering Courses

Starting an Art, Design or Engineering course at college or university? – or any course that involves manual drawing work?

Kit No2

Make sure you’ve got the right equipment – browse our huge range of Art, Design and Drawing equipment and materials online.

If you are a Course Leader or Technician looking to supply your students with all the equipment they need for their course, we can help simplify your process with our Bespoke Student Equipment Kits.

Simply contact us with a list of items your students need and we will set up a bespoke ‘kit’ product unique to you, which will contain only the specific items requested.

We will then supply these kits as pre-collated, individually packed and labelled with your student names if necessary.

You can either order your student kits in bulk and have them delivered direct to your college/university, or alternatively we can put your bespoke student kit product on our website available for your students to purchase online for themselves.

For more information or prices, please contact us using this online form; email; or phone us on 0800 013 2514.

We are a well-established UK distributor of top brands such as Staedtler, Rotring, Jakar, Helix, Linex, and more.

Staedtler Drawing Materials – 50 years of excellence in the UK

In 2016, Staedtler celebrated 50 years of excellence in the UK, so we taking a few moments to recap on what an excellent brand of drawing materials it is and what makes them so special.

It is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of writing, colouring and drawing instruments and one of the oldest industrial companies in Germany. They are a clear favourite in the writing instrument world and are always a step ahead with their innovative and quality products.

  • Their philosophy is INSPIRATION ……every idea starts with a pencil!
  • International Company – STAEDTLER has representatives on every single continent and in 150 countries.
  • Europe’s largest manufacturer of blacklead and coloured pencils.
  • Are PEFC & FSC accredited.
  • Popular classics in the range include Noris HB Pencil, the mars plastic eraser, the lumocolour markers and Carpenters Oval

We are proud to be a long-standing UK distributor of Staedtler products. Browse our range of technical pens, compasses, pencils, and other drawing materials and you will find many Staedtler products in our offering, along with other key brands such as Rotring and Linex.

Also, make sure you check out our clearance section also where you will find some excellent savings to be made on many of these products!

Fine Line Pen Set554T11000.eps.84684.7.ORG ST100 G12S.jpeg ST700S4 45 degree setsquare image - 567 21-45


Student Equipment Kits

If you are a student undertaking an Art, Design, Engineering, or other Technical Drawing related course, finding all the equipment you need to complete your course can be time consuming, confusing and expensive.

Likewise, if you are a tutor or technician running an Art, Design or Engineering course at a college or university, buying all the equipment and materials for your students can be a big task, and expensive too – especially with budgets that only seem to get smaller every year!

The solution? – Student Equipment Kits.

Kit No2

Student Equipment Kits allow you to buy all the essentials you’ll need for your course in one practical kit, at a discounted price compared to purchasing all the items separately.

At DesignDirect, we offer a range of ‘off-the-shelf’ kits for a variety of courses such as Architecture, Garden Design and Construction. These kits are made of the most popular items used by students doing these courses.

However, if these don’t contain the items you’re looking for, you can go for a Bespoke Student Kit containing the specific items that you require for your course.

If you are ordering for a college or university, we can upload your Bespoke Kit as a product on our website so that your students can purchase it directly from our website. Alternatively, we can process as a bulk order and deliver all kits directly to the address of your choice. Bulk discounts are available – please contact us.

If you are interested in a Bespoke Student Equipment Kit, get in touch today to request a quote! Just list the items that you would like in your kit and please remember to give us a note of the quantity that you require.

The genius of Drafting Tables!

Is your classroom or studio limited in space? Are you catering for a number of subjects in the one classroom? 

Look no further than our Flip Top Drawing Board Tables! Featuring a vertically-rotating ‘flip’ top, they can be an ordinary table one minute and a high quality drafting table the next! A must have for mixed subject classrooms.

Flip tops

Click on the image to expand.

UK manufactured, these tables are specially designed for lasting durability. The drawing board features a reliable parallel motion unit and adjustable support, allowing you to achieve the most accurate technical drawings with maximum ease.

Flip Top Tables are especially popular with colleges and universities. Check out these pictures of A2 Straight Leg Flip Top Tables we recently supplied and installed into classrooms at a Scottish college:

IMG_1440 Image1209 IMG_1449 IMG_1424


Contact us today for a no obligation quote! Bespoke pricing and quantity discounts available.

Available in A1 and A2, with options on Straight Leg Frame or Cantilever Frame.

What is permatrace?


Permatrace is the traditional name for what is now known as Drafting Film!

Designdirect Supplies stocks one of the best double matt coated drafting films (permatrace) in the UK. Available in rolls or sheets and sizes ranging from A4 to A0…our products have a polyester base for strong, tear resistant, dimensionally stable manual drawings. Very popular for architectural & archaeology drawings/illustrations. Designdirect Supplies has the solution for outdoor grade permatrace…ever experienced your archaeology drawings going a milky white? Call us on 0800 013 2514 to discuss our all-weather grade of drafting film.

What’s more we realise that the summer months are when you really go to town with your illustrations and therefore we are pleased to offer special discounted prices for the month of July – remember that the offers finish on 31st July 2015 so why not stock up for this year’s fieldwork…

Need film for your wide format inkjet printer? View our range online for specially coated drafting film for inkjet plotters allowing the ink to dry very quickly to a dense solid black.

Architect, Garden Design, Engineering & Archaeologist Printed Drawing Sheet Permatrace Drafting Film


Did you know that we have forty years experience of providing bespoke quality pre-printed drawing sheets on a range of materials?

    • Improve the presentation of your drawings by having your company details and logo pre-printed on the sheet with the design of your choice. Options of 75mic permatrace film or 112gm trace.
    • Proofs of new sheets will be submitted for your approval before the sheets are printed. You should allow a couple of days to proof and a further 15 working days for production (leadtime can fluctuate based on seasonal demand – if you have a specific date in mind please let us know and we will try to work to this).
    • Please enquire if you require sheets to be printed on alternative materials, padded, punched or any other bespoke request.
    • Standard quantities include 125, 250, 500 & 1000 – all higher quantities are available in run-ons of 1000 sheets. Sizes range from A4 to A0 – why not choose your own bespoke size such as 594x594mm or 320x297mm!

Maybe you want the trace with out the ‘perma’ part! Visit our range of tracing paper sheets & rolls online. We also stock a wide range of A4 & A3 specialist films: A4 or A3, copier, laser or inkjet, self-adhesive, clear or matt, etc.

View our range of pads, permatrace & paper online – full range is growing every month!

Caring for your Technical Pen…

How to refill a Rapidograph pen?

Use rOtring Rapidograph capillary cartridges only.

rapidograph refill

How to refill an Isograph pen?

Tap any remaining out of the tip (tip pointing upwards) before refilling the pen. Shake gently the pen before the use.

rapidograph refill

Maintenance advice for technical pens

To store, seal with cap and lay horizontally or put in Pen-Station.

Nib and cap should be cleaned from time to time. You can use the professional rOtring cleaner fluid, available to order online, to clean the different pen parts.

When cleaning Isograph, Pull/twist off the push-on sleeve (if sleeve is stuck tight, use extractor in cap)

After cleaning, rinse all components with clean water and dry carefully.

Never disassemble the drawing nib as this will void the warranty.

Designdirect established in 1975 have many years experience in supplying techincal pens such as Rotring & Staedtler – have a look at our range online

Has CAD Killed the Manual Drafting Art Form?

There can be no doubt that Computer Aided Design (CAD) has revolutionised the way designers create the latest masterpieces. Whether a 300ft skyscraper or the tiniest mechanical instrument, CAD allows the user a fully rotatable 3D digital model of his product, allowing a clear view down to the very smallest detail. With CAD’s wealth of advanced editing and visualisation features, why would anyone choose to design their products by hand? Has Manual Drafting been completely outdone?

In short, no.

Many top designers recognise the unique benefits of the manual design art form. While most utilise the many benefits of CAD, they are often used side by side with the more expressive design methods of hand drawing, offering them the opportunity to create a far more personal product design. Watch a video of what you could achieve!

There’s no undo button! 90% of the time, mistakes are a bad thing. We wish we could simply undo and carry on. This isn’t an option with pen and paper; when a designer inevitably makes a mistake, he is forced to adapt. Suddenly an accidental squiggle becomes a quirky design feature, a wonky line becomes an abstract idea. Hand drawing promotes evolution of our designs, allowing us to create new, unique products that may never have been born with a computer.

Tip from the college days when your drawing slipped off the edge of the table and fell upside down – suddenly you realised that it was showing you a different aspect to the design. Try drawing your plan on tracing paper and then turning sheet over and looking the mirror image!

The Personal Touch

Like your handwriting, every designer has their own unique style. Technical drawings created with the human touch often feature an individual flair that can’t be achieved with computers. They may not have the pinpoint accuracy, but there is often emotion portrayed in a hand drawn piece, something impossible to achieve with a machine.

Lastly, manual drafting takes skill! An incredible amount of patience, a steady hand and an eye for detail are all vital in producing high quality technical drawings. When you produce the perfect drawing that meets your vision though, the sense of achievement and satisfaction you feel is nothing short of incredible. Why not give it a try?

With a huge range of craft materials, high quality technical pens, pencils and drawing boards from all the major graphic design brands, Designdirect supply everything you’ll need to get started!

Check out what this artist can do! -