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JOEL Joel's Blog

What about Isometric Drafting Paper?


What about Isometric Drafting Paper? 4Most senior designers I know insist that doing preliminary sketches on paper is
far faster, and allows for far more creativity than using even the most sophisticated electronic drafting equipment. The reason that is suggested is that electronic drafting, no matter how sophisticated is still an additional layer between you and the manifestation of an idea.
Even if you know how to draw graph paper makes it easy to keep things in proportion. Isometric or 3D graph paper helps with proportion at the same time it helps you draw in 3D. To that end we are posting for free download some isometric graph paper.

The way you use it is simple. It's just like regular graph paper only the boxes are angled so you automatically end up drawing in 3D. Draw your vertical lines the way you would normally do and then draw your faces and depth on the angled lines. You count boxes to keep square just like you would do on regular graph paper but here you get instant 3D.

To download the paper select the "Knowledge" menu option in the store header, and "Isometric Drafting Paper is on the top left of the drop-down menu. Feel free to download and print as many copies of our isometric paper as you want for your personal use. We have two kinds: horizontal for drawings wider than high, and vertical for drawing that are higher than wide.

In this drawing Tim did of a table he made, you can see how the sketch progressed from a few rough lines to a distinct object in 3D. Hidden lines were removed and shading and lines added to suggest wood grain, surface texture, and the visible parts of the joinery. You can't tell from the sketch but in the final table the centerpiece is a metal bowl, hammered, and installed flush to the table top. What you can tell from the sketch is the idea of a bowl-like recess developing as an idea - which is the whole point of sketching things out.

Note: you can download and print the paper to some scale but in general the best way to do it is to pick an arbitrary unit for example: 1 block = 2" and just count boxes. When you later go on to really draw the item out just count boxes again. It's easier than trying to always print to some exact scale.

Join the conversation
12/06/2011 Bob Easton
Thanks Joel!

This paper will make my 30-60 degree right triangle almost obsolete. That triangle and other drafting tools remain from a mid-60s college course in Engineering Graphics where EVERYTHING was drawn in isometric projection.

12/06/2011 kevin loftus
Many thanks Joel,this will come in
very handy.
12/06/2011 Ben Lowery
Nice, love it, and thanks for making it available to download!

Any chance you could make the source art available? I'd like to dim the graph lines significantly (I like graph paper where I can barely make out the lines). If not, no biggie, I can whip something up in Illustrator.
12/06/2011 Ben Lowery
To see what I'm talking about with the light grid, check out Edward Tufte's graph paper @ There's a bit of discussion on the paper at

It's easily the best graph paper I've ever used.
12/06/2011 Steve Bell
This will come in really handy
I always find paper more helpful in initial design
I still start all of my designs on paper. Thanks Joel, this is GREAT!
Thanks Joel. Great tool to have handy.
12/06/2011 John Switzer
This is great stuff. Any plans to sell it in a bound note book form? I would love something with this on one page and reular graph paper on the facing page for a plan view.
12/06/2011 DJ Mueller

Offering the Isometric graphs on high-quality paper would be a great find for those of us who are techno-throwbacks, and actually like to draw by hand. Also, consider offering Lawson Perspective Charts. While available from the Dark Side of the Internet retailers, those are folded, which imparts some distortion to the fine line printing. I have not located a supplier who sells them rolled.
12/06/2011 Michael
Thanks for the Download. Have a nice day!
12/06/2011 curt seeliger
Hey Ben L, you can make free pdfs of custom graph paper, including isometric, at
12/19/2011 McKay Sleight
Although I taught woodworking using MacDraw, Autocad, Cabinetware and now Sketchup, I have always tried to teach putting down the ideas on paper. This is great!
03/06/2012 Jim
Absolutely great! This makes life easier for us not so gifted in proportion.
I've only been on this site a couple of weeks & keep finding great articles and ideas. Thanks!!
Comments are closed.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.
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