The act of using a tape measure to mark cuts appears simple: You pull the tape out until your desired dimension is exposed, then mark your workpiece with a pencil. If we look at the act a little more closely, and as UX-minded designers, we see that sure, there's a little hassle: The end user must pluck their pencil down from behind their ear, make their mark, and return the pencil behind the ear (or pocket, for the fancy-pants among you). And unless it's a mechanical pencil, it must periodically be sharpened, which necessitates having another object on hand.
Designer Dane Scarborough, who reportedly "swung a hammer for a living" at some point, reckons his take on the venerable tape measure is more efficient. With his Quickdraw tape measure, Scarborough aims to eliminate the pencil bit by designing in a channel that holds mechanical pencil leads, allowing the end user to pull the tape out to the desired dimension, then lay a mark down without needing to reach for anything else:
I have a hard time believing the company's claim that the Quickdraw can lay down "2,000 marks per load" off of a single lead, but admittedly I'm not armed with anything more than rank skepticism. I do feel, however, that the act of locating your extra leads and loading them, as quick as it is, is simply supplanting the inconvenience of sharpening a pencil with another periodic hassle.
I also don't feel that this invention would obviate the pencil entirely, because one still needs to write down dimensions and do quick calculations.
Nevertheless, at least Scarborough is trying to innovate in this space—I mean, when was the last time you saw an innovative tape measure?
So: Do you find the Quickdraw gimmicky, or useful? I have a feeling this is a tool I'd need to live with for a while before its merits or demerits became truly apparent. Would you use one of these? At $25, it's not that much more expensive than your standard Stanley Fatmax.
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Nay. I love using my pencils for marking.
I like the idea as long as it's executed well. Hultafors Talmeters have had this functionality for decades, albiet with a blade of sorts, and I've often found it very useful indeed.
best innovations i have seen on tape measures is the stanley spring loaded lock, and millwaukees magnetic double end, with measurements on both sides of tape.
that being said, i think the designer overthought this one, and should have just made it accept a standard carpenters pencil, or sharpie.
That lead seems a bit dainty to me, regular pencil would be good I feel.