Regan Low is a long-time builder and maker of things, who loved the quality and strength of traditional tools. Decades on, he still finds himself using some of his father’s old tools, typically constructed from quality materials such as brass and hardwood – these have helped him day to day within his trade and bringing his personal projects to life. Regan believed that today’s folding rules were missing something that the old tools had; quality and thoughtfulness. Seeing builders everyday use cheap, brittle and dysfunctional folding rules, Regan knew something had been lost along the way. The building profession is old enough to predate the metric system, which means many of the base measurements that builders use everyday stem from imperial units in measuring raw materials. The common 1-metre rule is largely unfit for purpose, being a true metric measurement that does not readily translate to standardised building practices, spacings, and wholesale sized materials. Inspired by old-school, quality tools, Regan’s vision for The Good Rule was to design a rule with dimensions that make sense for the way we build today and bring a sense of pride and enjoyment to the user’s engagement with the product.
Regan commissioned Blender to execute on his vision. Forming a relationship with Regan to understand the drawings and information he had to date, Blender took on responsibility for the industrial design of the product. As this progressed to manufacturing stages, Blender offered support to Regan to make sure all of the design intent was captured in the final product.
After examining orthographic drawings and early plans for the rule, the Blender team deconstructed any existing assumptions about the user, product and problem. Building this brief from the ground up, Blender was able to apply these learnings to the new version of the rule. Blender was able to add a few key changes to elevate the design further – the addition of sturdy brass hinges, offset bevels to allow for fold-flat operation and a protractor within the hinge. Once modelled in 3D, a series of SLA 3D prototypes were printed, to test in conjunction with the machined brass components.
As the product details were refined, key input from Blender was required to produce a tolerance on the brass hinge of 0.02mm, so the rule would remain rigid at whatever point it was opened.
The true measure of this product hinged upon the fine detail and practical features for the end-users.
Key features of The Good Rule include the full 600mm/2ft length, the standard width of a ½ sheet of GIB, stud spacing and floor joist spacing. The 45mm width of the rule is used for framing timber and marking stud width, nogs, and dwangs. The 300mm folded length is the standard screw spacing for jib and ply. The 180° angle finder speeds up the process of checking wall alignments and making angled mitre cuts.
Two key colourways were created for The Good Rule – an original Fluro green rule, followed by a slick-looking black variant.
Blender was able to support Regan in executing his precise vision, with input at key stages to bring The Good Rule to life.