Square and Compass, How to choose the cheapest and best?

November 2, 2021

The square is a type of graduated ruler shaped like an isosceles triangle, generally used in technical drawing ; For its part, the compass is a tool used to trace circumferential arcs and circles with precision, and it is also widely used in technical drawing.

These two instruments usually work together in different areas (the one already mentioned being the most common), as they are able to provide greater precision in drawings, plans, designs and problems of a mathematical nature. They are two tools that are always worth having alongside other drawing materials and measuring instruments.

Characteristics of the square and compass

The most important characteristics of the square and the compass are:


  • It is found in different presentations, made of metal or plastic , in the second case it can be of different colors.
  • Although sometimes the graduation of each of its sides may be marked, it is usually more than all on one of the equal sides, being graduated in the metric decimal system.
  • It has three angles , one 90 ° and two 45 °.
  • On many occasions it is usually acquired in conjunction with a common ruler and a bevel (scalene triangle) or individually.


  • This can be made of metal or plastic, the latter in very few cases; It is usually formed by two ends joined at the top, which can be opened at the time of use, also having a nut or bolt that allows it to reach larger diameters.
  • In some cases, the compass includes its own graphite or pencil to draw a circumference; in others, it must be placed on an axis that the same compass has to be used (it is also valid to use a pen or thin marker).
  • The main use of the compass is to draw circles , although it is also useful for measuring distances on maps or plans.
  • The radius of the circles that you can draw depends on the model of the compass, although it usually has a minimum range of up to 1 millimeter .

Square and compass

  • Both tools play a great role in technical drawing and blueprints, both for their accuracy and their adaptability to work together.
  • The square and the compass together are a recognized symbol of Freemasonry, the square being the representation of virtue and the compass the limits of the Mason with respect to other people. This is a clear reference to the intrinsic relationship between both instruments, which are accompanied by the letters G and A , meaning “Great architect of the universe”, this being one of the areas where they are used the most.
  • Both tools work with measurements ; in the case of the square, such as a graduated ruler, and in the case of the compass, you can mark the measurements or be enlarged at an angle that results in a specific measurement.

Square and compass types

Both tools offer several varieties for greater functionality and efficiency; each of them will be defined below.

Types of squares


It is used mostly in architecture . This is a metal strip bent at the respective 45 ° and 90 ° angles. It is used to reinforce corners, build trusses, support stained glass, and fabricate windows.

Bevel square

This is composed of two rules joined at their ends, having the ability to rotate freely . With this instrument, it is easier to draw larger and smaller angles, as well as convergent lines. In some cases you can find this square shaped like the letter T.

Team of carpenters

It is also called a squad with a shoulder; It is the most common type and can be made of metal, plastic or wood, depending on its use. In the same way, it offers different measures for greater comfort, its graduation can be in the metric system (millimeters and centimeters) or in the Anglo-Saxon system of units (inches and fractions of inches).

Universal square

Although this is a multifunctional instrument, it is not as easy to find as the previous one, since it has several measurement possibilities. Inside it has a bevel and is generally used to mark holes where to place hinges.

Time signature

The time signature is defined according to the tip that they allow to make strokes; these are:

Pencil compass

When forming the angle that it will take to make a stroke, this compass has an extension, that is, it takes the shape of a pyramid with a straight line next to it, which holds a pencil at its end. This compass has the longest reach when making strokes.

Compass pencil holder

While one of its sides has a fixed point that is used as a shaft, the other has a hole with a bolt or nut, there you can insert a pencil, pen, pen or stylus, which is then adjusted with the same bolt or nut. . Depending on the type of element you choose, a different stroke is obtained when using the compass.

Dry point compass

Instead of using a pencil or other writing aid, scraps of graphite are used to trace. These are usually sharpened beforehand and placed on a removable point of the compass that is then in charge of adjusting them.

Stonemason compass

It does not use a type of tip, it is used exclusively for measurements on maps or plans, so it does not have the ability to draw. Rather than being straight, their ends are usually curved , thin, and tapered at the end, closely resembling hooks. You can find at least three different sizes.

Main uses and symbols of the square and the compass

Both tools are used for the tracing of precise measurements , although opposite, being those of the square straight and those of the compass curved. They can also be used as an aid when working with angles, the square being a clear reference to an angle of 45 ° and 90 °, while the compass can represent others that are more inaccurate.

Both tools are much needed in engineering, algebra, architecture, physics, technical drawing and graphic design, providing the ideal functions to create models, plans and drawings with exactitude in every stroke.

Something to take into account is that these two objects also have a great symbolism, being represented for centuries in various ways with implicit meanings. They are usually a clear representation of the exact sciences, this to the point of being captured in a table where they play the role of God’s creation for the world. They are also associated with precision and in many cases, with architecture and its works.

The square and the compass are necessary instruments for various types of work, with all their varieties and characteristics they are capable of being perfectly adapted to work separately and together, ensuring accuracy at all times.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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