The Modeller’s Calculator!

Whether you model trains, planes, ships, figures, buildings or any other objects, you often find yourself calculating scale values. In scales like 4mm/1foot, small conversions can be done in your head, and more complex ones with pencil and paper. But when the ratio is less friendly it gets harder. When faced with a whole series of calculations you need a sharp mind to get every answer right without having to go back and check. Trainflow Scaler not only spares you the mental energy, it also records the calculations in a results grid so you can save or print them.

1: Scaler with the results grid hidden and your preferred scales set in the two upper windows. Scaler comes with military and railway tables and allows up to 36 scales per table. You can add scales to existing tables or even create entirely new tables.

Values can be metric or imperial and you can use decimal or fractional inches (to 1/128). The results line gives decimal AND fractional inches – just use the one you prefer. You can set Scaler for shorter (or longer) decimals and you can suppress decimals or fractions if you find them confusing.

A typical example might be a drawing for a building. It could be a railway goods shed in deepest Wales, an aircraft control tower left over from World War 2, or a farmhouse at Waterloo. If you went on site, you came back with lots of dimensions and probably several detail sketches. It’s one thing to feed a list into Scaler for conversion but how do you remember what all the figures are afterwards? No problem! Scaler leaves the first column of its results grid blank for you to enter a description.

Click for fullsize view, then click back-arrow button to return here.
2: Your input and results transfer automatically to the grid as source and value. The left column is where you add your own note, e.g. “Long wall”.
You can drag individual rows of results up and down to keep related measurements together. And if you notice that your measurements don’t add up the way they should, you can edit the data and results when you find your error.

What if you are working between scales – perhaps using a 7mm drawing to create a 3mm model? It’s not so bad where a measurement is printed as a full-size value but we’ve all had to take a ruler to anonymous dimensions on a drawing to get those critical details that can characterise or ruin a model. Well, Scaler can work directly between scales and give you the right answers straight away.

A common problem with source-drawings is that they were the wrong size for the pages of a book or magazine, so the editor had them reduced to fit. The result is a drawing to no known scale – and an absolute pain to someone trying to make practical use of it. Scaler can help you here as well. It will create the scale for you from one known measurement. After that, you measure off the page and Scaler gives you the answer in the scale of your choice.

Oh and have you sometimes wished for the ability to turn out a table of equivalent values between (say) prototype dimensions at regular intervals and their direct equivalents in your scale? Say a 20-line table? or 100? or even 1000?

Set the scales on the main panel first, then Scaler can do a table from any start value to any finish value, at any measurable step. And if you are struggling between scales – and especially with the sort of unknown scale just mentioned – it will do it far more easily than you will. Just for an encore, you can even ask for a table that gives both imperial and metric results, side by side.

3: Creating a table of equivalents. Left is how you set it; in the middle is a 1-scale table; on the right is a 2-scale table (images are not full size). If you wish, you can print tables or transfer them to a document.

4/5: And it has two more tricks: first, it has a normal calculator which also stores its calculations on a pad so they can be saved and printed.
In addition, Scaler’s calculator includes four memory buttons which you can program with labels and values. While you may find a variety of uses for this, one obvious example is for objects that have regular repetition. So if you have an angled photo of a building (making it hard to measure), you may be able to do horizontal and vertical brick counts and then assemble dimensions by quickly multiplying those counts using buttons set for the standard brick height and length (just remember to include the mortar!).

Scaler costs just £9 (plus P&P) for possibly the best scale calculator you’ll find, and it comes with a help-file manual that gives a full explanation of its features.

Click here for our order page (which also covers Wagonflow) for fuller details on ordering by credit card and/or by post.

Make Scaler part of your calculations!