Blueprints are essential tools in a wide variety of industries, from architecture and construction to mechanical engineering, and if you work with blueprints frequently, you will know how important it is to keep these important documents protected and undamaged while they are being stored or transported. This means choosing the right storage medium for the job, and safely rolling your blueprints into mailing tubes is probably the most popular and reliable method of protecting important blueprint documents.
However, a wide variety of different mailing tubes are offered by manufacturers and retailers, and some are more suited to the task of blueprint protection than others. To make sure your new tubes provide the best protection possible, ask yourself the following questions while you shop around:
What shape should the mailing tubes be?
The classic mailing tube is a long, relatively thin cylinder, and this shape is generally well suited to most storage and transportation situations. However, you can also find mailing tubes in non-standard shapes which can be more suited to certain storage and transportation tasks.
Square mailing tubes are long, cuboid containers that function in the same way as cylindrical tubes in most respects. However, they are much easier to stack and tend to move around less during transportation, making them ideal for storing and transporting large numbers of blueprints at one time. Bear in mind that these tubes can be more easily flattened than standard cylinders if placed under excessive weight loads.
Triangular mailing tubes are an unusual sight, but the strength provided by their triangular cross-sections makes them incredibly crush-resistant -- ideal for when you need to ship blueprints along with other weighty documents. You can expect to pay a premium for these unusual tubes, however.
What should the tubes be made out of?
Compressed cardboard is generally the material of choice for mailing tube manufacture. This material is surprisingly strong and crush resistant, and it cannot easily be pierced or torn by thieves and other ne'er-do-wells. However, its one great disadvantage is that it is not waterproof, and it provides little in the way of moisture protection to the delicate and valuable blueprints inside.
This can be a challenging obstacle for people who have to consult blueprints in outdoor locations, such as land surveyors and construction overseers. For more resistance against rain and moisture, consider choosing plastic mailing tubes instead; these tubes are inevitably more expensive than their conventional cardboard cousins, but they will provide excellent moisture protection for the blueprints within. Some plastic mailing tubes are made from clear plastic, which can be useful for identifying the blueprints you need more quickly.