There are many cross-sections in societies that have their own set of apps – education, medicine and business, for instance. But one area that’s often neglected are tools for tradespeople.
My inspiration for focusing on these tools came from a recent experience I had while trying to put up a clothes rack at home.
My dad was helping me, and while we were measuring up the clothes rack I said to him that I’d go out to the shed to get my spirit level to ensure the clothes rack went on the wall straight. He told me to forget the spirit level and instead get his iPhone.
iHandy Carpenter($1.99) iHandySoft
The app my dad had on his phone was called iHandy Carpenter. It contained five tools that are super-useful for any handyman – including a gorgeous, high-quality spirit level that helped us ensure the clothes rack went on the wall straight.
Other tools in the iHandy Carpenter app include a plumb bob (to verify that your walls are straight), a surface level to measure whether a surface is flat, a steel protractor to measure angles and a steel ruler that you swipe left and right to measure the length of things that are much longer than your iPhone.
As you’d expect, iHandy Carpenter is a stunning app with very high production values. Go to the hardware store to buy all these tools and I’d guess you’d spend close to $100. On the app store you’ll spend a cent under $2.
Tradie’s App ($45.99) DCB Services
Start investigating and you’ll find many more useful apps for tradies too. One of the most expensive apps I found, called Tradie’s App, costs $46 but gets rave reviews in the App Store. Built by tradies for tradies, it contains five mini- apps that allow any sort of tradesman to keep track of what happens on a project site and easily email a PDF report back to the office.
Areas of information you can record in the app include a site diary, variations, requests for information and purchase orders – and there’s even somewhere to record the issues you have with subcontractor payments.
MagicPlan (FREE) Sensopia
For those who might not be ‘handy’ but want an app that lets them put together a plan of their house, there’s an app called MagicPlan.
It lets you create an interactive floorplan on the web by using your iPhone’s camera. You simply aim your iPhone at corners in your house and MagicPlan magically creates an accurate, to-scale floorplan. Yes, it measures and draws your floorplan for you.
In my experience it worked remarkably well. I downloaded the app and ran through the three-minute tutorial to get started. Once the app finds your location you choose a room and then start pointing the app at each corner in the room.
Using a combination of sensors in the iPhone the app cobbles together a floor plan for you. You can tell it the exact distance between a couple of walls to improve the accuracy.
Once you’ve finished you can upload your plan to the MagicPlan website or export it in a variety of file formats. It’s impressive stuff from a free app, but there is an option to remove the watermark from the exported images by paying $5.49.
And more …
Lastly, take a look at Resene, Haymes iColour and Dulux MyColour AU – all colour-matching apps that let you record and keep any colour you like, and then match it perfectly to other colours or paints.