There are hundreds of tools that are used by electricians on a daily basis, be it hand tools, general tools, power tools, measuring tools or even administrative tools. Among so many tools one draws a lot of attention which is the measuring tape.
Measuring tapes have some characteristics to be known and that are important when choosing to buy, some questions should be asked at this time that will help you to define which one to choose: What do I want a tape measure and what will I measure? What kind of tape measure do I need? Do I need a special measurement scale?
What do I want a tape measure for and what will I measure?
Everyone wants a measuring tape to measure something, this is the function of a measuring tape.
According to the dictionary measure is:
Determine or evaluate using a measuring instrument or utensil, or something. as standard; measure. Have (in extension, length, height etc.)
The measuring tape is the instrument through which a comparison with established standards is made and the extent, length, width, height or depth of something is defined.
The question “what am I going to measure?” it is important to define which type of tape will be used:
- I want to measure a large plot;
- I want to measure a wall in an installation;
- I want to measure parts for metallic support;
Each of the three examples above leads me to think of different types of tape measure and that leads us to the next question.
What kind of tape measure do I need?
We will enumerate some types of measuring tapes and what they are used for, this will give an overview for the proper choice of each measuring tape according to the activity to be performed.
- Long measuring tape: Used in the measurement of large distances such as land, external areas of buildings, measurement in large open places.
Usually, the smallest long tapes are 15m, but they are also found in sizes of 20m, 30m, 50m or 100m. They are made of a very malleable material, fiber tapes, for example. As they are used in outdoor environments exposed to bad weather, such as sun and rain, the quality of the material has to be well evaluated to ensure good durability.
- Manual measuring tape: Used for smaller pieces and short distances, such as measuring walls, number of cables, size of conduits etc.
This is the most common measuring tape, which most people know, it is compact, light and easy to store. Usually, the smallest manual measuring tapes are 3m, but are easily found in the 5m and 8m sizes. They have lower prices due to their simplicity, but they have many variables that can make the price vary.
Comfort and durability of the tape are essential in this type of tape measure, its measuring tape is metallic and can be broken if not taken care of. They have tape brake and lock that are differentials between brands. A magnetic tip helps when measuring metal parts.
- Laser, digital or electronic measuring tape: Used for long distances and because it has mathematical functions it is used for measuring area and volumes in places and structures.
Super simple to use, the electronic measuring tape, laser measuring tape or digital measuring tape has few buttons and makes an accurate measurement, combined with the ability of mathematical calculations that facilitate the measurement of areas for surfaces and volume for rooms or structures. The great advantage is that you do not need to stretch the tape in any direction, the measurement is made using a laser that must point at a barrier.
Do I need a special measurement scale?
The measurement scale is an important point, in SI (international system of units ) the standard length unit is the meter, and practically all measuring tapes have this scale as the main scale, but it is still possible to find other measurement scales such as the inch and the foot.
Several companies manufacture the measuring tapes, but some stand out as is the case with the Starrett company, which is a reference in measurement equipment such as measuring tapes and calipers.
How to use?
The use of the measuring tape is very instinctive, the location of the beginning of the measurement is marked and the measuring tape is opened until the end of the measurement. The body of the measuring tape is equipped with a scale as in the figure above and this scale indicates the size of what was measured.
In the case of metric scales, the numbers mark the sub-multiples in centimeters and there are also the subdivisions in millimeters, for each meter a larger number makes the mark in the fundamental unit.
The inch scale is perhaps the most difficult to read due to the number of submultiples of the inch. The numbers indicate the values in inches but there are still four sub-multiples of the inch that are fractional as shown in the image below, which makes reading a little difficult for those who are not used to it.
The digital measuring tape is very simple, varying only the buttons and functions according to the model, in general, just point the laser at the endpoint of the measurement and touch the base of the tape measure at the starting point and this way the display already shows the measurement. In the case of an area after the first measurement, the display indicates the value and, asks the user to position the measuring tape for the second measurement and already indicates the measurement in square meters on its display, valid for the same volume, but adding a third measurement that it would be the height.
Care and maintenance.
The maintenance of a tape measure is actually just cleaning and in some models lubrication of the spool that holds the tape.
Taking proper care of your measuring tape leads to a shortlist of care:
- Do not force the metal tape by bending;
- When retracting the tape measure calmly and gradually avoiding the strong impact of the tape on the reel.
- Never hold the measuring tape by the end using the spool body as a weight.
- In the case of the laser measuring tape, do not store it for long periods with the battery inside.
With these tips it is possible to have a good measuring tape for a long time. Always walking with a measuring tape in your pocket is a precaution that every electrician should take, since practically every budgetary work of the electrician will depend on a measuring tape for measuring cables or parts, lifting material, etc.
A foreclosed electrician usually has more than one measuring tape, one in the tool box and one always on hand for unexpected budget cases.