Introduction: Bass-O-Measure, Rapid Fish Measurement

We have a small lake in our community. Every year we have a catch-and-release fishing tournament for the kids. I made several Bass-O-Measures so that each judge could have one handy when a fish is caught. The fish can be measured and returned to the water in just seconds.

The Bass-O-Measure is a laser project. I used scrap drawer bottom plywood. This 1/4" plywood is finished one side with a tough UV cured epoxy, great for laying wet fish on. There is also a small piece of wood used for the indexing stop at the front of the rule.

Step 1: Import the Artwork File and Setup the Laser

I used UV finished 1/4" birch plywood. Normal 1/4 plywood should work, but you must coat it with lacquer or urethane to protect it from the wet fish.

The .AI file is the artwork for the Bass-O-Measure. The lines are in three colors, Red, Green, and Black. The Red lines are closed outlines for the lettering. These are engraved (scan on some lasers). Engrave the lettering fairly deep to make the numbers as visible as possible.

The Green lines are cut operations. They are cut to partial depth. If you look closely, you will see that the green lines are double lines. The double lines make a stronger image on the wood.

The Black lines are cut through the piece, so set your laser accordingly.

Step 2: Cut Out the Project

Mount the material in the laser and cut out the project. If the letters and lines are not visible enough, run the job again before moving the workpiece.

Step 3: Clean Off the Residue

The burning of the laser leaves residue on the surface. Alcohol works well for removing this material. Using pre-finished plywood makes it easy to remove the residue.

Step 4: Measure and Cut a Piece for the Reference Stop

Cut a 4" piece of wood for the reference stop. I used a piece of scrap that was about 3/4" x 1".

Step 5: Glue the Reference Stop in Place

Since the epoxy finish would not stick well to the wood glue, I used the piece that was cut for the reference stop as a sanding block and sanded the finish off the Bass-O-Measure where the block would be glued.

Then glue was applied to the Bass-O-Measure and the block was set in place. Two small nails were used to hole the block in place while the glue cured.

Step 6: Wax the Bass-O-Measure

This thing will be getting wet. A little paste wax is used to help protect the surface and wooden reference block.

Step 7: Bass-O-Measure Ready for Use

Well, I didn't happen to have a Bass handy for the instructable, so I had to make one.

You can see how it works. Lay the fish on the board, slide him up to the reference stop and see where the tail lays. It's a good idea to have someone else write down the measurement. Fish slime and writing tablets don't go together well.

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Bio: Retired Electronic Design Engineer. Member of The MakerBarn.
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