Introduction: Self-Marking Tape Measure

Picture of Self-Marking Tape Measure

The Self-Marking Tape Measure a is tape measure and a marking unit all in one. When marking a measurement traditionally, sometimes it feels like you need a third hand. Whether you are measuring and marking your wall to hang a painting, or finishing your final measurements on that weekend project; with the Self-Marking Tape Measure, you can feel confidant making measurements in solitude.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

You will need the following:

Step 2: Design

Picture of Design

After doing some measurements on the tape measure, I came up with this extremely simple design that clamps onto this specific tape measure.

If you use a different tape measure, feel free to download my solid file and make any necessary changes.

Step 3: Print

Picture of Print

I printed my part using ABS filament with a fill of 25%.

If you use this exact same tape measure, print the stl and assemble.

Step 4: Drill Hole for Guide

Picture of Drill Hole for Guide

The first guide hole was included as part of the design, however, it was purposefully designed to be smaller than the nail used as the guide. This was to allow for a perfectly tight fit of the guide after printing.

Drill the hole in the print larger to 1/16" for a tight fit of the nail. Make sure to only drill halfway through the lead side of the part.

Step 5: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

To assemble the final tape measure:

  • Insert machine screws into the printed part
  • Carefully remove the screw and belt clip of the tape measure
  • Insert the tape measure into the printed part and tighten screw
  • Insert the marking guide nail
  • Attach washers and wingnuts
  • Break lead so that it doesn't stick out above printed part
  • Tighten wingnuts

Step 6: Thoughts

Picture of Thoughts

This was a really fun project inspired by many of the self marking tape measures out there. At first glance, I didn't think they were worth the money. If you look at the reviews of most, people claim they are terribly inaccurate. After building my own, I can say it's usually accurate within about 1/16 of an inch. Definitely a tool that can come in handy in a lot of situations, but not something I would want to use for precision joinery.


mikeasaurus (author)2017-10-18

Great minds think alike, Troy :)

I like your design better, as I think it can adapt to more varieties of tape measures without much modifications.

tomatoskins (author)mikeasaurus2017-10-19

Haha I saw that the other day! :) I like that yours uses a standard pencil. Much simpler than specially ordered lead.

Luke Wilson (author)2017-06-29

That is absolutly Amazing!

inventorinlearning (author)2016-11-10

can this design used for tatctix 12ft tape measures? thx

You will probably need to modify the design to fit your exact tape measure.

Proto G (author)2016-04-14

Great idea!

vandenbrande (author)2016-03-18

Handy stuff troy the tomato! gonna build one to.

tomatoskins (author)vandenbrande2016-03-21

Awesome! Be sure to share a picture when it's done!

SteveMann (author)2016-02-08

Very useful, especially with a nice diamond-tipped scribe to mark and break glass and tiles, etc..

JDex made it! (author)2016-01-27

Just finished making one and it is surprisingly accurate.

tomatoskins (author)JDex2016-01-27

That turned out looking great! I love the red!

napoleonrubio2 (author)2016-01-26

como descargo todos los pasos.??

Naugas (author)2016-01-24

There's a very clever Swedish measuring tape that has this and some more functions in-built, made since the fifties - the "Talmeter".

calistoar (author)Naugas2016-01-25

True, there is also a similar brand Mabo (a French subsidiary of Stanley), of the early 70s. I have one and it still works perfectly and in addition, has a spirit level and the body can be used as square angle. Look on Ebay: Nivomètre Mabo. (labelede as "vintage"!!) Not expensive . Very ingenious & robust construction. Greetings from Argentina.

Gandyo001 (author)2016-01-25

Very nice. I am making one now!

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-01-25

Nice work and a great idea

Proto G (author)2016-01-24

Good job!

John L (author)2016-01-24

Job well done. It really looks nice. But can't you accomplish the same thing with a combination square? They can even be purchased 24"(600mm) long.

KarenW80 (author)2016-01-24

I agree with other comments! Making life/projects easier is what it's all about!

Unfortunately job keeps me too busy lately so...Where can I buy it:)

ste (author)2016-01-24

Great! Very simple and effective.

peter.kocsis.77964 (author)2016-01-24

I can see how this can be handy to quickly draw arcs by using a small brad as the center pivot point.

BeachsideHank (author)2016-01-22

Actually, this looks rather handy in spite of the accuracy issue, sometimes it's smart to cut oversize and trim to final length.

Finally someone that agrees with me, because I almost always over cut a little then trim down. I would rather have it to long then to short.

2ndopinion (author)2016-01-24

Nice job! You've got my vote. I saw something very similar quite a while back in one of those made in china stores but it looked very cheap and the tape definitely wasn't a Stanley. :) Thanks

kaddigart (author)2016-01-23

I like the fact that it requires no other
tools to make a square cut line, I'll definitely have to try one. Got my vote in the Rainy Day contest.

other applications though (such as marking a wall for studs or setting
up a quick grid), the hook end of the tape is actually quite efficient
for making marks on many surfaces, and is as precise as the tape measure

mike_skinner (author)2016-01-23


dan3008 (author)2016-01-23

pure genious :D I'd have never thourght of that :) Nice build

jgarciaforteza (author)2016-01-22

Genius! I love the concept! I'm going to build me one this weekend. Thanks for sharing :)

ashleyjlong (author)2016-01-22

Yes! Looks great for when a person is working solo. I'm thinking of when you hang a shelf, in particular, and you have to have someone had you the pencil to mark the wall.

rossthebuilder (author)2016-01-22

very cool!

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Mechanical Engineering. I love making things and doing anything outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am ... More »
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