Transform a Worn Out Tape Measure Into a Plentiful Supply of One Foot Rules.





Introduction: Transform a Worn Out Tape Measure Into a Plentiful Supply of One Foot Rules.

About: Currently working as a blacksmiths apprentice in Missouri. Formerly a owner of a metal fabrication and powder coating shop in Chicago

This is a little trick I picked up from Don Asbee, my blacksmithing mentor.

Step 1: This Tape Is Ready for Retirement

Step 2: Snippers and a Marker Are the Only Tools You'll Need

I've cut out the entire roll out of the housing using snippers.  

Do not cut the first foot or the end off of the tape until you have all the tape cut out of the housing. If the end is cut and the tape is released into the housing you will have to take the housing apart to get the tape back into your hands again.

The heroic first foot will be retired.

Step 3: Try to Snip Precisely Through the Center Black Line Every Foot.

The beginning of each foot is the most important edge, so orient your cut in the snippers so that you can see each start of every foot.

Whoops, looks like I missed the center of the line by a hair on the top.  

Step 4: Be Carful, If You Don't Cut Straight You Could End Up With a Sharp Burr and the Corners Are Razor Sharp

I've pulled the burr down so that it can be seen. The corner are super sharp, if you don't trim a small radius you will eventually get sliced. 

Step 5: I Prefer to Block Out the Distracting Numbers With Black Marker

Take your time. If you screw it up, rubbing alcohol can be used to wipe away the ink.

Warning! The corners/ends are sharp (even with rounded corners) so keep away from children if your doing this at home. Don't ask me how I know that this can be a problem.

Now give some away to your friends and stash the rest of them all over you shop. They stick to tiny magnets too so you can keep them in convenient and clever places.



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    I found a "refill" tape at the second hand store, it now has a purpose, crumbs what am I going to do with 25 rulers?

    1 reply

    I can't stress enough the gift factor of this project. They do take some time to block out the useless information on the rules so you may lose steam after a few. Also, the new sharpie that I used would start to dry out after a few and benefited from a bit of R&R before starting up again.

    Yes, it's a good Idea to round the corners a little. I had one in a pocket of my carry tool bag and I sliced myself pretty good while grabbing a tool next to it, I'll update the instructable soon.

    1 reply

    Not everyone reads the comments and I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt so I added a corner radius to the instructable and added a bit more to the warning. Thanks for bring up the sharp corners WW.

    Great idea for a tired tape measure especially that one that has the smaller increment markings. If I am not mistaken that looks like a Pittsburg tool which means that it has a lifetime warranty. Obviously wear and tear is not covered which is why this project is so great. It's always good to make sure that it may not fall under grounds for a free replacement if a flaw in it's manufacturing caused it's early demise. Great Work!

    2 replies

    Good point. Although, most things I buy from harbor fright get modified at the first sign of a shortcoming or flaw, sometimes before 90 days, sometimes after 90.

    You and me both man. It's hard to find something there that doesn't need to be modified to overcome the lack of quality. Thanks for taking the time to make this instructable.

    You can also make yard sticks this way if you get 2 paint markers instead of a Sharpie. Use one color to mark out the old numbers. Use the other color to wrote the new numbers. Since I have a label maker, I'd just use that.

    Excellent Idea. Thank you

    I've done this for years. If you aren't concerned with having a large quantity or being exactly 1' long, you can simply bend it over backwards and break it. No snips required.

    nice, looks like a harbor freight meas. tape. i got one of those for free from the store.

    Maybe if you put little crowns on them . . .

    Thank you for the correction.

    Great idea. I have also seen the first three or four feet used as a quick measurement tool for placing switch boxes and such by electricians and low voltage installers (I am a low voltage installer). Great idea for the rest of the tape!

    Great job recycling/reusing. Another option would be to mount a few feet on to a workbench to measure project material on the bench. Thanks for posting.

    Really great idea. I can't have enough rulers

    1 reply

    Do you have any problem with them trying to coil up?