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

This is a little trick I picked up from Don Asbee, my blacksmithing mentor.
http://www.donasbee.com

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.

Comments

author
longwinters (author)2013-09-27

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?

author
uvmetal (author)longwinters2013-09-28

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.

author
thewetturd (author)2013-12-07

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!

author
uvmetal (author)thewetturd2013-12-07

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.

author
thewetturd (author)uvmetal2013-12-08

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.

author
RichardBronosky (author)2013-12-08

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.

author
field500 (author)2013-12-07

Another option is to give it to someone who sews and to ask her or him to make snap (or clicker) bags. :-) Here are some instructions: http://americansewingguild.blogspot.com/2012/05/lined-snap-tape-purse-tutorial.html. NOTE: The sharp ends/corners of the measuring tape can cut through the fabric so wrap them in tape (e.g., 2 layers of masking or duct).

author
iOskr (author)2013-12-07

Excellent Idea. Thank you

author
riddus (author)2013-12-07

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.

author
3366carlos (author)2013-12-07

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

author
Mindmapper1 (author)2013-09-27

Technically these are rules not rulers................;)

author
DanYHKim (author)Mindmapper12013-12-07

Maybe if you put little crowns on them . . .

author
uvmetal (author)Mindmapper12013-09-27

Thank you for the correction.

author
stupidloud (author)2013-12-07

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!

author
bob3030 (author)2013-12-07

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.

author
lilchumy (author)2013-12-06

Really great idea. I can't have enough rulers

author
uvmetal (author)lilchumy2013-12-06

Thanks

author
poofrabbit (author)2013-09-27

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

author
uvmetal (author)poofrabbit2013-09-28

No, the tape possesses a strong will to remain straight.

author
Gregbot (author)2013-09-27

Like! Thanks cuz I got three or four I can do this to!

author
uvmetal (author)Gregbot2013-09-27

Good thing you saved them. They will make great affordable Christmas gifts to all your crafty friends. If you give them away don't forget to trough in a magnet.

author
uvmetal (author)2013-09-27

Thanks guys, these rules are so handy, after some use in your shop you will wonder how you got by without them.

author
skepticaljay (author)2013-09-27

Winner winner chicken dinner, great job!

About This Instructable

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