Have you ever struggled to accurately measure between two surfaces?
I have recently been up-cycling an old shelving unit and needed to measure between the bottoms of two housings in the shelves to cut in dividers. [Housings are the grooves that are cut into timber planks to allow another timber plank to slot into, often used for shelving]
...and I thought, you know what I could also do with a special tape measure...
... the In-between tape measure was born!
Step 1: You Will Need
GET TOGETHER YOUR BITS
An old tape measure, the one I used the spring was a bit worn and no good as an everyday tape measure
A scrap of 4mm ply, I used Birch ply though any will do
A blunt Stanley blade
A pop rivet
TOOLS THAT YOU WILL NEED
Some drill bits
A counter sink
Screwdriver to fit the small screw
A tape measure [for normal measuring!]
A rotary tool and metal cutting blade
A metal file
A pop rivet tool
Bandsaw or jigsaw or fretsaw
A little abrasive paper
Step 2: Mark Out
Find a scrap of ply approximately 80mm x 120mm, I used 4mm Birch ply though any type will do.
This ply is to allow the tape to measure to the bottom of housings [grooves within timber planks] and for the measuring guide to be fixed to.
I generally wouldn't make timber housings any deeper than 20mm and so mark the 20mm on an end of the ply.
Place the tape measure that you are going to use on the ply and line up with this 20mm line and mark around the tape body.
Allow a little extra where the tape comes out for attaching the Stanley blade guide.
Cut out the shape, I used a little bandsaw though a jigsaw or hand fret saw will easily cut through this thin ply.
Step 3: Fix the Ply to the Tape Measure
You now need to fix the ply to the tape measure.
Most tape measures have a belt clip with a little fixing screw, this is ideal for our needs.
Carefully undo the screws of the body of the tape measure and place the wound up tape part to one side.
Place the cover with the clip hole in position on your cut out ply and drill a small hole through the screw hole in the cover and through the ply.
Screw the cover back on.
Counter sink your hole in the ply and screw the ply to the tape measure.
Step 4: Measuring Guide
The In-between tape has a measuring guide that will allow accurate reading of the in-between measurement.
For this I used an old blunt Stanley blade. Use a file to really make sure no sharpness is left on the cutting edge.
Cut off the pointy ends of the blade with a metal cutting blade in a rotary tool to the width of the tape plus the width of the ply. I screwed the blade down onto a scrap piece of wood to hold it in place to do this.
I tried to drill a hole for the fixing screw and failed! Blimey these blades are hard. I achieved it by cutting a slot with the rotary cutter, that allowed my drill bit to cut a small hole.
Place the adapted Stanley blade over the tape and mark on the ply for a cut out to fix the blade. I gave a clearance of a millimeter so that the blade would run freely below the blade. Cut the ply.
Drill a small pilot hole and screw the Stanley blade to the ply.
Step 5: Cut the Tape!
Now here is what makes the In-between tape measure work, you need to cut the end off of the tape!
Measure the distance from Stanley blade edge [the one that the tape measurement will be read from] to the bottom of the ply piece, that will sit against the timber to be measured from [bottom of a housing maybe].
My distance measured 100mm.
Measure the thickness of the hook on the end of the tape, mine was 1mm thick.
Take some tin snips and cut the distance from the tape blade, mine was 101mm in total.
It feels so wrong to cut a measuring tape! though it will be worth it.
With the rotary tool cut the hook off of the old tape end.
Place on to the new end and drill a pilot hole the size of your pop-rivet.
Pop-rivet the hook onto the tape, it is there just to protect the end of the tape.
Step 6: Make It Beautiful
Your In-between tape measure is now ready to use!
I decided that a special tape measure needs to look special!
I designed some templates based on the In-between name and cut them out of adhesive backed paper. [paper and spray mount works well as well]
Remove the ply and stick the templates on.
Take your favourite colour spray can and lightly spray.
Remove the templates straight away and leave to dry.
Screw the ply back onto the tape body and go and find something to measure!
This project is part of my YouTube series Its a Rubbish Challenge where I try to make cool and interesting things out of the stuff that we throw away. Please check out my channel if you want to see more of the challenges, if not there will be more coming to Instructables in the future.
Please feel free to check out my website to find out what I am up to with Pricklysauce.