When measuring large volumes of paracord, a tape measure can get awkward. Long have I wanted a Manual length Measuring Device, but I really can't afford the price.
Enter the do-it-yourself version. I spent less than $15 on parts, and am quite happy with the result.
Step 1: Materials
Chunk of Wood
You need to mount the assembly on something, so this can be a scrap chunk of lumber. You can also mount it to a workbench if you want it permanently in one spot. Home Depot has a discount lumber section where they sell damaged wood for really cheap. The piece I used is 1 1/2 x 2 x 24 inches.
Those things you push along the ground to measure distance. Get the kind with a counter. I got mine at Harbor Freight for $9. They have digital and analogue counters, but I chose analogue so that I wouldn't have to worry about batteries.
These look like tiny eye bolts. I got #210 which have an internal diameter of 1/4 inch. They are 1 1/8 inches long. These are just to make managing the cord easier.
Just a standard two-part epoxy to hold the meter to the wood. I used the quickset since this isn't going to get a lot of abuse.
Step 2: The Wheel
The measuring wheel comes with a handle that needs to be removed. Mine was held in with a single screw and came out pretty easily. If it doesn't just come out, you could use a hacksaw, but that is dependant on what kind you get.
Once the handle is gone, epoxy the counter box to the piece of wood. Make sure the numbers are pointing up so that you can read them. The box should go right in the center. Keep the wheel just far enough away from the wood to keep it from scraping.
Step 3: Cord Guide
After the epoxy has set, install the eye screws on the side of the board with the wheel.
Put two eye screws on either side of the wheel, 4 inches from center. Put two more, one each at 11 inches from center.
Step 4: Using the Meter
Place the board on the edge of a table so that the wheel is hanging off. You may want to clamp it in place.
Run your cord through two of the eye screws, over the wheel, the through the other two eye screws.
Pull the cord through the screws, keeping an even tension over the wheel so that it turns with the movement of the cord.
Step 5: Shameless Self-Promotion
I use a lot of cord to make my paracord belts.
You can make your own belts using this instructable: