Self-Marking Tape Measure




Introduction: Self-Marking Tape Measure

About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Mechanical Engineering. I like to make things and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am a Community Manager for Instructables.

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

You will need the following:

Step 2: 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

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

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

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

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.



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28 Discussions

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

That is absolutly Amazing!

Great idea!

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

como descargo todos los pasos.??


2 years ago

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

1 reply

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.

Very nice. I am making one now!

Good job!

John L

2 years ago

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.

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:)


2 years ago

Great! Very simple and effective.

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

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