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Measuring Tools and Equipment

Tape Measures

A tape measure represents an essential hand tool utilized for measuring a diverse array of materials, objects, and distances in both professional settings and home DIY projects. Tape measures consist of a long, marked strip featuring measurements along its entire length, available in various sizes to suit different needs.

These measurements typically encompass both metric (centimeters and meters) and imperial (inches and feet) units, catering to different measurement standards. Most tape measures exhibit flexibility, allowing them to measure around curves and facilitating easy portability through roll-up functionality.

While many are constructed from a coated, flexible steel strip for durability, others opt for plastic or fabric materials for increased flexibility, ensuring accuracy in diverse applications. For a comprehensive understanding of the available tape measures and their respective applications, consult our Tape Measures Guide.

Types of Measuring Tape: In industries like carpentry or construction, tape measures often feature a rigid, curved metallic tape capable of maintaining its stiffness and straightness when extended over long distances. Tape widths vary, with wider tapes offering enhanced rigidity over larger distances, facilitating ease of use, especially when working independently.

These tapes can retract into a coil for convenient storage and protection from damage. Conversely, flexible measuring tapes find utility in tailoring or dressmaking applications. Commonly referred to as "sewing tapes," these variants are crafted from fiberglass, offering tear-resistant and non-stretch properties, typically devoid of retractable housing for straightforward use.

Spirit Levels & Inclinometers

Spirit levels, also referred to as bubble levels, play a pivotal role in achieving precise leveling measurements across a multitude of tasks, from simple shelf installation to ensuring the alignment of bricks in a newly constructed wall. This handheld tool offers ease of use and serves as a straightforward method to uphold accuracy on various projects.

Utilizing a liquid-filled vial with an air bubble, spirit levels feature guides on the vial indicating when the bubble is centered, thereby indicating levelness to the user. For enhanced precision and assurance, digital spirit levels incorporate a digital readout.

For optimal results, it is recommended to use the longest level that fits the surface being checked, whether on horizontal or vertical (plumb) planes. Explore further details in our comprehensive spirit levels guide.

Inclinometers, sometimes known as clinometers, are employed for measuring slope or elevation angles. Similar to spirit levels, they utilize various methods of measurement and are available in both analog and digital configurations. While traditional inclinometers often feature a gravity-based pendulum, modern electronic inclinometers employ gyroscopes for increased precision.

Due to heightened requirements for precision, resolution, reliability, data storage, and documentation, electronic inclinometers are gaining popularity over traditional spirit levels. RS offers a wide array of inclinometers, including block, box section, bulls eye, straight, and torpedo levels.

Key Characteristics to Consider:

  • Accuracy: Indicated as a plus (+) or minus (-)
  • Bubble Size: Larger bubbles enhance visibility and should remain within marked lines. Bubble size may vary depending on the liquid used.
  • Colour: Liquid color aids in bubble visibility, though it may fade over time with sun exposure.
  • Lines on the Vial: Clear reading lines enhance accuracy.
  • Construction: Vials are delicate and should ideally feature rubber ends for protection and robustness. Aluminum levels are ideal for construction sites. Handholds are beneficial for ease of use.
  • Additional Features: Features such as a V-groove for fitting against pipes or magnetic bases for hands-free use are convenient for various applications.

Users of Spirit Levels and Inclinometers:

  • Carpenters
  • Stonemasons
  • Bricklayers
  • Surveyors

Dual-bubble systems in some spirit levels indicate levelness whether the tool is lying on its top or bottom edges.

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