How to Solve Problems with a Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

I Can Solve It With A Pipe Diameter Tape Measure
I Can Solve It With A Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

A tape measure can solve basically one problem….How long is the item? But a pipe diameter tape measure can solve a short list of problems for you.

  • What is the outside diameter (OD) of that pipeline, without having to cut into it. You don’t even have to divide by pi.
  • What is the diameter of a tree trunk.
  • What is the accurate diameter of a tire.
  • What is the diameter of a beach ball, when fully inflated.

Even if the pipe is distorted, and the cross sectional diameter would be different in different directions, you can do it. The pipe diameter tape measure can tell you what the diameter would be, if it weren’t distorted. That’s because the measurement is based on the circumference. The tape automatically divides by pi (3.14159) for you.

Lufkin Makes the Best Pipe Diameter Tape Measure
Lufkin Makes the Best Pipe Diameter Tape Measure




7 Diameter Tape Measure Tips For the Pros

If you are already a user of a diameter tape measure, these tips are for you.

Tips on Using a Diameter Tape Measure
Tips on Using a Diameter Tape Measure
  1. Keep it clean. If you keep sand and dirt from inhabiting your tape, it will look good longer and last longer.
  2. Line it up straight on the pipe. If you put the tape on a little crooked, you will get an erroneously high reading.
  3. Clean the pipe. This makes sure that surface contaminants aren’t interfering with your measurement.
  4. Use a felt tip marker to mark common measurements directly on the tape. Don’t be a hero. This tip will make your job easier.
  5. Put your name on it. Valuable and handy tools have a way of walking away.
  6. Buy only the best pipe diameter tape measure. Lufkin is a trusted brand name.
  7. Keep one in every location that you work (and leave it there). I keep one in the office, my shop, my tool box, and in all my vehicles and boat. A diameter tape doesn’t measure only diameters. The other side is a regular inch tape (or metric tape). So it comes in handy many times.

Please post your own tips in the comments here. I’d be interested in what you come up with. Thanks.

A Big Secret About the Diameter Tape Measure

The Diameter Tape Secret
The Diameter Tape Measure Secret

Diameter tape measures are made for wrapping around pipes and poles, to find the diameter. That’s a good enough reason to keep one in your tool box, garage, and vehicle. But there’s one feature that no one talks about, until now….

The other side of the diameter tape measure is a regular tape measure, in inches or centimeters. It measures length, not diameter. So, even though it is a special tape, it is also a handy every day tape, too. Lufkin, and the other manufacturers, thought of everything when they designed these handy pocket tapes. Everyone should have one or two.

Lufkin Y906PD pipe diameter tape measure, not Barlow W906PD Lufkin Diameter Tape


The Mystery of Pipe Diameter Tape Measure Codes

Mystery of Diameter Tape Codes
Mystery of Diameter Tape Codes

Lufkin pipe diameter tape measure products are available with different scales. To find the right tape for your needs, here is how to read the codes that are embedded in the SKU numbers.

  • “P” means that it is a “pi” tape, also known as a diameter tape.

Examples are w606p, w906pd, w606pm, asw616pd, w606pd, w906p.

  • “D” means that it measures in tenths of an inch. If the “D” were missing, it would measure in 64ths of an inch.

Examples are w906pd, asw616pd, w606pd.

  • “M” means that it measures in metric scale.

An example is w606pm.

Celebrate Pi Day 2019 With A Diameter Tape Measure

pi symbol
pi symbol

Pi Day is March 14. This year you can help celebrate by answering the question at the bottom.

Pi is the constant ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, no matter what size the circle is. This is useful knowledge when you work with water pipes or oil or gas pipelines, and you need to replace part of it. You can measure the circumference and divide by pi. But there’s an easier way to do that.

Diameter Tape (pi Tape)
Diameter Tape (pi Tape)

Let a Lufkin Diameter tape measure do it for you. You just wrap it around the pipe, and read the diameter. Mathematicians call pi an irrational number, since it goes on for an infinite number of decimal places, but using a diameter tape is a very rational and easy way to find the diameter of a pipe. To see a little video on How to measure the diameter of a pipe, just click here.


Trivia: What famous scientist was born on Pi Day?




5 Pipe Diameter Tape Measure Tips

When you use your Lufkin or Pi-Cobra pipe diameter tape measure, here are 5 tips to keep you out of trouble.

How to Measure the Diameter of a Pipe
How to Measure the Diameter of a Pipe
  1. Make sure the pipe is free of dirt and mud. You don’t want to measure those things, just the pipe.
  2. Use the right tape. Do you want your answer in 100ths of an inch, 64ths of an inch, or millimeters? There is a tape for each purpose.
  3. Use the right side of the tape. The other side is probably a regular linear tape. It will give you the circumference, not the diameter.
  4. Wrap the tape around the pipe straight, not at an angle. If it is not straight, you will get an elevated result. You can test this by wiggling the tape so that it gives you the lowest reading.
  5. Be familiar with the scale. It can be tricky on a 64ths of an inch diameter tape. 48 on the scale means 3/4 ” diameter. The easy one is 32, which is of course 1/2″ diameter.

5 Useful Jobs For An Architect Scale Ruler

An architect scale ruler with your company logo has more uses than you may have realized. Your customers need architect rulers. Here are 5 important uses:

Lufkin y906a Architects scale ruler chrome tape measure w906a Architects scale Lufkin tape

  1. To help new homeowners read the blueprints for a house that was designed for them. They can easily see if certain rooms will be large enough for their furniture.
  2. Carpenters can easily find the sizes of lumber that they need to order for the job.
  3. HVAC contractors can calculate the size and amount of sheet metal they need to install the furnace and air conditioning.
  4. Excavators can see the exact location and size of the footers they need to dig.
  5. And of course, architects use these rulers continuously in their day to day work.

The Pipe Diameter Tape Measure You Must Have

If you fix your car, boat, or furnace pipes or plumbing at home, you need this pipe diameter tape measure. Do you ever need to replace a heater hose on your car. How about the water intake hose on your boat? Before you remove the old one, you can use this tape to make sure you buy the right size.

How do you use it?

  1. Just wrap it around the hose or pipe, and read off the “outside diameter”.
  2. Then take this figure with you to the store, measure the new pipe or hose, to make sure it matches up.
  3. Careful, they name hoses by their “inside diameter”, but you are shopping according to the “outside diameter. Your diameter tape will assure you are getting the right size.

Lufkin Y906P pipe diameter tapes, not Barlow W906P Lufkin Diameter Tape

How To Choose The Correct Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

Diameter Tapes
Diameter Tapes

Answer these questions for yourself, and you will get the right pipe diameter tape measure!

  1. Metric or Imperial (Inch). Which do you need in your job? There are also 2 tapes that have BOTH metric and inch diameter scales. If the SKU number has a “m” in it, that means it is a metric scale.

    Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Metric & Inch Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Metric & Inch

    24inch-od-tape3.jpg 24″ OD Tape Measure, Metric & Inch

  2. 64ths or 100ths? This question applies only if you need the Inch version of a pipe diameter tape. If you are in the oil and gas industry, you probably prefer the 100ths calibration. If you are in the boat or automotive industries in the USA, you would probably prefer the 64ths of an inch calibration. If the SKU number has a “d” in it, this means it is calibrated in 100ths of an inch.
  3. Size. The Lufkin models of the pocket diameter tapes will measure pipe diameters up to 23 inches. The Pi-Cobra models will measure pipe diameters up to 38 inches.

    Lufkin Y906PD pipe diameter tape measure, not Barlow W906PD Lufkin Diameter Tape

    Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Inches Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Inches


Here’s the Secret About a Pipe Measuring Tape

Pipe Measuring Secret
Pipe Measuring Secret

If you have to find the length of a pipe, that’s easy. But what about the outside diameter of a pipe?  What if you can’t just measure the diameter at the end? What if the pipe doesn’t have its ends exposed. It is part of a piping system, or a pipeline. How can you fine the OD, or outside diameter?

The secret is finding the right pipe measuring tape. What is it called?

  • Diameter Tape
  • Pipe Tape
  • Pipe Diameter Tape
  • Pi Tape
  • OD Tape
  • Outside Diameter Tape
  • Circumference Tape (a misnomer, but they are sometimes called this)

To use one, all you do is wrap it around the pipe, and read off the diameter. You don’t need to divide by pi (3.14159).

Lufkin Y906PD pipe diameter tape measure, not Barlow W906PD Lufkin Diameter Tape