This time, we won’t get into the geometry theory of pi that we had in high school. The magic of a pipe diameter tape measure is its simplicity of use. Here are the 3 steps to find the diameter of a pipeline:
Clean the pipe surface. Soil and any other contamination, of course, will make the pipe seem bigger than it really is.
Wrap the diameter tape around it, with the diameter scale visible to you.
Simply read off the tape. This will be the diameter, even though the tape is wrapped around the circumference. That’s all!
Some things to watch for…..Some OD tapes (diameter tapes) are marked in 100ths of an inch. Some are marked in 64ths of an inch. On the 64ths of an inch tape, 32/64 would be 1/2″. 16/64 would be 1/4″. 24/64 would be 3/8″. For convenience, you can use a magic marker to mark some of these common, but confusing measurements.
A diameter tape measure can save you a lot of time and frustration when you want to find the OD (outside diameter) of a pipe, post, or tree. This special tape has the inch scale (or metric scale) stretched out by a factor of pi (3.14159). So, if you wrap it around the pipeline, you will not see the “circumference”. You will see its diameter. You don’t need to divide your answer by 3.14159.
Wrap a diameter tape around a car heater hose that you intend to replace. Read the diameter, and the length. Go buy the correct hose, because you know the exact size. Remove your old leaky hose and immediately replace it with the new one. There’s no need to take the old hose to the parts store and leave your vehicle without a hose for a while.
Use the tape to find the diameter of a copper water pipe in your basement that is leaking a little. Go get the pipe, and have it ready to install when you remove the old pipe.
Need a new rope for your boat? Get one that is the same size as your old one, by measuring the diameter with your “OD tape”.
Measure the diameter of a leaky heater hose on your car without taking it off and
letting it drip. Then get a new hose the correct size. Take off the old hose, and immediately install the new one.
When making changes to the copper pipe in your house, measure the outside diameter of the existing pipe, so you can buy the right size. Then you will have all the right sizes when you shut off your water, and start working. You won’t be interrupted by a hasty trip to the store.
Does your boat need a new hose, and you don’t want to remove the old one until you have the right size replacement beside you? Just measure the outside diameter (OD) of the old one, and match it to the new one.
A pipe diameter tape measure is quick and easy to use. If you ever need to do any repair work like this, you definitely need an OD tape (diameter tape).
If you live in a non-metric country, you never know when you might need a metric tape measure. Since the economy is now a “global” economy, metric size bolts and other parts are appearing all the time. Here is a pocket tape for you. It is the only metric tape measure you will ever need. This is why:
It measures straight objects in centimeters.
It measures straight objects in inches.
It finds the diameter of round objects like pipes, in centimeters and millimeters.
It finds the diameter of round objects like pipes, in inches and hundredths of an inch.
It is small enough to fit in your pocket
It will hold your important car keys and house keys.
It can display your company logo on the front, and other info on the back.
This versatile tape is marketed by Diameter-Tapes.com. It is the most useful and rarest of all OD (diameter) tapes.
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?
Most people don’t use a pipe diameter measuring tape. The reason is not that they don’t need one. The reason is that they don’t know how powerful it is. They don’t know what it can do for them. Just ask the people who use one every day:
pipeline installers and repairmen
oil and gas rig workers
sport ball makers
They will tell you this: If you want to know the outside diameter of a pipe or any round object, just wrap the diameter tape around its circumference, and read the diameter on the tape. Simple. You don’t have to divide by pi. The best part of this: Even if the pipe is not perfectly round, the od diameter tape will give you the average outside diameter as if it were perfectly round.
The market for diameter tapes is relatively small. But for the people that use them at work, they are very valuable. There are a few manufacturers worldwide. Of that small group, one manufacturer stands out above the others. Lufkin. Yes, Lufkin makes the most popular pipe diameter tape measure in the world. Everyone who works with pipes and oil and gas pipelines prefers that brand. It is known for consistent quality and engineering.
If you are in the oil business, or drilling, or plumbing business, you are always measuring pipes. You also need to know the outside diameter of pipelines and pipe fittings that are part of a piping system. How do you do that without cutting the pipeline and measuring the diameter directly?
Use a caliper, and transfer the measurement to a metal rule. This works, but is only as accurate as the metal rule, and your ability to transfer the distance to the rule. Also, who wants to carry around a caliper all day?
Use an OD micrometer. But what size micrometer do you need? A 0-1 mic will only measure a pipe that is less than 1 inch in diameter. A 1-2 mic will only measure a pipe that is between 1 and 2 inches in diameter. Who want to keep a whole set of mics with them in the field?
Use a flexible measuring tape, wrap it around the pipeline, make a reading and divide by pi. This works, but it’s not that accurate because the markings are on the side of the tape that is not physically next to the pipe. Your are really measuring the diameter of the pipe plus twice the thickness of the tape.