Why Are Pipe Diameter Tape Measures So Scarce?

Why Are Pipe Diameter Tape Measures So Scarce?
Why Are Pipe Diameter Tape Measures So Scarce?

In 2021 and still in 2022, there are widespread supply chain issues worldwide. Many products that are made in China have had 2 problems making it to the United States. First of all, is their labor problem. Covid 19 outbreaks have closed down Chinese factories at least twice since 2019. Secondly, transportation issues have been another major issue. The price of shipping has increased drastically, and the port of Los Angeles had a bottleneck issue several months ago.

All these issues have contributed to the dramatic slowdown of raw materials and

Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measure
Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

finished products. Pipe diameter tape measures are no exception. Lufkin makes the most popular one, and has shipped only a small amount of inventory in the last 12 months to its distributors. At this point, August 2022, the future of more shipments is uncertain. An alternative diameter tape is made in China, the Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape. Shipments are due in the United States shortly, but maybe not soon enough or big enough to satisfy the need of customers.

A Pipe Diameter Tape Measure is used by oil companies and Water utility companies. The oil companies are doing very well right now, due to the profitability of oil drilling. So their need for these tapes is higher than the supply. This is driving up the price of the Pi-Cobra tapes. Hopefully, this supply chain problem will soon come to an end.

Answers to the Top 10 Questions Asked About Diameter Tape Measures

Questions About Diameter Tapes Measures
Questions About Diameter Tapes Measures

Top 10 Questions:

  1. How long are they?
  2. Do I have to calculate the diameter, or does the tape tell me the diameter?
  3. Are the tapes traceable to the National Bureau of Standards?
  4. How big of a pipe can they measure?
  5. How soon can I have them?
  6. Can you put our full color logo on them
  7. What kind of an art file do you need?
  8. How accurate are they?
  9. Where are they made?
  10. Do you repair them?

Here are my concise answers about the diameter tape measures..

  1. Most of the pocket diameter tapes are 6 feet long. But the length isn’t really what they are all about. They are not designed to measure length. They measure diameter by wrapping them around the pipe circumference. See answer 4 for a more specific answer.
  2. These tools make it easy for you. You wrap them around the pipe and read off the diameter.
  3. These are pocket tapes. Their size makes them convenient, but they are not traceable to the NBS.
  4. They can measure up to 23 inch diameter pipes. Some go as high as 38 inches in diameter.
  5. Production time is about 3 weeks after you approve a proof.
  6. Yes.
  7. Vector art is the best for this process. That means an eps or ai file are recommended. If you have other types of art, we can convert them.
  8. The inch ones are calibrated to 100ths of an inch, 64ths of an inch, or to one millimeter.
  9. Pi-Cobra tapes are made in China. The Lufkin ones are currently made in Mexico. All are imprinted in the USA.
  10. Sorry, we don’t repair them.

How to Choose the Right Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

Why do you need to choose a diameter tape, anyway? Because you want a quick and easy way to take a tape measure out of your pocket and find the diameter of a pipe or other round object. The best pipe diameter tape measure for your job can be solved by asking these questions:

  • Metric or inch, or both? Some tapes are marked in any of these 3 different scales.

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

  • How big is the pipe? Some tapes stop at 24 inch diameter. Some go to 38 inches.

    Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Inches T217-6654 Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Inches T217-6654

  • Does a brand name matter? Lufkin tools have made a name for themselves. Pi-Cobra tapes are made in China, but they are less expensive, and longer.
  • What accuracy do you need? The pocket sized ones are quick and convenient. They are accurate to 0.01 inch. If you need a highly accurate one, check out Pi Tape. They cost about 10 times as much, and they can’t fit in your pocket. But here is their accuracy: Pi Tape metric tapes have a diameter accuracy of ± 0,03 mm up to 3 600 millimeters. Pi Tape inch tapes have a diameter accuracy of ± 0,001″ up to 144 inches.
PI Tape 24" to 48" Range Periphery Tape Measure - 57-065-856PI Tape 24" to 48" Range Periphery Tape Measure - 57-065-856
PI Tape 24″ to 48″ Range Periphery Tape Measure ‑ 57‑065‑856

 

The Pipe Diameter Tape Measure That’s the Black Sheep of the Family

The pipe diameter tape measure that is frequently overlooked, has more to offer than all the others.

This forgotten child gives you the outside diameter of a pipeline in both inches

The Black Sheep of Pipe Diameter Tape Measures
The Black Sheep of Pipe Diameter Tape Measures

and centimeters. It is valuable to both Americans (using the inch system) and those who use the Metric system of measurements. It goes up to 38″ diameter (955 millimeters diameter). The only thing it doesn’t offer is the ability to measure straight objects. You would have to have a regular tape for that.

Who would use this tape? Inspectors who travel and deal with both systems. Any drilling companies that use both metric and imperial systems of measurement.

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

Who Makes Diameter Tape Measures?

Lufkin Pipe Diameter Measuring Tape
Lufkin Pipe Diameter Measuring Tape

There are 4 main manufacturers of diameter tape measures.

  1. Lufkin® has a world-wide reputation for making high quality tape measures. They used to make them in the USA, but they have shifted the production facilities to Mexico. Some of the tapes are made out of a cast case, which is highly polished and chrome plated, like the w906pd. Others, like the w606pd have a stamped case, which is shiny and chrome plated.  A third type of case is black plastic, like the asw616pd. However, the tape blade inside is the same in all 3 types of cases. It is capable of measuring diameters up to 23 inches.
  2. Pi-Cobra is a brand name for diameter tapes made with

    Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Metric Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Metric

    a cast case which is chrome plated. It can hold a longer tape blade, capable of measuring diameters up to 38 inches. The case is very durable. These are manufactured in China.

  3. 24inch-od-tape
    24inch-od-tape

    Various other Chinese manufacturers make versatile OD tapes like the 416-04-024-P. The back side of the tape measures diameter up to 24″ in 100ths of an inch or 610 mm. The case is plastic, and has a key ring attached to it.

  4. The UT-56675 is made in the USA. It is capable of
    diameter-tapes-com
    diameter-tapes-com UT-56675

    measuring pipes up to 45 inches in diameter. This is a belt tape, not a pocket tape. The calibrations are in tenths of an inch diameter.

 

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.

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 Diameter-Tapes.com 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