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.
You may be part of a special group of people. We can call this group, FDTU, for “future diameter tape users”. To be in that group, you would have these three qualifications:
- You never heard of a Diameter tape measure.
- After you get one, and learn how to use it, you will use one every week for the rest of your life.
- You won’t believe how you ever got along without one.
To help you on this fun journey as a FDTU, let’s find out…
What is a diameter tape.
It is a measuring tape that, when you wrap it around the circumference of a round object (pipeline or tree), it reads the “diameter”. If you would use a regular tape measure, you would have to divide by pi (3.14159) to get the diameter.
How to use a diameter tape.
What you will use it on from now on, to make your life easier.
If you need to replace a car heater hose, but you want to have the new hose on-hand before you remove the old hose, use your diameter tape to measure the diameter (and length) of the old hose. You can do the same routine when replacing plumbing.
My friend owns a marina. He never heard of a diameter tape. I gave him a diameter tape and told him what it was for. He was in the FDTU group, and now he uses this valuable diameter tape measure every day.
Are you in the FDTU Group? Now you know how a simple tape can make your life easier.
Do you need to know the outside diameter of a pipe, pipeline, or hose?
Here are your options:
- Wrap a flexible measuring tape around it and divide by pi (3.14159).
- Use a caliper and transfer its results to a ruler.
- Use a micrometer of the correct size range, and read the scale.
- Let a Diameter tape measure do all the work for you.
I prefer using method number 4. It is quick and accurate. Click here for the easy instructions:
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).
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:
- pipe installers
- pipeline inspectors
- pipeline installers and repairmen
- HVAC installers
- car mechanics
- boat mechanics
- 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 Pipe diameter tape measure is often misunderstood, and often unheard of. That’s because most people don’t need one. But if you understand what it can do, you would probably use one.
- It’s too hard to use. False. All you do it wrap it around the pipe and read the diameter right off the tape.
- It’s too bulky to carry in my pocket. False. Many are no bigger than 1 1/2 inches square, and 1/4 ” thick.
- I can’t find any at the hardware store. False. Try an online store. They are out there.
- It’s not accurate. False. The simple pocket Lufkin diameter tape is accurate to the 100th of an inch of diameter.
- It’s no better than using a regular tape and dividing by pi. False. Due to the calibration and the location of the zero mark, it is made specifically to measure pipe diameters.
- It is not useful for the everyday person. False. You can measure the diameter of a tree, a hose in your car or boat, your furnace pipe, or plumbing in your home. Want to find out the diameter of that water pipe in your basement, so you can replace it? And you don’t want to cut it to measure it? Use a Pipe diameter tape measure.
If you need to know the outside diameter of a pipeline, and don’t have an exposed end, this is how you do it. Please click here for a short 2 minute video on this easy task. Let the Lufkin diameter tape do the work for you. There’s no need to use a bulky caliper or micrometer. There is also no need to divide the circumference by pi. A simple pocket-sized diameter tape is all you need. Here is How to measure the diameter of a pipe.
Diameter tape measures are used by plumbers, oil and gas drilling companies, and tree people. When should you buy some diameter tape measures? Here are 3 clues:
- The shop’s diameter tapes are too large to put in your pocket when you need to go into the field and measure some pipelines.
- You don’t want to use a regular measuring tape and divide by pi.
- You want to be always prepared in case you need to find the diameter of a pipeline when you are away from the shop.
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.
- At last, the best and easiest way to get the diameter of a pipe: Use a Lufkin Pipe diameter measuring tape. The diameter tape does all the work for you! Just wrap it around the pipe and read the diameter.
Diameter tape measures are able to give you the diameter of a pipe, pipeline, log, or any other round object. They do it in 1 easy step. All you do is wrap the pipe diameter measuring tape around the pipe and read off the diameter. A regular tape measure would give you the circumference. Then you would have to divide by pi (3.14159). That adds another step, plus you would need a calculator, pencil, and paper to arrive at the diameter.
Why do you need a diameter tape in your toolbox?
- To measure the diameter of a heater hose in your car, for replacement.
- To measure the diameter of your round furnace ductwork, so you can extend it, or tap into it.
- To find the diameter of a hose in your boat, so you can replace it. You can go buy the new hose without removing the old one first.
- To find the diameter of pipes or copper tubing, or plastic pipe in your house plumbing, so you can extend it, or add onto it.