Over the years I've made several pocket gages that are handy to carry on shopping outings where one doesn't need a full complement of measuring equipment. The one on the bottom is a copy of a classic lumber gage. Dangled from the forefinger, one snaps it over the edge of a board and reads the thickness directly.
Upper right is a simple gage for surplus screw buying. It has tapped holes for all the common sizes that appear, unmarked, in some of the liquidators I frequent. It's about the size of a quarter so fits easily in my change pocket.
Upper left is a handy bolt sizer made by milling an N x N slot where N is every endmill size from 1/16 to 1/2. The more I carry it the more uses I find for it.
At the very top is a magnetic pick-up stick. It's there to remind you to carry one every time you shop Home Depot or Lowes type stores for "brass" hardware or "copper" wire. You'll be surprised at how many of the aforementioned stick to the magnet.
Resist the urge to glue a magnet to one of these tools lest it magnetize stuff in your pockets that shouldn't be magnetized. It may be OK but I would want to keep my smart car key away from magnets.
Last edited by mklotz; 07-02-2017 at 11:01 AM.
Nice collection of gages for our surplus suppliers trips. Making tools like these would be great projects for those starting out in machining. I think I could use the clip-on magnet for checking for surplus stainless steel stock (some SS are magnetic but not the alloys I need).
Thanks for posting, Paul
Last edited by Paul Jones; 03-25-2016 at 08:53 AM.
great ideas Marv! I'd buy plans for those!
Around here I don't have surplus stores but there is always some jar full of interesting screws and bolts in the estate and garage sales we go to. I can't always tell from a glance whether they are useful or not. Having some gauges like yours would be so handy in those cases.
At first I thought you were talking about small pocket sized hand tools. When I was working in the field I always carried a Leatherman micro on my key chain, still do. Another thing that was surprisingly handy was the old GM C3/C4 test key that you'd stick into the com port in the 80's and 90's GM cars to put it into self diagnostic mode. Long after I quite working on those horrid contraptions I kept that on my key ring and it got me out of all kinds of situations like making a jumper into a female 12v socket for testing continuity etc. My favorite by far though was my tiny Snap-on pliers. They are old, probably from the late 70's and incredibly tough. Used them on everything from emergency wrench on nuts and bolts, fishing out small items, grabbing hot things to pulling out slivers. People would laugh when I'd pull them out of my pocket until the used them. Unfortunately they really don't make them like they used to. And Leatherman pliers don't even come close. The new Snap-on version is soft and junk
If you encounter an unplanned-for shopping situation and don't have even your pocket gages with you, it's handy to memorize some measurements associated with material you may always have in your pockets.
A US penny is exactly 0.75" in diameter.
The US dollar bill is nominally 2.5 x 6". These dimensions are not held rigidly as is the case with the penny but are close enough for most purposes. With judicious folding one can construct impromptu "gages" of a number of different sizes. The diagonal of the bill is 6.5".
The typical business card is 2 x 3.5". Of course, there are bigger cards but most of us will have, due to years of exposure, a good "feel" for the typical size. Again, folding will produce other useful sizes.
Memorizing sizes of things you always have on your person is a good idea. The diameter of a wedding ring or the length of a pocket knife blade are typical examples.
While shopping, you may encounter metric sizes and, lacking a calculator, need to determine their inferial size mentally. I keep in mind that a millimeter is about 40 thousandths. Thus,
10 mm (1 cm) = 0.4"
30 mm = 1.2"
300 mm = 12" = 1 ft
Going the other way (metric to inferial) is as easy as dividing by 4 and multiplying by 100, which is, of course, the same as dividing by 0.040.
12"/4 = 3
3*100 = 300 mm
Finally, not nearly as useful for shopping, but possibly useful in the shop, is the fact that a US nickle weighs five grams. Easy to remember - five cents and five grams. An ounce (avdp) is 28.3 grams so six nickels is fairly close.
Very clever and useful! Your Pocket Tools are the 'Tool of the Week'!
As you've already received one of our official HomemadeTools.net T-shirts, we'd be glad to award you a $25 online gift card.
Just let me have your email address via PM and we'll get things processed directly.
And that's a 3-time Tool of the Week award!
mklotz joins eight other 3-Time Tool of the Week winners listed on our HomemadeTools.net Award Winners page: Brendon, Christophe Mineau, immortalx, mr95gst, Paul Jones, rossbotics, scorch, and Vyacheslav.Nevolya.
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Looks like you may have an opportunity to use Kickstarter to help you market and sell your pocket tool ideas. I recently saw a series of pocket tools that Kickstarter help to launch. See the designs selling at Yanko Designs A Family of Card-Sized Tools | Yanko Design . Your tool styles would extend the functionalities available and your could further extend the line of tools.
Thank you for sharing your designs.
Interesting! You could link to your Kickstarter page in your forum signature too, so you would get additional traffic to it.
I would buy one. You could do very well. Kickstarter is a mixed bag of genuinely clever stuff, gimmicky garbage, and neat ideas plagued by manufacturing challenges (I've been waiting YEARS on my Cole-Bar hammer!).
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Paul Jones (04-30-2016)
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