Sheet Metal Marking Tools

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Sheet Metal Marking Tools
A ruler with a straight edge is one of the most important tools used in sheet metal working. (steel ruler image by dwags from Fotolia.com)

According to engineer S. K. Garg, there are eight main tools to use when marking sheet metal. As well as the tools described below, marking blue is particularly useful. This is a blue liquid, a mixture of gentian violet and methylated spirits, that you paint onto the area to be marked so that marks show up more clearly.

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Scriber

A scriber is a pen-like tool with a needle point. It is used to inscribe metal and is the equivalent of the carpenter's pencil.

Rule

Accurate measuring is essential to marking sheet metal correctly. Three basic rules are of particular use to the worker in sheet metal: the 12-inch (30cm) steel rule for small work, the folding rule for larger work and the steel tape for even larger work.

Steel Square

The steel square is "L" shaped with a 90-degree angle and consists of two parts. The wider part is the body, while the narrower part is the tongue. As well as being useful for marking and checking 90-degree angles, it is useful for marking and measuring straight lines.

Straight Edge

As the name suggests, the straight edge is a flat steel bar, available in various lengths, for scribing long, straight lines.

Swinging Blade Protractor

Used for marking and measuring angles, the swinging blade protractor consists of a steel protractor connected to a centrally mounted, movable arm.

Dividers

A pair of dividers is similar to a pair of compasses with two hinged legs. Dividers are useful for drawing circles and arcs. However, both legs on dividers have needle-pointed tips, since inscribing is more precise on metal than drawing with a pencil. Dividers are also useful for transferring measurements. There are two main types of dividers: spring dividers and wing dividers.

Beam Compass

A beam compass is, in terms of functionality, a larger version of a pair of dividers, being able to scribe larger circles and arcs. It, too, can be used for transferring measurements.

Punch

There are many types of punch, such as prick punch, solid punch and centre punch. They are used to punch holes for decoration, to make layout lines stand out more or mark holes to be drilled.

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