Marking gauge?

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PeteT
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Marking gauge?

Postby PeteT » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:40 pm

In the woodworking world marking gauges, or scratch gauges, are used for marking out parrallel lines. I'm after something similar - initially thinking of frames spacers of a width not supplied.

There are ways of marking and then cutting down a straight edge - but there are several parts of the process where small discrepancies can creap in, which would mean I'd err on the side of caution and then end up laboriously filing it down. It all sounds time consuming, and there must be a tool out there designed for the job.

Do people use standard marking gauges for this, or is there something more suitable for precisely marking parrallel lines on small sections of sheet metal? (I'm assuming 1 known straight edge, so only needing to mark 1 line parrallel to that).

TIA,

Winander
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Winander » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:50 pm

Richard Hodgson

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Will L
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Will L » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:09 pm

I think spring dividers are nearer the marks for this job, like the ones from the same supplier a bit further down the page.

However I don't think you're going to avoid using a file to finish the job. You're unlikely to be able to cut smoothly and accurately enough to give you a reliable width (at better than a tenth of a mill) over the length of the strip you need. So ensure the material edge is strait, mark out the strip using the dividers, cut as close above to the line as you can and finish with a file. It’s not that difficult to achieve. Then mark out your spacers in order down the strip so that any subtle error in width won’t matter. I've described this job before here and down the page a bit. That was for a tender chassis but the same principles apply. The important bit when producing L shaped spacers is ensuring the bend line in the middle is truly at right angles across the strip, so they bend up square.

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David B
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby David B » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:26 am

Axminster Tools have a couple of miniature marking gauges designed for wood.

I expect purists will shudder when I say I use my vernier gauge to make a mark which I firm up with a ruler and scribe.

davebradwell
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby davebradwell » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:30 am

Professionals usually work from a surface plate with a vernier height gauge, which will probably cost more than you would like. However pre-vernier gauges should be available but a search engine didn't find them. I mention this because the set up is also useful when assembling models as checks can be made at various critical points. It's a vast subject. You might get some engineers marking blue - the stuff that sets - so you can see the lines.

I've seen thin sheet cut by scoring with a skrawker (like an Olfa cutter ground from old hacksaw blade) and snapping, like plastic. Still needs cleaning up though.

DaveB

shipbadger
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby shipbadger » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:16 am

Pete, I made a miniature marking gauge along the lines of the traditional woodworkers gauge, but in steel many years ago. An old gramaphone needle provides the 'scratch maker'. I think Rod Neep first described something similar possibly in a very early MRJ. If you haven't found anything else before lockdown finishes I'll make one for you.

andrewnummelin
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby andrewnummelin » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:31 am

Here's mine with a frame spacer marked out with it.
marking gauge.jpg

If I were making another I'd make the guide a bit bigger and possibly have it on a screwed thread to make precise adjustments a little easier.
Perhaps, without a lathe, start with a threaded rod, nut for the guide, lock nut to hold it: drill through the rod and solder in a needle for marking.

The "point" fitted in the photos was shaped to cut a groove in plastic sheet for better representation of planking (or things like coach ventilators).
Regards,

Andrew Nummelin

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Paul Townsend » Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:03 am

Many years ago, I bought one of these at a show....no idea who made it. Very useful tool!
P1040136.JPG


P1040135.JPG

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Will L
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Will L » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:21 pm

davebradwell wrote:...I've seen thin sheet cut by scoring with a skrawker (like an Olfa cutter ground from old hacksaw blade) and snapping, like plastic. Still needs cleaning up though.


That's the way to do it. Hold the sheet between two steel rules in a vice with the skrawker line just showing and you can break off quite thin strips.

My skrawkers I grind out of the back a Xacto type craft knife blades, and is a multi tool having a chisel tip (for chopping bits out of an etch) and the remains of the knife edge down one side.

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Tim V
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Tim V » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:59 pm

Paul Townsend wrote:Many years ago, I bought one of these at a show....no idea who made it. Very useful tool!

I made something similar in school metalwork classes (proper education in those days),haven't seen it in years. Mind I think I've moved house 16 times since leaving school ...
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

nigelcliffe
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby nigelcliffe » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:28 pm

shipbadger wrote:Pete, I made a miniature marking gauge along the lines of the traditional woodworkers gauge, but in steel many years ago. An old gramaphone needle provides the 'scratch maker'. I think Rod Neep first described something similar possibly in a very early MRJ. If you haven't found anything else before lockdown finishes I'll make one for you.


I have something similar, works well.

- Nigel

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PeteT
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby PeteT » Wed Apr 01, 2020 4:44 pm

Thanks for the thoughts - and yes those pictured were the link of things I was thinking of.

The 'mytoolshed' option I am sure would work fine with care, but the 'guide' end does look quite short, so likely to allow it to twist out of parallel quite easily - and I would think the same for the sprung dividers?

I have no doubt that the vernier, mark, and ruler will work fine - and to be fair making a long strip or two would last a long time, so maybe I am over thinking it! But at the same time, anything to make life easier, or more repeatable, is a good thing.

I have no issue with cleaning up a cut, I probably over played this, but there is a difference between decusping and complete fettling to make it the right dimension, or square.

Looking at the axminster list this seems closest to what I am looking for.
https://www.axminster.co.uk/3-in-1-bras ... uge-202397

Thanks for the offer Tony - I'll keep that in mind if I don't go with the above, or find something else, in the interim!

Philip Hall
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:44 pm

I have used an Olfa scrawker to scribe and break off strips and it works well, just requiring a bit of filing to clean up the edge. The other option is to find someone with a guillotine to cut some strip for you.

Philip

Terry Bendall
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Terry Bendall » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:13 am

I posted a reply yesterday on this topic but it seems to have got lost somewhere.

You might try looking at page 6 of Scalefour News 216 where marking a line parallel to an edge using Jenny calipers is mentioned.

t
davebradwell wrote:However pre-vernier gauges should be available


Dave may be referring to a surface gauge which does a similar job to a vernier height gauge but needs a bit more care in setting the height.

PeteT wrote:end up laboriously filing it down


Not that laborious in the sizes we normally use. A decent sharp file will soon do the job.

Terry Bendall

CornCrake
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby CornCrake » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:18 am

Would it be possible to adapt a combination square for example https://www.toolstation.com/combination-square/p15803 by fixing some form of scribing point with a bolt and grub screw through the existing hole in the ruler part?
Or if you already have one but without a hole making a hole for the scribing point?

Daddyman
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Daddyman » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:21 am

I always use a scrawker and/or a Stanley knife on brass or NS up to 15 thou. For thinner metal I use a smaller craft knife. It gives a very straight line, with little or no filing necessary (and if you're doing a long tender flare in 5 thou it has to come out right first time, with no filing, and right three times - back, side and side). But it doesn't solve the problem of marking out in the first place (for which I use dividers, though I like David B's heretical use of a Vernier and will try that), or the problem of getting the ruler straight on the line once it has been marked. I feel, like the OP, that I waste an enormous amount of time on these 4 processes (marking, positioning of ruler, cutting and cleaning up). I have a friend who swears by an Olfa cutter, which should work as it combines marking, rulering and cutting into one process, but I've never got on with it.
Last edited by Daddyman on Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

bécasse
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby bécasse » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:54 am

I often use a GW Models rivet press for marking out. Used carefully, and with practice, you can place pop-marks to an accuracy of about 0,05 mm and it is easy enough to join them up. I normally attempt to place the pop-marks outside, say by 1 mm, the actual work area, although those for holes to be drilled out are obviously placed spot-on (and usually deeper).

You need to produce a large scale plan on 5mm squared paper beforehand with the coordinates of each pop-mark indicated. Always mark a "master pop-mark" that you can reset to if you think that you are starting to go wrong. I suggest starting the technique with something simple so that you get the feel for it (and the potential pitfalls) but, subject to the size limitations imposed by the design of the tool, the technique works even for quite complex items.

davebradwell
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby davebradwell » Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:09 pm

Thanks for that, Terry, it's certainly a surface gauge I meant. Looks about the same price as the mortice type gauge, which is surprising.

I've never heard the term Jenny dividers, presumably these are what I would call odd-leg callipers and are probably the easiest and cheapest way of doing the job for the amateur - see first reply.

I still prefer the versatility of the surface plate - add Vee blocks and I can mark out boiler handrail knobs - it goes on.

DaveB

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PeteT
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby PeteT » Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:16 pm

Excellent, thanks Dave B/Terry - that is the sort of suggesting I thought I would start this thread for. It isn't something I would have randomly searched for, and if I came across would probably wouldn't have noticed it usefulness.

I like David W's rivet tool method - but to me that does sound more useful for those intricate/complicated shapes, but certainly worth experimenting with.

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Tony Wilkins » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:13 pm

davebradwell wrote:Thanks for that, Terry, it's certainly a surface gauge I meant. Looks about the same price as the mortice type gauge, which is surprising.

I've never heard the term Jenny dividers, presumably these are what I would call odd-leg callipers and are probably the easiest and cheapest way of doing the job for the amateur - see first reply.

I still prefer the versatility of the surface plate - add Vee blocks and I can mark out boiler handrail knobs - it goes on.

DaveB

Hi Dave.
I too know them as Jenny odd legs calipers. I remember making a set in metalwork lessons many years ago.
Probably got them somewhere.
Regards
Tony.

CornCrake
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby CornCrake » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:18 pm

Had to mark up a piece of brass sheet today in order to make a 30mm wide strip., so I knocked up a bespoke scriber out of 2 offcuts of strip wood and an offcut of 12mm plywood, plus a panel pin.

Scribing_Gauge.jpg
Scribing_Gauge.jpg (75.53 KiB) Viewed 627 times


The longer piece of stripwood runs along the edge of the sheet, the shorter piece sits on top of he sheet for stability.

Sharpened the point with a file, and them managed to scribe a reasonable line on the brass sheet,

Gauge_In_Use.jpg
Gauge_In_Use.jpg (110.47 KiB) Viewed 627 times


Now just have to make the cut

Steve

BrianW
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby BrianW » Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:08 pm

Pete,

I use a digital caliper and vice for marking out frames and spacers.
-Clamp the fixed jaw of the caliper in the vice, just below the surface. Check with a square that the caliper is vertical.
-Place a flat surface across the top of the vice jaws (my vice jaws were stepped, so I used ply packing on the lower step and a piece of 4mm glass as the reference surface).
-Zero the caliper on the reference surface, then set to required dimension. Lock with thumbscrew.
-Hold the sheet to be marked against a block of square timber (I used 44 x 44mm) to keep it vertical.
-Slide the sheet and block back and forth pressing against the caliper jaw tip to scribe a line.
-Quite a deep score can be made with several passes on brass or nickel silver sheet. If both sides are deeply scored, the sheet can be held in a 'hold and fold' or similar, then flexed back and forth until it snaps off, accurately to size.

Regards

BrianW
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302MarkingOut.JPG

Terry Bendall
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Terry Bendall » Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:45 am

davebradwell wrote:I've never heard the term Jenny dividers, presumably these are what I would call odd-leg callipers and are probably the easiest and cheapest way of doing the job for the amateur


Yes that is correct Dave. As I wrote in Scalefour News 216

"There are several methods of marking a line parallel to an edge and when doing this on metal a useful tool, although not one that I use often, is a pair of odd leg callipers, sometimes known as Hermaphrodite or Jenny callipers."

davebradwell wrote:I still prefer the versatility of the surface plate - add Vee blocks and I can mark out boiler handrail knobs - it goes on.
davebradwell wrote:
That is of course another way and it would be up to individuals to decide if they want to go that way. For the majority I suspect it is not needed but for those that do, the second hand tool stands at model engineering exhibitions are a good source of such things. I sold the surface plate inherited from my father in about 1985 when a house move made it necessary and the surface gauge I made when I was at school got left behind at the school that I was then teaching at. I subsequently acquired a small surface plate, about 180 mm x 100 mm which very useful for checking that wagons are square and all wheels at the same height but marking out is generally done using the simpler methods which I have described in the articles.

bécasse wrote:I often use a GW Models rivet press for marking out.


BrianW wrote: use a digital caliper and vice for marking out frames and spacers


Two other valid method which proves there is nearly always more than one way of doing the job but the GW press is an expensive option unless you feel you need it for its intended job.

Terry Bendall

Terry Bendall
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby Terry Bendall » Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:48 am

Something went wrong with my last post. The quote

"davebradwell wrote:

That is of course another way" was from me not from Dave. Apologies.

Terry Bendall

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PeteT
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Re: Marking gauge?

Postby PeteT » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:10 am

Thanks Brian, that looks a good setup - & nicely works around issues of keeping things square.

Thanks for the reminder of the snooze article Terry, its surprising/worrying how quickly things go in one eye & out of the other (! Not quite the straight path of the ears, not being a pigeon) when there isn't a direct immediate need. Currently sat in the sun re-reading.

Cheers,
Pete


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