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Thread: Screw Gauge

  1. Lightbulb Screw Gauge

    SCREW GAUGE

    .... This thread may be an elementary subject for most here at SMC, generating a lot of “reads” and few responses. In my Pre-New Years resolutions, I decided to classify ALL my screws and bolts. Little did I realize what a herculean job it would turn out to be. We are talking thousands of screws. All different types; wood, machine, sheet metal, general purpose and all kinds of specialty type screws and bolts. Not classifying the screw length, just the screw diameter only. As simple as this may seem, the process has turned out to be a challenge.
    .... I started out grouping; #2, #4, #6, #8, #10, #12 and then 3/16”, 1/4”, 5/16”, 3/8”, 7/16”, 1/2”, and so up to 1”. The problem came when I had a metric diameter very close to a standard size screw and then vise versa! The #6s and #8s were especially confusing and my adjustable slide mics were slow and just compounded the circumstance with the metric sizes. After a while a #6 type started to visually look like a #8 depending on the type and color of screw and vice versa.
    .... I think what I need is a STANDARD and METRIC screw gauge template that is accurate and efficient. I checked with GRAINGER's. They don't seem to have anything to fill the bill. So, I am open to ideas and or suggestions, thoughts or perhaps someone knows were I can get a gauge like I need ?

    Thanks
    Every man’s work is always a portrait of himself.

  2. #2
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    Boyd, you could make your own from a piece of plastic and epoxy on nuts of the different sizes. Easy and cheap.
    Jerry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
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    Boyd, it gets more complicated still if you sort by head style (round, flat, oval, etc.), thread (fine, coarse, sheetmetal, double lead, etc.), material (stainless steel, brass & brass plated, gal. steel, oxide steel, yes and some plastic) and drive type (slotted, torx, allen, phillips, square, etc.). Takes a bunch of small parts drawers and compartmentalized plastic boxes and I still end up with many see-thru plastic bottles with assorted screws that didn't quite fit the selected storage scheme. It can be a full time job keeping track of bolt and screw stock - I put the time into it to avoid running to the store for every nut and bolt and screw that I need for a job.

    My screw thread gages are Craftsman IIRC and old but I seldom use them. Ace hardware has them as do others - if you want to pay top dollar for them get the Starrett gages. Happy Sorting!
    Work safe, have fun, enjoy the sport.
    Remember that a guy never has to come down out of the clouds if he keeps filling the valleys with peaks. Steve

  4. #4
    Boyd, I know exactly where you are and it was a chore deciding wether to put those screws in a 6 or an 8 bottle. I don't think there are metric wood screws per say. Screww makers are just maximizing profit by using less material, thus the smaller sizes. Have fun with your adventure and heres my answer to the stowage problem. These are one thing everyone seems to have or can aquire.
    John D
    Attached Images Attached Images
    When in doubt, ask a Creeker.

  5. Smile

    .... Thanks Jerry, Your suggestion was one of my first thoughts. And certainly that can be done. But as you acquire experience over time, you quickly know that this is going to be one of your last options. I would rather buy one of these gauges because it has a proven track record, a “known quantity” and perhaps other features that I might not consider. In practice, other people will work out the bugs and those people have complained and suggested changes over time that improve it's function. People by a top quality product that they have confidence in that will do the job, hopefully. One less headache in accomplishing your own task.

    Jerry Clark, Boyd, you could make your own from a piece of plastic and epoxy on nuts of the different sizes. Easy and cheap.
    .... Steve, your point is well taken. And that is exactly why I decided to classify all of my hardware by diameter rather than any other attribute. With having all of one size in one group it makes things a whole lot more convenient to look in one container group for that particular piece of hardware. In my past, I have searched high and low for the particular piece that I knew I had but I just could not find. So by classifying everything into groups, I have just that group to go to and then find the other attributes.

    Steve Stube, Boyd, it gets more complicated still if you sort by head style (round, flat, oval, etc.), thread (fine, coarse, sheetmetal, double lead, etc.), material (stainless steel, brass & brass plated, gal. steel, oxide steel, yes and some plastic) and drive type (slotted, torx, allen, phillips, square, etc.). Takes a bunch of small parts drawers and compartmentalized plastic boxes and I still end up with many see-thru plastic bottles with assorted screws that didn't quite fit the selected storage scheme. It can be a full time job keeping track of bolt and screw stock - I put the time into it to avoid running to the store for every nut and bolt and screw that I need for a job.

    My screw thread gages are Craftsman IIRC and old but I seldom use them. Ace hardware has them as do others - if you want to pay top dollar for them get the Starrett gages. Happy Sorting!
    .... John, I can feel your appreciation for my problem by what you write. You have been there and done that, and I, for one, am thankful for your insight. Since I made my original post, I have bought a screw template. And just as you pointed out in your post, one size that appears to be stretched out will give the impression of being another size. I found you have to very carefully watch the diameter of the threads in some cases, in order to classify them correctly because the threads are so stretched out with so little meat in between them. In grouping the hardware by diameter size, that allows me to bag that size in special zip-lock parts bags of varying sizes. This approach does NOT take up as much room as if I had used set-sized-containers which take up a predetermined amount of room. So what this all comes down to is one size is bagged and marked by size and placed in that container. When it comes time to find a given size diameter, you go to that container group and search out the other attributes. And, you have what you need for that job.


    John D Watson, Boyd, I know exactly where you are and it was a chore deciding wether to put those screws in a 6 or an 8 bottle. I don't think there are metric wood screws per say. Screww makers are just maximizing profit by using less material, thus the smaller sizes. Have fun with your adventure and heres my answer to the stowage problem. These are one thing everyone seems to have or can aquire.
    John D
    .... Now, with all of that said above, I just noticed that if you look in the third column of my newly acquired “SCREW GAUGE TEMPLATE” (see pic) that there are some tapped holes missing? At present, I don't know if it's supposed to be that way or not. I wouldn't think so. At my first opportunity, I will get in touch with Mr. SEARS and see what he has to say about this. I would like an answer, especially for what I paid for this little piece of metal.
    .... In any event, the classifying and storage of the hardware is coming along nicely. The new gauge has already made some corrections. When you can easily check something, like with the screw gauge, there's less chance for error.


    ....Thanks again for the replies, they were all appreciated .

    .
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    Last edited by Boyd Gathwright; 01-06-2006 at 5:15 PM.
    Every man’s work is always a portrait of himself.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Pacific Northwest
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    133

    here's a cheap, simple metric gauge


  7. #7
    Here's a couple of usful one Rockler's sells. $4.00 each


    Attachment 28990 Attachment 28991
    Last edited by Don Baer; 11-30-2006 at 6:14 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
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    LeeValley sells one for imperial and another for metric. The holes are tapped so you can screw the thread in to tell how many threads/inch (or mm) you have.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2004
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    Boyd,
    As we have not secured our nation’s borders against the incursion of metric threads, I do not think that “threading a screw thru a nut” is an accurate enuf gauge of TPI and diameter.

    Too many threads will be common enough to make you wonder if the light resistance you feel is due to a dinged thread or a different size.

    I recommend using a caliper for diameter and a 1” (25.4cm), long toothed pitch gauge.

    While we may sometimes get by using the wrong bolt and nut mates in light duty applications, when we are selecting a tap for deeper engagement the threads will likely deform and possibly strip, or we may not be able to get the screw all the way into the tapped hole.

    Frank

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Oakland, MI
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    481
    Boyd,

    I know this may sound blasphemous but would it make any sense to evaluate your collection and just throw out some of the real dogs? Or, how about categorizing the most important and most used sizes and, if you can't bring yourself to pitch the oddballs, just isolate the stragglers in a couple unsorted containers? At least that way you won't be looking through everything for the golden bolt and the primary fasteners will be organized. My guess is that 80% of your effort will be concentrated on categorizing 20% of the items, and 80% of the time you will only be using 20% of the assortment. Did I say that right?

    Greg

  11. Smile

    here's a cheap, simple metric gauge http://mdmetric.com/gaugeit.htm


    .... Mitchell, I like this and I will be looking in to it. I am not that far from them and the next time I am in the neighborhood I'll pick one or so up.
    __________________________________________________ ______________

    Here's a couple of usful one Rockler's sells. $4.00 each




    .... Don, I called, they had them on sale but were out of stock. They wanted twice the price for shipping.
    __________________________________________________ _____________

    LeeValley sells one for imperial and another for metric. The holes are tapped so you can screw the thread in to tell how many threads/inch (or mm) you have.




    .... Geoff, eventually, I will be looking into both of these. Didn't know and I guess I should have realized these were available. I have others on the way.
    __________________________________________________ _____________


    Boyd,
    As we have not secured our nation’s borders against the incursion of metric threads, I do not think that “threading a screw thru a nut” is an accurate enuf gauge of TPI and diameter.

    Too many threads will be common enough to make you wonder if the light resistance you feel is due to a dinged thread or a different size.

    I recommend using a caliper for diameter and a 1” (25.4cm), long toothed pitch gauge.

    While we may sometimes get by using the wrong bolt and nut mates in light duty applications, when we are selecting a tap for deeper engagement the threads will likely deform and possibly strip, or we may not be able to get the screw all the way into the tapped hole.

    Frank




    .... Hey Frank, unless I am under contract, if that screw or bolt fits in the next hole on that gauge that's going to be good enough for me. I agree with using the calipers, where necessary, but as you have pointed out there's just too many different sizes and hardness types.

    __________________________________________________ ____________


    Boyd,

    I know this may sound blasphemous but would it make any sense to evaluate your collection and just throw out some of the real dogs? Or, how about categorizing the most important and most used sizes and, if you can't bring yourself to pitch the oddballs, just isolate the stragglers in a couple unsorted containers? At least that way you won't be looking through everything for the golden bolt and the primary fasteners will be organized. My guess is that 80% of your effort will be concentrated on categorizing 20% of the items, and 80% of the time you will only be using 20% of the assortment. Did I say that right?

    Greg




    .... Greg, I like your humor and believe me I have been tempted to do just what you have suggested. But, here is how it has worked out. First, I start with a container of mixed hardware. I bag 2 or more of a given diameter and length to a given size bag. If I fill that bag I start another until that size is exhausted. I may have 4 or 5 bags of the same size. If I have ONLY one piece of a given size, I put it into a tray marked with that diameter. After the original container is emptied, then I would go through the tray or trays of those sizes for matches. If there were any, I would bag them accordingly. If there weren't any matches then these trays become my oddball collection. And that's where it stops.
    __________________________________________________ _____________

    Last edited by Boyd Gathwright; 01-15-2006 at 9:21 PM.
    Every man’s work is always a portrait of himself.

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