Updated: Apr 7
By: Jason Becker
Before we get into this article, take a moment to see how your measuring skills stack up. Included in this link is a tape measure test, go ahead and take the test and see how well you do.
Here is an additional link for a 1" representation, that you can fill out while watching the video.
I usually have my students fill them out with different colors to make the different increments stand out a bit more.
One of the most important skills a welder/fabricator can possess, is the ability to read a tape measure. Everything we work with in the welding industry revolves around measurements; whether it is a weld size, cutting materials, fitting up a joint, etc. it all has to be measured. Having been a welder for 20+ years, I took this skill for granted. Everyone knows how to read a tape measure and work in fractions of an inch right? It seems like such a basic task that everyone knows how to do, boy was I wrong. A few days into my first class, I had the students cutting up various pieces of material for weld coupons. About 10 minutes in, the students had a various array of pieces cut and none of them were correct. I obviously took this skill for granted. I then shut down the sheer, and asked the students, "how many of you can read a tape measure"? Instantly all the hands went up. I started asking them to measure a few simple items, and the results were all over the place. At that moment, I realized that the students thought that they knew how to read a tape measure, but they obviously didn't. So I did what any instructor should do. I taught them all how to read a tape measure as well as work with fractions and decimals. By the end of the week, they were all doing great. From that point on, I always start with a measurement test on the first day of school. It doesn't count for a grade, I do it to find out who needs the most help so i can concentrate my efforts to those individuals. But every student in the class goes through the introduction of the tape measure together.
I highly encourage all educators as well as shop foreman to give your students and new hires a tape measure test to see if they know how to read a tape measure or not. I'm sure you will be surprised with how many people do not know how to read one. Once you determine their ability, help them if they need it. It is a lifelong skill that they will need to use on a daily basis in this business. Thank you for stopping by and reviewing the article and until next time Make Every Weld Better Than Your Last!
Jason Becker is a welder/fabricator with 22 years of field experience in the welding industry and a Marine Corps Veteran. He is also an AWS Certified Welding Inspector and Certified Welding Educator (CWI/CWE).
While teaching welding at his local college, Jason pursued his Bachelors Degree in Construction Management from Seminole State College and graduated with honors in 2016.
Jason is one of our co-hosts at Weld.com