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The flexometer or tape measure is a measuring instrument that consisting of a tape graduated in two international systems (decimal metric system and imperial unit system), basically a hardened steel tape wound inside the casing with a lock that allows the retention of the ribbon or its return and allows us to measure lengths. It is common to find length of 3 meters and another with length of 5 meters but they exist commercially of greater length.


Consisting of 4 fundamental parts as it is one of the simplest measuring instruments:

Spike Metal tape Secure Case
  1. Metal tape: It allows to measure and we can find it inches, centimeters or in both units.
  2. Case: Keeps the spiral tape and allows easy and convenient transport.
  3. Spike: It is at the end of the tape; it allows to be attached to some edge of the object to be measured.
  4. Secure: Allows to retain the tape when it is placed or return the tape in the casing when removing it (inside the casing there is a helical spring that provides the retraction force in the tape).


  • Cloth tape: Made of linen with a spike in the part corresponding to zero. It is very light but it is not recommended for work since it is not very precise in the measurement.
  • Metal tape: Reinforced with copper wires to prevent fiber stretching or entanglement.
  • Steel tape: Made of a steel loop with a variation in thickness from 6 millimeters to 16 millimeters, it is not recommended for rough use.
  • Invar tape: Made with and alloy of metals, its cost is high and somewhat delicate.
  • Digital tape: This type of flexometer incorporates a digital display that allows us to verify the exact measurement of the object to be measured, it is in configurations to measure both in inches and centimeters.


Why is the spike of an extensible metric tape always loose?
You could say it’s a manufacturing defect, but it’s actually necessary feature because the metric tape can be used in two ways:

  1. The first form consists of the support of the pin against a wall. In this case the metric tape includes the thickness of the steel hook.
  2. The second way is to hold the metric tape using the spike. In this case the measure no longer includes the thickness of the steel spike, that difference is compensated by the displacement of the spike.

What do the numbers indicate on a tape measure?

  • Larger numbers show the value of the distance in inches.
  • The smallest numbers show the value of the distance in centimeters.

What do the roman numbers indicate on the tape measure?
The roman numbers corresponding to 1 and 2 are represented as I and II. Indicate the accuracy of the tape. The smaller the number, the grater the precision.

Why does the spike have a hole?
When there is no way to hold the metal tape, the hole that has the spike allows us to fix the metric tape on a nail or screw.

What does the numbers mean in the case of our flexometer?
They are a measurement in millimeters and it indicates the measurement of the base of our measuring tape. It allows us to take measurements of objects that have an angle, in this way we have a more exact measurement and for this reason it is an error to bend the metric tape to take measurements since we will be losing millimeters.

What does the first numbers of our metric tape mean?
Manufacturers are required by lwa to print the length on the tape itself.

What is black diamond marked?
The black diamond is a mark that appears at a distance of 19.2 inches and is for grid designs (latticework or trusses) or to measure components of eight feet length. Considering that 8 feet equals 96 inches, therefore, 5 diamonds should be considered.