Woodworking for the Blind

3D ruler Review

Step Gauge 3-D Ruler: Used to set hieght of router bits, table saw blades and other measurements. A new type of set-up block arrived in 2013. This ruler has two parts that can accurately measure heights and widths, which are useful for tool set-up.

The ruler is actually two rulers that are plastic and comes in a school bus yellow color. The longer ruler is 12 inches long by 1 inch thick by 1 inches tall at the max height. It is wedge shaped. Beginning at 1/8 inch, the height increases in 1/8 inch increments every one inch of length. It is like a stair case. The smaller ruler is similar to a click rule. The click rule has 1/16 inch marks with half-inch major marks, while the 3d ruler has 1/16 inch steps each half-inch. If you are familiar with a click rule, the 3d is intuitive. The smaller ruler is 8 inches long by inches wide by 1 1/16 tall. For every half-inch in length, the height increases by 1/16 inch. The rulers nest together for storage and have a magnet on the smaller rule to keep them in place. The small ruler also has a pencil sharpener that works very well, but probably has little benefit for us.

Uses: Like set-up blocks, the step gauge 3-D ruler can be used to measure the height of tablesaw blade, router bit height, distance between drill bit and drill press table, thickness of lumber, and more. For height adjustments, the ruler is placed flat side down next to the cutter. Then the cutter is raised or lowered to match what you need. You use a finger to determine if the height is correct. (The manufacturers of this ruler point out that you can feel the thickness of a piece of paper) For widths, the ruler is placed on its side. (It is accurate to about 2 inches maximum). For example, to set a drill press fence to bore a hole in the middle of a inch part, you would place the ruler flat against the fence and count six steps. You need to subtract one half the diameter of the drill bit. The rulers can be placed together so that they create a parallel rectangle for wider measurements up to about 2 inches. As you slide them together the parallel increases or decreases 1/16 inch. Each step decrease results in a fairly loud click thus making it a 3-D click ruler. Thanks to Lenny McHugh for finding this new tool.
The ruler is currently (2014) available at Woodcraft, Amazon and Peachtree for around $12 U.S. plus shipping. Submitted by Jim Nordquist End