Working with Thread Gages

If your metalwork involves screws and nuts, you're likely to need thread gages. These gages are hand-held tools which will enable you to measure so-called threads in nuts, bolts, and screws to ensure they're compatible with the corresponding metal pieces. If you're just beginning to work with these gates, here are some minor details to be aware of.

Get the Right Kind

All thread gages have a "GO" end which is meant to be inserted into the nut or on top of the screw to do the appropriate measurements. However, different metal parts require different gages. For example, if you're evaluating "turns per inch" or TPI of a small screw, a ring gage is the appropriate tool. However, if you're checking the diameter of a nut, a simple plug gage is the better choice. Know the difference between the different thread gages so you can accurately measure.

Care for the Gages

Like most measuring tools, gages can be ignored once they're finished being used. However, this can lead to some problems. Thread gages are metal objects, so it's possible for them to start rusting. If this happens, it will be harder to insert the GO end into a nut or on top of any screws. Operation of the gages will be much more difficult and delay work. Therefore, you should be periodically waxing your gages with oil-based waxes.

Calibration is also going to be necessary periodically. Any measuring device should be checked to ensure that measurements are accurate for the people using them. Ensure your staffers are calibrating each month, if not more often. You may also want to have a master gage on hand to check the others.

Have Multiple Gages Available

Because thread gages are small and fit in your hand, it's easy to lose them among the equipment and other substantial tools in your shop. Ensure that you have multiple gages of all sizes and types available at all workstations. If one is lost, that shouldn't make one employee's work grind to a standstill; they should be able to retrieve another and get on with their work.

Consider Double-Check Training

You may want to have an in-service session or two about the proper use of your thread gages. For instance, they should never be forced into a nut, as they can become stuck there if you're not using the right size. Ensuring everyone uses these tools properly will preserve the gages without damaging metal pieces.

Use these gage details to make your shop better. Work with gage retailers and other metal professionals to ensure you've got the best tools for your work.