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What are the different types of rule?

Shop for Rules

Rulers and rules have many different designs, for use in different situations. There are many types of rule available, for use with different tasks. You can also get rules with various markings and gradations.

Folding rules

Folding rules have one or more joints joining each section Folding rules are made from two or more small rule strips joined together with hinges. They can then be folded out to measure longer distances or folded down to be carried easily or reach into smaller spaces. They will ordinarily be marked for either metric or imperialmeasurements,or both.

For more information see:  What is a folding rule?

Safety rules

Safety rulers are designed to keep your fingers free from their edge Safety rules are designed so the user’s fingers will be kept away from the edge when using the rule to cut or score straight lines with a blade or similar sharp object. There are a number of variations in the design of safetyrulesbut they are all used in the same way.

For more information see:  What is a safety rule?

Digital angle rules

Digital angle rules are used to measure straight lines and angles Digital angle rules can quickly and accurately measure angles. They consist or two rules joined together with a moveable hinge. The rules can be opened up to 180 degrees to create a long straight rule, or be bent to any angle between 360 and 0 degrees. The angle at which the two rules are set will be displayed on the digital screen.

For more information see:  What is a digital angle rule?

Other types of rule

Wonkee quite likes the taste of some rules, but he wouldn't advise you chew on yours There are other types of rule which you may come across, as well as rules with different features. These rules are more specialised for specific tasks or professions.

For more information see:  What additional features can rules have?

Bench rules can be attached to the top or side of a work surface

Bench rules

These rules have holes which can be used to attach them permanently to a bench, or similar work surface. They can be attached to the top or the side of a work surface. Bench rules are usually 1000mm (40″) long. They are typically used for jobs such as measure long lengths of fabric. A bench rule is suitable for frequent use when the rule needs to stay in place for measuring.

Small rules can reach into tight spaces

Small rules

Small rules usually come in a set of different lengths. They’re extra short rules which are used for taking measurements in confined spaces, or places which are hard to reach. They come with a holder which will grip the measuring strip and hold it as measurements are taken. The holder can hold the ruler straight or at an angle.

A Rolling ruler can draw parallel lines

Rolling rules

Rolling rules allow you to keep the edge of the rule parallel to a specific angle. They have a roller set along one edge which has two small wheels.These gripa surface so the rule stays parallel as it moves. There is usually a small protractor in the body of the rule for measuring angles. A rolling rule often also has marking holes at certain gradations, like marking rules.

Rolling rules are used in technical drawing Quite often, the roller within the rule will be marked with certain measurements, which will tell you the distance the roller has travelled, to help with drawing parallel lines equal distances apart. They are commonly used for technical drawing.

There is also a marine version which is used to plot routes in a similar way to parallel rules.

Parallel rule are often used in course planning for ships and boats - the rule can be moved to various positions and the two side stay parallel to each other

Parallel rules

Parallel rules are usually used for navigating courses of ships using nautical maps. They consist of two straight rules which are joined with two moving arms. The way they are joined means however far the rules are moved apart they will always remain parallel to each other.

Nautical charts, maps and compasses might display a compass rose to represent orientation They are used to gauge an angle of a ship’s course then stepped across a map to the nearest compass rose so the angle can be measured. The compass rose is the symbol seen on things like compasses, nautical charts and maps, which shows the relative orientation of North, South, East and West.
Wonkee Donkee says "The parallel rule was invented in around the 1580s by an Italian mathematician called Fabrizio Mordente"

What different markings can you get on a rule?

A rule is a simple measuring device, it can have different markings on it, depending on its uses There are various specialist rules which have markings that may be different from the standard metric or imperial measurements and their subdivisions.
Shinkage rules are designed to allow for a material that will shrink after it has been cast and cooled

Shrinking rules

Shrinking rules are used specifically by pattern makers to allow for a materials shrinkage rate after being cast and cooled. There are a number of types of shrinking rule as the shrinkage rate varies for different materials. The finished design is measured with a standard rule and the raw material it will be cast out of is measured with a shrinking rule.

A centre finding ruler is useful for mounting and laying out

Centring rules

Centring rules, sometimes called centre finding rules, have a zero point in the middle and count out from that mark on both sides. They are usually graduated in standard imperial or metric measurements, or both. They can be used to obtain the exact centre of a set distance, and are often used for things such as mounting picture and photos.

 Wonkee Donkee says "Opticians sometimes use a special type of centring rule to measure the distance between your pupils. It’s called a pupillary distance ruler."
a masonry rule is used to lay brickwork

Masonry rules

Masonry rules usually have standard measurement marks on one side and special markings on the other. The special markings are used to gauge the amount of bricks and thickness of mortar needed to build a brick structure of a certain size.

Scale rules are used in architecture and map drawing

Scale rules

Scales rules are used in various design industries for taking scale measurements. They come in ratios of many different scales, for use in various industries. They usually have different scale ranges on each edge, and commonly have a triangular profile with six edges forgradationmarks.

Scales are used to accurately represent large distances or objects Scales are used to present accurate representations of larger objects. Things such as maps use scales so that large areas can be shown on easy-to-read pages. The level of scale you will need to use will depend on the size of the thing that is to be represented and the size it needs to be drawn. A scale rule eliminates the need to have to calculate the scale for each measurement being taken.
Maps use scales to represent large areas on easy to read pages A scale of 1:100,000 on a map would mean every centimetre on the map would represent one kilometre in actual distance (a kilometre is 100,000 centimetres). A scale being used to design a piece of furniture might use a scale of 1:10, then every centimetre on the design would equal 10 centimetres on the finished item.
Some rule have different gauges for measuring various objects

Other markings

Common markings that may be found on some rules, along with measurement gradations, include: conversion or equivalent measurement charts – which may be between metric and imperial or fractions and decimals – mathematical formulas, and charts for gauging part sizes, such as drill bit size charts.