Wire gages

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American standard for copper wire

American standard wire gage The American Standard gage is used to measure copper wire. It is a disc with various sizes of holes cut around its edge. The holes are calibrated for wires from No. 0000 to No. 36; No. 0000 corresponds to .3065 of an inch, and No. 36 corresponds to .0090 of an inch. These numbers correspond to those of the Brown and Sharpe gage for copper wire.

Birmingham and the stubbs gages for iron wire

The English standard gage is the Birmingham or Stubbs gage. It is also used widely in the United States. The Birmingham gage resembles the American Standard Wire Gage. It is generally used for the measurement of iron wire, although it is sometimes used as a sheet-copper gage. The numbers on this gage range from 6 to 36.

Use of wire gages

To gage a wire, insert it in one hole of the proper gage after another until you find the hole it just fits in. The number of that hole gives you the gage number of the wire.

Efforts are now being made to reduce the number of standards used in wire gages. In the meantime, many engineers in designing machinery ignore the gage numbers and specify all wire diameters in decimals of an inch.

To meet the condition, circular gages are made with the number or letter size marked on one side of the gage and the decimal equivalent marked on the other. A further complication enters when parts must be matched with dimensions given in the metric system. This requires calculation of each dimension or the use of the metric conversion table.

The V-Gage

Figure shows a gage with a V-opening. This type of gage may be obtained calibrated in gage numbers, decimals, and various combinations of units. In use, the wire, screw, or rod being measured is allowed to rest lightly in the groove and the gage marking at the point of contact indicates its size. In using any of these gages, it is obvious that the accuracy of the reading is dependent upon how closely the part measured fits the gage.


Of course, if the part measured is forced in, the reading has no meaning and the gage itself may be damaged. On the other hand, if the fit is too loose, the reading on the gage will not indicate the true measurement. With practice, a delicate sense of touch is developed which tells the user of a gage When the fit is correct. Ability to measure accurately and quickly will increase as the beginner develops this touch.

Manufacturers take great pains to make gages accurately. The surf aces of the gages are hardened to preserve this accuracy. In use, they must be protected from acid fumes and from moisture. After using they should be wiped with an oily cloth and returned to a protective container. Like other measuring tools, they should never be used for any purpose other than measuring.

If a gage is accidentally damaged in a way to affect its accuracy, it should be destroyed or, if the cost justifies it, it may be returned to the manufacturer for recalibration. If it is left available, its use while damaged may lead to errors, costly in waste of material and time.

Sheet metal gage

Sheet metal gage A circular gage, similar to the wire gage shown, is used for sheet and plate iron and steel. It is illustrated. It is used in exactly the same manner as the circular wire gage, and differs from it only in the relation of the gage openings to the gage numbers.