Spring return tape measures haven’t changed much since they were invented in 1864, and while there have been improvements, such as adding a concave shape for easy retraction, most have been ergonomically in design. Tape measures allow users to accurately measure a piece of material, which are then marked by a pencil or other implement before being cut. The M1 Caliber device from Boston-based Reekon Tools eliminates the need for measures and markers, to an extent anyway.
The M1 Caliber clamps onto a miter saw or other saw fence/guard, and outputs measurements as a material is pushed underneath a tracking wheel, which are displayed on an integrated LCD display. Lining up lumber, pipe, or any other building material provides users with accurate measurements using the saw blade as the marking point. As the material is pushed through, the spring-arm mounted friction wheel rotates, and those rotations are translated into measurements in both metric and imperial units.
According to Reekon Tools, the M1 Caliber can be adjusted on the fly for angled cuts, beveled cuts, and straight cuts, and can even compensate for different saw blade thicknesses. It also reportedly offers greater accuracy and a higher resolution over traditional measuring tapes. The device can be used on both the right and left sides of a miter saw, band saw, and cut off saws, although the automatic height adjustment (from feeding materials) will only work from the left side.
To use it on the right side, users keep the arm in the ‘locked up’ position until the material is underneath it, then it can be used normally. Reekon Tools is currently crowdfunding the M1 Caliber measuring tool on Kickstarter, with pledges starting at $99 and has an expected delivery date of December 2020.