Measure thickness of a sheet from only one side?

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Old 05-24-06, 07:57 PM
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Measure thickness of a sheet from only one side?

I'm installing rivets in sheet metal, but I do not know how thick it is. Furthermore, I can only access it from one side. (Blind rivets) How can I go about gauging the depth of the sheet metal without drilling a hole big enough to fit a tape measure?
 
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Old 05-24-06, 08:55 PM
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Depth mic, caliper, pit guage ... probably a half dozen more tools that would do the job.
 
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Old 05-25-06, 03:23 PM
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The caliper won't work since I can't access the side of the material - I can only measure from the pilot hole. As for the depth mic and pit gauge, Lowe's and Home Depot had no clue ... any specific place you recommend on finding them?
 
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Old 05-25-06, 03:43 PM
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Rivets generally have a fairly wide range when it comes to the thickness of the metal.

Drill a rivet hole, take a piece of stiff wire, push it through the hole while applying pressure slightly to the side. You should be able to feel when it is past the metal. Mark the wire at that point it, remove it and gage that.
 
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Old 05-25-06, 04:13 PM
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I wasn't clear when I suggested the caliper - there are several types of calipers, the most common is the "ice tong" design intended for measuring diameters. That's not what you need. The one I meant is a depth caliper (a cheap one is sold at HD by the way). There are several types. The most common is the type with inside/outside jaws on one end and an extending (depth) rod on the other. A depth mics has a rod that extends from a flat (or curved) base with a mic type thimble for measuring, pit gages are basically a dial indicator with a calibrated base and a small point that extends from the base to measure the depth of a hole/pit.

You shouldn't be surprised that Lowe's and HD have no clue.
 
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Old 07-12-06, 08:10 AM
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low tech method - drill a hole the diameter of the rivet you intend to use (you'll be filling it with a rivet later) - using a smaller diameter piece of metal (coat hanger wire perhaps), bend over just the end at 90 degrees (short enough to still fit down the hold) - put the wire in the hole, "hook" the bent-over end on the backside of the metal, then mark the side of the wire even with the outside surface of the metal. "Un-hook" the wire. The distance between the bend and the mark is the thickness of the metal sheet. That should get you close enough for rivet selection.
 
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