Digital measuring tape

You’ll never come up short with this measuring tape. That’s because there isn’t actually any tape in the device; it measures distance based on the rotation of a wheel. Roll it across the room and you’ll get an accurate measurement of the distance the little bugger traveled. Like the Etch-a-Sketch from Monday this uses the encoder wheel from a mouse as the input. The IR emitter and sensor from the ubiquitous peripheral find a new home on the PCB that hosts the PIC 16F819. It monitors the rotation, turns it into inches, then spits that number out on a 7 segment display. Handy, and cheap!


  1. Bill D. Williams says:

    I think the real hack is how he used his pet gerbil to make the window in the case.

    You know, hacks don’t have to look like ugly … just sayin’.

  2. MS3FGX says:

    Certainly won’t win any beauty pageants, but very clever.

  3. bluewraith says:

    I agree with Bill.. a $15 file set will do wonders.

  4. cool hack but he should really invest in a nibbler tool. $10 at the Rat Shack…. it’s a must have tool for any “case mods”.

  5. oxid says:

    best part about the traditional measuring tape is that you don’t have to touch the surface your measuring.

  6. Mike says:

    Or if there is no surface between the things you are measuring…

  7. Aero says:

    What’s a Calib Rate?


  8. Brennan says:

    …your measuring what?

  9. anonymous says:

    Cool idea, but I think accuracy would be a problem unless you rolled it in a *very* straight line.

  10. Charlie says:

    So, it’s a pocket sized surveyor’s wheel?

  11. Drone says:

    Nice, I wish it had a power sipping LCD and ran on button cells.

  12. Brem69 says:

    If this is made to do a job they find other device’s don’t do so well Then worth the build as in the end they may save time and money

    Good Job

  13. svofski says:

    I’m not sure, but aren’t such devices called odometers?

  14. svofski says:

    Actually, even, Opisometers!

  15. strider_mt2k says:

    Hatin’ on the enclosure makes hacky jebus cry.

  16. draeath says:


    Open space?

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