Anyone who makes CAD patterns will instantly understand why a 64ths inch ruler is important. If that describes you, you can skip the discussion and go directly to the download. There are four types to choose from, pick the format you like best.

All others: When making CAD patterns, you need a ruler broken down into 64ths of an inch to facilitate fast math, not measuring. For example, if one seam measures X 17/32 and the joining seam is X 9/16ths, you need a chart that will quickly tell you which is longer. Sure you can do it in your head but doing it over and over every 5-10 seconds (literally) becomes a cognitive load that slowly distracts you from the larger picture. In the previous example, 35/64ths is the mid point of the two measures so you could change both seams either +1/64″ or -1/64″ to meet in the middle. The best way to do this is with a chart showing an inch broken down into 64ths in a readable format. Unfortunately, a ruler broken down into 64ths that is large enough to read (quickly) and that is clearly labeled, is difficult to find.

Anyway, if you’ve been as frustrated as I’ve been, one of the rulers I created may be a better solution. On this sheet (pdf) are four rulers to choose from, each with different format styles so you can pick the one you like best. I like #2 best (top right). You can use them however you like but I printed the sheet and applied a strip of clear packaging tape to the ruler. Then I cut it out and taped it to the wrist rest of my keyboard so I never have to search for it. Previously I had printed out the strips and left them around but they got mussed, torn and of course, lost.

Below are the screen caps of each ruler 1, 3 and 4:

You’re welcome to distribute the rulers as long as you don’t charge for them or remove the copyright notice.

As a courtesy to forum members, I have posted a link to the spreadsheet source file so they can format a ruler more to their liking.

Kathleen, wouldn’t it be even faster to set the CAD default to decimals so that you can see instantly that X.53125″ is smaller than X.546875″ (or even, Y.3494 cm is smaller than Y.4288 cm) without looking it up?

Alternatively, to have the CAD default to display in 64ths so that you can see instantly that 34/64 is smaller than 36/64 without looking it up?

Lisa Blank says:

I feel a little silly writing this, but I opened the PDF and saw five rulers which all look the same and none of them look like the examples above.

Kathleen says:

Hi Alison, you can set it either way; decimals, fractions, metric or whatever. I have my system set to display fractions down to 1/64th. I personally prefer decimals but I am usually working off of the customer’s instructions which are typically in fractions so using fractions keeps things tidier. Luckily for me tho, the program will process decimal measurements as I type them in and automatically convert them to fractions so I don’t bump into any conflicts. It may not seem important but I often have to send screen caps to customers and keeping it in fractions means no conflicts.

For me it isn’t so much having to need to know which is smaller or larger (the program will tell me) but exactly what the difference btwn the two may be. The point is to avoid having to do any math per se (even with the program); with a good ruler, I can repair point lengths in less time than it would take for someone to pull out scratch paper and probably faster than (even) people who are good at math to do it in their heads (they’d have to convert the fraction to decimal, process it, then convert it back to fraction). I have many fraction conversions down to 16ths memorized, I think a lot of people do but when you get tired… it becomes yet another cognitive load stealing band width.

Kathleen says:

Sheesh Lisa, how embarrassing. I’ve uploaded the correct file.

Interesting. I usually work in decimals and convert to fractions in my head as needed. I usually keep a notepad next to me to scribble down measurements and then calculate the difference with a calculator. I can see why this could be useful. Thanks!

Thanks, Kathleen. I don’t use CAD (at least not now) but I like it for measuring. And I think I like both #2 and #3 but probably leaning toward #2 because it has less hash marks.

I’ve got rulers taped at every work surface for exactly the reasons you mention. Yours will replace them. Thanks, Kathleen!

Sarah_H. says:

Great tools! I think I like 1 the best. I would be downloading these in a minute if I was still doing this daily. Probably will anyway, just to have them.

Kathleen, wouldn’t it be even faster to set the CAD default to decimals so that you can see instantly that X.53125″ is smaller than X.546875″ (or even, Y.3494 cm is smaller than Y.4288 cm) without looking it up?

Alternatively, to have the CAD default to display in 64ths so that you can see instantly that 34/64 is smaller than 36/64 without looking it up?

I feel a little silly writing this, but I opened the PDF and saw five rulers which all look the same and none of them look like the examples above.

Hi Alison, you can set it either way; decimals, fractions, metric or whatever. I have my system set to display fractions down to 1/64th. I personally prefer decimals but I am usually working off of the customer’s instructions which are typically in fractions so using fractions keeps things tidier. Luckily for me tho, the program will process decimal measurements as I type them in and automatically convert them to fractions so I don’t bump into any conflicts. It may not seem important but I often have to send screen caps to customers and keeping it in fractions means no conflicts.

For me it isn’t so much having to need to know which is smaller or larger (the program will tell me) but exactly what the difference btwn the two may be. The point is to avoid having to do any math per se (even with the program); with a good ruler, I can repair point lengths in less time than it would take for someone to pull out scratch paper and probably faster than (even) people who are good at math to do it in their heads (they’d have to convert the fraction to decimal, process it, then convert it back to fraction). I have many fraction conversions down to 16ths memorized, I think a lot of people do but when you get tired… it becomes yet another cognitive load stealing band width.

Sheesh Lisa, how embarrassing. I’ve uploaded the correct file.

Interesting. I usually work in decimals and convert to fractions in my head as needed. I usually keep a notepad next to me to scribble down measurements and then calculate the difference with a calculator. I can see why this could be useful. Thanks!

This one works for me. Especially with the decimal equivalents. http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/inchadder

Thanks, Kathleen. I’ve got it now!

Thanks, Kathleen. I don’t use CAD (at least not now) but I like it for measuring. And I think I like both #2 and #3 but probably leaning toward #2 because it has less hash marks.

I’ve got rulers taped at every work surface for exactly the reasons you mention. Yours will replace them. Thanks, Kathleen!

Great tools! I think I like 1 the best. I would be downloading these in a minute if I was still doing this daily. Probably will anyway, just to have them.

I’m not (yet) a CAD-er, but this is sweet! Thanks!

Thank you Kathleen, these are Great!