Step & Relative Measurements

Say we have a mint tin that we're measuring. We want to know the thickness of the metal, but because of the rolled edges, there's no easy way for us get a good measurement with the outer-pincers. However, we can use two measurements and subtract them! This is what digital calipers are good at.

Step measurements are taken by pressing the 'head' against the bottom of the tin and then lining up the offset movable side so that it presses against the top of the edge.

Now zero out the measurement.
And measure the overall thickness. The difference is the thickness of the bottom metal.
This measurement came out to 33.5 mils. The closest standard sheet gauge to 0.0335 is 20 gauge. Variations in the metal thickness may be due to additional thickness from the plating process or the rounded edges interfering with the depth measurement. Taking multiple measurements is always a good idea!
This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Jul 29, 2012. This page (Step & Relative Measurements) was last updated on Nov 16, 2019.