A Clever Home Made Tool For Finding Pipe Centers

Heck, I might just file this one away and build one of these myself later.

First I have to go kick a path way out in the garage. The Wifely Unit has gotten into the bad habit of opening the door and flinging shit out there lately to compound my hoarding issues.

Dead VCR’s, some other dead electronic gizmos, huge cardboard boxes and even bags of household garbage waiting for Sunday when we fill up the can. Can’t be bothered to walk outside in the rain ya know…


Anyway, I thought this guy came up with a pretty good idea and I would really like to know what he used to hold that lathe tool to scribe that center line with. That was a clever idea all by its self.

Drill chuck?

16 thoughts on “A Clever Home Made Tool For Finding Pipe Centers

  1. That was interesting and a good idea to find CL on a pipe or cylinder. I didn’t care for the cutesy hand waggling. He could have slowed it down some and explain what he was doing, obvious he was an experienced fabber. Not all of us are the experienced or clever.


      • I saw that and had a thought and didn’t follow through with it. I agree, I have worked some raw steel and ya let it cool down and you don’t wipe with bare hands or run a finger over a burr. Good catch!


  2. when i was a machinist I would always use a 1/2 dowel pin… back then i had a good feel and eye sight, take the dowel to the edge and dial 250 and you’re now on the edge.. it’s quick and accurate.. If you must a piece of paper is right around .003 use that between edge of material and pin…


  3. 1. Measure diameter of pipe/rod/shaft/etc. with caliper or micrometer.
    2. Multiply that number by 3.14159 (Pi). Round product of multiplication to number of decimal points equal to accuracy desired.
    3. Cut or tear off piece of blue or green painter’s tape equal to the product of diameter X 3.14159.
    4. Attach that piece of tape to clean surface and smooth flat.
    5. Measure and mark on tape the product of diameter X 3.14159.
    6. Remove marked tape from clean surface and wrap around pipe/rod/shaft/etc. Tape must be wrapped exactly horizontally and not at an angle.
    7. Drill through marked dots on tape.
    8. Enjoy extra time earned by not spending 2 hours in shop building metal gizmo.


  4. I forgot 1 step – between #5 and #6 should be: “Divide product of diameter and 3.14159 by 2 to identify halfway points of pipe/rod/shaft circumference and mark.”

    Sorry ’bout that.


  5. I can see it has uses and a cool tool. My question is how do you find center on a pipe of 6″ (or larger) with uneven ends, and lets say10 or more inches from the end, when you’ve only got a bit 4-5″ long and the holes need to line up?
    Only way I can see is to mark the pipe 180 deg apart, but that takes a lathe or end end mill, and you have neither available.
    I’ve thought of plumb lines on both sides lining up with marks on a floor 180 deg apart, but thats a pure hassle and iffy at best.
    So Mr. Phil, any solutions?


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