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196: Decimal equivalents of fractional inches

April 29, 2022

Because I live in the the USA, I typically use the imperial system of measurement (inches, feet, miles, etc.), and as a result, smaller measurements are conducted in fractions of an inch. Fractions are, let’s say, an acquired taste. After years of exposure, I feel pretty comfortable with them. Sometimes I even like them.

But, I often need to reference a conversion chart when I’m making something. I have a JPG file right on my computer desktop. But the layout isn’t quite effortless enough to decipher. There are thousands of these charts available online, but somehow, I can never seem to find one with all the features I want.

  • Shaded alternate lines for legibility.
  • Offset fraction indents, denoting subdivisions.
  • Larger font/darker color for more common fractions.
  • Using color at all, or at least shading.
  • Maximum of 2 columns. (Some of these things are arranged in a 3-column layout. That’s madness. Inches and thirds don’t get along )
  • Legible. (Not a copy of a copy of a copy.)
  • Millimeter equivalents included.
  • No leading zero on the decimals. (It may seem like a trivial thing, but the amount of times I’ve taken a quick glance and mistaken 0.125 for .0125 makes it worth the trouble. It’s a decimal chart. I know they’re decimals. Get rid of that zero.)
  • Accuracy. (The chart I frequently use has a typo, and several of these charts don’t bother with rounding up the third decimal point. 21/32″ = 16.66875 mm. 16.668 mm? I don’t think so!)

So, I made my own. I decided to go with the classic ledger sheet colors. Green makes it seem more official and tool-like. It’s a very useful reference tool, and it can even help you conquer any issues you have with fractions. The indents correspond to tick marks on the ruler, so you can kind of fake it while measuring, and think, “The line in-between 3/4ths and 7/8ths,” then check the chart, and go, “Oh, 13/16ths!”

13/16ths… Yeah. I’m not going to argue. Metric is a much better option.
But, that’s a topic for another day!

Click the pic for a printable PDF. Print it out and hang it up on the wall. It’s great.

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