Understanding Corrosion in Water Pipelines: A Guide for Pipeline Designers


Contour Gauge

Last updated: November 4, 2017

What Does Contour Gauge Mean?

A contour gauge is a measuring tool used to record the cross-sectional shape of a surface. It consists of a set of plastic or steel pins set against each other in a frame. The frame keeps the pins parallel in the same plane. Each pin’s movement is perpendicular to the plane, and independent of each other. By profiling the surfaces, one can easily compare two surfaces or against a standard profile to determine if there is any material loss due to corrosion or other factors.

The contour gauge is widely used in metalworking, woodworking and in architectural conservation.

A contour gauge is also known as a profile gauge.


Corrosionpedia Explains Contour Gauge

When the contour gauge is pressed against the object, the pins conform to the shape of the object and the profile of the object can then be copied onto another surface or drawn.

The typical contour gauge is made of heavy-duty metal or durable and lightweight polyethylene. Depending on the application, plastic pins may be are used for sensitive objects while steel pins are used for less sensitive surfaces. The gauge may be fixed for smaller objects or adjustable when larger surfaces need to be profiled. This type comes with varying lengths of detachable extension modules or can be combined with other compatible adjustable models.

The typical gauge also incorporates a metric and an imperial ruler, with some having inches and millimeters marked on both sides.

Edge magnets are included and these help to keep the gauge in place when profiling metal surfaces.

Applications of contour gauges include:

  • Checking the shape of a metal object surface before and after material loss due to corrosion or abrasion
  • Documenting profiles of decorative moldings in architectural conservation
  • Used with curve templates for metal shaping and bending
  • Copying awkward shapes in various applications such as metalwork, woodwork, tilling, carpet laying and much more
  • Duplicate edge and corner contours on tile, sheet metal, wood, carpet
  • Used to model airplanes and ships
  • Used to get the exact contour of a repair area
  • Checking gears for wear and deviation from the original profile


Profile Gauge

Contour Gage

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