With today's wire prices, my brother was asking me if I have ever seen a portable wire meter (like the ones the supply house uses for precut orders) used to measure length. He wants something he can measure #12 or #14 THHN off the spool as he pulls it off the wire caddy. Has anyone seen such a thing?
I priced out a wire meter at my supplier and it was $500. Instead, my apprentice suggested weighing the wire. I bought a $35 digital bathroom scale, and set up a spreadsheet with conversion factors to meters for each wire size and length of spool. Full spools (or boxes of RG6, Cat 5, & speaker wire) are a pre-determined weight, and then we write on the side of the spool the weight that's left. The difference is converted and then charged to the customer. The weight that's left will also give us a length so we can be sure there's enough left on the spool for a particular run.
Once we got the system set up and got used to working with it, we found it saved us lots of time and is very accurate...way more accurate than pacing the runs off. The best part is it's CHEAP (like me )! If you're interested in this send me an email and I'll forward the conversion factors I've worked out for the common spools we use.
"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"
I can't imagine why these are so expensive. It is just a reel counter with a wheel, pinch roller and a gear train that gets you to feet. Maybe you are paying for "legal for trade" accuracy/insurance. You could probably cobble something up electronically cheaper than the mechanical deal. You just need a slotted disk with an opto detector and the pinch rollers. Getting that down to "feet" is just a choice of "divide by" counters. It could run on AA cells or a 9v. I can't imagine someone doesn't sell that. Call Greenlee, We could get rich.
I've seen a meter where you look it up to both ends on the reel and it will tell how much is left?? not sure how accurate. You were supposed to be able to use it find a break in a wire also. not sure who made it, a ggogle search might find though