Wire gauge is a measurement of the cross-sectional area of a piece of wire. There are two main gauge systems for measuring wire in the US. American Wire Gauge is used for electrical wire (usually copper wire) and US Steel Wire Gauge is used for steel wire. If you don't have a wire gauge but do have an accurate measuring device such as a micrometer screw gauge, it is possible to convert your measurements into the proper gauge for your type of wire.
Things You'll Need
- Micrometer screw gauge accurate to 1/1000th of a millimeter (mm) or 1 micrometer (µm)
- Wire gauge charts (online or in an engineering reference book)
Place the piece of wire in between the calipers of the micrometer screw gauge, and screw the calipers together until they touch down on the wire. Don't screw too hard, because you can deform copper wire, which will completely throw off your measurements.
Look up a table for the conversion of American Wire Gauge to millimeters.
Find the column with for "Diameter in millimeters" on the table, and then find the number closest to your measurement in that column.
Compare that number to the number in the same row under the column "American Wire Gauge" or "AWG". The procedure for steel wire will be the same, except that you'll need to find a chart for converting from millimeters to "US Steel Wire Gauge."
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