Review By Dean Bielanowski  GemRed Website - http://www.gemred.com


GemRed "Quick 360" Digital Angle Rule

Mini-Review

By Dean Bielanowski

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We live in a digital word, and it is no surprise that even one of the oldest forms of construction, woodworking, has gone digital in many forms too. This includes digital measuring devices, digital angle gauges and tilt boxes, and the list goes on. Today's tool review is of a digital angle rule. A simple but effective device for measuring, marking and finding angles quickly and easily.

The GemRed Quick 360
The "Quick 360" is a 2-in-1 digital angle rule. It comprises two steel rules joined at a pivot point, above which is mounted a digital display and angle measuring device. The two straight rules are roughly 8" (200mm) long, made of stainless steel for durability and rust protection and are scaled at 1/32" imperial intervals on one side and 1mm metric on the other. When both rules are extended and aligned straight, the ruler has a capacity of 16" or 400mm. Interestingly, the imperial measurements both work outward from the center pivot point at 0" to the outer edge of 8" on each side, whereas the metric measurements are extended across the whole length of both rules from 0mm at one end, right through to 400mm at the other. This tends to make the device simpler for measuring longer straight lengths in metric units rather than imperial. However, when the rules are set at 90 degrees to each other, the imperial scales align perfectly. This makes it quick and simple to mark points along two edges of a board, or material simultaneously - especially useful for marking out mortise and tenon joints, stopped dadoes or any other cuts involving dual measurement on two 90 degree edges. The scales are etched into the faces of the ruler and painted, rather than just surface painted. This will ensure they don't rub or scratch off easily, ensuring longevity in scale reading. The angle rule can rotate a full 360 degrees without restriction, so even obtuse angles can be calculated if required.

The digital angle measuring device is located above the pivot point. It runs off a standard CR2032 3v lithium battery, and one is included in the pack to get you going. These typically have very good shelf life and long use life, but try not to forget to turn off the device after use to ensure good battery life. If you forget however, do not fear, as the device will turn itself off after several minutes of non-use. The battery slots into a small battery tray under the display casing. Next to the display are two control buttons. There is an "ON/OFF" button which is pretty self explanatory - although you can turn the device on by simply moving the rules a little - and a "ZERO" button, which of course zeroes the display at whichever angle the two steel blades are currently aligned. In normal use you would align the steel rules by bringing them together, then hit the "ZERO" button to zero the display, ensuring accurate angle measurement. You may wish to zero it at other set angles for specific measuring tasks, and for these you can do so easily via the button. On top of the display housing is a knob that allows you to tighten or loosen the "clamp" of the pivot point. If you wish to retain a particular angle for manual transfer to another piece of material, the knob can be turned to tighten and hold the rules in their current position for transfer. You do need to be careful here as even at the tightest clamp I could manage it is still possible to move the steel rules with enough force to lose your set angle, so be sure not to bump, drop or excessively move the rules before you have a chance to transfer your angle or scribe it onto the target material. Twisting the knob the other direction loosens the rules for easy movement for measuring, and they rotate freely and smoothly. 

The LCD display itself measures 1" long by 1/2" high and offers a 4 digit readout, allowing the angle rule to provide angle measurements with an accuracy of 0.1 (1/10th) of a degree. As the stainless steel rules are manipulated or angled, the display shows the current angle setting. So to measure an external wall corner (say for trim molding cutting) you set each rule down the opposing faces and snug them up to the wall surfaces, ensuring the inner corner of the rule is touching the outer wall join point. Then read the angle measurement on the display. Surprised it is not 90 degrees? Few house walls are actually 90 degrees, in fact, it is rare to find one that is exact. Foundation movements or settling of structures over time often puts them out, often up to a few degrees from square. They probably were not even 90 degrees when first erected either! Not to worry. Now that you have the exact angle of the wall corner, you can cut your opposing trim edges at angles to match the actual wall corner angle, whether it be an internal angle or an external angle. This results in much tighter fitting molding joints with less gaps for a professional installation/finish. That is just one example of course of how this tool could be used.

The applications are almost endless. Youc an use this tool to set the angle of a table saw blade, miter saw blade, circular saw blade etc quickly and easily. Just set the angle of the rules that you need, verified by the display, then use the gauge up against your saw table and blade to set an accurate blade angle. You could use to to scribe hip rafter angles, or verify or measure existing structure angles. It can be used as a general ruler for measuring and marking, and as mentioned above, it is very useful for layout out mortise and tenon joinery, particularly if using squared edged material. It will perform most all the same functions of a traditional bevel gauge too, but with the advantage of digital accuracy. And it is accurate too. I measured it up against several of my Incra "guaranteed" squares, and it comes up trumps with each of those. I have even attempted, during testing, to deliberately see if I could get the gauge out of calibration on several occasions by moving the steel rules wildly back and forth quite rapidly and for a good minute or so. Then I put it back against my guaranteed squares, and presto, still accurate. Of course, angle accuracy is dependant on ensuring both blades are flat and aligned to each other as you zero out the gauge. The best way to do it to sit the gauge up on its side on a flat surface, then push both steel measure blades together so they are flat on the surface with each other, then press the "ZERO" button. This seems to be the best way to calibrate and zero out the tool. 

It does have limitations though, as does any tool. It cannot really be used as an insitu circular saw cut guide because the blades are too thin to run a saw base against. It also has the marking limit of 7" on each blade, although that is the concession you make to use a smaller tool that weighs practically nothing and can fit in your pocket!


Left: The Angle Rule verifies my cut is truly square - and marking at 2" is easy.
Right: Using the Angle Rule to set the table saw blade at 30 degrees for a bevel cut.

Nonetheless, the GemRed "Quick 360" Digital Angle Rule certainly has its place in the workshop or on the jobsite. It may not have the flair and frills of other angle rules, but it is simple, easy to operate, and most importantly, gets the job done with excellent accuracy. 

For more information on the GemRed "Quick 360", check out the manufacturer's website at www.gemred.com

GemRed Quick 360 Photos
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GemRed "Quick 360" Digital Angle Gauge
 


Digital display measures 1" wide by 1/2" high.


These melamine cabinet sides are not quite square!


 

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