Engineer Square Vs. Combination Square

Like many other squares, engineer square and combination square can help you establish the right angle. But, they are comparable to doing a certain job.

The core difference between engineer square and combination square is accuracy.

The engineer square or machinist square is the most precise square among the square models available. The squareness is off for a small number only. Therefore, it’s reliable to use when you require high precision such as in precision miter join. In contrast, because the combination square’s head is adjustable, the accuracy is not that reliable. It changes as you slide it. Getting worst, wear and tear can cause greater inaccuracy.

This post is interesting. We are discussing how the engineer square and combination square are different from how how they look like until their applications. Hope this post helps you to decide which one is suitable for your project.

Engineer’s Square

An engineer’s square or machinist square is the replacement of a try square for metalworkers. This tool is smaller in size as compared to try square and is known for its compactness, accuracy, ease, and speed of application.

1. Shape

Engineer square stands out in terms of squareness accuracy. It will not wobble like try square, double square, and combination square. The blade and stock don’t have any rivets or pinned. They are totally one-body construction.

The shape of the square is like a try square which forms an L shape. A small vacancy or notch is present at the inside corner which is designed to collect small particles of debris that otherwise will affect the squareness of the square.

2. Material

Both the blade and stock are made from the same material. They are made from steel since it’s durable and provides long-term integrity.

3. Working

There are no scribing guide holes, no markings, etc. The one thing that we take advantage of in this tool is its accuracy. Simply, we can use it directly. In use, the stock of the engineer’s scale is aligned with the edge of the object in a way that the edge or side of the object to be checked is parallel to the blade. If there is no gap between the blade and edge, then the angle is 90 degrees. Any model of feeler gauge may assist you to measure the thickness of that gap. Make sure to use the best feeler gauge for greater accuracy.

4. Applications

The popularity of the engineer’s square comes from its accuracy. It is mostly used by metalworkers, but woodworkers who require high precision also incorporate it to confirm inside and outside 90-degree corner angles. Most importantly, the engineer’s square is used in complex projects where the accuracy of squareness is critical.

Combination Square

1. Shape

A combination square consists of a rule and a stock. There are graduation markings on the rule for taking linear measurements. The most common type of head is the standard head, which allows you to establish only 90- and 45-degree angles. The other attachments are the protractor and center finder. These two additional attachments add more versatility of function to the combination square. For example, a protractor head can be used to not only measure 45 and 90 degrees but also any possible angle in the range of 0 to 180 degrees. Also, there is a spirit vial present in the stock that can be used to check the flatness of a surface.

2. Material

It consists of several body parts: ruler, head, lock, spirit level, protractor, and center finder. The rule is made from steel (stainless steel or hardened steel) but the lock bolt is made from brass. Cast iron is the material for the head. Other attachments may be made from plastic. It’s very comparable to engineer square which has a single material only.

3. Working

The head of the combination square can be attached or detached by sliding the rule into a slot in the head. There is an adjustable bolt that is used to lock the head in position while transferring a measurement from one object to other. To move the head to the desired length, loosen the bolt.

4. Application

It can measure depth, height, length, width, and angles. The center finder head can mark lines through the center of a circle or square object. The protractor helps you measure a corner with ease.

A combination square can be used for multiple purposes like measuring and marking measurements, making, and referencing perpendicular and 45-degree angles (Standard Head). Spirit level can be used to check the levelness of a surface as well.

All of these functions make it appropriate to use in carpentry projects.

But, using the combination square can slow down your work if you only have a single tool of this, meanwhile, you are going to use it for many functions, which makes you have to always adjust the heads all the time.