How much vinyl is left on that roll?

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Ever wonder how much vinyl is left on that partially used roll that’s on the rack? It’s actually quite easy to estimate how many feet remain on it—and that may save you waiting for a new roll to arrive to complete a job.

Brad Getter, Megagraphics, Rancho Cordova, California, shared this great tip with us. All you need is an inexpensive dial caliper, a tool that lets you precisely measure all sorts of things.

“Dial calipers are cheap, almost indestructible, and are useful for figuring out other things,” says Brad, “like determining if you’re using 2-mil or 3-mil vinyl, diameters of holes, pitches of bolts, screws, etc. They’re indispensable for any shop with a CNC router. 

“You can get one for under $20 online or at a Harbor Freight store if you have one nearby. I don’t recommend the digital calipers as they often don’t resolve accurately under .01 in.”

Use the caliper to take three simple measurements from that vinyl.

Step 1:

First, measure the thickness of the film, with the liner.

Step 2:

Next, measure the diameter of the roll.

Step 3:

Finally, measure the cardboard core, which is usually 3.25 in.

For the last step, remember to read the outer edge of the cardboard roll where the vinyl attaches—not the inner core.

Now go to, and enter those three values. You’ll see a fairly accurate estimate of how much film remains on the roll.

Be sure to bookmark that page or save it to your Favorites so that you can go there quickly the next time you’re wondering, “How much vinyl is left on that roll?”