Flat machines (Fig. 8.2) are normally gauged on the English system (e) of needles per inch (npi). The Metric system, which is based on the distance in tenths of a millimetre from the centre of one needle to the next, is rarely used. The latter is a direct system, with a higher gauge number indicating a coarser gauge - the opposite of the English system.
Generally, flat machine gauges range from E 5 to E 14, with the main gauges being 5,7 and 10, but there are machines as coarse as E 2- and as fine as E 18 or even finer now being built.
NB: All flat machines can be half-gauged by removing every alternate needle; thus, an E 10 gauge machine will become an E 5 gauge. Also, different needle hook sizes are available, and gauge conversion by changing needle beds is possible.
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