Advice on Dial Calipers, etc

Joined
Nov 27, 1999
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3,745
I'm like John. My good stuff is Starrett. They are also older and I haven't had any of the problems mentioned on the site. :confused:
 

howiesatwork

Platinum Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2004
Messages
2,466
I never have cared for Starrett. Really a pain to work on. Peacock is harder to get parts for. Interapid is okay. Browne & Sharpe is good, an some of their units are made by Tesa, which is good. Etalon and Fowler are good. Mitutoyo is hands-down, the best out there, as far as parts and servicing. There are others.
Carbide tipped calipers and mikes are the way to go if you're measuring steels. It will wear, but a lot slower than plain tool steel tools.
I'd rather use a dial caliper or a comparator micrometer to make comparison measurements of parts. It's a lot easier to see variations than reading a digital readout. A laser mike is nice, but real expensive. Got one at work, sitting next to the 24" supermic...
Yep, you can never have enough tools. :D

Howie
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2004
Messages
259
You may be taking a risk of used stuff off of ebay. The suggestion of a used machine tool dealer is a good one.

I use Mitutoyo both dial and digital. Pay for the quality stuff. Your work will reflect this. I do use some cheap ass stuff around the shop for quick stuff. You wont cry if you drop one of those
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2000
Messages
3,140
I guess I did better than I thought if B&S is generally a step up from Starrett as it looks like I have all six 0-6" mics in B&S with only a single 1-2" Starrett. I do tend to use my Starrett 0-6" dial calipers more than my Digimatics, I find th edials a more intuitive read, but it could just be that it's what I've been looking at all my metal working life.

In that batch of inspection tools I bought I also scored a Tesa 0-1 Tesamaster micrometer. I already had a B&S at home, but the Tesa is a swiss made mechanical digital with a display like none I've ever seen. It was too cool not to buy. I can't really figure out how the mechanism works from teh outside and I'm sure not taking it apart.

Hey Howie, Somewhere along the way I ended up with a Spot On test indicator, made in England. Are these any good? It seems old and I got it from an old machinist, but it has a nice compact body and seems to have a nice action. The face is loose and I'm wondering if it's worth getting repaired? They're not mentioned on Long Island's site from what I can see.

John
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2001
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1,475
razorhunter said:
zerogee,
Could you please explain "mechanical digital"? THanks
As you turn the thimble on the micrometer, it drives some simple gearing for turning a set of mechanical wheels with digits on them (think of a mechanical odometer) so you can directly read out your measurement in the display window. Very simple, always "on" (most electronic mics normally shut off the display after a few seconds or minutes), durable, and ready to go.

The always "on" property is nice for setting up mics with a certain measurement to use as "try" mics (or for setting up a couple of mics to use with different measurement ranges - for quicker adjustment and use -- this is why I have two of the same mic).

These Starrett mics I have also read out 0.0001" in analog fashion from the barrel, should you need it (since that's the only thing marked there, it's easy to read for those a bit less skilled with measurement tools (like myself)). They have carbide jaws, a very good feature for long life. Mitutoyo also makes mechanical digital mics very much like these.

BTW - the Long Island Indicator site mentioned earlier http://www.longislandindicator.com/ has some great info and is well worth studying for all the ins and outs, strengths and weaknesses of the various measurement devices and brands. Nothing is perfect - all of them have gotchas.

Oh, yeah - and always be aware of the difference between resolution (what you can read off) and accuracy (what you can actually measure correctly) .

-- Dwight
 

howiesatwork

Platinum Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2004
Messages
2,466
John,

I've been at it since 69, and I've never seen one. Oldak, Mercer, and B&S are the only ones I've seen mentioned as being of English manufacture. I'm sure there's more. I'd have to see it to figure it out. L.I.'s site is the best source I've ever seen for precision tool reference. You might want to drop them a query.

Howie
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2003
Messages
3,258
My wife things I'm a nut when it comes to measuring devices. Maybe I am. The two things I have in an overabundance are measuring tools and hammers. I'm a sucker for measuring tools, and I have no idea why. Perhaps its just my being anal. I've got scores of measuring tools everywhere in my shop. I never want to be without one. I even have 8-10 tape measures in my rollaway in the garage. I just bought a new Stanley fat-max 25 footer a couple days ago. Yeah I guess I got it bad.

About calipers: I've seen good ones come and go, but I've always been partial to Starrett. Right now, a Starrett digital is my fave, but I also have a couple mitutoyos, B&S, and a few oddball Asian makes. Mostly digital. The TESA is pretty good, and I am warming up to it. :p

Get yourself on the MSC mailing list and usually every month they have a flyer with nice goodies for sale cheap. Usually there is always a decent caliper on sale.
 
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