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Technical Anyone still using Dial Calipers?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by blowby, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. slug
    Joined: Sep 1, 2007
    Posts: 166

    1. West Virginia Mountaineers

    I use my dial calipers all the time. Would be lost without them.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  2. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,177

    from Missouri

    Just used mine this morning.
    I also have a a digital micrometer that doesn't use a battery.
  3. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,519

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Dial Caliper for me..Digital hard for me to preset with out going back and forth bunch of times..
    blowby likes this.
  4. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,997

    Marty Strode

    I have vernier, and digital, in a few sizes, my first choice is the 6" Mitutoyo dials that I bought 40 years ago. Seems like they get used everyday in the shop. I am very careful using them around metal chips and filings, so as not to get any debris in the rack.
  5. error404
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 279

    from CA

    I believe it. I have 1 expensive dial caliper, and a few cheap ones. I use the cheap ones all the time, and reserve the good ones for when I really need to be accurate. Turns out, every time I've compared them, they are identical.

    I still use the cheap ones most of the time though, I can abuse them a bit and not feel bad. Like using them to to make short scratch marks in metal to mark a measurement, or using them under a vehicle where I might drop them on the concrete or get grease on them.
  6. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,071


  7. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 1,940


    It is in good shape but the foam packing material in the case is very bad now

    Sent from my SM-T350 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  8. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,640

    from oregon

    I ran the toolroom for many years when I got off the shop floor and I was always having to clean the rack and reset calipers for guys, always wondered how people lost that little tool that came with them for zeroing the dial when they jump from the grit in the rack.
    When I started telling them they would need to send them in for adjustment and it would take a week to get back it stopped happening so often.
  9. well, my dial calipers are easier to read than my veneer calipers so yes I use them.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  10. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,262

    from Brooks Ky

    Don't want to say this, but also don't want people to get the idea that they can accurately measure .0005 (5/10,000) or 1/2 of a thousandth. However someone wants to say it. A dial caliper is great for things that have several thousandths (.002 or more). If you are making a part that has to be held to say +.001 to -.001, you have a .002 tolerance spread. If you are making accurate parts, you will need to use a micrometer with .0001 graduations. Once you have a machine operating and set up correctly with a micrometer, you can often use a dial caliper for quick checking additional parts, but its best to continue using a micrometer.
    The average guy working in his shop can get close with a caliper. Heck, he may even luck out and hit inside the of averages. A dial caliper has very little "feel" with its thumbwheel, and while you may be looking at the scale and it says what you want it to say, its really not an accurate way to do it. You won't ever see someone grind a crankshaft and rely on calipers to get the journals all the same size. Also when mechanically machining parts with a conventional lathe or milling machine, its very difficult to cut exactly the same dimension over and over unless you have the tool locked at one location and never move it.
    Take a micrometer and measure something . Don't look at the micrometer reading. Lock the micrometer.
    Now take your caliper and measure the same part and see if you get exactly the same reading. Now take the other side of the dial caliper and measure inside the micrometer. Are all of your readings exactly the same as the micrometer reading? Do this on several items and see how accurate you are.
    The value of a caliper is to get you close to an accurate dimension, or for quick comparisons to a known good dimension. You use the known good part to get a reading and then quickly see if the caliper shows that same reading on subsequent parts.
    I had a guy tell me one time that he could measure accurately to .0002 (two / ten thousandths ) with a dial caliper because he turned a shaft in a lathe and it measured exactly the same at both ends of the shaft. If that were true, there would be no need for micrometers. As said above, Tool and Die Makers do use calipers, but not for precision fitting parts. There are many other tools in their arsenal when they are working to .001 or even less.
    The point here is that I want people to realize that whether they have a dial caliper or the digital that displays a specific dimension............they are not for holding .001 tolerances.;)

    A Human hair is appx .007 (depending on who you ask) Split it into seven equal pieces and thats what you think you are measuring accurately.
  11. john walker
    Joined: Sep 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,106

    john walker

    I have both metric and US dials and a dig one that does both, but the battery is dead.
  12. TWKundrat
    Joined: Apr 6, 2010
    Posts: 146


    All day every day. I've had my 6" Starretts for going on 15 years now and there's nothing wrong with them.
  13. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,058


    Well said, my Dad taught me to use mics back in about 1964. I now have his Starret set in addition to mine, that I bought while I was in the machinist trade. I can still see my Dad checking his mics on a standard every time , before he measured something. And I can still hear him telling me. “boy, those things aren’t c-clamps, be easy with them!” Sure would like to hear that more time.

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  14. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 2,077

    ramblin dan

    I use both all the time and micrometers. I bought a two or three foot vernier for bigger things such as measuring inside brake drums and such although my large vernier does not have a dial. I bought it on a whim but use it a lot.
  15. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,072

    from Ioway

    Okay, riddle me this Batman, something related I've wondered about. When using a feeler gauge for measuring clearance it is a bit subjective, but oftentimes you'll hear "light drag" or "like a knife through butter".

    Except, if you take a .020" feeler gauge and Mic it at .020" it's super tight. No "light drag" there. So what's the deal with that?
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  16. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,929


    • Nothing in my life is that accurate .................
    • but my son is a mechanical engineer and says stuff like ‘ekimneirbo’ in post 40..........
    Boneyard51 and bchctybob like this.
  17. And my Post bamboo slide rule.
    vtx1800 and Boneyard51 like this.
  18. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 1,029


  19. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,058


    I use “ go no go” gauges when I can. Another way is if say you want .020. Use a .020 and a .021. If the .020 goes and the .021 doesn’t..... you’ re there! Or at least close enough, for me!

    OLSKOOL57 and WB69 like this.
  20. Its the only kind I have. To me analog is faster to comprehend.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,424


    I have both usually I grab the dial caliper. I guess I’m just an old fart.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  22. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,290


    I’ve got two 6” Mitutoyo dial calipers, one stays safely in its case in the drawer with the mikes and dial indicators and the other floats around the shop wherever the action is. The floater gets used a lot, the others come out as needed when precision is required. My two digital calipers are still sitting in their cases, I used them a few times and went back to the dials.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
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  23. Driver50x
    Joined: May 5, 2014
    Posts: 97


    I bought mine from JC Whitney back in the 80’s. I still use it quite often. I’ve never even tried a digital one.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  24. Mr T body
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,148

    Mr T body
    Alliance Vendor
    from SoCal

    Still use these exclusively. Don't trust the dials or digital. Had to put in a TON of LED lighting to keeping reading them though.........
    Driver50x and Boneyard51 like this.
  25. WB69
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,248


    Don't use then too often but it's generally always a dial. Old habits are hard to break I guess.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  26. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,072

    from Ioway

    Sure, sure. I was just skeptical of the descriptions of how something should "feel" when using a feeler gauge after putting a mic on them. Seems pretty far off to me, but I'm not a machinist.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  27. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,058


    That has always been kind of a debate, the “ feel” of feeler gauges, hence the name. But tight, too tight, not tight enough.... usually will get you in the ball park and is usually close enough on rocker arms on most engines.

    Here’s some of my calipers, not all, but I’m in the process of reorganizing my shop and can’t find everything right now! Lol

    PS: feeler gauges can “ wear out” using them on a running engine. I personally prefer to set the valves on an engine static, but a lot of old timers used to set the valves running.

    PS: one thing I like about the Vernier calipers is they can be inch and metric at the same time! Dials can’t do that, but I guess digitals can.... never use one.

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
    Truck64 likes this.
  28. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,046


    I have 6" & 12" dial calipers. I use the 6" a lot and the 12" rarely, mostly for measuring brake drums of larget stuff on the lathe.
    I also have a digital 6" caliper that I almost never use.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  29. Bearing Burner
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 872

    Bearing Burner
    from W. MA

    I use them all the time, misplaced my 1" mike.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  30. This reminded me to check, guess which one I could use today?:D
    Black_Sheep, blowby and Boneyard51 like this.

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