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Dial or digital calipers

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J.A.S

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Dear all,

I have a birthday coming up, and have been pestered about what I'd like. Oh, the hell of it.

Anyway, given a spot of illness, I've not done any w/working for months. Thus, thought I, why not ask for tools, which might encourage me to venture once again into the garage?

I think that I'd like to have some dial or digital calipers. My instinct is that cheap digital calipers aren't as accurate as similarly priced dial calipers. Does anyone have any thoughts on this, or experience of the ones I've looked at?

The Axminster digital is currently on offer, and does offer metric-imperial conversion:
http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp? ... e=1&jump=0

The dial version is here:
http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp? ... e=1&jump=0

Chronos has cheaper dial ones, and buying both the imperial and metric, would come to £24: cat. no xp107,
http://www.chronos.ltd.uk/acatalog/

Suggestions would be welcome.
Thanks.
Jeremy
 

jasonB

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I've had a Miyoto digital vernier caliper for years, thats when the cost about £100 as they were quite new out. I am also into model engineering so need to be able to work to small tollerances.

The digital has the advantage of being able to change from metric to imperial at the press of a button. You can also zero it on the size you require then take a measurement and the reading will be what needs to come off, saves having to calculate it which you would have to do with a dial.

If you are using it with wood then the accuracy of the cheaper models is not really an issue as the wood will move anyway.

I would definatly go for the digital.

Jason
 
A

Anonymous

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Jas

I purchased a digital caliper from Axminster. I've had it some time (used at least four batteries). It is much easier to read and use than a dial caliper and it will do inch/metric as you say - but also it can be zeroed at any point which is useful when checking differences for example. My only grouse is that it tends to "drift" during use and will add a few hundredths unless it is re-zeroed regularly.

Hope this helps

Bob
 

Alf

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Jeremy,

I got the Axminster digital for Crimbo. As Bob says, you do need to zero it regularly, but it's the bee's knees. Easy to read, easy to use, brill bit of kit. As Jason says, supremely accurate ones aren't really necessary for woodworking anyway, unless you've got a shaving measuring fetish... :oops:



Cheers, Alf

It was for the benefit of the gift givers, y'honour. S'whelp me it was.
 

Chris Knight

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I think it is a complex question (or answer) of eyesight and familiarity.

I work in both metric and Imperial all the time. On my bench there live:-

1. A digital metric caliper
2. An Imperial (fractional inch - not decimal) dial caliper
 
A

Anonymous

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Either will be finme for woodwork but don't be fooled into thinking that the digital version is more accurate; this is not neceesarily so.

The digital is easier to read and easier to datum whe ntaking relative readings.

I would go for digital if only because it allows both metric and imperial measurements - the Axminster one should be OK but I would AVOID the really cheap ones you get in Aldi etc.

Of course, the battery will be flat when you come to use it :?
 

J.A.S

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Thanks, all.

Alf, at the risk of coming out of the DC-watching cupboard, could the Axminster digital one be capable of measuring shavings? Your 'photo would seem to suggest that it is.

Yes, I know, it's wood, and it'll move, but I'd just like to know how thin a shaving I could get, and to see if I can correct a board that's out of true by using a known shaving thickness. Why? Just because I'd like to. [Perhaps he doth protest too much..]

Of course, I'd also like to have reasonably accurate calipers for all the 'normal' stuff around the w/shop.

Thanks again.
Jeremy
 

Alf

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jas":1rqito43 said:
Alf, at the risk of coming out of the DC-watching cupboard,
Why d'you think I got one...? :oops:

jas":1rqito43 said:
could the Axminster digital one be capable of measuring shavings? Your 'photo would seem to suggest that it is.
Looks like it. To be honest you're more likely to throw the accuracy off 'cos there's a bit of dust on the jaws I reckon.

Cheers, Alf
 

J.A.S

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Alf,

many thanks. That's the clincher; perhaps you should get commission from APTC. As long as Rob Lee doesn't find out :wink: .

Jeremy
 

Bean

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Jas
The secret to accurate measurement is to wipe off the jaws each time you pick up the vernier to measure. It soon become second nature as does zeroing the vernier each time you take it out of the box.
They are excellent pieces of equipment, I have one of each type, a true vernier scale, a dial (calibrated in Thou) and a digital. The best looking is the dial but the best to use is the digital.

Bean
 

devonwoody

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I had to return my digital caliper the first day, the switch failed.

I now use a dial caliper purchased from that company in Atlanta, USA
 

DaveL

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I have a digital and two dial imperial fraction calipers. I work in inches most of the time.
I bought the first dial from Highland Hardware and its stainless steel, the second one I picked up on ebay and its plastic :shock: made by Rabone (Swiss made). I now have the David Charlesworth books and he has the metric version in some of the pictures, so I am in good company. :D
 

bugbear

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I have "some" metrology equipment, but my favourite, and most used is a vintage Chesterman that isn't Vernier, let along dial.

It's simply marked in Cm( and mm); the merit (IMHO) is the clarity and rapidity of reading. I often have it to hand when thicknessing stock.

A caliper (of almost any kind) is dramatically more convenient to use (let alone more accurate) than a rule.

I use more accurate equipment as and when called for. I don't have any digital equipment, but I have a plastic (rabone) dial caliper, a traditional Vernier (still looking for a cheap-enough-for-me vintage set though), and a 1/10 though reading Moore & Wright micrometer.

But the simple Chesterman is in my hand the most.

BugBear
 

kygaloot

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I am wary of the need for anything measuring in thousandths in the wood shop, including the measurement of the thickness of plane shavings but I am unlikely to sway such strong Enlightenment forces.

If you really feel the need to be measuring things in realm of half of the thickness of a human hair, the dial caliper has the advantage of communicating information about what is going on between the graduations.

Perhaps this is the style caliper that bugbear refers to as the vintage “Chesterman” (I would love to know the history of that name). I find it extremely handy and appropriate to the medium and quite a bit less expensive than those devices designed for metal working.

Jeff
 

J.A.S

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Thanks for the helpful comments, everyone.

The Axminster digital caliper has been purchased.

Jeremy
 

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