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 Post subject: Digital calipers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:14 am 
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Which digital calipers would you recomment maplin, draper or any of the cheap ones and what size.

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 Post subject: Re: Digital calipers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:39 am 
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What for?

If you're a 'real' engineer and want/need guaranteed accuracy to a thou then get a professional (i.e. expensive) caliper. Not necessarily digital either.

If you're ok with measuring drill diameters and the odd item to within 0.1mm then any old piece of cr@p will probably do!

If you go for a cheap set, take a KNOWN and MEASURED item with you and test the caliper before parting with your money.

Look for repeated 'zeroing' (i.e. ensure it goes to zero EVERY time you close it) and repeated accuracy of reading of the test material you use.

There definitely are bargains to be had but quality varies - a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Digital calipers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:35 pm 
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The cheap ones don't like the damp. I've "killed" two over the years using them in the workshop just by leaving them in there in the case in a drawer. (Damp down here near the sea)
Mate who was a professional engineer says he's seen innumerable cheap ones go from using on machines with coolant.
The expensive ones (apparently) are OK with that.
I've got a Lidl set now, but they're kept in the house for the occasional time I want them. The zero and metric /imperial is useful sometimes.
Like all instruments if you abuse them, leave them knocking about on the bench, or drop them, they'll be damaged.
The old vernier type aren't as "nice" but once you know how to read them they're OK, and seem to be tougher.
Woodworking with machines I find a caliper very useful for checking thickness etc. I've got a dial type made from engineering plastic that reads down to a tenth of a mm. It's taken lots of abuse and is still accurate.


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 Post subject: Re: Digital calipers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:03 pm 
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I assume its just for DIY/Hobby use?
The cheap ones iro £15 are a much of a muchness I think, battery hungry. Accurate enough for measuring drill bits and things around the workshop generally..
Not really any good for finer tolerance things like hobby engineering etc.
Some of the very cheap ones have plastic bodies, which are horrible.

If you have a specific use in mind, it may be worth spending out a little more, ive had a Mitutoyo pair for about 17 years, not expensive, the equivalent can be got for around £60 (lots of rip off on ebay) Batteries last a long time, and remains smooth and accurate.

If you plan on using it near fluids, there are ip rate ones available, but at cost.

Some also have the facility to measure in fractions, handy occasionally.

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 Post subject: Re: Digital calipers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:02 pm 
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I have several sub £10 sets, they all work superbly. If you are not an engineer then just buy the cheaper ones, they are all pretty good it seems. I have a plastic set that cost about £3 and even they are great.


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 Post subject: Re: Digital calipers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:30 pm 
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I have a set of sealey digital Vernier callipers, zero for every measurement as they do creep a little with temperature

Mind where you store them as any weight on the lid can turn them on and flatten the battery (solved by a lump of foam in the case to support the lid

If its something that needs high tolerance out come the proper Starrett micrometers or "yankee" style callipers if transferring sizes, On the lathe/mill a block and dial gauge is the way to go


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 Post subject: Re: Digital calipers
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:57 pm 
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I agree with the comments about how the cheap ones die in the damp and how they can eat batteries - my Mitutoyo uses 1/10 the batteries that my LIDL one does and is more accurate but I tend to keep it for precision work. For site carpentry I have a 30-odd year old KWB nylon dial calliper which reads to 0.1mm and is fairly indestructible, also uses no batteries. Nowhere near accurate enough for engineering work, though

For general use a 150 or 200mm is probably the best size

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 Post subject: Re: Digital calipers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:50 am 
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I must be lucky on my mine with regard to batteries, I get at least a year from a battery, calipers in use almost every day sometimes being used dozens of times in a day. I use the Poundland batteries, you get about 6 or 8 LR44 for a quid, along with an assortment of others. So running costs for my 3 sets of calipers is about 30p a year.


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