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Tony
02-02-2012, 01:07 PM
I've got some starrett 216's 0-1" and 1-2" that do all the heavy
lifting around here. Funny when i first got the 0-1" i thought it
was a bit .. i dunno.. gimmicky. Then it turned into my go-to mic.
When I needed a 1-2 i picked up another 216.

So two part question..
first one just for kicks: favorite micrometer make/model?
second one is why I'm posting: recommendations for 'economy' mics
of decent quality? looking for bang/buck.

I'm tempted to get some more 216's but bigger than 2" and they're
just too expensive. I'd like a 2-3 and a 3-4.

ebay/craigslist are a little out of my reach but mail order hasn't
been a problem so far.

I suppose craigslisters are wary of overseas buyers. I don't understand
why, I always promise them that they can keep the change if they
just cash my big checks. :D

Tony

dockrat
02-02-2012, 02:15 PM
I have a set of mics that go up to 4" that I got from KBC Tools. They are the IP54 digital ones on the top left of the following page.

http://www.kbctools.com/can/Navigation/NavPDF.cfm?PDFPage=624

The price is reasonable. I like how they feel and the accuracy seems fine. One thing I do tho is dump the battery when not in use as they will eat batteries.

justanengineer
02-02-2012, 04:33 PM
I like the older Starrett vernier mics (cant rem a model #, sorry) that everybody seems to have, but I do have a collection of older B&S and a few Mitutoyos too. Generally, I find that every tradesperson from the first 3/4 of the 20th century had a few Starretts, generally took pretty good care of them, and coincidentally they arent worth anything for resale. I pay <$10 each up to 6", and up to $20 each for 6" to 12".

On the subject of mics, I keep an optical flat handy for checking the anvils, as well as a known good set of standards. If you dont have both of these accessories and use them regularly you cant begin to claim any sense of accuracy IMHO.

PixMan
02-02-2012, 05:24 PM
The most common Starrett micrometers are the No.436 style. Simple, plain, and most of the oldest have no carbide faces, no "tenths" vernier scale, no lock, no ratchet, no friction thimble. I only have those in the 4-5" and 5-6" sizes. I have the carbide faces on my 7-8" micrometer.

Aside from the ones my dad has in the shop we share (and he has a 0-12" set of Chinese no-name that remains unopened after 11 years now along with a couple of Lufkin & Starrett in 0-3" range), I have the following ones in my box:

0-1" Starrett No.230RL
0-1" Starrett No.734XFL-1 digital electronic
0-1" Mitutoyo 101-117
1-2" Starrett No.T2XRL
1-2" Mitutoyo 293-331 digital electronic
2-3" Brown & Sharpe #53 (tenths, carbide, plain thimble)
3-4" Brown & Sharpe #65 (tenths, carbide, plain thimble)
4-5" Starret No.436L
5-6" Starret No.436P
6-7" Starret No.436XL
10-11"Mitutoyo 103-225
0-1" Mitutoyo 111-166 spline mic
0-1" Mitutoyo 222-125 blade mic
1-2" Mitutoyo 122-126 blade mic
2-3" Mitutoyo 122-127 blade mic
0-3" Starrett No.449 blade depth mic 2-1/2" base
0-6" Starrett No.449 blade depth mic 4" base
0-1" Mitutoyo 114-135 108 v-anvil mic
0-1" Mitutoyo 223-125 mechanical digital disk micrometer.
0-1" Mitutoyo 293-348 digital electronic

My favorite micrometer is the last one on the list, which I picked up on Sunday from a Craigslist seller. Mint condition, for $100:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v466/kenm10759/Dads%20shop/IMG_1531-r.jpg

It's the smoothest, most versatile, easiest-to-read and most reliable one I own. I'd used them at two of my past employer's shops, and knew I'd eventually have to get one.

BTW, I cannot endorse buying no-name micrometers. If any on my list need ever repair (and it's doubtful they would, other than the Starrett 734XFL), I know I can get them fixed.

Dr Stan
02-02-2012, 06:32 PM
Starrett mics usually hold up well, but most of mine are Lufkin, B&S, Starrett and Mitutoyo. My 0-1" is an old Lufkin with carbide faces, satin chrome finish, .0001" vernier and a friction thimble. I bought it used in a pawn shop for $25.00 in San Diego in 1976 and it has performed flawlessly as it was a top shelf mic when it was new.

My advice is to find gently used name brand measuring instruments, rather than cheap imports. Keep in mind you get what you pay for when buying on the cheap. Yes its easier to simply order one of the cheapos instead of searching for a good buy, but that's part of the fun in finding "tool gloats". :)

On edit. At one point there were some Polish mics being imported into the US that were quite good. However, since I have not been in the market for mics I do not know if they are still available.

Ggerg1186
02-02-2012, 07:38 PM
Used Starrett 0-1 mic's are selling on eBay for about $25 right now.

PeteM
02-02-2012, 09:18 PM
It's ten years old, but:

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/greatest-hits-links/best-micrometers-calipers-buy-110651/

The quality of some Chinese mics has improved since then. In many ways the best quality may be a used US, Swiss, or German set, still in very good condition.

Tony
02-03-2012, 10:05 AM
pix thats quite a list, stack those end to end you could measure a mile +/- half a tenth. :D

ps for Brown/Sharpe, IMHO, no one beats their venier calipers but I've never tried their mics.

Rosco-P
02-03-2012, 10:35 AM
Any of the green hammertone finished Mitytoyo mics, older Scherr-Tumico mics.

Rooter
02-03-2012, 11:09 AM
Just a suggestion,
If you're not in a big hurry, keep an eye on local auctions.
I went to an auction last year that listed a SB9A lathe and bought 8 Starret mic's for $50. Sizes ranged from 0-1" up to 4". Some had a little rust, but spun free and should do nicely once cleaned up.
I passed on the lathe since I had just bought one. It went $750, I wish I would have bid on it.

justanengineer
02-03-2012, 11:14 AM
Used Starrett 0-1 mic's are selling on eBay for about $25 right now.

Call me a hoarder, Ive got quite a few of them and dont think I ever paid more than $5.

The prices on Epay are simply amazing to me most of the time. Good deals do occur if you pay close attention and find an obscure auction, but many sellers on there tend to cater to the "it only takes one idiot with money," and/or the "cost of doing business" mentality.

Ggerg1186
02-03-2012, 11:31 AM
Call me a hoarder, Ive got quite a few of them and dont think I ever paid more than $5.



Fair enough, but if you need a mic...are you going to wait 6 months to come across a $5 deal? Pay $25 now for a used one, or pay $100 for a new one?

How much time, effort, and money do you want to put into the deal? Different for each person.:)

As a follow up question... are those mics only worth $5 to you? I'd be happy to buy them.

Paul Alciatore
02-03-2012, 02:08 PM
Economy Mike? I have a Fowler 0-1" digital and found it to be excellent quality. It checks out 100% against my shop grade blocks. Reads to half tenths (.00005"): takes a bit of practice to use at that level but that would be the same for any brand. I have used a Starrett. I purchased it on sale from one of the major tool houses (not E-Bay) and paid about $45 for it. Certainly worth every cent.

justanengineer
02-03-2012, 06:01 PM
Fair enough, but if you need a mic...are you going to wait 6 months to come across a $5 deal? Pay $25 now for a used one, or pay $100 for a new one?

How much time, effort, and money do you want to put into the deal? Different for each person.:)

As a follow up question... are those mics only worth $5 to you? I'd be happy to buy them.

In my garage here I only have two 0-1" mics, one of which is part of my grandfather's set from WW2 with his name scribed into them. That set to me is priceless, rarely gets used, and definitely does not leave my house. The rest (4?) are back in NY laying in strategic places. Due to certain relatives' use, they do need to be replaced upon occasion, but to me theyre like tape measures - wont sell them bc I cant hardly find any when I need one.

Regarding paying for a "need," I dont need tools. I want tools. Clear and simple distinction. If I need to do anything, I could easily pay for work to be done, but in many cases dont bc I enjoy the work. I also enjoy quite a few other hobbies and am neck deep at work constantly, so if one is held up by lack of tools or materials, I can easily work on another or simply get ahead at work and enjoy time off later. Beyond this, I also attend ~100 auctions every year and have friends in the various trades. If I really want to, I could beg/borrow/bribe, but usually just wait a few weeks and focus on another project in the meantime. I simply dont see the need to pay much when I can get a deal. Cheap, soon, or high quality? Pick two. I pick the first and last.

If you keep your eyes open at yard sales, flea markets, auctions etc in the spring/summer, I think you will find that $10 is about the norm for small 20+ yr old mics.