View Full Version : micrometer question.

Mr Fixit
05-05-2013, 12:21 AM
Hello Group,
I just read the beginners article in this months HSM magazine about micrometers and have to say as a newbie/beginner it was informative and helpful.
My question is maybe a simple one and I haven't Googled it, but I thought maybe the group could answer it here.
Do they make left handed micrometers? I have a hard time reading the barrel and thimble if I use my left hand ( the numbers are on the back) and if I use my right it just doesn't feel natural and I don't have as good control to get that proper feel of the anvil touching the work correctly.
I'm sure that I'm not the only left handed person at this hobby so anyone got any advice or comments?

Tx Mr fixit for the family

Chris :)

05-05-2013, 12:45 AM
Hi Mr Fixit
Check out this link <http://www.sharpfine.com/Micrometers/left-handed-micrometer.html>

05-05-2013, 03:27 AM
Maybe too far out in the field, but one day I figured that if I had to use my right hand for something that I'd normally use my left for (I'm left handed) I'd just decide that it's time to train the right hand. It would be a matter of accepting that it could be awkward, but that it could get better with time. It feels stupid trying to write with my right hand, but I can do it- barely. I find it interesting that the brain can cross its wires and take on the adversity. I don't have enough patience to carry on trying to make my right hand do anything the left can do, but I do seem to have developed a little more dexterity in the right.

As far as operating a micrometer, or any other tools, it seems that there's maybe a bit of a change in perspective when I change hands, but that's kind of out there too. I think all I'm missing to be equally deft with my right hand is fine muscle control. That would come with training, but I doubt I'll carry on with that- no need to, I'm left handed. I'm already in my right mind:)

Jaakko Fagerlund
05-05-2013, 04:32 AM
Many micrometers can be adjusted to have the barrel readings anywhere you want, then it is just a matter of calibration. Though I don't see the issue here, as normally you measure, lock the mic, remove it and check the result and maybe even repeat it. Though in a hurry or in a place where the mic can't be removed once measuring I've just stretched out to see the reading :)

05-05-2013, 05:34 AM
U can do what Jaakko said if you have a mic that both lets you rotate the [ I don't know the name of the part, but it has the tic mark and vernier scale on it] AND has some kind of a set screw so that you can move the thimble relative to the [thing with the male screw thread on it]. However, this puts your vernier scale in an inconvenient location. Then again, if you had to ask, you probably won't be using the vernier scale anyway, heh heh.

05-05-2013, 05:58 AM
Not all things are so easily changed, seen some antics when a south paw tried a rifle bolt action.


05-05-2013, 06:29 AM
I bet Starrett would make one for you, though the cost might give you a heart attack...or maybe not. No harm in asking them.

Joe Rogers
05-05-2013, 10:00 AM
I bet Starrett would make one for you, though the cost might give you a heart attack...or maybe not. No harm in asking them.
Of course cost would escalate if the purchaser wanted a true L.H. mic ...with left handed threads...

05-05-2013, 10:16 AM
It may not be much help to those coming later to machining, but my observation from earlier years in the trade is that one naturally become more ambidextrous as a matter of course. There are just too many things that take two hands in a shop and require coordination between the two to be able to focus on the dominant hand all the time. I find in operating a milling machine, for instance, that I'm often running both X and Y axes at the same time to get where I want to go. When I get to the fine strokes of course I have to stop and do one axis at a time but I don't operate the axis I need with my right hand just because I'm right handed. And if I have to reach somewhere to tighten a fastener and I can only do it left-handed, that's the way it gets done.

05-05-2013, 10:27 AM
Not a mic but one of the better purchases I have made is a left-handed digital caliper and it has nothing to do with being left or right handed (extremely handy for close-to-the-chuck lathe work). How many times do you see only the backside of a caliper when checking work in a tight spot? It got really frustrating but then I found a 6" caliper at Grizzly and now I have been seeing 6" and 8" calipers on E-Bay, darn handy tool regardless of hand preference.

05-05-2013, 11:45 AM
Caliper makes sense, micrometer not so much to me. What would making a "left handed" mic accomplish? If I think about it, really only being able to read the barrel while in use. Following that point, it can be an advantage for you! :) it eliminates any "fudge" or "it's supposed to be" measurement manipulation whether conscious or not.

The only two places I see it being disadvantagious is with a bench micrometer or in an awkward position where the micrometer can't be removed from the work during measuring. The first would mean you would constantly have to flip the mic holder back for front for each reading. Very tedious and annoying for batch measuring. That does present a problem. The second, well, no matter the "hand" of your mic, trust there will always be sure to be some bizarre contortion that will be unreadable!

05-05-2013, 04:59 PM
Ok- new product idea- how about a readout module that sits on a shelf, powered by ac, and a sending module that takes the actual reading. A wire would couple the two- no battery required. The readout would be digital, and showing 4 places, with the last place in a different color so you don't get confused between thous and tenths. The readout module would also give voice output, which would update every 2 or 3 seconds. Anytime a reading is stable for 2 seconds or more, a spoken figure is given.

The 'kit' would have more than one sender, one for inside measurements, one for outside, one for depth, and possibly a means for temperature measurement. Nothing stops you from making a compact sender to use with it for confined spaces. You would have the option of wiring remote sender plug-ins to various machines in your shop.

The main idea is to remove the readout from the sender. The operators skill is then used only to manipulate the sender, which is kept in place while the reading is taken. The shelf-mounted readout module could have a memory feature, and it could have a zero function- it could also function as an rpm indicator-

05-05-2013, 07:53 PM

Wonderful ideas, but don't stop there. With current technology and wifi the device and the readout really should be wireless. And with voice recognition you don't need it to continually call out the numbers. When you think you have the right feel on the part just ask for what you want. Call "ID", "OD", or "Depth", maybe with a command to "Zero" and let it report back to you what it has.

And for those who are in perpetual doubt about their feel on the micrometer or caliper it could maybe have an "Average Please" command along with each of the other measurements so that you could just fiddle with it and it would average the next eight or ten minimum or maximum readings it gets from the sender and tells you what that is. Oh the possibilities!

05-06-2013, 10:37 AM
They make digital micrometers that have the readouts on both sides. We looked at them for work but they didn't come in waterproof.

michigan doug
05-06-2013, 04:01 PM
As noted:

1. It's good to train the off hand to be more dextrous.

2. It's a better and more accurate way to obtain readings if you are not looking at the reading while manipulating the mic.

3. There are some situations where it would be convenient to have both a "right handed" mic, and a "left handed" mic.

4. There are other situations where neither a righty or a lefty would be convenient and you just have to get by somehow.

Good day.


05-07-2013, 07:27 AM
Out of curiosity I wrote to Starrett asking for a ballpark price for a custom left-handed micrometer. About $650. That's a lot, but if you really want one, it can be had.

05-07-2013, 08:33 AM
I have 2 metric mics & several digital calipers which are either & a few 12" SS rules. I'm mid 50s & in grade school we started "converting to metric" & haven't got there yet. I don't see it happening in my lifetime. I have no problem with it, in fact it's easier for people not good with math & makes good sense.