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Thread: Best bang for the buck caliper?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Twisp, WA
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    108

    Default Best bang for the buck caliper?

    My current cheapie digital caliper is getting a bit flaky on me, and my work is improving to the point where a more precise tool is reasonable. I don't mind spending money on quality, but I'm not made of the stuff, either :-). Any suggestions for a solid, repeatably accurate digital unit that won't break the bank? Figure a budget under $200, and closer to $100 would be better. Auto off would be nice, and switchable metric/imperial is a must. Don't need solar powered or computer output. Thanks, gents.

    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Kansas
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    >> and my work is improving to the point where a more precise tool is reasonable.

    For roughing in cheap calipers work fine but you need to get micrometers for precision measurements.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Owensboro KY
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Ramsey
    >> and my work is improving to the point where a more precise tool is reasonable.

    For roughing in cheap calipers work fine but you need to get micrometers for precision measurements.
    Ditto.

    However I have a Brown & Sharpe 6" digital caliper that's going on 20 years and works as well as it did on day one. I also baby it by keeping it clean, in the box when not in use, have never dropped it (knock on wood), and keep it away from abrasive environments (grinders, cast iron, etc).
    Last edited by Dr Stan; 04-07-2011 at 02:34 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Palo Alto, California
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    Default

    I've used and abused my Mitutoyo 6" caliper and it has outperformed and outlasted generations of cheap Chinese ones in our busy guitar repair shop. Battery life is many times longer, too.

    Here's some interesting reading on the subject of electronic digital calipers:

    http://www.fliptronics.com/tip0006.html
    Cheers,

    Frank Ford
    HomeShopTech

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Monroe,GA
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    I'll second the Mitutoyos. I have the enco# 610-0045. No auto shut off, but the battery has lasted over two years now, mainly because tt really does shut off when you press the off button.http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INPDFF?PMPAGE=344&PMCTLG=00
    Ted

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,017

    Default

    I like the Mitutoyo calipers,I've had cheap ones and they always need the zero resetting,plus the Mitutoyo are a lot smoother in action,they just feel a lot better quality.

    Allan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    WI/IL border
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    Mitutoyo are very good. I never tried a digital Brown and Sharpe, but their manual calipers are excellent.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
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    745

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    +1 on the Mitutoyo Digimatics.

    I've got quite a few around so I don't have to go looking - I got most of them through eBay auctions buying non-working calipers (bad jaws + working electronics and good jaws with bad electronics) and mixing-n-matching the electronics and calipers to get working sets. To get away with that you need to buy the same model basic numbers so the case holes match the electronic board button locations but in the end I got half a dozen for the price of 3 on eBay (best buy ever: carbide ID & OD jaws with NR electronics for $20, replace with $15 caliper electronics).

    I don't like the newer coolant proof models as much as the old 500-19x series, and in that I prefer the ones with the buttons on the front edge of the case over the ones with the buttons on the face of the case.

    (OK, I totally geeked out on calipers there. Sorry.)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Taylorsville Ky
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    Best bang for the buck is the Horrible Freight dial calipers. I have tried them all and for general use they are best.

    I keep two spares on in reserve new and have two I use daily. One is for rough stuff and one is for good measuring.

    No matter how much you spend for dial calipers they are only good to +/-.001" so think of them as expendable and cheap enough to throw away.

    If your measuring for close tolerances use mikes, for rough measuring use calipers, dial or vernier.
    It's only ink and paper

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
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    15,651

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    Another vote for the Mitutoyo -- I have the silver IP65 calipers and they're bulletproof despite a lot of rough use.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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