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  • Micrometer recommendations?

    I would like to buy a set of micrometers up to 3 or 4". The 1" I currently have is an old-school vernier with a friction thimble. How are the digital (not electronic) ones, are they very repeatable? Also, how much better are the ratcheting thimbles? Anybody had good luck with "quality imports"? Tell me what works for you guys...

  • #2
    Good micrometers

    Hi sidegrinder

    Good post.

    I saw some very good micrometers (0 - 3") at Littlemachineshop.com (USA) for US$29.25 - and they are calibrated/indexed to "tenths".
    http://www.littlemachineshop.com/pro...1248&category=

    And right next to them is the "Starret" equivalent at US$440.00
    http://www.littlemachineshop.com/pro...duct_view.php?
    ProductID=1836&category=

    Now if anyone cares to explain to me why Starret is worth nearly 15 times as much I am willing to listen - but I will tell you that a "...because its Starret and its made in the USA etc. etc. .............." excuse just will not "wash".

    Little machineshop has its reputation to maintain and so I don't think they would be interested in selling "rubbish".

    I've bought a lot of stuff from them and CDCO.com lately (both in the USA) and all of it has been very good to excellent.

    I have been using micrometers etc. for a long time. I have tried the digital ones. I do have an open mind. The digital "mic's" are a bit awkward to hold but they do the job.

    Don't be put off by all the "noise" about "battery-failures" etc. as regards any digital equipment. Batteries are dirt cheap - so keep a store of them and replace as necessary.

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    • #3
      I have Starrett, B&S, And some Slocomb I also have a import set that goes up to 6 inch. I;ve check them with all the others and they read the same.I think the set was about 40 bucks.I also have some import 1 inch digital that work fine..

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      • #4
        FWIW, I bought the concentric indicator and digi calipers from LMS and am well satisfied with both as well as prompt service to Oz.
        Usual disclaimer, just a satisfied customer.
        Just got my head together
        now my body's falling apart

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        • #5
          I ordered a set of import 0-6 w/standards from www.shars.com yesterday..$69 # 303-2653N Their website is not complete, but they have an awsome free catalog

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          • #6
            I have two digital calipers and they are Starrett brand. Both of these have failed over the time I have had them. The 'internals' failed and Starrett repaired both of them, but at a cost of $107 for each repair. Starrett did not actually repair them, but rather replaced the head on each. I guess this is more cost effective.
            I have no use for battery powered instruments after this experience. Just give me a set of Starrett 436 Series mics and I am happy........pg

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            • #7
              Mics

              I got a set of 1-6" manual mics from Shars a few months ago. The quality and accuracy are stunning for the price. I really don't see how they can be made so cost effectively, even with low wage employees.

              Lenord

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              • #8
                I've got a set of craftsman brand from 0-4" vernier. They are actually made by SPI but craftsman gets to stamp their name on them. I got the set for 100 bucks and all of the larger sizes besides 0-1" have ratchet and friction thimbles. The 0-1" has a friction thimble only. I personally like the ratchet mechanism becauses i work out in a garage that is likely to leave my fingers pretty cold. In the winter time i have a hard time "feeling" how much squeeze or torque i'm putting on the mircrometer. With the ratchet one, it doesnt matter how much you squeeze the thimble, it starts ratcheting at the same point every time. I find the ratchet style much more repeatable than friction - seems like friction you have to calibrate them to your own personal feel.

                I haven't used them much but they seem pretty decent - they came with standards and they have nice insulators on the frame and the standards to prevent body heat from throwing stuff out of whack. Some of the nicer micrometers come with tiny little insulators that are hard to keep a hole of, but these have the insulation pad over the entire side of the frame so its easy to hold.

                Not sure about the mechanical digital ones - i always think they look goofy and not very accurate, but i'm sure thats not true. Thats just a purely asthetic statement!

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                • #9
                  I mostly use a Starrett 0-1" micrometer that I bought used, quite a few years ago. It's still a good micrometer.

                  At one point when I was working in high tech and actually had money, I bought a new Starrett 1-2".

                  Over the years I've picked up used Starrett 2-3" and 3-4". Since I use them infrequently, I decided "good used" was good enough, and it has been.

                  All except the 3-4" have the 0.0001" vernier and carbide faces.

                  I've got both friction thimble and ratchet, and of the two I think I favor the ratchet type slightly. Mostly I don't bother with either one and go buy "feel."

                  Being somewhat of a Luddite, I've avoided any of those newfangled electronic gizmos.

                  A machine shop friend of mine, a professional machinist, likes Lufkin micrometers. They're no longer made, of course, but "good used" are available. Others are partial to Brown & Sharpe.
                  ----------
                  Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                  Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                  Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                  There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                  Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                  Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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                  • #10
                    Being somewhat of a Luddite, I've avoided any of those newfangled electronic gizmos.
                    You know, that pretty much sums it up for me too. I really dont like electronic stuff if i can avoid it - which is weird since i kinda grew up with it.

                    I guess i should point out that those craftsman ones had carbide faces and etc.

                    Maybe its because i'm a rookie, but i found that the friction ones are dependent upon "feel" just to a lesser degree than if you just turn in it normally. I've noticed differences when measuring standards of +/-.00015 (the last digit being estimated, obviously) with friction because i can squeeze the thimble a little bit and get a smaller reading. For that reason, i like the ratchet ones. I dunno - maybe i'm doing something wrong... on the other hand .0001 isn't too bad

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                    • #11
                      I've accumulated a selection, I use various for different things.

                      I've got analog (not electro) digitals from Mitu in replaceable anvil and standard 0-1 configs. Very nice and easy to read. Digi to 0.001, and regular marks with vernier to 0.0001 if you want/need it. I tend to grab these somewhat frequently just because it doesn't take any thought to use, and they are pretty much dead on with less chance of a miss-read. Also MUCH easier and definitely the "go to" mic if the reading must be taken "in place" for some reason, and lighting/angle is bad.

                      But, I have a slant line B&S mics ranging from 0-3" that I can't seem to leave alone. Even the 0-1 that I could use the Mitu standard anvil for, I am actually more likely to grab the B&S than the Mitu (unless the Mitu is already out). I can't really explain it, but for some reason I like (and trust?) the B&S more.

                      I've also got Starrett and Lufkin, pretty much never use them as I prefer either the B&S or Mitu, apparently depending on my mood...
                      Russ
                      Master Floor Sweeper

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                      • #12
                        Good points well made

                        Originally posted by Fasttrack
                        You know, that pretty much sums it up for me too. I really dont like electronic stuff if i can avoid it - which is weird since i kinda grew up with it.

                        I guess i should point out that those craftsman ones had carbide faces and etc.

                        Maybe its because i'm a rookie, but i found that the friction ones are dependent upon "feel" just to a lesser degree than if you just turn in it normally. I've noticed differences when measuring standards of +/-.00015 (the last digit being estimated, obviously) with friction because i can squeeze the thimble a little bit and get a smaller reading. For that reason, i like the ratchet ones. I dunno - maybe i'm doing something wrong... on the other hand .0001 isn't too bad
                        Thanks fasttrack.

                        Last paragraph was a very good comment.

                        If you are getting that sort of accuracy you are doing OK. Perhaps a re-check every so often with a "known" size will get and then keep that skill up.

                        I know of some (so-called) "machinists" that use a micrometer as a "G" clamp and they can "spring" a caliper to almost anything.

                        So you are doing better than a lot of those who have been at it for a long time. You WILL get better - because you want to - whereas "they" WON'T because they cannot or will not.

                        You are doing very well.

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                        • #13
                          If you look on E-Bay under vintage micrometers, You can get some pretty good deals..

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                          • #14
                            I'm curious how many folks who have purchased micrometers of Chinese origin have actually checked their accuracy across their range. I too purchased a 1"-6" .0001" set from Shars. I was a little disappointed when I checked them with gage blocks. I'm sorry, I don't recall the specifics as this was about 8 months ago, but I did find that all had error across their range. They were accurate at full opening, but not at intervals of their range. I think I was checking them at .2" intervals. IIRC, the variance was in the +/- .0003 range. I checked each several times and came up with pretty consistant numbers each time turning the thimble directly. I found the ratchets to be a little rough and I wasn't getting a consistant reading (using 3 clicks). Keep in mind this was just a quick check when I got them and it's possible they'll settle in with use. In comparison, the B&S 1" & 2" .001" mics I have were within a tenth as close as I could tell as they lacked a vernier scale, but they're also 60+ years old. I didn't investigate it any further, just noted that I'd need to use blocks with them if tenths was going to matter in the measurement.

                            It would be interesting to see what other members have found regarding the accuracy. It's entirely possible I may have the exception rather than the rule as we are all probably too familiar with inconsistent Chinese QC.
                            The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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                            • #15
                              Some of our bigger micrometers (5"+)are NSK (JAPAN) , they work just fine.

                              Myself I like my mitutoyo mics, they have served me well for years.

                              I dont care for digtal readouts or other things on a mic. I can read it just fine.

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