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  • Free Digital Calipers?

    I just recieved a free set of 4" & 6" no name and obviously either Chinese or India built digital calipers after subscribing to M.E. and M.E.W. I haven't yet checked them against my gage blocks. But supriseingly they zero every time and so far agree with my Mitutoyo's. However they look to be full of really fine grinding dust and stick and grab opening and closing them really bad. In my opinion their usless as they are. And I'll stick with my Mitutoyo's for metal working anyway. If I can get them to work smooth enough? I'll just use them while woodworking. Anybody have any ideas about stripping these down for cleaning and maybe some minor stoneing on the rough areas? Anything to watch for? Would using WD-40 to flush that grinding dust out screw up the electronics?

    Since they cost me nothing, Then I can afford to toss them, But I hate to throw out any tool. Externaly their actuly finished off pretty well. But it's suprising to me that anything like this can be built to open and close as rough as they do. Just how repetable these will be I can't say. But if they ever spit out a single bad reading even using them for woodworking they will be headed for the round file.

    Pete

  • #2
    no WD-40 unless you want them to hold dust etc. If you need to clean them, use a no residue electronic spray cleaner. Then, maybe a smidgen of Starrett M1 or a very light touch of gage block lanolin on the sides of the body where the indicator housing slides. No lube in the rack.
    gvasale

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    • #3
      Caliper

      None of my digital calipers even have a gear rack.

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      • #4
        Gvasale, Thanks for the input.

        Toolguy, I'd guess a typo and he meant within the groove where the guide/depth rod slides.

        Pete

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        • #5
          Pete,

          I wonder if you find it both ironic and offensive to receive this kind of gift from people who're supposed to know the difference between nice tools and junk.
          Mike
          WI/IL border, USA

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          • #6
            Michalel,

            LOL,You've taken and posted my exact thoughts. And leaning very heavy towards both the Ironic & offensive. Then again, It's a bit humerous if you think about it. These "freebies" could become quite expensive if I valued my time at all. Mitutoyo or Starrett have nothing to fear from these calipers by the feel of it.

            Pete

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            • #7
              Or you could be a tool snob like me.

              33 years doing this stuff, and I've never even owned a set, digital or dial.

              They are usless to me.

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              • #8
                Don't be surprised if the thing eats batteries at a faster rate than a Mitutoyo.
                Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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                • #9
                  I won one for a couple dollars on eBay with free shipping.

                  I have since upgraded to a Mitutoyo (now also made in China).

                  The cheap ones worked well, they just weren't as nice to use. I gave it to my dad for woodworking as a backup to his dial calipers.
                  Hemi-proprietor,
                  Esoteric Garage

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                  • #10
                    Smalltime, LOL, I'll freely admit to being a tool snob. But even if I wasn't these would still need the work to make them even usable. Damn Weston, I had totally forgotten about that battery eating issue I'm starting to really wonder about the "free" part now.

                    Pete

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                    • #11
                      to the OP's Q.....Lee Valley used to sell syringes and needles that were blunt, for use with wood glue for small assemblies.

                      I use them filled with whatever the alcohol is that you get from the hardware store (the good stuff goes in glass, neat) as its good for flushing out indicators etc. I've been told that it is one of the better things as it leaves little residue, although not perfect. Anyway, being able to squirt that in might flush out whatever grit grime and fish guts that are in there without leaving anything to gum up

                      don't be too tough on VP, so you received a free caliper, keep it, toss it, whatever, but don't complain about it on their web site. In a bunch of stuff i got once there was a little plastic caliper...what junk i thought, until it occurred to put in the door pocket of the car. Been many occasions where being able to measure to a couple of thou where ever i happened to be was very handy...so there's a use for it....just take the battery out.

                      Digital? offsore? maybe its the battery company who supplied them?
                      Last edited by Mcgyver; 01-12-2012, 09:42 PM.
                      .

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                      • #12
                        Compressed air and rubbing alcohol. Best things I've found to clean cheap digital calipers.

                        For what it's worth, I've found that all three or four Chinese-made digital calipers I've owned are perfectly accurate within their 6" range, and agree with both my B&S micrometer and an old teacher's Mitutoyo calipers, but the fit and finish certainly isn't as nice. Maybe I've been lucky with the Chinese stuff, but I still absolutely refuse to buy anything Indian.

                        Use them if they're free. Just don't use them on the final measurements. What I do, if keep a couple that I got for $10 and $20 on top of the lathe and mill. I don't feel bad about beating them up, using them to scribe lines or, like my last set, breaking the display. They're cheap. They get put work where calipers are useful but I wouldn't use the expensive stuff for.
                        Last edited by Deus Machina; 01-12-2012, 09:16 PM.

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                        • #13
                          When I'm out buying stuff , I put my 4 inch Harbor Freight digital calipers into my shirt pocket . They're short enough so they don't fall out , and if they do get left behind it's not a big deal. So far, the readings on these calipers have been quite accurate.
                          Yes, they eat batteries ( including the silver oxide type) so I remove the battery between the occasional uses. In my shop, I stick with my Mitutoyo 6 inch dial calipers.
                          Last edited by Bill736; 01-12-2012, 10:57 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I bought a set of pittsburgh brand from harbor freight for 10$ to use as a z axis gauge on my milling machine..works good for that..They were filled with grit and the inside looks like it was cut out with a chisel..I dont like how they shut off after a few minutes and return to zero when you turn them back on..

                            I bought a cent tech from the same harbor freight for another different use , and the fit and finish is much nicer , plus it has a memory ,when it shuts off it does not go back to zero..

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                            • #15
                              I get (buy - new) all my tools - digital calipers included - from "Trade" suppliers as they rely on their reputation with the trade for their on-going business and so they can afford to warrant what they sell (they can't afford not to) as a "bad mark" (ie "cheap" calipers) is way more trouble in the short medium and longer terms than its worth as the buyers rely on the traders reputation and integrity.

                              As regards "cheaper" calipers etc. they do sell a "student" line to the trade if the trade asks for it and to the general public, students and "blow-ins" and "tyre kickers" on the rare occassions that they ask for it but they are warned/advised they are not as good as the "better" stuff.

                              One of the best and cheapest all-round knock-about calipers that I have had is a plastic dial job. It gets used on the lathe, mill, bench, weld/fabricatiing table and out in the yard and around the property. Never a problem. It sure saves my better (all Chinese) calipers.

                              http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a...g_caliper4.jpg

                              http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a...g_caliper2.jpg

                              They are calibrated ot 0.10mm (~0.004") which is quite good enough for "rough" and "roughing" as I can interpolate to half (0.002") or quarter (0.001") easily with the white dial.

                              Burns on the welding bench have not done them any harm. 40 th and I bought them from the "Trade" in Australia.

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