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another shot in the caliper wars.

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  • another shot in the caliper wars.

    The first link is a mostly honest review of Chinese calipers and somewhat funny

    UPDATE: see why the cheap ones kill batteries calipers. How bad can ten dollar digital calipers be? Take an...

    The next vid isn't about calipers but fast forward to 3:55 and he does show how to adjust a cheap set of calipers to get them most out of them.

    We take a big mistake at work and turn it into the next midnight infomercial workout machine. Making BIG punches and dies with scrap tool steel. Using the 10...
    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at

    Southwestern Ontario. Canada

  • #2
    My personal best solution
    is a good caliper that is a Mititoyo digital
    and a general shop use caliper that is a $20 Dial type from China.
    These two cover a wide range of different uses and accuracies.



    • #3
      The chinese verniers always seem to get a bad mark for battery life , so everyone buys LR44s in blister packs to keep stocks of the them.

      Most of the battery life issue is the use of LR44 and not SR44 batterys. They have very different voltage vs usage curves and the OCV of LR44 drops significantly with use. SR44s have an almost flat OCV curve and provide their rated voltage until almost absolutely flat.

      SR44 cost a bit more but are well worth the extra.


      • #4
        True about the battery.
        I tried the sr44 in one of those. I was not worth the extra cost. Battery life was still poor.
        OTAH put a drained by POS battery in a Mitutoyo and it works.
        The chineese should market AA operated calipers.


        • #5
          Originally posted by MrSleepy View Post
          The chinese verniers always seem to get a bad mark for battery life
          Where do you put a battery (cell) in your verniers?

          (Sorry, but this is a bit like calling a Kindle a paperback.)


          • #6
            They should make calipers that turns off completely, and not just turn off only the display.
            Why complain about about poor fuel consumption in your car when all you do is take it out of gear but leave it running?
            Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
            Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

            Location: British Columbia


            • #7
              well, i recently left my aldi, $10 caliper on for a week (o.k., it doesnt turn off) and i was still able to use it today. it is accurate too.


              • #8
                Beat me to it!

                Perhaps his vernier calipers have a night light.

                Originally posted by Mike Nash View Post
                Where do you put a battery (cell) in your verniers?

                (Sorry, but this is a bit like calling a Kindle a paperback.)
                Paul A.
                Golden Triangle, SE Texas

                And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                You will find that it has discrete steps.


                • #9
                  Probably backlit like a Kindle to see the lines better.
                  Kansas City area


                  • #10
                    The cheap calipers that turn off completely also lose their zero. Those that keep zero just turn off the display, and battery current changes only from about 50 uA to 40 uA. I have found that batteries last several months, and are easy and cheap enough to replace. Or if not needed for a long time, just remove it. However, the spring contacts that hold the battery are fragile and subject to degradation, wear and corrosion, and may fail after a number of battery changes. Bending them tighter and cleaning usually work.

                    I agree that a dial type may be best for machine-side shop use, with a good digital for layout and inspection, but inexpensive digital types are also OK. Calipers are also called "guessing sticks" and really should not be used for anything needing better than 0.005" tolerance. Also I have found that the outside measurement may be OK, but inside measurement can be off by at least 0.005" due to dull and inaccurate grinding of the points.

                    There seem to be two schools of thought on calipers and probably not many will be convinced to transfer from one school to the other.

                    "Real" machinists use micrometers, gage blocks and height gauges!
                    Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                    USA Maryland 21030


                    • #11
                      I don't have any problems with my Chinese (very good by the way) calipers as I normally don't use them for direct measurement/s but as comparators (where I use the job or a slip gauge as a known reference).

                      I always "zero" my calipers both before I start and during the job.

                      I "zero" or "set" them against a known reference - i.e. the job itself or a slip gauge or a micrometer "setting stick".

                      I do the same with micrometers and the like as well.

                      I can't see the sense about complaining about the caliper or battery if you really did (or should have "known" or at least suspected) that those "Chinese" calipers would not be reliable or accurate or consistent enough to do the job adequately - and yet you (still?) bought it.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post

                        "Real" machinists use micrometers, gage blocks and height gauges!
                        "Real" machinists get the job done, and don't have time to worry about what others think of their tools. They know, and understand the limits and use the tool that gets the job done. No need to waste time measuring tenths when a 1/4 will do...


                        • #13
                          Good - very good and topical - response kf2qd.

                          I guess that all the "real" machinists are all at the top grade too - what else?.

                          I guess that I could say that I've had a bit to do with "machining" over a reasonable amount of time and I've never met (that I know of) any "real" and by inference "unreal" machinists.

                          Since I am no longer in the "9 to 5" and perhaps by inference "pro" machining (and "Fitting") bit that I am almost by definition a "has/was been"? ("never was or could be") and not to be called or regarded as a "real" (or any sort of) a "machinist".

                          I am just a retired bloke in OZ who more or less and pretty well just occasionally potters around in his "shed" (shed = shop in OZ) doing nothing of any substantial skill level or importance - if, as and when I like to - or not.

                          Here is my shed:

                          "Hovering" (as in the UK) the house carpet:

                          The "Shed" ("Cave"?) lounge:

                          My wife and I in our "dotage" (aka "old age"):

                          Last edited by oldtiffie; 03-07-2015, 12:28 AM.


                          • #14
                            Just so there's no misunderstanding, my remark about "real machinists" was entirely facetious, and I meant no offense. I agree that the goal is to "git 'er done" to whatever specs are actually needed using whatever means that can produce those results efficiently.

                            I am still learning, of course, but sometimes I think we take more time and effort than necessary to make some of the parts. However, the instructor's motivation is probably to teach how to achieve such tolerances and unusual contours and fine finishes, rather than actual necessity. It's just a hobby for me, mostly, or a way to learn how to make certain things I may need for work-related projects, but many of the students are very likely preparing for careers in machining and may be held to higher standards.
                            Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                            USA Maryland 21030


                            • #15
                              I will make one observation I do not own a good pair of digital calipers, I a have a el cheapo set that isn't a accurate but it serves a purpose. If i need or want better calipers I grab my starret dial ones. I see the need in a setting that you are machining for profit or needing all the functions of a digital caliper it would pay to purchase one. But for my home shop it is an expensive luxury