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Digital caliper from HF - opinions wanted.

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  • Digital caliper from HF - opinions wanted.

    I was searching thru the internet looking for digital calipers and came across this one at Harbor Freight (sale price $19.99). Have any of you ever got one of these (see link) and if so, what do you think of it? Somehow I get the feeling that if it does work okay the battery must cost a bundle or can't be found at all.

    Any comments would be appreciated.


    [This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 07-08-2004).]

  • #2
    I have a nice Mitutoyo dial caliper that I use for critical work, but I also have one of the HF calipers also. I use the HF for routine work and it is actually pretty nice. I have checked it with gage blocks and for the lengths I checked, it is within 0.001".


    • #3
      I had that cheapo one. it's nice. takes normal watch battery available at wallmart.

      kept it as a loaner at work for a while, untill someone broke the thumbwheel off. had work replace it with a mitutoyo

      finally turned it into a quill dro one day.


      • #4
        Mine seems to work well. It came with an extra battery. When I check it on blocks and zero it, it correlates with what my Mitutoyo dial caliper reads. I use it a lot, but if a measurement is critical, I go to a micrometer. If you're working with relative measurements, I think it's fine. If you need absolute measure, use a mic.
        Lynn S.


        • #5
          It's a little bit "lighter" build than the Mitutoyo but works ok.

          You've got to remember to zero it with the jaws closed since it is not absolute reading like the Mitutoyo (but neither is Starrett at $150 and up).


          • #6
            I bought several during the last sale on them. One lives as a z axis DRO on my Ex-Cello mill, one is mounted on the my WEBB lathe cross slide. I use the others often for non-critical work but they all seem to be close enough for naything I do. The battery is simple to find and cheap. The one that comes instaled is usually close to dead on arrival, but after a year of service the replacements are still working well. A lot of bang for the buck!
            Stay Safe


            • #7
              Without the lettering it looks exactly like a couple of digital depth gauges I bought on E-Bay. They are offered there from time to time by the same guy. I'm sure they came from the same Chinese factory.

              Mine have a nice finish and work well. The 8" has run on the original battery for about 2.5 years. It seems to compare well with other calipers and my mike. The 12" had a defective lock screw and the seller does not answer my e-mails. But it is OK otherwise. I gave up as I hope to use it as a readout on the lathe and will never need to lock it.

              Paul A.

              Paul A.

              Make it fit.
              You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


              • #8
                Well...I guess I'll try one.

                By the way, they also have some 8" and 12" pretty cheap - the 8" is on sale for $22.95.


                Free Extra Battery

                * Accurate to 0.001''
                * Resolution: 0.0005''
                * Metric and SAE digital display
                * Fluid-resistant stainless steel frame, precision ground jaws
                * Jaw depth: 13/16'' (inside), 1-15/16'' (outside)
                * On/off switch with automatic shutoff

                Includes two 1.5V button cell batteries


                [This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 05-16-2005).]


                • #9
                  Mike --

                  Out here in Northern California the Kragen Auto Supply stores sell a Chinese-made caliper under the KR Tools brand. Most weeks the KR caliper is in the ad for $19.99 -- which matches the Harbor Freight price -- but there's a dozen Kragen stores for every Harbor Freight.

                  Kragen is only one of the flavors of fast-food auto supply stores operated by CSK, Checker and Schuck being the others, and CSK itself is now owned by an even larger corporation with similar stores of its own.

                  If you can get by with the 6 inch model, look around a bit and you might find one just down the street that'll save you shipping time.



                  • #10
                    Thanks John, I'll check around! Being out here in Northeastern Utah everything is FAR away.


                    • #11
                      Guess I'll be the voice of caution here. For the price, it's hard to go wrong. However, my experience with two of the cheap imports is that they aren't as linear as the Mitutoyo's. Caliper 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 gage blocks for example. The import may be as much as .002 off at some point. For most of the stuff you want to use a caliper for that may not be a problem, but you'll want to check what you buy and know its limits.


                      • #12
                        I recall sending back one caliper which I had purchased because the ID fingers were ground so poorly that one had a substantial flat and one had a knife edge (literally).

                        The ones I have now, both 6" calipers and 8" digital machine scale, were from ebay (JTS machinery and supply).


                        [This message has been edited by nheng (edited 07-08-2004).]


                        • #13
                          Will someone post a picture of the caliper used as a Z axis DRO. I am very interested also the lathe compound application. I think I might buy one or two of these myself.
                          Thanks Mike


                          • #14
                            I had seen one setup as a DRO on a milldrill in one of the magazines. I would like to do it for my drill press so some photos would be great!

                            If you can't host them, I can do it for you.

                            Michael Bush


                            • #15
                              I have one of these calipers it's nice for most work. The battery is a standard 357 watch battery, I have a card of medical grade batteries in my frig, they are Medtronic (MiniMed) MMT-104. They have an use by date in 2008 on the package. A diabetic friend changed supplier and gave them to me. I think the batteries may out a longer shelf life than the calipers, but only time will tell.

                              The best thing is to check on these by using your 1-2-3 blocks or your 2-4-6 block as a standard, not real scientific or that accurate of a method, but what do you expect for $19.95?