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  1. #1
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Dial Vs Digital caliper

    okay well ive saved up and will continue to do so for a caliper measure (not brakes). I have decided i want 8" of measuring, i could go for the 6 and it will probably be fine for my uses but i just dont want to one day need more than that and of Spit i dont have enough measurement. But heres the thing, do i want a dial or digital? One kid told me that hte dial calipers are a bit more robust which is why often they say "shock proof" like the ones at school. Buuuuut heres the kicker, the digital has toggle between inch and metric. Using the dial i will have to bust out hte cellphone to do conversions. So what do i do
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  2. #2
    Telecommunication Tweek's Avatar
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    I have 2 dial calipers, just cause I don't really feel the need to upgrade, not that I would anyway, they work just fine, and they were pretty expensive.

  3. #3
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Well i like the ones they have at school. They are just 8" dial calipers, he said he got them in a bulk on ebay for not even 20 bucks a piece and they are very accurate. Do you think the dial caliper is more robust though?
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  4. #4
    Telecommunication Tweek's Avatar
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    Honestly? I can't really tell you, I've only used dial ones all my life. And they have been really accurate for me so I will stick with them.

  5. #5
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    I have a dial caliper that is plastic, and is really good. I use it for all my bike measuring needs. I think it was like $15 at a hardware store or something.
    The primary measure is in milimeters, and there is a dial that is in inches. The metric primary mode is perfect for bike applications, which is the only thing I use it for.
    Besides, aren't the digital ones like $200 or something?

  6. #6
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonFixed
    I have a dial caliper that is plastic, and is really good. I use it for all my bike measuring needs. I think it was like $15 at a hardware store or something.
    The primary measure is in milimeters, and there is a dial that is in inches. The metric primary mode is perfect for bike applications, which is the only thing I use it for.
    Besides, aren't the digital ones like $200 or something?
    200 dollars? No no. You can get em on ebay for under 30. Harbor Freight sells one for under 20, a digital that is.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    Do they still sell the verniers?

    Digital's are more convenient to use then dials and less error prone. I don't know as the Harbor Freight ones are any good though.

  8. #8
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    I believe they sell verniers still. I think I used a vernier height guage one, eeeh i would rather it just do the work for me . Im probably gonna get the digital just because i like the convenience of not having to bust out the cellphone if i need an imperial>metric conversion. THe guy http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_lathe...er/caliper.htm
    there has good luck with his harbor freight digi caliper
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  9. #9
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Okay i got the digital, but i think 8" would not be useful since i never use it so i got the 6" digital. Hoping this treats me well
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  10. #10
    Insomniac djbrod's Avatar
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    I use digital. Being an EE the ME guys I've worked with snub their nose at it because they claim it is less accurate. It works fine for my needs.
    Be Honest and Fear Not.

  11. #11
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djbrod
    I use digital. Being an EE the ME guys I've worked with snub their nose at it because they claim it is less accurate. It works fine for my needs.
    well im gonna compare its measures with the stuff they use at school and see if therse any difference.
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  12. #12
    Greetings Earthlings! bcspain's Avatar
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    Ok guys...I caught hell for buying a walmart bike (which has since been replaced with a fuji utah), so I'm going to pass on my experience of the last oh, almost 30 years of industrial experience.

    Plastic hardware store calipers---PASS. You can measure as accurately with a wooden yard stick.

    Cheap ass ebay "5 for 10 bucks" dial calipers---PASS. First time you get a shaving or some sort of particular contamination in the rack, the pinion will be trash.

    If you are going to do any serious measurement, buy some Mitutoyo, Starrett, Browne and Sharp, Fowler, or Helios calipers. Dial or digital, doesn't really matter and will be a matter of preference. Dial calipers are a bit more prone to inaccuracy due to getting crap in the rack, but Starrett and Mitutoyo are easily reset. Browne and Sharp is harder to deal with. The digital versions have some advantages however. They can be reset at any point, and then used as an indicator for plus or minus from nominal. Just dont forget to reset them if you then need to go back to normal measurement. And they need batteries, not to mention what happens if you get them wet. Make no mistake, if you drop any caliper, however much you pay for it, you'll probably destroy it. These are delicate, precision tools and should be handled as such. Same goes for micrometers. Skip the cheap stuff, buy some real tools.

    Look at suppliers like MSC (manhattan supply company), Reid Industrial, and others such as that.

    Last time I bought a set, the 6" Mitutoyo was about 70 bucks, but that's been several years ago.

  13. #13
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Good choice, the digital has lots of advantages over the dial, the most important is being able to zero the reading anywhere on the travel, this saves lots of time when doing things like measuring from hole to hole. The next best thing is the ability to switch from inch to metric, that can be a real time saver too.
    Being able to zero anywhere on the scale allows you to zero on a guage block stack set to your dimension, then check your work for plus or minus to the tolerance, and send measurements via a cable to your Excel spreadsheet. Do all kinds of statistical analysis with the data.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  14. #14
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I have a cheap mitutoyo at home and 2 real nice 8" ones at work.
    The first is a solar powered mitutoyo for desk work and the other is a IPV66 coolant proof version I use out on the shop floor. If you're ever afraid of mic'ing a piece while you're working on it and worrying about getting metal shavings, dust, and fluids on it, you need a fluidproof one. I love mine, no worries when I use it in harsh environments.

    The one I have at home is relative, so it zeros when and where you turn it on.
    The one I have at work is great, it's absolute, so it doesn't matter where you turn it on, it'll always be true.

  15. #15
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    I've got a 6" vernier, can't stand an the thinking involved. If it's longer than 6", I'll use a steel rule.

  16. #16
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    i cant stand Vernier calipers....pain in the poster comes to me when i use them. Im hoping that review is right
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  17. #17
    Videre non videri
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    Well, vernier is the only kind I've ever seen and used.
    No problem at all using them, and enough precision for most people, with 0.1 mm.
    No fragile mechanism that can break.
    Why in the world would anyone want to use anything else???

  18. #18
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    I use a dial, works great. If I need more presicion than a couple thousanths [0.001"], I have a set of nice micrometers that will get me half a tenthousanth [0.00005"] accuracy(of course that requires even temperatures and useage of the tool, ie. not heating it or the part with your hand and using the same tightness/force)
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
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  19. #19
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    Thanks bcspain, great information!

  20. #20
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    why not use vernier? Because dial and digital is that much easier . I use a vernier height gauge sometimes because some ------- cranked on and broke the dial height guage
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  21. #21
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    Well, you already made your choice, so its a moot point, but I really like the vernier calipers I bought from a retired machinist for $10. They're accurate, heavy and are in a nice leather case. Only drawback is his initials are engraved in them. Anyway, I like old tools, which maybe is why I like these and am not interested in digital.

  22. #22
    Videre non videri
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    As I said, I've never even seen one with a dial or digital display, not even in stores.

  23. #23
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    As I said, I've never even seen one with a dial or digital display, not even in stores.
    never a dial? Well when I think of it i dont think i know of a single store near by that sells calipers of any sort. Maybe some of the hardware stores sell cheapos that i missed but good steel ones, i dont know
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  24. #24
    Videre non videri
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    Nope. This is the only kind I've ever seen (in real life, that is), and the only kind I have (two steel and one plastic):

  25. #25
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    I prefer dial since I can easily set it to the desired measurement and use it as a go-no go gauge. This is a bit tougher with digital.

    My company calibrates it once a year, so it's legal to use for inspection.

    If you need accuracy to about .01 inch, you can get by with plastic. They are cheap, but they are not adequate for serious machine part inspection. To be acurate to .001 inch you need a metal one.

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