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  1. #1
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Mitutoyo Micrometer -- worth it?

    As I think about the tools I've acquired over the years, a micrometer is one that is very clearly lacking. I think within 6 months I will go ahead and buy one.

    A few years ago I bought Mitutoyo IP66 digita calipers, which are wildly accurate. I have carefully examined the worksmanship under a 100x optimal comparator to examine the measuring surfaces for lack of parallelism or any pits, but wasn't able to find a single imperfection.

    This obviously bodes really well for Mitutoyo's micrometers. The question is, are other, cheaper brands comparable? MSC has SPI and Fowler micrometers for up to 50% less. I don't have any personal experience with these brand's products. Does anybody here? Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Old Fogy
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    I have a thirty-something year old mixed bag of set of Starrette, Lufkin, Brown & Sharpe, and even a Craftsman. They are all accurate and well made.

  3. #3
    AEO
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    well, how much perfection do you need? 0.0002? 0.0001? 0.00001?
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  4. #4
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    The micrometer should have a resolution of .00005" and be accurate to .0001". x136, the 6" calipers i bought from mitutoyo were, 4 years ago, about $140. Still a lot, but a far cry from 250.
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  5. #5
    on by skijor's Avatar
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    Mitutoyo is all we use. They are very durable and lord knows they aren't in the most hospitable environments. Most of our stuff needs to the nearest .0001". But some of our most recent work (brass cartridges for ammo) has tolerances of +.00000/-.00016 for some dimensions.
    Like AEO asked, what kind of accuracy does your work warrant? Mitutoyo may be overkill.

  6. #6
    Senior Member dstrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
    ...Mitutoyo IP66 digita calipers, which are wildly accurate. Thoughts?
    My thought is these two words don't belong together.

    But then, I don't own any calipers or micrometers, so I might just be ignorant.

    2014 Specialized RoubaixOOOOOO 2003 Interloc ImpalaOOOOOO 2007 ParkPre Image C6 (RIP)


  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    FWIW, I adjusted valves on a Lexus V8 with an el cheapo Harbor Freight mike and double checked the miked shims with a Mitutoyo, and the initial measurements were really close. I'd still get the Mitutoyo if you can find a good price on one.

  8. #8
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by x136 View Post
    Oh, sorry, I looked up the one from work, which goes for more like $250.
    my mitutoyo digital calipers were $80 from fleebay.
    probably a smidge better than $40 ones from a hardware store.

    they both read down to 0.01mm, which gives it purpose beyond the bike.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  9. #9
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    x136, the one at your workplace probably has a larger range (8", or even 12) or SPC output.

    I own a milling machine and a lathe, both of which I use to make a wide variety of projects. Usually I'm making parts for machinery and other fixture assemblies, so I'm looking for resolution down to "a tenth," .0001". I work in these tolerances mostly when turning down ends of leadscrews that I plan on making an interference fit with a set of bearings.
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  10. #10
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    If you're measuring certain things, accuracy is not a consideration.

    Just save your money and lie, all guys do.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
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  11. #11
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    If you're measuring certain things, accuracy is not a consideration.

    Just save your money and lie, all guys do.
    is it safer to go larger or smaller?
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  12. #12
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    is it safer to go larger or smaller?
    Use metric. It always sounds more impressive.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  13. #13
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstrong View Post
    My thought is these two words don't belong together.

    But then, I don't own any calipers or micrometers, so I might just be ignorant.
    I could suggest some alternative modifiers if it really bothers you:

    http://xkcd.com/798/
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  14. #14
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    I could suggest some alternative modifiers if it really bothers you:

    http://xkcd.com/798/
    "These commodities are ****ing fungible!" xkcd is ****ing brilliant.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    my mitutoyo digital calipers were $80 from fleebay.
    probably a smidge better than $40 ones from a hardware store.

    they both read down to 0.01mm, which gives it purpose beyond the bike.
    My digital Harbor Freight calipers at home read to 0.0005" and cost me $15 on sale. My Central Tools Inc. calipers on my desk read 0.001" on the dial. The Mitutoyo calipers in the room down the hall read to 0.001" on the dial. The Mitutoyo mics next to them read further out than I care to know. One of these tools tells the truth, two tell mostly the truth, and one gets me close enough for everything I do at home, I'm sure you can figure out which is which. Just because they read to 0.01mm doesn't mean that they are actually accurate that far out (they aren't).

    PC,
    Simply put, to some extent calipers lie. If you need better precision than your calipers will provide, you need a mic (or set of mics). If you need the accuracy and precision a mic offers, don't get a crappy one. While the Harbor Freight mic will probably be fine for tenths, I still wouldn't buy one. The danger of cheap measurement tools is that unless you have them calibrated routinely you'll never know when they wander, and you'll always be left thinking they are correct. The student machine shop at my undergrad used Harbor Freight calipers simply because they were dropped and lost regularly. We had all sorts of issues with things not fitting together as we thought they should, clearances that read as right but were either loose or didn't fit, etc. I went back at some point with a decent caliper and measured a bunch of the stuff we had made, and basically, cheap instruments lie.
    Brown and Sharpe, Mitutoyo, and Starrett all make good measurement tools. At this point I don't buy anything branded Craftsman unless it is a hand tool, saw, or older than I am.

  16. #16
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    jccaclimber,

    In my original post I made clear my need for mics. Calipers are deceptive and very much dependent on the finesse, experience, and "feel of the user." Sometimes I am confident that my calipers are measuring to within .001", but that's measuring under the most ideal of circumstances (measuring a flat surface or OD, using the larger surface of the jaws instead of tips, no angles, etc.). I would never buy a cheapo micrometer, if only for the uncertainty that they provide.

    I'm particularly interested in brands like Fowler or SPI, which are still many times more costly than cheap stuff, but not in the range of Starrett or Mitutoyo. A reputable company like MSC Direct would not offer micrometers with Harbor Freight quality.

    Well put on the Craftsman comment; I buy their screwdrivers and hacksaws. Even their drill bits are crap -- cheap HSS with a TIN coating that makes it look like it has bling.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    PC,
    Agreed on your need for mics. What I was trying to say with my caliper comments was (1) Calipers lie, which you seem to already know and (2) In general, the tool should match the work. That is why I have cheap calipers at home (Is this hole 5/16 or 1/4"?), and nice ones at work. The folks over at practicalmachinist seem to have bad things to say about SPI, but I've never used them myself. Fowler is an importer/re-badger. If you go for one of the re-badged German or Japanese one then they will work well, else not so much. A good write up in dials can be found at the link below, and most of their dial information carries across to mics as well. Note that the people at the link below are a business and do sell these tools. Despite that I've found their remarks to be pretty good, and I have no affiliation with them.

    http://www.longislandindicator.com/p11.html

  18. #18
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Also, learn to always round up.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  19. #19
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    If you want to maintain the accuracy you need to keep them calibrated. You can calibrate micrometers or calipers using gauge blocks. If you do buy gauge blocks, I'm going to have say you're a bit anal retentive.

  20. #20
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
    If you want to maintain the accuracy you need to keep them calibrated. You can calibrate micrometers or calipers using gauge blocks. If you do buy gauge blocks, I'm going to have say you're a bit anal retentive.
    I already own a couple.
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