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bartf
29-Jul-2007, 11:07
I'm looking for some good digital calipers to take some measurements of some of my gear.

Any info or suggestions are welcome.

Jon Wilson
29-Jul-2007, 11:18
Look at a Home Depot, Lowe's, Hardware store, or a Harbor Freight store...I picked one up for $15 or so at a Harbor Freight store. I found replacement batteries at Radio Shack.

Ernest Purdum
29-Jul-2007, 13:01
Harbor Freight often puts these on sale, including the larger sizes.

Ted Harris
29-Jul-2007, 14:59
I've got a pair of Fowler&NSK Max-Cal's that I bought on eBay for something like $50. A real steal for that quality and precision. You need to do some searching and wait patiently but there are many up for auction and you can get great quality used if you take care.

Mike Castles
29-Jul-2007, 15:54
Have one of the Harbor Freight digital calipers, and the funny thing is the button cell battery is the same as the ones in my Pentax Spot V.

Ralph Barker
29-Jul-2007, 16:40
Digital caliper?! ;)

http://www.rbarkerphoto.com/Misc/Tools/Caliper1104-08b-600bw.jpg

Randy H
29-Jul-2007, 17:39
Nice looking Starrett.
Best instrument going for the money.
Forget Harbour Freight. Lowe's et.al. and the off-the-shelf cheapo stuff.
Spend the money and get a quality instrument. You won't have to worry about having it calibrated for consistency every time the weather changes. You don;t flinch at spending a few hundred extra for a quality lens or accessories for your camera. Why get chincy on the instrument to measure them with?

Gene McCluney
29-Jul-2007, 18:11
Nice looking Starrett.
Best instrument going for the money.
Forget Harbour Freight. Lowe's et.al. and the off-the-shelf cheapo stuff.
Spend the money and get a quality instrument. You won't have to worry about having it calibrated for consistency every time the weather changes. You don;t flinch at spending a few hundred extra for a quality lens or accessories for your camera. Why get chincy on the instrument to measure them with?

Well, if the OP is just going to measure his lenses for lenscaps, etc., he hardly needs ultra-precision, and in fact the inexpensive digital calipers can be calibrated each time you use them. Close them fully..press ZERO, done.

Mark Sawyer
29-Jul-2007, 21:39
I have the cheapie Harbor Freight digital caliper, and though it goes through batteries, it works well and consistently.

Doug Dolde
30-Jul-2007, 07:45
Brown and Sharpe Digital Calipers

http://www.mcmaster.com/

rob
30-Jul-2007, 09:39
My used mitutoyo 6" digital (got it for <$20, and has calibration sticker that expires next month) and a brand new chinese 8" digital (also for <$20, imported by shars tool in ebay) give the same reading. The mitutoyo movement is somewhat smoother than the chinese, but both are good tools.

John Berry
30-Jul-2007, 22:50
Go to a pawn shop and look for the one ralph showed you.

Ernest Purdum
31-Jul-2007, 10:17
Dial calipers don't need batteries, which is nice unless you are methodical about always keeping a spare. Otherwise, the digital variety is a great advance. I greatly dislike the system of measuring based on the size of an English King's foot in the year 1287, or something. Regrettably, it is still in use in some rather backward countries like mine. The digital ability to switch back and forth between sensible and archaic systems is a great boon.

John Schneider
1-Aug-2007, 00:33
The best calipers (micrometers, dial indicators, etc.) are always Starrett. Having said that, most of my measuring tools are Mitutoyo because they can be found more cheaply, especially used. Look on eBay; there are always used ones available quite cheaply from companies that closed their metrology department or some such. Don't waste your money on Lowe's/Harbor Freight/etc. POS, especially when quality used ones are available so reasonably (also look at Fowler and Brown and Sharpe).

Ken Schroeder
1-Aug-2007, 02:46
Check leevalley.com for plastic calipers. They have a set of six for $7.50. They have both metric and imperial calibrations and are more than accurate enough for most uses. The traditional vernier caliper is easy to learn. Lee Valley is a very reputable customer oriented place to deal. At $7.50 for six, you can't go wrong.
Ken

Donald Qualls
4-Aug-2007, 18:39
I have a Harbor Freight "Central Machinery" brand dial caliper. It was under $20, and is made completely of stainless steel; it does everything a dial caliper should, and requires no battery. Unfortunately, I think they quit importing this model when they started selling the digital version for the same price...

I wouldn't spend even $7.50 the set for a plastic caliper, and I wouldn't bother with a vernier type when the dial ones are so inexpensive. Yes, no argument, a Starret is the best, but after you see the price for a Starret, and if you use one no more often than I do, the cheap ones will surely do the job...

bartf
4-Aug-2007, 23:53
Thanks for all the suggestions.

fwiw, I'm the kind of guy that likes to buy things that last a lifetime, hopefully more.

Ken Schroeder
5-Aug-2007, 07:23
Bart, I'm like you in that I prefer to buy long lasting quality tools. The longest lasting and most accurate calipers available are the Starrett vernier calipers. They are totally non battery dependent, and, according to the Starrett catalog, are more accurate than either dial or digital calipers. If you are planning to machining your own acessories, I would highly recommend them.

If, however, you want to measure things like filter threads, which are fairly standardized, the plastic calipers are more than accurate enough for the task, and would conserve your resources for other things.

Ole Tjugen
5-Aug-2007, 07:38
I have a top-quality vernier caliper, and a cheap plastic one.

Most of the time I prefer using the plastic one, since I know that if I slip up it's the cheap plastic that will be damaged and not the lens cell threads I'm trying to measure. :)

Steve Kefford
5-Aug-2007, 16:29
I got some cheap ones from Maplins for 9.99 recently.

Steve