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Using Calipers

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Using Calipers

Using Calipers (Dial and Digital)

Both dial calipers and digital calipers are great tools, and are very versatile.  Dial calipers are mechanical, and measure depth, thickness, length, and can even measure inside small diameters or holes.  Digital calipers can do all these things t, but give a digital reading and require a battery.  For more Saw Blade Inspection Tools, or to read other great Saw Blade Articles, return to the Saw Blade Index.  You can also shop for Saw Blades in our store.



Dial caliper on left and /digital Caliper on right.  The dial caliper is completely mechanical while the digital caliper requires a battery.  This digital caliper uses the same battery that my remote car lock uses and a battery lasts about a year. 










Calibrating Calipers    



Open the jaws and gently wipe with a clean, soft cloth.   

Put your thumb on the knob as shown and gently roll the knob to close the jaws.  Gently – this is a semi-precision instrument.  Here the jaws are closed even though the dial reads 0.0009”



Unlock the dial with the knob shown

Turn the knurled outside knob to set the pointer at zero.  This is an old caliper and things have slipped so zero is not at the top any more.  That’s still o.k. 

How to Measure








You can measure between the jaws.

You can use the points or horns to measure inside holes.

As the jaws open a tail comes out the other end and you can measure with that.




Reading Your Measurements


As the beam slides back and forth it uncovers two rulers (inches bottom and millimeters top).   You use the edge of the slide (indicated by white arrow) to read the ruler.  The big numbers are inches and the smaller numbers are tenths of inches.   The slide has revealed a big 2 and a small 8 so this reads 2.8.  The arrow on the dial points to 53 so this is 2.853.


If your caliper is digital you just read the numbers.  

One Last Knob


The last knob locks the slide so it doesn’t move.  This locks the jaws in place.  

There are many more ways to measure using calipers but these are the basics.