6 Tips for Using a Digital Caliper

Using a digital caliper and obtaining highly accurate readings is easy if you are in possession of a few key tips. There are different types of calipers used for measuring different types of work pieces. Some calipers are designed to measure objects with flat surfaces. This type of caliper will have flat contact pads. Other types of calipers are designed to measure objects with grooves. This type of caliper will have pointed contact pads. Listed below are a number of tips for using both types of calipers.

1. Cleanliness

Especially when measuring to extreme degrees of accuracy such as ten thousandths of an inch, make sure both contact pads on your digital calipers and both sides of the object being measured are perfectly clean. Using a clean and lint free cloth, wipe both sides of the surface very carefully to remove all dirt, dust and lint.

2. Slight Contact is Enough

When tightening the digital caliper to make the contact pads make contact with both sides of the work piece being measured, don’t over-tighten the caliper. You’ll know that you have sufficient contact pressure when you can lightly pull the digital caliper’s contact pads across the work piece surface and feel just a very slight amount of resistance.

3. Check Calibration before Each Use

Every digital caliper set will come from the manufacturer with at least one or two calibration rods. Every time you use the digital caliper you should use one of the calibration rods to make sure the tool is properly calibrated.

4. Quick Calibration

Open the jaws to the proper size and close them on the calibration rod. If the proper size isn’t reached when contact is made, unlock the fixed contact pad and continue closing the jaws until it is and securely relock the pad. If the reading is less than the correct size, unlock the fixed padlock and open the jaws until the proper size is reached. Push down on the fixed contact pad until contact is made and firmly secure the locking lever.

5. Apply Proper Tension

Applying too much pressure with the jaws of the digital caliper on grooved surfaces can cause damage to the jaws, which can cause inaccuracies in your readings and cost you money to repair. When you can just rotate or move the piece being measured when the jaw points are contacting it with a slight amount of constant drag, you have sufficient pressure to obtain an accurate reading and not damage your expensive tool.

6. Find Deepest Groove

When you’re measuring the thickness of a brake rotor that is grooved from metal to metal contact over an extended time frame, you need to make sure that you measure in a number of places across the whole surface of the caliper in order to obtain the most accurate reading.