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Old September 10, 2012, 08:27 AM   #1
1stmar
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Caliper model..

I used to have a starrett set of calipers, unfortunately they broke. They had .001 graduations on the slide, so that the dial always tracked accurately and never lost zero. The calipers I have now seem to fall out of zero. Is there a specific type of caliper that has these tracked graduations on the slide?

Last edited by 1stmar; September 10, 2012 at 01:10 PM.
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Old September 11, 2012, 06:15 AM   #2
kalevatom
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Just get a pair of $20 digital calipers. They're easier on the eye's.
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Old September 11, 2012, 11:51 AM   #3
serf 'rett
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I have a couple of Frankford Arsenal calipers, one digital/one "regular", that work fine for reloading.

Checked them against the "high dollar" brands we use in our machine shop. Hard to beat for less than $25.
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Old September 11, 2012, 12:41 PM   #4
1stmar
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I have a pair that are ok, I was looking for a pair that has a track with teeth in the slide. But I am not sure what feature to look for.
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Old September 11, 2012, 12:49 PM   #5
Don P
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Quote:
have a pair that are ok, I was looking for a pair that has a track with teeth in the slide. But I am not sure what feature to look for.
As far as I know all dial/digital calipers have the track/teeth on them. Thats how they work. Get a dial caliper, no batteries to go dead. A 6" will be the most available. They do come in 4" and 8", 12". 6" is the prevalent
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Old September 11, 2012, 01:20 PM   #6
Unclenick
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No, the digitals don't use a rack. They don't need one because they don't have a spring loaded anti-backlash gear keeping control of a dial needle. The digitals just have a surface roughened by abrasive blasting (or so it appears) that I think they roll a little encoder over. The electronics counts encoder increments rolling by from whatever starting place it happens to be at. I think they are capacitive rather than optical in those low powder devices.

The main advantage to the digitals, other than display visibility, is you can zero them anywhere along the way to get difference readings to compare two objects. The main disadvantage is that a fellow skilled enough to do it can't read between the least significant digits the way he can the graduations of a dial caliper. Sometimes useful. Also, the dial calipers never have their batteries run down. But overall, the digitals are handy not only because of that zeroing feature, but also because they will switch the display to millimeters at the push of a button so you don't have to own a separate metric version for decoding CIP drawings or foreign military specs.

A digital caliper perfectly adequate for reloading is currently on sale at Harbor Freight for $11.99. If you want to measure slugs of bores and chamber throats, I recommend you get an OD thimble micrometer for its higher resolution. Again, Harbor Freight's $21 unit is adequate for the purpose if you can read a Vernier scale. If not, they have a digital with half ten-thousandths resolution for $35. I recommend their micrometer stand to help get the most accurate readings, and that's on sale also, for $7.
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Old September 11, 2012, 02:19 PM   #7
1stmar
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I believe unclenick is right. I have a digital set, and in some cases, if I slide to quickly it loses it's zero and the readings are off. I only had one other pair which was a dial, it had the rack or teeth. When I bought the digital I was surprised it did not have rack. Now I understand why, so it sounds like all dial calipers have rack, correct?
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Old September 11, 2012, 11:23 PM   #8
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I use a Mutitoyo 6" dial caliper that's gotta be at least a decade old. They read perfect every time, and have not needed to be zero'd since I got it 5 years ago. This has the teeth in the track and is graduated to 0.001".
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Old September 12, 2012, 06:51 AM   #9
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I have been calibrating calipers for several years working with all brands and styles and yes, if its a dial then it has a track with a pinion and spring loaded back lash gear and digital that use and encoder and an inductive track located behind the graduation scale. All calipers have gib screws to adjust out any slop in the slide. They are normally located on the top and at each end of the slide. They press against a brass plate which in turn presses against the frame. have these as tight as you can, and still be able to slide the read head back and forth. Too tight and it wont move, too loose and you get variations in your readings. The most common I see are the Mitutoyo Digital, then their dial version. Starrett is another good one but I don't see as many of those. After that come Fowler which is an import from china and from there all the others. Harbor Freight sells some of the cheapest and least expensive. That's not to say they don't work. They aren't in the same class as the Mitutoyo's or Starrett's, though clearly here, you get what you pay for. All dials have a graduation of .001 and almost all digitals have a graduation of .0005. Vernier calipers or either .001 or .0001. They only have a scale but no display or dial and are the hardest to read for for those not familiar to them. (I would think). For those looking at buying a first caliper get what you feel most comfortable with. Digitals are easier to read than dial and dial are easier than vernier. Just stay away from an all plastic framed caliper, they are worthless. .... my two cents....
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:15 PM   #10
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Tightening the gib screws has helped dramatically. Thanks
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:22 PM   #11
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The only thing you want the plastic calipers for is measuring magnets.
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Old September 12, 2012, 07:04 PM   #12
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1stmar - you're welcome, glad I could help.

A side note to gib screws. You need to turn them to tighten them. Turning them loosens the threads that hold them tight. The more the screws get turned the more easily they loosen so the more they need to be turned yet again. Now what I do to correct ever loosening gib screws is borrow a little of my wife's nail polish and dab the head of the screw. I don't like to use lock tight as it doesn't need to be that strong a hold. It is also fairly easy to pick off if the gib loosens through ware or for other reasons. They can be readjusted fairly easily.
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Old September 12, 2012, 10:56 PM   #13
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Ive tried the $10-$20 digitals and while the work, I dont use them anymore, my 3 year old loves having her own to mimic me though! .... battery issues aside, when new they are just as good (as long as you can handle the constant need to re-zero), but give them time and the "workmanship" will start to show...

I have a set of mitutoyo 6" dial calipers I use at work (machine shop) and a set of brown & sharp I use to reload.... I would rather have the mitutoyos at home, as I like them better, but I bought them to replace the brown & sharp at work because I wanted a thumb wheel, and 99% of the time the no thumb wheel brown & sharp works fine (the other 1% they still work, I just wish I had a thumb wheel)

If I were going to go digital, they would be mitutoyo solar... digital and still no battery to worry about....

Its funny how some of the same people who bash lee because its "cheap crap" will go out and buy a set of calipers from harbor freight and call it good....
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