How to Read a Caliper Correctly (Hand Tools DIY)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A caliper is a gadget used to gauge the width of a gap or an object. A caliper helps measure more accurately than a ruler or a measuring tape. Measuring from a Caliper can be as easy as using a ruler as well as a compass if you have practice.

The calipers that are as easy to use as a compass, have inward or outward-facing points but no scale. The tips of the caliper are adjusted to match the points that are to be measured from the object. The dimension or the measurements read can be measured with another tool, such as a ruler.


The types available in the market

Calipers have a lot of kinds.

  • There are Inside Calipers, which are used to measure the internal size of an object.
  • On the other hand, Outside Calipers are used to measure the external size of an object.
  • Divider Calipers that are used to mark out locations. It is also called a compass.
  • Vernier Calipers are used to get a direct reading of the points measured.
  • Dial Calipers get the reading of the final fraction of a millimeter or an inch on a simple dial.
  • Digital Calipers, as the name suggests, has the analog dial replaces with a digital one. Here, the reading is shown in numerical values; and some more.

Calipers are used to take exact measurements of all dimensions of objects. There are three calipers out of all types that are mainly and primarily used. The Vernier Caliper, the Dial Caliper, and the Digital Caliper.

Each of them looks different and is used in different ways, as well. The Vernier and the Dial Caliper have two scales each, the main and the second one. Since there are two scales, two readings are obtained that need to be added to have the final measured reading.

On the other hand, the Digital Caliper doesn’t require any adding. The final reading is obtained on the LCD screen directly.


Vernier Caliper

The Vernier Caliper is the most time consuming of all and can be difficult to use. However, it’s the one that can give the precision of up to one-thousandth of an inch. Reading from the Vernier Caliper can be done in some steps.

Vernier Caliper has two scales, as mentioned above, that are the main scale and the Vernier scale.

  • Main Scale reading: the left of the zero on the scale is the reading that we take. Hence, the main scale reading is what we obtain on the left of the scale.
  • Vernier scale reading: the combination of the alignment of the lines of the main scale and Vernier scale leads to the final reading by the Vernier scale.

The formula that is used to obtain the final reading is Main Scale Reading + Vernier Scale Reading = Final Reading.

Some of the Vernier calipers can be adjusted as well. While this isn’t normal, some Vernier calipers have a change wheel on the sliding scale, which can be pushed to change the sliding scale without influencing the caliper jaws.

On the off chance that your model has this wheel, push it until the zeroes on the sliding scale and repaired scale line; at that point, skirt ahead to perusing the estimation.


Dial Caliper

Dial calipers contain a dial along with the ain scale for measurements. They are regularly utilized for measuring the width and breadth of materials. They also help in taking measurements for any kind of movement, even the slightest bit. They are particularly well known for cars and machines and their applications, together or respectively.

Similar to the Vernier Caliper, the Dial Caliper has the dial and the main scale instead of the Vernier scale. The fundamental scale (main scale) is set apart in one-tenth (0.1) inch spans.

The dial is set apart in hundredth (0.001) inch stretches and read by distinguishing the graduation demonstrated by the needle (pointing hand).

To use and read the Dial Caliper, here’s your guide.

  • Reading from the main scale: the reading is the main number that is the closest to the pointer after passing by it.
  • Reading from the Dial: For this, one needs to count the divisions as to how many divisions the pointer points to. To get the reading, the number of divisions are then multiplied to 0.1mm.

Formula: No. of divisions * 0.1mm

  • Final reading: The final reading will be obtained by adding the readings obtained from the two scales, respectively.

Formula: Reading from the main scale + Reading from the Dial =Final Reading


Digital Caliper

Digital calipers take the mystery and difficulty out of the calipers. They are getting more popular because of the simplicity of the activity and for making the readings easier. The other two calipers are much cheaper than this one.

Digital Calipers are easy to use. The right-hand on the upper corner shows the unit of measurement, depending upon which mode is selected for the reading.

As these calipers have a digital meter for the readings and the measurements, it is easy to take the readings. The readings are the numbers shown on the LCD screen. Those numbers are the final readings and do not require any addition or subtraction, unlike the other two calipers.

Digital calipers also have buttons underneath the LCD screen. The buttons are usually to switch it on, that is, the on button. The other button is the converse button, which helps to convert the reading from inches to millimeters or vice versa. The readings are obtained easily, quickly, and accurately.


Final words

The calipers are often subjected to have zero errors in them whenever you use them. Especially the Dial and the Vernier Calipers if they haven’t been used for a long time. To reduce the risk of errors, it is advised to keep the jaws slightly apart after every use. Periodically removing dust from over the calipers might also help. Griming between the jaws by using rubber alcohol or mineral spirit is also beneficial to keep them from zero errors.

Thank you for reading!

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