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A New 6" Electronic Caliper

The 4 Inch Vernier ( Caliper) has been superseded by a new and improved model as described below. The entire previous page as been saved as a PDF file which can be downloaded here

Lewis Step from Thecraftsmangallery recently sent me these to try.

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Lewis previously introduced us to his unusual 3 way electronic caliper. This caliper measured in decimal and fractions of an inch plus millimeters. They proved to be hugely successful and not being one to rest on his laurels he set about adding some extra features. The new version has a larger display, a fine adjustment thumbroll and larger battery. It is also furnished with an absolute/incremental (abs) button.

At the press of a button the reading can be viewed in fractions of an inch, decimal inches or millimetres.

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This is an Orientally  made but high quality tool manufactured from hardened stainless steel. It is presented in a very serviceable plastic box with instructions. A spare lithium battery of the common CR2032 size is included and the instructions say the battery should last at least a year and so a new one won't be needed for some time. The 10 mm high display is very clear but I found that the caliper is best held at a slight angle (which is very natural in the hand) for maximum readability. The buttons are a soft rubber rather than hard plastic and you do have to be positive when pressing them, plus there seems to be a short delay before the display changes.

The travel is very smooth with the exception of a slight tight spot at around 48mm. This, I feel sure will ease off with a little use.

I am pleased to report that these calipers auto-shut down if you forget to switch them off, so saving battery life. Another bonus is that if you lock them at a fixed opening and then switch them off, the same reading is displayed when switched back on. You can of course set zero at any time.

The ABS button: when fully closed set the zero button, open them say 10mm and press ABS. The display reads zero, open another 10mm and press ABS. The display reads 20mm. Press ABS again and reading is zero. Move another 10mm and press ABS. The display now reads 30mm. A very useful function for measuring finger joints.

 

In the world of engineering digital clipers in general are considered to be indicators rather than super precise measuring tools but they are more than sufficient for woodworking and the measuring that I want them for. The technical specs are listed opposite but as a matter of interest I did test them for accuracy.

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Once again I used my Moore and Wright high precision  ground 25mm gauge to check the caliper accuracy. The display shows 25mm which just happens to be the diameter of the gauge so that is fine by me.

Reading from the beam scale is now a considerable improvement over the previous model. I think you can just about see from the opposite photo that the 25mm line is clearly visible right on the edge of the casing and not obscured by it.

Maximum opening on this one is 6.16 inches so lightly more than the stated 6 inches.

 

The fractional scale reads in increments of 1/64 inches but what I really like is that it is  intelligent enough to display 1/8, 3/4  etc. The measurements can be incremental. For example if they are open to say 1/4 inch you can the press the ABS button and then measure on from there. Brilliant for setting the fence on a table saw.

 

One thing I did criticize the previous version for was the difficulty of sneaking up onto a required measurement. Well this has been fixed with what I feel is the best scroll wheel that I have ever encountered on a caliper. I found no difficulty advancing by 0.01mm at all.

 

 

 

 

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The battery has a silicone rubber disc to hold it in place under the slide on cover. I found the cover a little tricky to replace as the disc tends to grip and slide a little and resist pressing the cover fully home.

It isn't a problem but I just get  a little anxious about breaking the cover. Lewis has already got this in hand and new stock will have a stronger cover.

 

There is a very useful inch to decimal conversion chart on the back of the calipers.

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I, being pre-metrication prefer to work in inches rather than those tiny little millimetres that I find difficult to see; so these calipers are wonderful for me. I can quickly change the scales and decide on the nearest equivalent drill size etc. Use them to check your router bit diameters and I think you will be amazed at the variation from specified size. Don't forget that the other end of the calipers provide a depth gauge when opened. Great for setting the fence on your table saw or router table and with numerous uses on your WoodRat.

 

Highly recommended.

Currently still priced at $38 US. from  Thecraftsmangallery


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