Author Topic: Digital caliper recommendations for keyboard/pcb/hobby work?  (Read 599 times)

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Offline F eq ma

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Digital caliper recommendations for keyboard/pcb/hobby work?
« on: Fri, 24 September 2021, 18:04:47 »
Searched the site, but didnít see many topics on what to look for in a digital caliper.  A lot of ďlet me grab my caliperĒ type hits. 

I know that Mitutoyo is one of the top in quality and price.   I am a little nervous on getting one used as I donít know if they will be bent or out of spec.   I donít mind spending $150+, but want to make sure that is a one time purchase.

Amazon seems to have the cheap ones that probably would work in a pinch, but without the absolute zero functions and probably not quite as accurate nor longevity.

Any middle of the road brands?   Any features to look for?   Any mistakes that I should avoid?

Offline kurplop

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Re: Digital caliper recommendations for keyboard/pcb/hobby work?
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 24 September 2021, 18:34:27 »
It depends on your use but I found that I Gaging's IP54 is a good reliable digital caliper for general use and at $30 on Amazon a good value. Some new premium models have very sophisticated abilities but if your asking about options on Geekhack you probably don't need those features.

Offline F eq ma

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Re: Digital caliper recommendations for keyboard/pcb/hobby work?
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 24 September 2021, 20:16:01 »
Seems to have good reviews and recommendations else where.   Price point is good as well for a first set.   Wonít feel so bad if I accidentally drop them.   Thanks for the direction!

Offline F eq ma

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« Last Edit: Fri, 24 September 2021, 22:01:24 by F eq ma »

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Digital caliper recommendations for keyboard/pcb/hobby work?
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 25 September 2021, 03:49:01 »
There is several models between $10-$30, all cheap, all come from China, if you see others with a near identical look, it's a white label Chinese model. Pretty much anything in that price range is.
They all work decent enough for design work and even general 3d printing. You start see their limitations in 3d printing only on high end printers and rough milling work and even then you have something to compare them to, otherwise they work fine even then. They are NOT at all good enough for precision machining when you need precise, tight fit, but you don't need that.

Good, name brand, quality ones, are not going to sell for $30, or even $100, they tend to be near $200 or more.
If you want a really good one but not willing to spend $200+, check Ebay for used. I grabbed a last gen Mitutoyo for $80. Just beware, there is a TON of fakes of the latest gen, if it's a Mitutoyo for $30 or $40 or even $80 new, it's fake as hell and you would be just as good spending $20 or 30 on something else because inside it's the same thing.  Mine doesn't have a thumbwheel (bummer) or do fractional inches (meh), only decimal and metric, while my Chinese white label does mm, decimal inch and fractional inch and has a thumbwheel (it also eats batteries at 10x the speed). All that said, my 3d printing quality and precision did go up when I got the Mitutoyo, something I didn't expect, but I wasn't having problems with the Chinese one.
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Digital caliper recommendations for keyboard/pcb/hobby work?
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 25 September 2021, 08:38:17 »
I bought a Sylvac which I used at my old job and never doubted it's accuracy (having compared measurements to more accurate equipment) and repeatability was great.  My new job insists I use their tools so I've used a few Mitutoyos and have little confidence in any of them including the new one I've been issued.  When you measure the same thing and it comes out .04mm different compared to two seconds ago something is not right even though calipers are only spec'd as +/- .02 so they could be working correctly.  I would hope they are genuine but have no way of knowing.

Some of the internal measuring spikes have surprisingly large flats which will read small if you're measuring inside small circles, though that would help you to measure squarely between two flat surfaces - something to look out for depending what 'general use' means to you.
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: Digital caliper recommendations for keyboard/pcb/hobby work?
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 26 September 2021, 03:49:15 »
I bought a Sylvac which I used at my old job and never doubted it's accuracy (having compared measurements to more accurate equipment) and repeatability was great.  My new job insists I use their tools so I've used a few Mitutoyos and have little confidence in any of them including the new one I've been issued.  When you measure the same thing and it comes out .04mm different compared to two seconds ago something is not right even though calipers are only spec'd as +/- .02 so they could be working correctly.  I would hope they are genuine but have no way of knowing.

It's possible your work got ripoff Mitutoyos, suuuuper common. It's one reason I went with an older one, not only was it cheaper but I knew it would be real.
My cheap Chinese are repeatable to 0.01 or 0.02, my Mitutoyo is pretty much dead on every single time. Really the best way to know, without taking it apart (or just guessing based on accuracy) is look at the calibration certification, the ripoffs are a photocopy, the real ones are hand signed. Though they may have caught wise to that and changed as well.

But again, for what's being done here, even that would be more than accurate enough, nothing on a keyboard needs that sort of precision. There's plenty of tolerance for being off on a keyboard, whereas trying to press fit bearings, not so much.
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Offline F eq ma

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Re: Digital caliper recommendations for keyboard/pcb/hobby work?
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 26 September 2021, 09:12:56 »
Thanks everyone for the advice.  Greatly appreciated.   I was definitely overthinking the choice as usual.