How to Use a Digital Caliper Correctly? [2023 Guide]

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The diverse uses of a caliper make it a mandatory tool for everyone these days. The accuracy level, ease of use, and other high-end features make digital calipers more popular than ever. That’s why today’s article is dedicated to using a digital caliper in the right way for any professional.

how to use digital caliper
How to Use Digital Caliper?

Maybe you’re upgrading from a dial caliper or decided to use a caliper for the first time. Regardless of what the reason is, let’s get to the easiest tutorial ever.

How to Use a Digital Caliper 2023? (Step-by-step Guide)

how to use digital caliper

As you know, most digital calipers can measure the inside and outside of something. In addition, a digital caliper can measure the step and depth of an object too.

For your convenience, I’ve written down the tutorial into four main parts. Inside these parts, you’ll find precise directions on how you can use a digital caliper easily.

How to Measure Outside Dimension Properly

The large jaws on a digital caliper are meant for measuring the outside dimension of an object. The object can be anything as long as it doesn’t exceed your caliper’s range.

How To Measure Outside Dimension
How to Measure Outside Dimension Properly

Follow the instructions below to take measures of an object’s outside dimension.

  • If the caliper is open, close it and bring the jaws together. Make sure there isn’t any light passing through the jaws.
  • Now, use the zero button on your caliper. Pressing the zero button re-calibrates the device from former uses.
  • Open the jaws and place the object between them.
  • There’s a thumbscrew on your device to close the jaws. Keep turning it slowly until both the jaws are in contact with the object.
  • Note the measurement on display. That’s the number you want.

Related: How to Measure Wire Gauge with Calipers?

How to Measure Inside Dimension with a Digital Caliper

The smaller jaws on your calipers measure the inside dimensions of an object. For example, let’s say you want to measure the inner dimension of a washer. You will use the smaller jaws placed above, and the larger jaws on your caliper.

How To Measure Inside Dimension
How to Measure Inside Dimension with a Digital Caliper

Now, let’s see how to measure an inner dimension.

  • Bring the jaws together until they’re completely closed. Make sure there isn’t any light between the two jaws.
  • Re-calibrate your caliper. Use the zero button to ensure that any previous use doesn’t mess up the measurement.
  • Place the closed jaws inside the hole of the object you want to measure.
  • Now, keep opening the jaw till you can.
  • Once the jaws touch the walls of the inside of the object, note the measurement from the display.

How to Measure Depth in the Right Way 2023

Another fascinating aspect of digital calipers is that you can measure depth using these. Many people aren’t familiar with this function. There’s a depth gauge on digital calipers. You’ll find it on the opposite end of the jaws.

How To Measure Depth
How to Measure Depth in the Right Way

Let’s see how you can measure the depth of an object using your digital caliper.

  • Choose an even surface and place the object on the surface.
  • Zero your caliper as I instructed before.
  • Place the caliper so that the depth gauge measures the distance between the surface and the object.
  • Ensure that the calipers stay perpendicular to the object’s surface, or the measurement will be inaccurate.
  • Note the measurement displayed on the caliper’s screen.

How to Measure Step Correctly Using a Digital Caliper

Objects with multiple edges may require step measurement. The good news is, that your digital caliper can do that too. At least, most digital calipers can.

The step gauge is situated on top of your caliper. So, let’s see how to measure steps using your digital caliper.

  • Zero your caliper using the zero button. Re-calibrating is essential if you want precise measurement.
  • Take the object you want to measure and use the step gauge on the caliper to get a reading. The step gauge is placed on top of the digital caliper and uses the jaws to take the measurement.
  • Note the measurement you see on the LCD screen.

Related: How Long Do Brake Calipers Last on a Car?

Comparative Digital Caliper Measurement Guide 2023

I’ve already told you all the measurements type you can use with your digital caliper. However, sometimes you may need comparative measurement. This refers to combining different measurements for a certain purpose.

For instance, let’s assume you want to find out whether a rod will fit inside a hole or not. You’ll need two different types of measurements here. The first one is the width of the rod and the second one is the hole’s inner width.

Use the outside jaws to measure the rod. Don’t move the jaws from their place. Use the zero button to re-calibrate and then use the inside jaws to measure the object with the hole. The reading you’re getting on the screen is the measurement difference between the two objects.

Related: How to Compress Brake Caliper?

Top 8 Things You Should Know About a Digital Caliper

Here are the most important eight tips you should remember and follow while using a Digital Caliper, they are:

  • The bigger jaws can measure the length, width, and thickness of an object.
  • The smaller jaws can measure the inside width and diameter of an object.
  • If you notice any light passing through the jaws when they’re completely closed, there might be dust or dirt. The measurement may get manipulated to clean the caliper before taking measurements.
  • It’s better to keep the device and the measurable objects clean if you want precise readings.
  • Remember to re-calibrate your caliper every time before using it. Or else, you may not get accurate readings.
  • Note that dropping the caliper on the floor can damage its inner components. A damaged caliper can’t offer you accurate readings.
  • When you’re not using the caliper between other works, use the power button to turn it off. This way, the battery longevity of digital calipers increases.
  • If you don’t intend to use the caliper anytime soon, keep the battery separated from the device. Keeping the battery attached to the caliper may reduce battery longevity.

Related: How to Paint Brake Calipers?

Final Words

I’ve created this step-by-step guide on digital caliper uses, keeping all types of users in mind. Even if you are just started using a digital caliper, there’s no reason to get confused. The basic functions are all the same in most digital calipers.

Some digital calipers may be a bit different in structure. You can always check the instruction manual for help if you’re confused about what’s where. The manual can also help you understand how you can maintain that particular digital caliper.

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Calvin Cameron

Hello, I'm Calvin Cameron. I'm a metalworking specialist for more than a decade. As a metalworker, I've been working in various areas like automotive plants, jewelry shops, and shipyards. I'm experienced with a lot of machines, tools, and materials. This is my loving area where I can talk and share about tools, measurement, and provide accurate data. Hope you will find some really good things from my research and studies. Enjoy reading.

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