Topics

Digital Caliper Recommendation


Ken Adams
 

I seem to have misplaced my inexpensive digital calipers and two weeks of sporadic searching have only turned up the empty case. So I am in the market for a replacement and wondered if there was by any chance a version of digital calipers that would automatically convert the measured reading to a specified modeling scale value such as HO feet and fraction thereof.  Checking Amazon I did see on calipers that said readouts were in fractions of inches.  Perhaps the scale could be set so that you could select 3.5 mm/foot,  4 mm/foot, 1.9 mm/foot, 7 mm/foot or whatever ratio you desire. 

Preferably the price of said magnificent instrument would be reasonably affordable to those of us who are poor or just cheap. 
--
Ken Adams
Still in splendid Shelter In Place solitude, about half way up Walnut Creek


Peter Hall
 

The best I’ve found is a digital caliper that will convert Metric to Imperial with one button.  That comes in handy many times.

Thanks
Pete

On Oct 17, 2020, at 1:22 PM, Gene Semon <mopac1@...> wrote:

Ken,
 
None that I have ever found.  Micro-Mark had one planned, but that project never was finished.  PFM had a dial caliper in plastic & metal versions years ago that measured in in HO scale.  One appears now on then on an auction site or a train show.
 
Gene Semon
 
From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Ken Adams
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2020 12:58 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Digital Caliper Recommendation
 
I seem to have misplaced my inexpensive digital calipers and two weeks of sporadic searching have only turned up the empty case. So I am in the market for a replacement and wondered if there was by any chance a version of digital calipers that would automatically convert the measured reading to a specified modeling scale value such as HO feet and fraction thereof.  Checking Amazon I did see on calipers that said readouts were in fractions of inches.  Perhaps the scale could be set so that you could select 3.5 mm/foot,  4 mm/foot, 1.9 mm/foot, 7 mm/foot or whatever ratio you desire. 

Preferably the price of said magnificent instrument would be reasonably affordable to those of us who are poor or just cheap. 
-- 
Ken Adams
Still in splendid Shelter In Place solitude, about half way up Walnut Creek 


Virus-free. www.avg.com


Jon Miller
 

On 10/17/2020 11:22 AM, Gene Semon wrote:
PFM had a dial caliper in plastic & metal versions years ago that measured in in HO scale.

    The only PFM one I have seen (not saying there were not others) was not a dial caliper, was metal, and is going for in excess of $100.

    Low cost metal dial (or digital) calipers can be had at Harbor Freight.  Twenty bucks and if you can get a monthly handout usually 20% off.

    eBay

eBay item number:
272740496214

    $6.80, looks to be the same as HF?
-- 
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
SPROG User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


steve_wintner
 

It's not ideal, but the conversions 3.5 mm =12 inch and .011 = 1 inch are carried around in my head, for use with my various digital and dial calipers. 


mopacfirst
 

I have a plastic analog (dial) one made by General, which had HO and O scale divisions on it.  From the looks of the letter and number style on it, I wonder if it's German.  Have had it for maybe 15 or 20 years.

It no longer has the O scale divisions on it, because I got confused every time I looked at it to try to take a measurement, so I took a black Sharpie and colored over the O scale numbers.  Crude, but.....

As an engineer, I generally don't want to see numbers that are too accurate, that are more accurate than I can reproduce or that I need.  So wherever the little pointer lands, if it says something is around 6 scale inches, for example, I'm happy with it.  If I was machining something that needed close tolerances, or I needed to stack several things whose tolerances needed to add to a specific value, that would be different, but for my modeling, in general, this is the proper degree of precision for me.

Ron Merrick


Robert J. Amsler, Jr.
 

I use Mitutoyo digital calipers that you can find on Amazon.   They can be zeroed out.  They are very accurate.

 

Robert J. Amsler, Jr.

514 Dover Place

Saint Louis, Missouri 63111

(314) 606-6118  (Telephone)

(314) 754-2688  (Facsimile)

MPFan1@...

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of mopacfirst
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2020 4:26 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Digital Caliper Recommendation

 

I have a plastic analog (dial) one made by General, which had HO and O scale divisions on it.  From the looks of the letter and number style on it, I wonder if it's German.  Have had it for maybe 15 or 20 years.

It no longer has the O scale divisions on it, because I got confused every time I looked at it to try to take a measurement, so I took a black Sharpie and colored over the O scale numbers.  Crude, but.....

As an engineer, I generally don't want to see numbers that are too accurate, that are more accurate than I can reproduce or that I need.  So wherever the little pointer lands, if it says something is around 6 scale inches, for example, I'm happy with it.  If I was machining something that needed close tolerances, or I needed to stack several things whose tolerances needed to add to a specific value, that would be different, but for my modeling, in general, this is the proper degree of precision for me.

Ron Merrick


Steve SANDIFER
 

General makes a plastic dial cal that has HO readout. I use Harbor freight digital in the train room and Mitutoya dial cal in the shop. The Harbor freight is inexpensive and good.

 

 

J. Stephen Sandifer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jon Miller
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2020 1:39 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Digital Caliper Recommendation

 

On 10/17/2020 11:22 AM, Gene Semon wrote:

PFM had a dial caliper in plastic & metal versions years ago that measured in in HO scale.

    The only PFM one I have seen (not saying there were not others) was not a dial caliper, was metal, and is going for in excess of $100.

    Low cost metal dial (or digital) calipers can be had at Harbor Freight.  Twenty bucks and if you can get a monthly handout usually 20% off.

    eBay

eBay item number:

272740496214

 

    $6.80, looks to be the same as HF?

-- 
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
SPROG User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


Daniel A. Mitchell
 

The PFM HO caliper is an all metal conventional Vernier caliper (not a "dial”). It’s of excellent construction and reads in both HO inches and 1/000”. It’s easy to use once you learn how to read a Vernier. It’s a great HO modeling tool.

While dial calipers have largely superseded Vernier calipers, being easier to read, they are more delicate and subject to errors from the gear-rack.

Today digital (electronic) calipers are popular and have some advantages. I use them, but it seems that every time I need one the battery is dead or has lost contact. Then it’s grab the dial caliper. Or reach in the toolbox and drag out the trusty old Vernier. There’s just nothing to go wrong with them (short of physical destruction).

Dan Mitchell
==========

On Oct 17, 2020, at 9:33 PM, James SANDIFER <steve.sandifer@...> wrote:

General makes a plastic dial cal that has HO readout. I use Harbor freight digital in the train room and Mitutoya dial cal in the shop. The Harbor freight is inexpensive and good. 
 
 
J. Stephen Sandifer
 
From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jon Miller
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2020 1:39 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Digital Caliper Recommendation
 
On 10/17/2020 11:22 AM, Gene Semon wrote:
PFM had a dial caliper in plastic & metal versions years ago that measured in in HO scale.

    The only PFM one I have seen (not saying there were not others) was not a dial caliper, was metal, and is going for in excess of $100.

    Low cost metal dial (or digital) calipers can be had at Harbor Freight.  Twenty bucks and if you can get a monthly handout usually 20% off.

    eBay 

eBay item number:
272740496214
 
    $6.80, looks to be the same as HF?
-- 
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
SPROG User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS



Eric Hansmann
 

I second the recommendation on the Mitutoyo digital calipers. I bought one last year and have used it more than I would have expected. It was a big assist on a couple of model builds.

 

Yes, it was pricey but good tools are worth the cost over the years.

 

 

Eric Hansmann

Murfreesboro, TN

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Robert J. Amsler, Jr.
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2020 7:40 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Digital Caliper Recommendation

 

I use Mitutoyo digital calipers that you can find on Amazon.   They can be zeroed out.  They are very accurate.

 

Robert J. Amsler, Jr.

514 Dover Place

Saint Louis, Missouri 63111

(314) 606-6118  (Telephone)

(314) 754-2688  (Facsimile)

MPFan1@...

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of mopacfirst
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2020 4:26 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Digital Caliper Recommendation

 

I have a plastic analog (dial) one made by General, which had HO and O scale divisions on it.  From the looks of the letter and number style on it, I wonder if it's German.  Have had it for maybe 15 or 20 years.

It no longer has the O scale divisions on it, because I got confused every time I looked at it to try to take a measurement, so I took a black Sharpie and colored over the O scale numbers.  Crude, but.....

As an engineer, I generally don't want to see numbers that are too accurate, that are more accurate than I can reproduce or that I need.  So wherever the little pointer lands, if it says something is around 6 scale inches, for example, I'm happy with it.  If I was machining something that needed close tolerances, or I needed to stack several things whose tolerances needed to add to a specific value, that would be different, but for my modeling, in general, this is the proper degree of precision for me.

Ron Merrick


Ken Adams
 

On Sun, Oct 18, 2020 at 08:12 AM, Eric Hansmann wrote:
Mitutoyo digital calipers
Eric and all that have offered suggestions. HO or other selectable scale digital calibration on Calipers is just a dream. My phone calculator is usually close at hand for scale conversion calculations when needed.  A spreadsheet on the PC next to my workbench allows saved conversion formulas. I approximate the ancient imperial fractions if needed to the nearest 1/4 HO scale foot. 


Much as I would love to buy the exquisite Mitutoyo digital calipers, I have decided on a $25 Amazon Vinca DCLA-0605 model  replacement delivered to my doorstep sometime tomorrow.  It will actually be an upgrade over the 6 year old Harbor Freight version that remains misplaced somewhere in time or my townhouse.  I guess I am coming down on the "cheap" side these days but my railway dollars only stretch so far. 
 
--
Ken Adams
Still in splendid Shelter In Place solitude, about half way up Walnut Creek


Matt Goodman
 

And a third on the Mitutoyo. Mentioned in passing in this thread was the battery life question. One of the reasons I chose the Mitutoyo was it’s claim that it had better power management, leading to better battery life. Coming from a series of decent dial calipers that don’t require batteries, this was an important point for me. 

I bought my Mitutoyo 6” caliper (500-196-30) in December, 2016, and am still on the same battery. I’m more impressed every day.

One other thing, and this is a bit squishy. For a short time, I had an inexpensive digital caliper that I bought for the metric conversion feature. The “feel” was sandy and crusty-like, and it lacked a thumbwheel. Both things make measuring small things more difficult.

Typing the above, I remembered I wrote about this on my lightly-used MRH blog four years ago. It still describes my feelings well (minus the unknown battery life).


Matt Goodman
Columbus, Ohio, US

On Oct 18, 2020, at 11:12 AM, Eric Hansmann <eric@...> wrote:

I second the recommendation on the Mitutoyo digital calipers. I bought one last year and have used it more than I would have expected. It was a big assist on a couple of model builds. 
 
Yes, it was pricey but good tools are worth the cost over the years.
 
 
Eric Hansmann
Murfreesboro, TN
 
 
 
From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Robert J. Amsler, Jr.
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2020 7:40 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Digital Caliper Recommendation
 
I use Mitutoyo digital calipers that you can find on Amazon.   They can be zeroed out.  They are very accurate.
 
Robert J. Amsler, Jr.
514 Dover Place
Saint Louis, Missouri 63111
(314) 606-6118  (Telephone)
(314) 754-2688  (Facsimile)
 
 
 
From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of mopacfirst
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2020 4:26 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Digital Caliper Recommendation
 
I have a plastic analog (dial) one made by General, which had HO and O scale divisions on it.  From the looks of the letter and number style on it, I wonder if it's German.  Have had it for maybe 15 or 20 years.

It no longer has the O scale divisions on it, because I got confused every time I looked at it to try to take a measurement, so I took a black Sharpie and colored over the O scale numbers.  Crude, but.....

As an engineer, I generally don't want to see numbers that are too accurate, that are more accurate than I can reproduce or that I need.  So wherever the little pointer lands, if it says something is around 6 scale inches, for example, I'm happy with it.  If I was machining something that needed close tolerances, or I needed to stack several things whose tolerances needed to add to a specific value, that would be different, but for my modeling, in general, this is the proper degree of precision for me.

Ron Merrick 



Donald B. Valentine
 

 

IIRC that’s the same Japanese firm that was making Vernier calipers for PFM that read

out in HO scale measurements. There was a fellow in Grantham, NH who kept them in

the marketplace after PFM stopped selling them but he has been gone for some years  

now. I have two from Frankfort Arsenal and one from another firearms supplier that

were bought some fifteen years ago and all read out in either metric or English at the

push of a button. Since HO scale is metric it should be obvious which scale is used most

in this hobby, Two are in my tool box and the third is in my reloading bench. None of

these cost more than $15 and all have proved satisfactory, nor are the math convefrsions

that difficult.

 

Cordially, Don Valentine