What and How Do Digital Calipers Work?

Whether you are a professional engineer or a regular person who likes home renovation, there is no denying the necessity of accurate measurements. One single incorrect measurement may hamper the whole project’s success.

That is why to make accurate measurements you need calipers. And what gives you better measures than digital calipers? These are very useful tools for avoiding the mistakes at work done through normal calipers.

Digital calipers do not work in the same way as normal calipers do. In order to derive the full benefits, we need to know how digital calipers work. This article will inform you about it in brief.

What Are calipers?

Slide calipers, also known as Vernier scales, are instruments used to measure the distance between to opposite sides of an object.

This device can measure various dimensions such as length, depth, width, inside diameter, etc. In short, it is a multiple dimension measuring instrument.

Slide calipers are an indispensable instrument in many lines of work, including building structures, automotive work, medical and laboratory instrument making, etc. Usually, calipers are made of steel and carbon materials to make them heat resistant in order to maintain accuracy.

What Are Digital Calipers?

Digital calipers are sometimes incorrectly called Digital Vernier Calipers. Their function is almost the same as normal calipers except that they provide better precision.

Moreover, their typical accuracy measurements go up to 0.01 mm, which is 1/1000th of an inch!

Not only these calipers give you a more precise measurement, but they also give you the calculation on demand. While normal calipers are often hard to read and need extra calculation.

How Do Digital Calipers work?

In order to know how to work with a digital caliper, we have to know the parts it consists of.

Anatomy of Digital Calipers

It has a digital display that shows you the calculation of measurements both in metric or imperial methods.

Under the display, there are two buttons; one on/off button and the other is a zero/ABS button. The zero/ABS button temporarily sets the current position to zero.

On the top of the display, there is an inch/mm button to get the imperial or metric method measurement. There is a locking screw over it, which prevents the caliper jaws from moving. A thumbwheel helps you to open or close the jaws.

There is a pair of external jaws and a pair of internal jaws for measuring external and internal distance, respectively. A depth gauge is at the tail which measures the thickness of an object or the depth of a hole.

How It Works?

The digital calipers work by taking three main types of measurements; outside measurement, inside measurement, and the measurement of depth.

  • Zero the Calipers Before Measuring

The first thing after turning it on is to zero your caliper before taking any measurements. Skipping this step will result in subsequent inaccurate measurements.

With the help of the thumbwheel, close the gap between the jaws totally and then press the zero/ABS button.

This will set the display to zero, and now it is ready to take measurements.

  • Measuring External Dimensions

The outside jaws are used to take outside dimensions measurements. Place the object between the external jaws and carefully tighten the jaws outside of it. It is crucial to place the object parallel to the jaws in order to take correct measurements.

Now tighten the locking screw so that the jaws do not move apart. The measurement will be displayed on the screen. You can read the distance in metric or in imperial by pressing the inch/mm button.

  • Measuring Internal Dimensions

This works almost the same way as measuring the external dimension except that you will be using the internal jaws. First, make sure that the material is perpendicular to the jaws. Now the jaws are inserted into the hollow part of the material.

The jaws are adjusted carefully until they touch the sides of the internal part of the material. Now, the locking screw is tightened, and the measurement is taken from the display.

  • Measuring Depth

Measuring depth of anything is quite difficult in normal circumstances. But with a digital caliper, this becomes a piece of cake. Just insert the depth gauge into the hole until it touches the bottom.

You have to make sure that the calipers are perpendicular to the surface being measured. Then tighten the screw and note down the measurement from the display.

Advantages of Digital Calipers

A digital Vernier scale has certain major advantages over a normal one. These make it preferable to most people nowadays.

  • Ease of Reading 

The LCD screen makes it easy to take measurements without calculating yourself.

  • Higher Accuracy

Digital caliper also gives you more reliability and accuracy as sometimes counting those tiny lines on the Vernier scale can be wrong.

  • Can Be Zeroed

Another great thing is that you can zero the calculation at any point in the scale of the digital caliper.

  • Measurement Conversion

The units of measurement can be converted to mm or inch instantly by the press of a button only.

Final Words

Now that you know how digital calipers work and its advantages over normal calipers, you can use it without any hesitation.

But it is also helpful to bear in mind some of the drawbacks of digital devices like the requirement of batteries and susceptibility to water.

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