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Cheap digital caliper ideas

krhoover

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 30, 2020
Location
Venango county NW Pa
So I bought 5 of these. it says there made out of carbon fiber (plastic) anyhow, I’ve seen where some of you guys have have cut the ends off and mounted them on quills, tail stocks, lathes, etc. Thats what my intended purpose is. I know some are going to say to cheap to waste your time with etc, but iv played with them and they seem pretty accurate. I’ll throw one in my general tool box, one out on the work bench and cut the others and mount them. So, could you please pos pictures of the ones that you have mounted on your mills, lathes, drill presses and anything else. If they don’t work I’m out the cost of a can of beer..
 

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or out the cost of the ruined material or out the customer who's property you ruined.... not trying to be a wet blanket but I've wasted so much money trying to save a buck, I'd never trust it
Kingbob,

You have apparently confused the OP with somebody asking a question about the absolute best precision metrology equipment to use for a high-accuracy expensive aerospace job. Lots of jobs call for pocket rules, tape measures and yardsticks, and even measuring ingredients by the pinch. I assume you use those? This would be a good opportunity to explain when and why varying levels of precision and accuracy are appropriate, rather than just bragging that yours can measure accurately smaller than his.

I mean, not that there is anything wrong with that.
 
This is not one of the plastic ones, but still an import. It has served as a quill DRO on my mill for over 10 years and is still working just fine. The picture is not the best and I really should take another one. I have improved the lighting on the mill since then.

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Since the 6" range of the caliper is only an inch more than the quill's travel, I did not bother cutting it any shorter. But in the photo the inside jaws are still present. I cut them off shortly after this picture was taken.

The biggest problem is the battery life. It just gobbles them up. I have an idea to convert it to a solar cell for power. I need to get my 3D printer working for that project. I bought some $3 calculators at Walmart's pre-school sale (but after school started) to rob the solar cells from.
 
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That’s exactly what I’m looking for, pics like that and on lathes, drill presses etc. That’s my reason for buying them, not to start a debate about quality , just to use as a close or close enough.
Thanks for your pic and idea.
 
IIRC Grizzly sells ones that are ready to adapt, no cutting needed:
 
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I thought of that idea just the other day wracking my aging mind over mathematics that I was really good at 40 years ago. I looked at cheap DRO's and they seem hard to keep debris out of. It would be nice to have digital instead of figuring it out in one's head. At least, from reading the thread, I learned that they make remote read-outs. Not a priority at the moment.
 
I wouldn't bother modifying caliper. You can get digital linear scales (horizontal or vertical) with little money from Aliexpress in 50mm increments to suit almost any need. Just need to fabricate adapter. Just don't buy the cheapest and check the ratings. I've never encountered any false readings with them. Only downside with all these cheaper scales is that they drain the battery relatively quickly compared to for example Mitutoyo where batteries last forever.
Tailstock_Quill.png
Drillpress.png

Shahe is one of the highest quality from Aliexpress, but then again the priciest.
 
As said above, these knockoffs go thru batteries like crazy, but if the thing is going to be permanently mounted anyway I figured just hook up a real battery which will last. These 3d printed battery holders work well, leave the wires a bit long and then even if the battery leaks you just redo the wire loop, which forms the battery terminals:
 

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Unfortunately I can't publish any photos, but I used a plastic-framed tread-depth gauge for a device to track long-term tiny movements in a large structure. The electronics were basically the same as the digital calipers use, and it has proved very reliable over a number of years. The frame was very easy to machine in a Roland desktop engraver, and it took threads well.

Power was supplied through the built-in port, and the output was taken from the same port. I don't know what processing was involved beyond the interface; that was over to the electronics guys. The only problem I ran into was that, after the prototype was proved to be successful, the next batch of gauges retained no memory of their previous setting after switch-off. I suppose the designers thought you wouldn't want to retain your tread depth reading. A stiff letter to the supplier, a refund, and a new order with a different supplier got that sorted.

This was for a professional application so I don't think the OP needs to worry as long as he's working within the known limitations of digital calipers.

George
 
Kingbob,

You have apparently confused the OP with somebody asking a question about the absolute best precision metrology equipment to use for a high-accuracy expensive aerospace job. Lots of jobs call for pocket rules, tape measures and yardsticks, and even measuring ingredients by the pinch. I assume you use those? This would be a good opportunity to explain when and why varying levels of precision and accuracy are appropriate, rather than just bragging that yours can measure accurately smaller than his.

I mean, not that there is anything wrong with that.
I hate junk calipers. Lots of times a rule or tape measure is the tool for the job, and there's a quality curve for them too. I went cheap on calipers starting out, and they all died, quickly. Every pair of Mitutoyos we've bought is still working. Their basic digital calipers are $100, and worth every penny.

It's not even about accuracy, it's just about the tool working for a reasonable amount of time. I'll use my grandfather's vernier calipers before cheap digitals.
 








 
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