How to Use a Dial Caliper by Cooper Johnson

This instructable will teach you how to use a dial caliper for precise measuring.

Step 1: What Is a Dial Caliper?

A dial caliper is a tool used to make very precise measurements up to a thousandth of an inch. It uses a graduated scale and a dial indicator to display these measurements. Dial calipers can measure length, width, depth, and height.

Step 2: Parts of a Dial Caliper: Scale

The main part of a dial caliper is the scale. The scale is the long beam that has the inch and 1/10 inch measurements

Step 3: Parts of a Dial Caliper: Dial

The dial is the clock-like display that moves with the slide. It displays 100ths, 1000ths, and 10000ths of an inch using a needle that rotates around the dial.

Step 4: Parts of a Dial Caliper: Depth Rod

The depth rod can be used to measure the depth of holes or cut-outs. It is at the bottom of the dial caliper and extends outward.

Step 5: Parts of a Dial Caliper: Upper Jaws

The upper jaws of a dial caliper can be used to measure the inside of openings or objects. They extend outwards the same as the lower jaws, which will be addressed in the next slide.

Step 6: Parts of a Dial Caliper: Lower Jaws

The lower jaws can be used to measure the length, width, and height of an object. The right jaw can be pushed back and forth on the scale.

Step 7: Parts of a Dial Caliper: Slide

The slide is what the Bottom Jaw, Dial, and Slide Lock are attached to. It can move freely up and down the scale.

Step 8: Parts of a Dial Caliper: Slide Lock or Lock Screw

The Slide lock is located on the slide. When tightened, the slide will not move. When loosened, the slide can move freely up and down the scale.

Step 9: Parts of a Dial Caliper: Dial Lock

The dial lock is only loosened when adjusting the position of the dial. When it is loose, the dial can be rotated.

Step 10: Setting Up Your Dial Caliper

Loosen the slide lock so the slide can move freely. Push the slide all the way up to the top, so that the lower jaws are pushing against the other. Tighten the slide lock. loosen the dial lock and turn the dial until the needle is right over zero on the dial. Tighten the dial lock. Your Dial Caliper is now reset.

Step 11: Measuring Length

Position the Dial Caliper perpendicular to the object. Loosen the slide lock. Extend the movable prong so that it it is longer than whatever object you are measuring. Move the two prongs so that the object is between them. Push the movable prong so that is is pinching the object. Tighten the slide lock. Remove the dial caliper from the object. Note the length measured on the slide and on the dial. Once added up, you have the exact length of whatever object you are measuring. (As long as it is shorter than 6 inches, because most normal dial calipers only measure up to 6 inches.)

Step 12: Measuring Width

Measuring width is just the same as measuring length. The only difference is that you are positioning the dial caliper parallel to the object instead of perpendicular.

Step 13: Measuring Height

Measuring height is the same as measuring length, but you position the dial caliper vertical to the object instead of parallel or perpendicular.

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    Penolopy Bulnick

    4 weeks ago

    Calipers are really handy, aren't they :)