View Full Version : Vernier Caliper use.

03-14-2008, 01:29 AM
Bloodshot eyed late last night, trolling through homework yet again, (As I should be doing now! :rolleyes:), I finally made the mental connection after rereading through my textbook concerning how to read a Vernier Caliper to discriminate to 1/1000th of an inch. Yes, I have a dial caliper, yes I can use electronic calipers also. But I have had this vernier for years, and now, finally, I can read it! :dizzy: (Hint:- a magnifying glass helps!)

Back to homework.... :drinkup: (Coffee!) :blush: ....tootles.

03-14-2008, 03:48 AM
i used to keep one in my tool box just because I was the only one around that could read it. Now days they just remind just how bad I need my cheaters to see.

03-14-2008, 09:08 AM
Years ago, I dealt with a machinist/modelmaker that had a segment of a contact type reading magnifier glued over the vernier scale to make it easier to read. Cut it from something like this.

riley mcmillan
03-14-2008, 10:52 AM
I still have a couple of pair of Modern Tools vernier calipers. One pair is 45 years old and the other one is about 30 years old. Also have a pair of Starrett 24 inch vernier caliphers. The Starrett is easier to read because the scales are flush. You are right about using a glass to help. I used those things for many years for close tolerance sheet metal fabrication, and still use them even for my wood projects. Never did trust the dial calipers because sometimes they can skip but I do like my digital 6 inch pair.

Jim Stabe
03-14-2008, 11:59 AM
My verniers are in the back of a desk drawer along with my slide rule. Both have been replaced with things that have digital readouts. I even got a calculator with big numbers so I don't have to squint.


Rick Moran
03-14-2008, 12:21 PM
That's funny. I haven't used my veniers for years now. I still have a pair in my toolbox drawer but always use my dial calipers. I just haven't felt the need to upgrade to digital yet. Maybe someday when my eyes begin to fail me.

03-14-2008, 12:59 PM
I use the vernier the most, for several reasons: No sensitive mechanism to skip or break, no battery to die, and no dial or readout sticking out to get in the way when making a measurement in a tight spot. Fortunately, I can still see the lines. Can't see the other side of the room without binoculars, but I can see the lines on the caliper.

03-15-2008, 02:08 AM
They are always in the top drawer of my tool box. I don't use them for much precision work but they are very handy for finding the right drill bit out of a variety on the bench or to confirm gage thicknesses.
In the dist and dirt of a welding shop the old style ones are reliable.

03-15-2008, 09:28 AM
I have vernier height gages and of course mic's up to 9", but I don't think I have any calipers. There may be a pair in the machinist toolbox I got from my grandfather along with his 1930's machinerys handbook and machinists union dues logbooks for the 30's through the 70's. I do prefer my dial calipers over my digitals except for one thing - being able to do metric and inch on the same pair.

03-15-2008, 10:28 AM
I still have a pair and the little magnifing glass you set on them to read them. Ran across them not long ago and tried them out. They are harder to read nowthan when I quit using them. I think it's because I wear glasses now and didn't then. I put them back in the drawer and forgot about them until I read this thread.

03-15-2008, 11:20 AM
We have some "oldies" in the shop that will measure 40" inside and out..

They are easy to read if you know how..
Seeing the lines is another thing..:dizzy:


David R
03-15-2008, 02:22 PM
Still use em for certain things. If some one asks to borrow a set of calipers, I loan them the vernier and keep the brown and sharpe dial set in the box. :)

I have digital, but don't trust them yet.

It seems the vernier set has a lot more lines than it used to.


03-15-2008, 02:49 PM
It seems the vernier set has a lot more lines than it used to.

They are closer together, smaller and fuzzier than they used to be. :)

I use mine as a blind mans gauge. 'This' drill is the same dia as 'that' bar stock, whatever it is. :laugh:

03-15-2008, 09:01 PM
One other thing..

Make sure your reading the right side for what your measuring..

One side is for I.D'S...other for O.D.'S..

Reading the wrong scale will result in :realmad::realmad:


03-15-2008, 10:07 PM
Well, I actually use mine more than any of the other types. Not many people can read them so they don't go walking off quite a bit, and I can probably read them as fast as a dial or micrometer.

03-16-2008, 09:50 AM
Verniers to 60', dont even bother with 2 pair of glasses at a time anymore head right for the lighted magnifier on the work bench by the lathe and milling machine.

William McCormick Jr
03-16-2008, 11:18 PM
I use the old style myself. I set them and scribe with them, wow it beats a homemade scratching tool, Ha-ha. They are made out of some trick alloy. They just keep scribing.

They are accurate though. I think mine are broken down with tenth of an inch marks, which are actually one hundred thousandths each. And then they have four divisions of 25 thousandths each. Then you go to the 25 calibrating marks to tell which of those 25 thousandths you have the calibers set to.

So if you are past the one inch mark, and just past the third tenth of an inch large division or 100/1000" marks. And you are past the third of four subdivisions or 25/1000" marks, you go to the calibrating marks and if the 5th calibrating line, lines up you have yourself 1.375" or 1 3/8".

On the other side they have the 1/128 inch scale. The ruler is just like we use all day. It is broken down to sixteenths. And each one of those sixteenths I believe is broken down by the calibrating lines eight times. To give you 1/128" accuracy.

But they are actually more accurate then dial indicators. Years ago you could never use a dial indicator in a good machine shop.


William McCormick

03-16-2008, 11:36 PM
I know how to use just normal ones. Easy , but hard on the eyes.

Right now i just have 6" digital caliper i use for machining.

I'm going to get some micrometers , more accurate.

03-18-2008, 02:56 PM
Please just convert to the Metric system already :p:drinkup:

William McCormick Jr
03-18-2008, 07:43 PM
Please just convert to the Metric system already :p:drinkup:

I hate metric.


William McCormick

03-18-2008, 08:49 PM
Please just convert to the Metric system already :p:drinkup:

That is one reason I use the vernier calipers i do. American as well as metric scales. Had to measure a metric PTO shaft this morning with them actually.

03-18-2008, 09:44 PM
I have to convert Metric sized bearings into U.S.A. sized bores/ Journals all the time..

Times 25.4

Or Vice-Versa...


03-19-2008, 09:06 PM
I never work with metric , i just don't like it.

Even though we were grown up with it in school. I just use inches!

03-19-2008, 09:12 PM
I just use inches!

You mean Thousandths..;)


03-19-2008, 10:38 PM
You mean Thousandths..;)


Well yea

1000 thou in 1 inch

Same thing

05-26-2008, 06:01 AM
I my slide rule at work, The apprentices cant believe the things i work out with it. its good to see the look on their face when they check my calcs. on their pocket calculator

05-26-2008, 07:52 AM
When I need metric measurements I still use a vernier, otherwise I use a dial type. I have a digital in the wood shop and that's about all I trust it for.

05-26-2008, 10:41 AM
I also use mine daily, i like them so much i bought a second one just to have...Bob

05-26-2008, 10:26 PM
Imperial is a bit of a joke really, if you read up on the origin. The US should really get with the times. I dont know how to read imperial in verniers and I dont really wont to learn.

05-26-2008, 10:45 PM
I've used both long enough to prefer metric, BUT our industry in the US would have to change so much! And you know how Americans tend to deal with change...

05-28-2008, 08:26 PM
Well i just bought my 3rd one tonight...Bob

05-29-2008, 09:21 AM
I work in both metric and imperial but for fine measurements thousandths of an inch somehow means more to me than 10ths or hundredths of a millimetre. Probably goes back to when you could set the spark plug gaps with the back of a hacksaw blade that was about 24 thou from memory.

If I'm fabricating something though, I like working in millimetres. Tire pressures make sense in PSI but not in kPa. I've worked with Japanese engineers on rally cars and they used atmospheres for pressure. 1 atmosphere = 14.7 psi = 101kPa. Somehow I can relate to the atmosphere or bar measurement and 1.8 atm = 26psi but 179kPa means nothing.

My vernier has both Metric and Imperial vernier scales