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New Micrometers

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Henry Brown01/12/2021 17:29:47
558 forum posts
119 photos

I dropped on a lovely Starrett 25-50 second hand for £12 about 12 months ago, that started me looking on ebay for 2nd hand Starrett mics to make an identical set and now have 0-25 through to 175-200. All lightly used I don't think I paid more than £20 for any of them. I've stripped, cleaned and oiled them as I get them and thoroughly enjoyed doing that as well. The smaller sizes usually cost more, of course, and have probably had more use so more care needs to be taken with those...

old mart01/12/2021 19:28:32
3898 forum posts
268 photos

Who exactly started talking about 1/100000" micrometers, it seems to keep coming up?

Tony Pratt 101/12/2021 20:23:40
2024 forum posts
12 photos
Posted by old mart on 01/12/2021 19:28:32:

Who exactly started talking about 1/100000" micrometers, it seems to keep coming up?

Dave S mentioned 1/10000".


Kiwi Bloke02/12/2021 00:29:22
698 forum posts
1 photos

...but it makes you feel like a higher-end sort of engineer to be able to measure to the nearest 'tenth' just how much too much you've just taken off the workpiece.

Jon Lawes02/12/2021 09:23:29
991 forum posts

I just remember the Boscombe Down Standards lab... if you opened the door for more than a couple of seconds the chap would shout at you.... as a young erk I found it all a bit eye-opening...

Mike Hurley02/12/2021 10:06:24
325 forum posts
87 photos

What about an internal micrometer? I know not everyone likes them but personally I do find them handy for most tasks. If requiring a very accurate internal bore I would use a home made go/no go gauge but still use the internal mike when working to ' nearly got there '. ( I'm aware of the issues with them normally only being able to measure the first part of a bore ) . Really don't find calipers work for me as well as micrometers, just a personal thing.

The only drawback I find is having to think backwards when reading the scale and have totally cocked up more than once by misreading it! So, a digital version would be really nice, but they do seem prohibitively priced ( Suppose there's less demand than for external mikes )


Dave S02/12/2021 12:00:43
374 forum posts
90 photos

For bores I use the sliding T gages and then measure those with a mic. Seems to work well in my experience.

I have 'reworked' the gages slightly to make them smoothly operating - This Old Tony has done a video which is basically what I did.


Howard Lewis02/12/2021 16:55:08
6310 forum posts
15 photos

As said, unless our hobby workshops are accurately temperature and humidity controlled we shall be very lucky to be able to work, repeatably, to 0.0001"

In which case paying lots of money for high grade industrial quality measuring equipment will not be a worthwhile investment.

I got hold of a Swiss industrial (Standards Room ) quality bore gauge, but a couple of anvils and extensions were missing.

Enquired about spares; Spares unavailable, retained for repairs, only.

Cost of a new gauge $5,000 with a 6 month lead time! (i.e. Only made to order )

For my use bought a Die and a tap for the rather small threads (Circa £30 ) and made my own. The accuracy will suffice, since it is, in reality, a comparator between the bore and whatever is used to set the dimension (Slips, Micrometer, Calliper ) So then we are back to the accuracy and resolution of the the standard to which the gauge is compared.

My Vernier Height Gauge was condemned because it had ab error of 0.002" over 18" Since my measurements at one time usually cover a range of a quarter of that, I am prepared live with an error which is probably less than than my capabilities.

Nice to own kit capable of measuring to a micron, but how often is that level of accuracy REALLY needed? is the question.

It would be nice to own a new Rolls Royce. But for a four mile round trip to and from the local supermarket; a waste of money.



not done it yet02/12/2021 17:33:38
6887 forum posts
20 photos

We used some very accurate weighing scales at the Radiochemical Centre (this was over 50 years ago). Usual assay balance is to four decimal places of a gram. These, IIRC, were 6 figure ones where we had to leave the item (to be weighed) on the scale pan for 20-30 minutes to equilibrate the temperature of any circulating air within the case before taking a reading - and then go back and check that the weight indication had not changed. The balance room was separate to the main lab.

I remember one fellow tried to weigh a volatile, highly tritiated sample in an unsealed capillary tube. Obviously his weighings kept reducing but he cheated our system of checks. It did not come to light until the next lot of samples, sent for Beta scintillation counting, gave ridiculous results.

The very expensive B-scint. machine had to be completely decontaminated, thousands upon thousands of counting vials were dumped, a lot of analyses repeated and all of us were on urine sample bottles, for health physics checks, for the following week.

colin hawes02/12/2021 19:17:50
559 forum posts
18 photos

A decent mechanical micrometer will only develop very small errors due to wear or operational "feel" whereas a digital electronic one could introduce unknown errors so for maximum accuracy I prefer the mechanical micrometer. Colin

SillyOldDuffer03/12/2021 14:44:17
8891 forum posts
1998 photos
Posted by colin hawes on 02/12/2021 19:17:50:

A decent mechanical micrometer will only develop very small errors due to wear or operational "feel" whereas a digital electronic one could introduce unknown errors so for maximum accuracy I prefer the mechanical micrometer. Colin

Is that true? What 'unknown errors' are introduced by digital micrometers?

A common type has a digital display mounted on an ordinary analogue instrument with a differential screw.


I wouldn't expect a difference in accuracy. The advantage of the digital display is eliminating misreading errors, and being able to do Imperial/Metric and offsets etc. The disadvantage is needing a battery! The analogue and digital display can be checked against each other. Owners please, do they differ, and if so, which reading is less wrong?

Another type is digital only. There's no analogue scale. Although the example below looks cheap and plasticky to my jaded eye, it's made by iGaging and like the Mitutoyo pictured above reads to half-tenths.


Seems to save space, and I suspect this type doesn't contain a precision differential screw, relying on some other arrangement, perhaps a miniature DRO track and rotation counter. They're not expensive. Does anyone know how they work?

The problem with differential screw micrometers is they depend on the production accuracy of an expensive screw, which is vulnerable to wear, tear and dirt. They're particularly prone to wear on one section of thread if the instrument is repeatedly used to measure similar sized objects. Like the curates egg, worn micrometers are only good in part. A digital instrument could avoid wear problems by not relying on a precision thread, instead directly measuring movement along an optically or magnetically precise track.

Anyone have experience of them?


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 03/12/2021 14:45:32

David Jenner03/12/2021 15:23:07
30 forum posts

All bar one of my micrometers, a Dasqua 0-25mm, are second hand Moore and Wright brand, one belonged to my father, so probably getting on for 70 years old (or more?) they all work fine all day every day. I had one digital 0-25 (0-1" purchased from Harbour Freight, this was great to use, verry accurate, but failed after a couple of years. If I was to replace it I'd go for a good brand (read expensive) as the cheap ones seem throaway items or at least a bit of a lottery when it comes to service life. I have one good vernier caliper (Japanese) and two digital calipers,fine for some less demanding jobs and a dial caliper. the digital calipers are great fot estimating cuts, I set the required dimension, set to zere, measure the item and can see the depth of cut required, very handy, but I always check with a conventional mic for the final cut and checks. Works for me!

Concerning my dads mic, still spot on accurate, smooth to operate but the graduations are quite faint now, anyone know of a way to improve these.


Dave J

Edited By David Jenner on 03/12/2021 15:26:11

Mike Poole03/12/2021 16:39:45
3377 forum posts
77 photos

EBay has come up with many micrometers that are in near new condition, I have acquired a small collection of mechanical and digital but the most used are the 0.001” and the 0.01mm mechanical. The vernier versions of both give the next level of resolution a definite value but I don’t think I would be far out just guesstimating the tenths of a thou or the hundredths of a millimetre. Digital instruments can lull you to believe what you read on the display but every measuring tool has a tolerance so do not confuse resolution and accuracy.


Howard Lewis03/12/2021 18:09:16
6310 forum posts
15 photos

For my Reversible Roller Box, i was given a micrometer barrel with a mechanical digital read out.

It had been rejected for having a "One per rev" catch point, but appears to be accurate. It will see very little use, so will last far beyond me!


Vic03/12/2021 19:49:03
3089 forum posts
16 photos

I always wanted one of the Mitutoyo mechanical digital micrometers but they were expensive at the time. My standard one works well enough though.

lfoggy03/12/2021 21:15:38
196 forum posts
18 photos

My favoured micrometer is the Mitutoyo QuantuMike. These are of the highest quality and are a joy to use. One unusual feature is the 2mm pitch spindle which makes moving from one end of the measuring range to the other very quick.

old mart04/12/2021 19:25:01
3898 forum posts
268 photos

I sold my Mitutoyo digitals, 0-1, 1-2, 2-3 for about £65 each on ebay, they were in mint condition, so three people got some good kit. I hardly ever used them since retiring, so I turned them into cash and still have mechanical ones in imperial and metric. Ebay can turn up excellent buys occasionally, my 25-50 metric was NOS and made in East Germany, marked DDR and superb quality for £14 including delivery.

 As Mike Poole mentions, the tenths and micron vernier scale micrometers are not really needed as you can easily estimate the finer decimal place without the vernier, I never bother to turn the mic around to read it, even though my mechanicals have the scale.

 One advantage of a digital micrometer is the much reduced chance of misreading it.

Edited By old mart on 04/12/2021 19:31:21

Edited By old mart on 04/12/2021 19:32:53

not done it yet04/12/2021 20:34:50
6887 forum posts
20 photos

Owners please, do they differ, and if so, which reading is less wrong?

I‘ve never bothered to even look and don't intend to.. A bit like having a dog and barking yourself? A check with a gauge block or the supplied standard is sufficient for me. I don’t need that last significant (or insignificant) figure.

It’s a bit like my cheap DROs that only read to the nearest 0.01mm - they read to that, but the spec is wider than that last digit. Still close enough for virtually all operations - where the final measurement (if important) is checked by a micrometer, anyway (after the item has equilibrated with the surroundings).

About the only time when absolute dimensions are required is for replacement parts, held as spares - and there will always be a specification tolerance involved.

jimmy b04/12/2021 20:42:02
791 forum posts
42 photos

This is my reminder not to but cheap rubbish. Repeating error, hence scrap. My digital Mitutoyo has never given any trouble! If money was no object, I'd like one of these, just because...micron mic



Edited By jimmy b on 04/12/2021 20:42:39

Mike Poole04/12/2021 22:27:16
3377 forum posts
77 photos
Posted by jimmy b on 04/12/2021 20:42:02:

This is my reminder not to but cheap rubbish. Repeating error, hence scrap. My digital Mitutoyo has never given any trouble! If money was no object, I'd like one of these, just because...micron mic



Edited By jimmy b on 04/12/2021 20:42:39

That would be just the job for measuring a gnats c*** and fly s*** .


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