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Old 08-26-2009, 10:31 PM
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WTB - Slide Caliper

I want a good slide caliper with a good vernier (preferred) or a dial.

You can buy $20 vernier calipers pretty easily, but that fails the "good" test. Starrett has a dial caliper that goes for under a hundred, but their vernier calipers are over $500.

What are other good brands, or is a good vernier caliper not available for less?

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Old 08-26-2009, 10:57 PM
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I can't attest to the relative merits of the different brands, but if you haven't done so already, you might have a look at MSC ( They show offerings from Starrett (of course), but also from Mitutoyo and Fowler, as well as some generic "import" models.

Would you care to share your reasons for wanting a vernier model in particular? Desired measuring range? Inch/metric/both?
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:16 PM
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A good vernier is as accurate as a dial, if you can read it. There is also no chance of gear lash problems.

6" or 150mm. Inch is preferred over mm, but both could be easily available with a vernier caliper, and that would be ideal.

I've never heard of Mitutoyo or Fowler. But I've been out of touch for a while. I know that there were some other brands of decent gauges other than Starrett, but I can't find much with a google search.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:49 PM
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The folks at Long Island Indicator sing the praises of verniers over dial calipers.

Here's one from Brown & Sharpe.

The same site has a "for what it's worth page" on calipers. I don't know how up-to-date it is with respect to specific information about different brands, but if you had a question, you might try contacting them.
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:33 AM
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I like dials, but if you want super accuracy get a digital. We use both at work. Just depends what you are doing with it.
1998 C230 330,000 miles (currently dead of second failed EIS, yours will fail too, turning you into the dealer's personal human cash machine)
1988 F150 144,000 miles (leaks all the colors of the rainbow)
Previous stars: 1981 Brava 210,000 miles, 1978 128 150,000 miles, 1977 B200 Van 175,000 miles, 1972 Vega (great, if rusty, car), 1972 Celica, 1986.5 Supra
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:26 AM
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Mitutoyo is a good brand...I've had a set of dial for over 20 years and has gone through hell and back with me. I also have a set of 8" Mits digital that are solar powered...another great set!
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85,000 miles

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Old 08-27-2009, 06:40 AM
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The other advantage to a vernier is that other people will leave your stuff alone. If they are going to "borrow" one, it will be digital or dial.

I used the same line of reasoning some years ago and kept a slide rule in plain sight on my desk because the calculator always seemed to disappear---no one borrowed the slide rule.
1982 300SD " Wotan" ..On the road as of Jan 8, 2007 with Historic Tags
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:20 AM
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I have two viener calipers. One is a Mitatoyo, the other a Helios. I found the Helios on the side of the street last year. I have two dial calipers, Mitatoyo and some off brand. And I have A Starret digital. Dials, I only trust to +/- 0.005. Veniers and digitals are almost as good as micrometers. I would probably get a digital as far as price and performance. I don't have enough experience with various brands in the digital calipers to give you advice on which ones to buy.
I have been of the machine shop for about 10 years now. I used to buy Starret. Mitatoyo was a close second and better on some tools. Stuff from China was spotty. SPI and Fowler were good, usually made in Japan. Peacock was OK too. If I could find tools made in the former east block, Poland Czech, Rumania ect. they were up there with Starret and Mitatoya, but just a bit below. General was mid quality if that, but good for rules, and edge finders etc. Scherr-Tumico(Sear Craftsman) are OK, but not Starret, Mitatoyo status. The Swiss stuf is usually very good, but expsensive, TESA, Interrapid etc. Brown & Sharp is up there with Starret etc. Also Lufkin.
Here's a venier caliper on E-Bay that might be a good buy:
item number : 180400656805.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:10 AM
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Mitutoyo is a great compromise between quality and price, I've been very happy with everything I've bought from them.

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