A micrometer isn’t one of the first tools I would have bought. Even though I had used them where I worked, at a printers to measure the thickness of paper and cardboard. It wasn’t until I had some tinned copper wire that I was using to make wire links that I even thought about one. This is what I consider to be the best digital micrometer at around £10.
The problem was that I thought the wire was proving difficult to bend whereas the wire off cut from a component seemed a lot easier and they were both supposed to be a similar thickness. If only I had a micrometer to measure them with.
I started to look to see how much they were and was extremely surprised to see fairly low cost digital devices available. Surely they couldn’t be any good? I found a model that was around the ten pounds price range on Amazon and decided to give it a try.
This is the one I bought 12.7mm/0.5" Carbon Fiber Composites Digital Thickness Caliper Micrometer from Amazon
As you can see it’s fairly small (I’ve only got normal sized hands) and takes a single button cell to power it. I don’t know what the power consumption is, it’s not stated but it can’t be much as I’ve been using it for six months with the same battery. You might struggle to find where to put it when you first get it.
The compartment slides shut.
This device is an outside micrometer. It measures the outside an item like a wire to check how thick it is. There are internal micrometers that measure inside something like a hole but for me that’s not what I need.
Operation is simple with only three buttons. You power it on, select inch or mm and press the zero button if the device is showing a reading other than zero.
You then simply press the sprung lever and insert the item you are measuring in the gap and let go of the lever allowing the contact point to press against the measured item. The display has a resolution of 0.01mm/0.0005” and the accuracy is quoted as +-0.1mm/0.004”.
Point one of a millimetre doesn’t seem to be that accurate but I think it’s a lot better than the quoted figure. Maybe it’s a bad translation from where ever it’s manufactured. The only way I could think of to check on its accuracy was to measure some items that I knew and see whether they read over or under what was expected. I guessed if it was consistently telling me things were bigger or smaller than I expected, that would be the test.
The only things that I had to test it on were some reels if tinned copper wire that I could convert to millimetres. Overall I could only conclude that it was measuring pretty much spot on.
It will measure items up to 12.7mm or 0.5 inches.
Over time it has proven to be invaluable in being able to measure things that I had previously had to take on face value or remain unknown, like some unmarked tinned copper wire. I now know the thickness I want because I can compare the sizes and measure the one I want. I can also measure the thickness of circuit boards so I can use the thickest or thinnest as the application needs and I can check on the sizes of component leads so there are no unpleasant surprises after drilling. Oh and mentioning drilling I can now make sure I use the correct drill size. I can now check whether I’ve got a .7mm 0r .8mm drill bit when I’ve mixed them up. I don’t know how I’ve managed to get by without it after all these years and I wouldn’t want to be without it now.
If you want to buy one I’ve included a buy it now Amazon button.