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Part of my job as an environmental archaeologist is to identify and analyse wood and charcoal remains and a fundamental part of doing this is a set of calipers believe it or not. I am lucky enough that my lab is very well equipped and we have two sets of these Mitutoyo 500 196-20 Digimatic Calipers. The Manufacturer Mitutoyo is a brand that I have never come across before or since using these calipers, however they are a Japanese company that specialises in producing measuring instruments since 1934. They started producing electronic and digital tools in the 1970's and now provide a wide range of high spec and quality products. The Digimatic Calipers The calipers come in a dark grey tough plastic box, which is long and thin (to match the shape of the caliper) with a cardboard overlay sleeve. The box opens like a suitcase with two small catches that you pull away from the box to open and clip back into place to secure it when closed. Inside the box is a very thorough instruction booklet. The box is filled with a soft foam material, with a very precise cut out shape of the calipers. This is so that they fit snugly and safely in their box, even if they get knocked about or dropped they will be cushioned and kept in place. It is really important to keep them in their box as they are an expensive piece of kit (starting at £70 a set) and although very well made are not invincible. These digital calipers are used in many professions, from mechanics to architects to artists. For myself I use them to measure tree rings on wood and charcoal fragments. To cut a long story short the width of the rings can help us identify things like catastrophic events, climate change and woodland management such as coppicing - very interesting! The calipers look like a bizarre dog hand puppet in profile I think. They have a long and thin main scale that is much like a ruler, and on one end of the ruler are the large and small 'jaw' pieces. These jaws are used to measure objects or short distances. These being digital calipers have a reasonably large LCD digital screen which is where you can accurately read your measurements off of. The accuracy of this caliper set is: +- 0.02mm +-( 0.001 in). To use the calipers you must turn on the tiny on button on the digital LCD screen. Wherever your jaw is placed on the caliper it will read from 0.00mm if you press the small zero key, so you don't need to worry about them being completely closed before use. They also automatically switch themselves off, so as not to waste the battery. The larger bottom jaw of the calipers is used to measure the outside of objects or a particular length. You do this by gently rolling the caliper along the length of the scale. This is very easy as the actual digital screen is on a kind of roller wheel that means it is not jerky and you can keep a steady and accurate reading. Wherever you move the scale you will get a reading with a resolution of 0.01mm. The top jaw of the calipers is a lot smaller than the bottom; these are used to measure the inside of things such as tubes and pipes, basically anything with a hole in the middle! Again you slide the jaw to the length hat you need and take the reading. They are highly accurate and very easy to use. On the actual scale length (ruler bit) there are both metric and inch measurement to read off, likewise you can change the digital display to your preferred unit of choice. Overall These calipers may be pricey, starting from £70 on Amazon up to and over £100 on specialist tool websites, but they are quality. You can feel this quality and workmanship in them, they are a heavy piece of kit for their size and made of high quality materials. For anyone who needs to use this kind of kit I would highly recommend Mitutoyo digital calipers. I always think it is worth spending slightly more money on this type of item in order to get such a reliable and quality product.
My job requires me to keep a large range of tools on me at all times, and out of my huge collection of tools and gadgets, I can honestly say that the Mitutoyo Digital Caliper is one of my most commonly used and treasured possessions. Mitutoyo is a Japanese company that was founded in 1934 and specialises in making high quality micrometers, dial indicators and calipers. ~~ What is a Caliper ~~ A Caliper is basically a device used to measure the distance between two opposing sides of an object. It does the same sort of thing as a tape measure, but it is capable of a much higher degree of accuracy. The Mitutoyo (500 - 196) caliper is a 'vernier' style which consists of a calibrated scale with a fixed jaw, and another jaw, with a pointer, that slides along the scale. The distance between the jaws is then read either by looking at the scale for a rough reading, or by a visual reading from the digital display to give a highly accurate reading. ~~~~~ My opinion of the Mitutoyo 500 196 Digimatic caliper ~~~~~ Having used several of these types of vernier calipers over the years, I can thoroughly recommend this one from Mitutoyo. The build quality is excellent, and the accuracy is second to none. The advantage of having the 2 sets of jaws is a really good asset, as the bottom set is perfect for measuring an entire object such as a tablet, or a fuse, and the top set is superb for measuring internal dimensions, such as an opening, a gap, or a hole. The digital display is clear to read, with simple functions comprising of a green On / Off button, a yellow Zero set button, and a white button for changing between inches and millimeters. The zero can be selected at any point on the scale, which is useful, and the digital reading on the screen is saved in the event of the power being turned off, which again is very useful, and not something available on other models that I have used in the past. There is a fixing screw at the top of the digital display which can be used to fasten the sliding pointers into position, which comes in very handy. Various grip points are located around the display unit, which are positioned perfectly to make the adjusting of the pointers effortless and very smooth. The Mitutoyo vernier caliper comes in a strong and durable grey plastic case which is fully lined inside with a dark foam substance. This offers great protection to the caliper, and keeps it firmly in place at all times, protecting it from knocks and falls. Luckily for me, my employer paid for this piece of equipment for me, but to go out and buy one would cost somewhere in the region of £100. This is not the sort of equipment that most people would need to own in the house, as a simple tape measure would normally suffice, but for anyone needing accurate measurements then this is a really handy tool. The caliper is capable of measuring distances of up to 6 inches or 153 millimeters, and as mentioned before the screen is clear to read, and surprisingly stable in that it doesn't fluctuate much even between miniscule distances of 0.01 of a millimeter. The screen has a Resolution of 0.01mm, 0.0005in +/-0.02mm, and the accuracy is defined as being +/- 0.001in Overall it is a great piece of equipment for anyone needing to measure small thicknesses, distances, holes, depths, lengths, heights, gaps etc to a very accurate and precise degree. Thanks for reading. © L500589 2012
This digital caliper has a unique feature which enables a zero 'origin point' to be set anywhere within the measuring range and even be retained when power is off. With this point established, the distance from this position will always be displayed. Range:150mm - 6in Resolution: 0.01mm, 0.0005in +/-0.02mm Accuracy: +/- 0.001in