Different types and Uses of Calipers

Different types and Uses of Calipers

Your technique is as excellent as the tools you use to repair and optimize your instruments, which is a pleasant fact to know.  Calipers are an essential piece of equipment. The repair industry uses a variety of calipers, and it’s a good idea to be familiar with them.

Calipers are measurement tools that feature two adjustable jaws that can be used to accurately measure the size of items. A wide range of uses for mechanical engineering tools, including metalworking, woodturning, gunsmithing, and woodworking,is possible with these instruments. There are many diverse kinds of calipers, each with a specific purpose.

Here, we’ll go through the different types of calipers and their various applications. But first, we will take a look at the common uses of calipers.


Common Uses of Calipers

Using calipers, you can get measurements on difficult things using rulers or other measuring tools. To take a measurement, they have two legs connected by a central hinge that may be moved closer or further apart.

To compute the space between the measuring legs, some types of calipers, such as inside calipers, require the use of a ruler. Transfer measuring tools are another name for these devices. Vernier, dial, and digital scales are examples of other types featuring a scale. As a result, readings can be taken directly from the tool’s display.

Calipers can be used for four different sorts of measurements, as outlined below:


The little legs on the caliper’s top can be used to measure inside of items or surfaces. This can be done by closing the caliper, putting the jaws into the measurement region, and then sliding them further apart than possible.


To work with an object’s exterior, slide the caliper’s jaws open so they can be placed over it and then retract them until they touch the object.


The depth blade is used to complete this task. When the caliper is open, this normally protrudes from the bottom or the far end. Make sure that the caliper is held in place by pressing on its main bar until its blade reaches its lowest point, and then open it as far as it will go to get a good reading.


Make sure you have placed and locked the sliding jaw on the higher step of what you’re trying to measure before you begin. Afterward, open the caliper to the point where the fixed jaw touches the lower step.


Types and Uses of Calipers

Following is a discussion on the most commonly used calipers, along with an explanation of their purposes.

Vernier Calipers

One of the most accurate measurement tools, Vernier calipers, can be found in labs and manufacturing facilities alike. French mathematician and governmental officer Pierre Vernier invented it in 1631.

Structure-wise, it looks like a ruler with jaws at the very end of it. They can be used to measure the diameters of both the exterior and the inside, as well as the depth.  A huge pair of jaws, like an outside caliper, is used to measure the external diameter. As a pair of inside calipers, the smaller jaws are used to measure inside width. The lowest count is 1/10mm (0.1mm or 0.01cm), which is the smallest possible measurement.

Inside Calipers

Inside calipers are common in vehicle repair shops and garages, and they’re useful for gauging an object’s internal dimensions. Moreover, they are suitable for determining the interior linear dimension of structures with grooves or holes.

The inside calipers are supported on two legs, each of which protrudes externally. With a manual adjustment, you can easily alter the jaws of the measuring instrument while taking your readings.

This kind has a screw adjustment at the pivot point of the caliper, which is more advanced. The legs can be extended by rotating the screw. Because the legs of this variety are stiffer, they produce more precise results.

Outside Calipers

This is another form of caliper that you may come across in a laboratory or workshop. The concept of an outside caliper is based on the curvature of its legs. Because of its shape, it’s perfect for measuring curved objects like pipes and other tubings.

When determining the values of three-dimensional items, these workshop equipment’ bow-legs come in handy, and they are also precise. In scaling, the feet’ flexibility provides a good angle. They are ideal for measuring vast distances because of this. There are both manual and screw-adjusted options for the outside calipers.

Divider Calipers

Architecture, fine art, and cartography all use the divider caliper. For measuring distances between two locations, they are known as a pair of compasses.

The tips of its two legs are pointed, making it easier to draw a line connecting the two spots you’re trying to gauge. They’re among the mechanic’s arsenal’s most useful tools. If you’re going to use this measurement tool, it’s best to start with one sharp point and end with another. It’s a great tool for measuring straight lines.

When estimating irregular distances, it’s best to utilize a swinging motion on your surface after first putting it on a ruler to determine its arc distance. Architecture and mapping both heavily rely on this type of measurement.

Dial Calipers

To get an accurate reading from Vernier calipers, it’s necessary to verify both the primary and Vernier scales. Unlike other Vernier tools, dial calipers display readings on the face of a dial. It shows the end outcome, so you don’t have to strain your eyes to read.

Like Vernier calipers, dial calipers have a fixed scale, but the adjustable scale is a dial.  This dial features a pointer that indicates the measurement to the hundredths of a millimeter, making it a little easier to use.

It is possible to read a measurement with a precision of 0.01 using both the main scale and the dial.  Its depth bar and inner and outer jaws can be used to measure items’ depths as well as their inner and outer dimensions with this caliper.

Digital Calipers

The most advanced caliper measurement technology can be found in digital calipers. They contain scales on the front with measures in cm, mm, or inches; this is seldom utilized to take the measurements.  Rather, a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) strip with copper lines spans the length of the sliding beam and is laid out below the scale of the ruler used in the design.

When you slide the head over the ruler’s scale, a variable capacitor is created by the two copper line arrangements.  There’s a microprocessor inside of the head that measures this capacitance differential and then transforms it into an LCD readout. The reading head is equipped with a printed circuit board (PCB) with its own copper lines.

In addition to being extremely user-friendly, this makes it extremely precise because it performs all of the calculations for you. It is also possible to switch measurement units, such as from inches to millimeters, with the use of buttons on these instruments, and zero error correction can be performed at any distance.

Aside from that, the equipment looks a lot like a Vernier caliper, with both inner and outside measurement jaws, as well as a depth bar for measuring depth. However, the technology involved makes it more sophisticated and expensive.

Jenny Calipers

Jenny calipers are sometimes known as hermaphrodite calipers or odd leg calipers. An object can be marked with a line that is a specific distance away from the edge using this tool type. For scribing purposes, one leg is curved and has a needle on its tip; the other leg is straight and has a blunt point.

You can use it to scribble lines that are parallel to the edge you’re working on. You can utilize it at the vehicle repair shop to determine the center of objects like discs, especially if you’re working on an engine rebuild and refurbishment project.  The needle on some models is detachable, so if it wears out over time from repetitive scribing, you can replace it.


Micrometers are available in various forms, including outside, inside, depth, inch, and metric micrometers. These micrometers measure in microns, which improves precision.

The thimble’s knob can be turned to open the measuring part, revealing the barrel’s scale.  The barrel scale reads in whole numbers, whereas the thimble scale reads in decimal places to the nearest tenth of a millimeter.  Together, you receive precise measurements with a resolution of 0.01mm. Nevertheless, this caliper is only suitable for measuring tiny distances. Professionals in mechanical engineering work with these.



It’s important to include precise measuring devices in your toolbox, especially if you’re working on projects that demand some degree of accuracy. Calipers are among the most accurate measuring equipment, with applications ranging from mechanics to laboratories to mapping and fine arts. To keep them in good condition, use them carefully and clean them regularly while they’re not in use.

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