Best 1"-2" Digital Micrometer
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  1. #1
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    Default Best 1"-2" Digital Micrometer

    So who makes the best? Normally I would have gone with Starrett already, but I've seen a few posts where these things are failing? Mahr? Mitutoyo? Any others?

    I don't think I really need anything special, just something to keep me from getting cross eyed from taking 100 measurements a day. What do you guys think about a 1"-2" digital micrometers? Not electronic mind you, but the ones that will still give you a number you can read. Do you think that would be a more durable alternative?

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    Starrett has a new IP65-rated series coming out in a few weeks. I held one and tried it. It's VERY nice and more compact then any previous version with more features. Made in America with perhaps a couple of small IC components imported from Asia.

    If looking for right now though, the Mitutoyo 293 series (IP-65 coolant proof) is quite nice, but most are made in China now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CatMan View Post
    What do you guys think about a 1"-2" digital micrometers? Not electronic mind you, but the ones that will still give you a number you can read.
    They'll not be more durable than traditional metal-thimble mics. The numerical readout types have a small plastic gear train that turns the dials, and these are subject to failure.

    I've used these on occasion and like them. They won't match the accuracy of the best electronic digitals (.00005" accuracy), but they can certainly do a satisfactory job in most cases.

    McMaster-Carr www.mcmaster.com has a selection at the bottom of catalog page 2228.

    - Leigh

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    I have the Mit digital to .00005 readout. Some of the plusses are you can set zero your mean dimension, then a direct +/- readout. Another is after armtwisting to get into a tight spot for reading, you can freeze the reading, loosen the thimble to retrieve your arm, fingers and mic. Another is measuring steps...measure to the first step, zero at the reading, measure next step as a direct reading...no math, no depth mic. Did I mention it is inch/metric?

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    The OP specifically stated he was looking for a "DIGITAL" but not "ELECTRONIC" micrometer. This is why Leigh referred him to the mechanical, digital micrometers at the bottom of page 2228 in the McMaster catalog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FranH View Post
    I have the Mit digital to .00005 readout. Some of the plusses are you can set zero your mean dimension, then a direct +/- readout. Another is after armtwisting to get into a tight spot for reading, you can freeze the reading, loosen the thimble to retrieve your arm, fingers and mic. Another is measuring steps...measure to the first step, zero at the reading, measure next step as a direct reading...no math, no depth mic. Did I mention it is inch/metric?
    You just described most digital mics.

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    I can comment on the mechanical digital mics I've used:

    - Mitutoyo have been reliable and probably the easiest good ones to find. They're a bit clunky though in size, feel, and looks. If function, quality, and reasonable price are the considerations -- these are good. You might want to try the feel of them first, though.

    - NSK has mics that look pretty much identical to the Mitutoyo's, but with a rougher cast frame.

    - Starrett look nice, but the digits are a little small. I wouldn't choose them over the Mitutoyo.

    - Slocomb look even nicer to my eye, but again the mechanical digits are a little small.

    - B&S/Tesa made a couple of mechanical digital models. The model 201 (1-2" size) is a beautifully made mic, like clockwork. Not sure if it's still made. Nice if you can find them.

    There's also a B&S direct reading model 599-20-10 in the size you want. These originally had steel fittings, then plastic for a few years. The plastic always seems to crack.

    - You might also consider a Euro style mike like the Etalon Micro-Rapid which has larger markings -- easy to read and a wonderful mic. Not sure this is still available in inch sizes, but old 1-2" ones show up now and then:

    http://longislandindicator.com/p161.html

    Another advantage of this mic is the rapid adjustment of the screw.

    Electronic mics are now reliable enough, with large and bright enough digits, that you might broaden your search to include these.

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    Starrett No. 216 mechanical digital micrometers are current, good, and well-supported. When I was there recently I asked why they still made them in view of having the electronic ones. The reply was that they still sell in big numbers to companies that employ unskilled machine operators who can't seem to learn how to read a traditional micrometer, and the 216's require no batteries and very little maintenance. He told me they rarely get any in for service.

    Also nice is that the No.216's are the only ones I've seen that offer direct reading in "tenths" (1/10,000 inch) and full selection of friction or ratchet thimbles, The down side to these is not being able to use the nice relative measurements, "reading hold" or metric/inch shifting of an electronic one.

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    The Mitutoyo electronic digital mics are so good I can't imagine buying a mechanical digital. If I had to, I'd probably scan eBay for a couple weeks, looking for an older Fowler or similar.


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