Updated: Jul 3, 2021
What is a Caliper?
Calipers are the main tool a machinist needs to start in their career. Calipers come in many sizes and to be able to purchase the right size or sizes you would want to first know some of the projects you will need to machine. Also, there are different types and tolerances these calipers will have to hold as in will you be holding + or - .001 or .0001. If these types of tolerances are needed to be held you would want to use other tools to keep within close tolerance.
How to Read a Caliper?
There are two majorly used sets of calipers known as digital calipers and dial calipers. The digital calipers are easier to read with the lcd screen which tells you the full measurement that is being displayed.
The dial calipers are a little harder to read but once you understand them it will be easy.
How to Use a Caliper?
The use of calipers can help in measuring the depths, o.d., and i.d. of what you need measurements of.
Outside micrometers also known as O.D. mics can be used to measure outside dimensions of your work pieces. This tool can be accompanied with other tools like the telescopic gauge to get correct measurements.
Once again when purchasing these mics you would want to know the type of dimensions you will be holding so you don't buy the wrong set. You can always build over time. A lot of machine shops supply O.D. Mics for their machinist.
Telescopic Gauge set
Telescopic gauges are also known as telescoping bore gauges, or snap gauges. These paired with the O.D. mics will be able to measure the I.D. or inside diameter of holes that you machine at a closer tolerance than the calipers. Telescoping gauges are a little tricky until you get the hang of how to properly use them so be sure to get proper training or tri-mics to use as a backup until your used to their fill.
The edge finder also known as the wiggler, wobbler, or center finder is mainly used on the mill machines or multi-axis lathes. This tool helps you find the work offset center or edge of the part. This tool can also assist in measuring parts dimensions.
There are different types and sizes of these tools which also can find the center of holes, and also get in between tight to reach spaces like inside grooves.
Allen wrench set
This set is a must-have in the machine shop. It will assist you in changing inserts and tools for both mills and lathe machines.
This set will be needed for both mill and lathe setups but mainly mills.
You don't want to bang on finished material with any type of metal other than brass in some cases