What is a Caliper Gauge?

A caliper.

A caliper gauge is a measuring tool that determines the width or length of an item by fitting it between two arms or tips of the device. At least one of the arms moves to allow adjustment of the gap until it exactly fits the measured item. Variations of this tool include dials, vernier, and feelers.

The typical structure of a caliper gauge is an “L” shape with one of the caliper arms fixed in position as the shorter leg of the “L”. The other gauge arm slides back and forth along the long side of the “L” to allow the gauges to precisely fit around the item being measured. Incremental distances are marked on the long side of the “L” on a standard gauge, starting with zero where the two cursors meet when the gap is closed. The meters can also be equipped with a digital readout or dial to display the results.

The tips of a caliper gauge can have different shapes. The tips can reach a tapered point for accurate measurement at the ends. The pointed ends can have flat inner sides to comfortably fit the surface of the item. The caliper tips can bend 90 degrees inward to accommodate a grooved or threaded surface.

A dial gauge is specifically designed for internal measurements of cylinders or tubes. Two bent tips are inserted into the cylinder and spread out using a spring fit until the tips touch the inside of the cylinder. The dial has a bezel that is zeroed before measurement to ensure accuracy. Some L-shaped calipers are also equipped with pins bent on the opposite side of regular calipers to measure the inside diameter.

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Vernier compass gauges add an extra measurement gradient to the standard “L” shaped gauge A vernier scale uses a measurement of 90% of the standard scale on the gauge to provide an accurate reading to an additional decimal place. It is used when accuracy is essential.

Sometimes it is necessary to measure the thickness of a piece of fabric or a belt in processing equipment. A modification of a feeler gauge called a feeler gauge can be used for this purpose. From a handle at one end, two arms extend to the side with spring-loaded flattened or rounded ends pointing towards each other at 90 degree angles from the arms. The arms are placed over the sides of a belt or piece of fabric, and the gauge reads the thickness as the fabric or belt passes between the arms.

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