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Thread: Dial caliper maintenance

  1. #1
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    Dial caliper maintenance

    I bought a nice Mitutoyo 6" dial caliper off eBay for a bargain price. Its a used Made-in-Japan model 505-637-50. From looks of the plastic case, I'm guessing its maybe 1980s vintage. Everything seems to work fine, definitely a step up in precision from my trusty yellow plastic Lyman job. The only drawback with the Mitutoyo is, at zero the needle points to the 3 o'clock position.

    There is a little slot under the dial near the 12 o'clock position. I understand the calipers originally came with a simple little tool the user inserted into that slot thereby allowing the jaws to close a little while skipping backwards a few notches.

    Some questions for my fellow reloaders:

    * Do I need the special tool, or will a paper clip do the job? Where would I find such a tool? What is the technique?
    * What is the normal cleaning method for stainless steel dial calipers? Is it wise to try and disassemble the slide from the frame?
    * Should I apply any lube? What kind?


    Thanks - CW
    Formerly with S4, 2nd Battle Group, 28th Infantry and 2nd Battalion, 21st Infantry, APO 29 NY NY

  2. #2
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    My dial is movable to zero it. I have a Starrett.

  3. #3
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    What is the normal cleaning method for stainless steel dial calipers?

    Former machinist I used my calipers everyday in a very gritty environment. Soft tooth brush and I close the jaws on a piece of paper and pulled it out to clean them. Get an inch block to keep them calibrated

    Is it wise to try and disassemble the slide from the frame?

    Absolutely not

    should I apply any lube? What kind?

    I use a very light coat of Starrett tool oil
    It is your dissatisfaction with what IS that is the source of all of your unhappiness. Matthew Scudder

  4. #4
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    Thanks, Treo. That helps.

    Nambu: The bezel is adjustable, so I can move the zero position to match where the needle is, but then the whole display is cockeyed 90 degrees to the right of TDC. I want to adjust the slider forward by about 30 notches on the rack. I understand there is a way to do it with a special tool that I'm still searching for. thx - CW
    Formerly with S4, 2nd Battle Group, 28th Infantry and 2nd Battalion, 21st Infantry, APO 29 NY NY

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    http://www.mitutoyo.com/

    Check with Mitutoyo---see if they have the tool---It is a very thin piece of copper about 1" long--shaped like a candy cane.
    Mine broke after about 38 years & I lost the pieces.
    Midway sells a good unit for $30 + frt.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    The adjuster is the tool///////////////////
    I picked up a digital caliper at Harbor Freight on sale for $10
    Regular price $20
    Last edited by HOWARD J; November 16th, 2010 at 11:12 AM.

  6. #6
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    I tried to get that tool here in MIchigan.
    Distr. said it is not avail anymore--------------
    I really don't care as I have 3 other calipers////////////////////

  7. #7
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    one other point" when you are through using the caliper never store it with the caliper completely closed, this will extend the calibration life by avoiding warping of the caliper from temperature expansion and contraction

    wy child

  8. #8
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    The bezel is adjustable, so I can move the zero position to match where the needle is,
    Then that's what you do. Get an inch block and measure it, set the bezel at 1.000 inches and roll.
    (ETA Yes, I am aware the dial doesn't measure inches)
    It is your dissatisfaction with what IS that is the source of all of your unhappiness. Matthew Scudder

  9. #9
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    My dial is movable to zero it. I have a Starrett.

    Then that's what you do. Get an inch block and measure it, set the bezel at 1.000 inches and roll.
    Every decent caliper comes with a small shim tool to allow the dial to be reset on the rack so that ‘zero’ is nominally upwards at 12:00.

    On some cheaper models the only way to adjust the dial to rack is to remove the stop and slide the dial off the rack, then carefully move the sprocket and put it back on the rack.

    A very light tool oil (just a very thin film is needed since most calipers are already stainless steel) and keeping the rack clean.

    A god caliper has a spring loaded dial so that the sprocket is not damaged if debris gets on the rack, but it can also throw the dial off by a tooth (what it sounds like you have).

  10. #10
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    Every decent caliper comes with a small shim tool to allow the dial to be reset on the rack so that ‘zero’ is nominally upwards at 12:00.
    Starrett doesn't and they are about as decent as they come
    It is your dissatisfaction with what IS that is the source of all of your unhappiness. Matthew Scudder

  11. #11
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    I have a Mitutoyo 6" caliper and the tool is .044x.060 so you could easily make one out of whatever you have handy. I've had this since new back in '87 and didn't even know about the tool and pointer adjustment as mine was calibrated bi-yearly by the Inspection people and never needed it moved.

    So....I pulled back the foam in the case and found the tool and instruction sheet! Sat there waiting for 23 years until I read about it on a gun forum. This makes me smile!

    Hope the pic is clear enough for you to read.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    the tool is .044x.060
    But how is he supposed to make that tool if he can't calibrate his calipers?

  13. #13
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    The calipers will still measure just fine....the pointer is not vertical at '0' is all. Rotate the bezel to put the '0' under the pointer when the jaws are closed and go to town.

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    The calipers will still measure just fine....the pointer is not vertical at '0' is all. Rotate the bezel to put the '0' under the pointer when the jaws are closed and go to town.
    See , that's the thing (IMO) he's got a nice set of calipers. Mitutoyo is probably the best made caliper out there and if he doesn't know what he's doing he can screw them up good, So why mess w/ it?

    If you do exactly what rob says the calipers will work just fine
    It is your dissatisfaction with what IS that is the source of all of your unhappiness. Matthew Scudder

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    Starrett doesn't and they are about as decent as they come
    My 60+ years old Starrett has one in the box (even after all these years).

  16. #16
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    My 60+ years old Starrett has one in the box (even after all these years).
    I'll have to go look now
    It is your dissatisfaction with what IS that is the source of all of your unhappiness. Matthew Scudder

  17. #17
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    I ordered the little adjuster tool from Long Island Instrument Repair. With some trial and error, I got the needle adjusted to maybe one click off of 12 oclock, close enough.

    I did some careful clean up and now its ready for service; very accurate within the first half inch and maybe much more. A precision instrument for $25 at ebay, plus a bit more for the adjuster tool.

    I understand the Starretts and Browne and Sharps are considered better, but this made-in-Japan 6" Mitutoyo sure meets my expectations. - CW
    Formerly with S4, 2nd Battle Group, 28th Infantry and 2nd Battalion, 21st Infantry, APO 29 NY NY

  18. #18
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    The Mitutoyo calipers were the issued instruments by Pratt & Whitney Gov. Products Division South in West Palm Beach, FL for use making the things we made. They had their choice of all the available calipers and they chose the Mitutoyo's. Price was no object to them. They felt they were the best calipers for our use. Mine were calibrated/certified every 6 months and never needed any work to be accurate in the almost 5 years I worked there. You will be well served by your new device.

  19. #19
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    Keep em clean and dry and you'll be fine. Some light oil once in a while won't hurt either. But oil attracts grit, so be mindful in harshe environments.

    I employ Mitutoyo IP64 (coolant resistant) calipers in an abrasive silicon grinding environment every day in a solar factory. They hold up great with only semi attentive operators. In short, you'll be fine. Keep it dry to measure properly, it's what killed the lesser Fowler models in short order.

    I've used them to check laser metrology equipment and trust their reading more than our laser measurement systems due to lack of calibration drift. Honestly, they are great pieces of equipment. Calibrated or not, they just keep working. Calibration is semantics with these calipers in my experience, but I do it anyway.
    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.

  20. #20
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    I understand the Starretts and Browne and Sharps are considered better, but this made-in-Japan 6" Mitutoyo sure meets my expectations. - CW
    Actually every place I've ever worked has considered Mitutoyo to be the top of the line calipers
    It is your dissatisfaction with what IS that is the source of all of your unhappiness. Matthew Scudder

  21. #21
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    Have to tell somebody. I bought a 50 yr. old Starrett at a yard sale for $1. Box beat all to hell but caliper is pristine.

  22. #22
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    Have to tell somebody. I bought a 50 yr. old Starrett at a yard sale for $1. Box beat all to hell but caliper is pristine.
    Dude
    It is your dissatisfaction with what IS that is the source of all of your unhappiness. Matthew Scudder

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