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Thread: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

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    Default Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    Howdy y'all. I am trying to learn to be more self-sufficient regarding bike maintenance, so ironically I'm asking for help. Not all that self-sufficient, eh?

    I do not shrink from spending more on gear or tools when I understand what I'm paying for. When one buys a $150 set of Mitutoyo calipers, how does one benefit over and above a $60 Park Tool version - and even beyond the $15 set at Lowe's Depot Freight? Use case is home shop with a few road and mountain bikes in varying states of build.

    Thanks for your advice and kindness.

    ETA: There's an extra "i" in the title. Oops.
    Last edited by King Of Dirk; 06-30-2018 at 09:01 PM. Reason: I spel gud
    -Jasper

    "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    I have a set of Mitutoyo dial calipers that are older than my (adult) children. Great tool that I've relied on many, many times. Inch is primary (dial), metric is secondary (vernier).

    I also have a set of cheap plastic vernier calipers that are metric so they're actually my first grab for bike stuff.

    The deal with the Mitutoyos is that they feel great in the hand and give me the accurate reading within a microsecond of closing on the piece. The cheaper unit does not have the same tactile feedback, it takes me a few grabs to be confident in the measure. And then there's the matter of true accuracy, I'm guessing the Mits are 5x better, like within a thou vs within 0.1 mm.

    I'm wondering if my kids will know what to do with the Mitutoyos when I will them to them.
    Tdd Hllnd

    Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring. -- Desmond Tutu

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    The deal with the Mitutoyos is that they feel great in the hand and give me the accurate reading within a microsecond of closing on the piece. The cheaper unit does not have the same tactile feedback, it takes me a few grabs to be confident in the measure. And then there's the matter of true accuracy, I'm guessing the Mits are 5x better, like within a thou vs within 0.1 mm.
    Thanks man. This is exactly the kind of enabling I needed.

    I love this place.
    -Jasper

    "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    I have (and like) dial calipers because my eyes suck, and... I don't work in an environment with any sort of grit or metal shavings or anything. Every machinist I've talked to, who was willing to reply (haha), has two sets. One is a cheap Chinese digital set for things that they aren't building, ie checking if they are dealing with 2mm vs worn 2.5mm parts. The other set are the best verniers for things they are building. They tell me that grit and such will foul dial calipers and give one incorrect readings with false precision.

    Whether or not that applies to what you are doing, I believe in the value of having the highest quality tools you can afford. They amortize pretty quickly, and are a joy to use.
     

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    Good calipers like Mitutoyo are going to last a lot longer. They will hold calibration longer, they will actually be more durable compared to cheap calipers. If something does go wrong with them, you can get replacement parts for them. You'll never get a rack screw or a bezel for those cheapo depot calipers.
    And FFS, don't buy Park calipers. They just have some Chinese manufacturer slap the Park name on their standard POS, and you get to pay an extra few bucks for the name and the dealer markup.
    Get a Mitutoyo, Starrett, Brown & Sharpe, or somethinf similar and it will be the last caliper you buy provided you don't drop them or get them stolen.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    I have a few different types of calipers, some nice and some cheap. When it comes to bikes, since I'm not building them, accuracy to a hundredth is enough - so I have a set of $15 digital ones I got on Amazon that have been going strong for a few years and measure up accurately when compared to my other, nicer calipers.
     

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    i have a complete set of Starrett pro grade calipers and a bunch of sizes of micrometers that i bought through work for a previous life in engineering. they are real deal quality precision instruments. it's all standard stuff though, no metric. they feel good in the hand and ooze of quality, the way a good mechanical watch fees - satisfying.

    for bike duty, i've got some cheap sears level stuff in the garage that works fine to tell me if a seatpost is 27.0 or 27.2.

    by all means though, if you appreciate nice, precision made tools and will take care of them, treat yourself to some good kit, but for bike stuff, that level of precision and accuracy is not necessary.

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    Only thing I'll add is digital is the way to go if you live in the US. Bouncing back and forth between SAE and metric at the push of a button is pretty awesome. Cheap electric calipers go through battery's quickly. However I can get at least 2 years out of a mititoyo battery in a set of calipers that get used daily.

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    I generally like nice tools. But calipers for a home bike mechanic is one of those things I question the value of high end stuff. For a machinist they make complete sense. But for working on bicycles at home? I don't see it. I mean, exactly what are you measuring and do you really need to know the measurement all the way to the 0.00000mm? What difference will that make?

    For my wheel business I used some generic digital calipers from Lowes, had them for years. I only need them to be so accurate (I use them to pull some dimensions used in calculating spoke lengths). I store them in their case when not in use to protect them from accidental drops or whatever. It's definitely not a tool I wished I spent more money on. If you go digital, do keep some spare batteries in the case!
    Last edited by dgaddis; 07-02-2018 at 07:58 AM.
    Dustin Gaddis
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    Why do people feel the need to list all of their bikes in their signature?

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    only thing i'd add is that if you are a very "light" bike mechanic, digital might not be the way to go. if practically speaking, it could be years between uses of the instrument, leaving something unattended for that long with batteries in it is not necessarily the best idea. if the battery leaks, it could kill the instrument. ask my college calculator how i know...

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    The case my Lowes digital calipers came in will turn
    the caliper on, I now leave the lid open. Batteries now last.
     

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    Quote Originally Posted by dgaddis View Post
    I generally like nice tools. But calipers for a home bike mechanic is one of those things I question the value of high end stuff. For a machinist they make complete sense. But for working on bicycles at home? I don't see it. I mean, exactly what are you measuring and do you really need to know the measurement all the way to the 0.00000mm? What difference will that make?

    For my wheel business I used some generic digital calipers from Lowes, had them for years. I only need them to be so accurate (I use them to pull some dimensions used in calculating spoke lengths). I store them in their case when not in use to protect them from accidental drops or whatever. It's definitely not a tool I wished I spent more money on. If you go digital, do keep some spare batteries in the case!
    i'm with this guy.

    i use* the calipers my mom used when she was an airplane mechanic. so they're.....20-something years old. Craftsman brand.

    *maybe 2 times in the past 5 years.
    -Dustin

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    I had a set of plastic calipers and they were truly a pos, measurements were not repeatable nor were they accurate. For example, you couldn't get a reliable or repeatable measurement of a seatpost or the inside of a seattube. I also have other needs for accurate calipers.

    I bought a set of Mitutoyo years ago. It is a tool I can rely on and a purchase I don't regret for an instant. A good tool is a pleasure to use and a lifetime purchase.
     

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    If you are going to buy a cheap digital caliper, iGauging seems like a pretty decent brand. The buy once/cry once Mitutoyo digital calipers could be had for less than $100 last time I looked. There is no way in the world I would buy a Park when I could get a Mitu for $35 more. I like digital measuring tools. No sense in getting an accurate device if you are going to make a mistake reading it, which is really common with vernier and still possible with dial calipers.

    I have never compared my cheap calipers with my expensive ones on a calibrated thickness block, but I would bet they both measure the same. The cheap ones are not as solid, so bad technique has a bigger penalty. Still, you don't use a caliper as a clamp.
     

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    This is great info; thanks for the education.

    It seems the Mitu or $15 Lowe's options are the smartest, depending on philosophy. Anything in the middle doesn't seem to make much sense.
    -Jasper

    "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    I'd say that for the level of precision needed by a hobby bike mechanic, the cheapos are just fine. You'll be confirming that you've grabbed the correct ball or cartridge bearing, ordering the right seatpost, stuff like that.
     

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronsonic View Post
    I'd say that for the level of precision needed by a hobby bike mechanic, the cheapos are just fine. You'll be confirming that you've grabbed the correct ball or cartridge bearing, ordering the right seatpost, stuff like that.
    I agree, this is a bit unusual in that I would normally disagree with cheap Chinese tools. I own and use old dial Mitutoyo & Starrett which I infrequently check calibration with a gage block. I find the cheapo digital I keep at by bike area is plenty accurate for what I do there and I don't need cheaters to read the dials. Many cheap Chinese tools I would not recommend for bikes include torque wrenches (can be wildly inaccurate), wrenches, hex, etc.
     

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    A little drift on this, how many people do use micrometers out there?
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


    "Caron, non ti crucciare:
    vuolsi cos col dove si puote
    ci che si vuole, e pi non dimandare"

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    Quote Originally Posted by Gattonero View Post
    A little drift on this, how many people do use micrometers out there?
    Every day, but not related to bike repair.
     

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    Default Re: Calipers - Mitutoyo/Park/BigBoxBirand

    Quote Originally Posted by abbeyQ View Post
    Every day, but not related to bike repair.
    same here
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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