Adam Savage’s Favorite Tools: Dial Caliper

Many of you have asked about the tools used in One Day Builds and seen around Adam’s workshop, so we’re starting a new series putting a spotlight on some of Adam’s favorite and most essential tools. Adam starts with his favorite calipers, and explains why it’s like having a superpower–to precisely measure!

Comments (10)

10 thoughts on “Adam Savage’s Favorite Tools: Dial Caliper

  1. I was taught to use a vernier caliper at school and that’s what I’ve always used. I’ve been thinking about some day getting a digital one, but have been reluctant because of the battery issue. I never realized there’s also the accuracy issue.

  2. In my job as a product engineer/model maker I found myself switching between in/mm constantly so everyone in the shop uses digital calipers. Only one problem: I hate digital calipers because the batteries always die!

    A few years ago I stumbled upon an incredible product: a DUAL UNIT DIAL CALIPER.

    It has one needle for imperial and a second needle for metric. Absolutely changed my life because now, not only can I measure in both sets of units, but I can clearly and immediately see what standard parts were created in AND convert instantly between the two visually (eg, I can look at the dial and immediately tell that 1″ = 25.4mm)

    Easily my favourite measuring instrument.

  3. I couldn’t agree more. My caliper is probably one of the most used tools I have. Mine’s a traditional vernier scale too but that works fine (and on occasion might even mean I could measure somewhere where the dial housing would be in the way on a dial caliper). I did once buy a cheap set of digital calipers, the battery was flat within a week and the replacement died before I used them again. After that I threw them out and went back to the mechanical ones.

    More videos like this please, although I’ll likely find that my tool wish list grows…

  4. I agree with Adam about how you feel getting your first set of calipers.

    I have a set of vernier calipers, dial calipers and Digital calipers. The dial are by far the best/most practical.

    I remember how important I felt about the first project I was doing that needed a caliper. I no longer dealt in a grade school carpenters measurements, I had GRADUATED to decimals…a real man’s project. At least in my own mind.

  5. A tip regarding digital calipers;. Cheaper calipers may have an auto shut-off feature but the circuit still draws power and will kill the battery. (I take the battery out of my cheap digitals after every use.) Higher quality digitals (Brown & Sharpe, Mitutoyo, etc) may cost over $100 but one of the benefits is a circuit that will preserve the battery when off. I’ve had quality digitals that have used the same battery for a year or more. Read reviews before buying.

  6. Love my calipers and use them almost every day. I bought mine for measuring the fiddling different dimensions of the artefacts I was studying but promptly stole them from my work office to use for making instead!

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