Adam Savage’s Favorite Tools: 4″ Calipers

Adam talks about how he uses the various calipers he has in his shop and how after decades of using them he’s come to a new point of view as to what type of calipers are most useful for his everyday carry. He goes through the pros and cons of digital vs dial calipers, and why a short 4″ dial caliper best suits his builds. What kind of calipers do you use in your own shop?

Comments (5)

5 thoughts on “Adam Savage’s Favorite Tools: 4″ Calipers

  1. Oh the love-hate relationship with calipers…

    When I saw this I remembered how standard calipers are really annoying to use if you are left-handed. It’s almost impossible. I can’t think of any other tool that I would want a left-handed version of. I just never thought to look for one. Turns out they exist!! I never knew. 🙂

    So my tip is make sure you get the right one for you preferred hand!

  2. Adam, If you want feel do yourself a favor and get a pair of vernier calipers. I have a pair that direct read in 0.0005″, and interpolation to half of that is easy. The problem is that I need real good light to read them.

    I find myself using micrometers more often than calipers. It is easier to avoid parallax issues in many cases.

  3. I have a 6″ set of calipers that was given to me by the first head engineer I worked for 41 years ago. Since then, I bought several other 6″ sets along with a long 2′ set. The longer one was needed for a special job because of its size and has not been used since, also because of its size.

    I can’t tell, you how often one of the six inch sets are used during the week, but it’s often.

    Another 6″ caliper I have is never used. Why? Because it didn’t stand up well when it flew across the shop when I discovered Its battery was dead for the third time. That type was never purchased again.

    On your suggestion, I got a 4″ dial set. I love them! They do fit in my apron pocket and doesn’t bang around like its larger brother. Very handy!

    I love my micrometers for real precision work but you can’t beat the dial caliper for quick and easy checks.

  4. Cheapy 6 inch digital calipers for estimation, Fancy Swiss mics in 0.01mm for measurement and 1 micron for fussy stuff. Used these can be found for cheap and if you have a set of gage blocks (used or import , you only need a small set) you can re-calibrate everything. Wringing carbide block together is just magic that does not get old.

    If you make fussy stuff (or try to, like me) get a set of precision ground flat stones.

    Not strictly speaking a measurement tool but it will show up minute errors of flatness (sub micron) high spots, twisting, wheel hop of the grinder.

    Look at the youtube video of Robrenz explaining other uses in depth see at 15:30 for what I use this for quite a bit.

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