Who makes the best parallax free vernier calipers?

Who makes the best parallax free vernier calipers? Does Starrett really suck nowadays? Is Mitutoyo still good now that they are made in Brazil?

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In article <bc436b41.0311270629.2aa25049

Starrett 123 series, bar none. I do own a pair of digital calipers, but they're pretty much relegated to desk use. Even with my 51 year old eyes, the 123s get used in the shop. I'm not opposed to digital instruments, but the 123s are far and away mechanically superior to any digitals I've seen, and really are very easy to read.
They're expensive, but I've picked up several sizes over the years used and on ebay from around $40 for a 6" to $250 for a 48". Be very careful buying a used pair you can't examine in person.
From what I've seen, there's nothing wrong with the Mitutoyo stuff made in Brazil. One of my favorite mics is a made-in-Brazil 0-1" Mit. So I don't get labeled a Luddite, my mostest favorite mic is a digital Mit.
Ned Simmons
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On 27 Nov 2003 06:29:47 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Ben) brought forth from the murky depths:

I haven't used a vernier caliper in over 30 years, but how do you get a parallax error on a flat surface? On a dial, you could get a whopping five tenths (on an 0.001" calibrated dial) if you held it 'just wrong.' But it should be a rule of thumb to view measurements from directly above the (well lit) surface being read.
Perhaps you should go digital if you want to rule out parallax errors. (Then you could worry about all the nasty rounding errors in that format. ;)
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Starrett's Master Vernier Caliper, 6", is worth over $500 Canadian funds. Yahoo! And, they don't "suck", they're actually quite nice (from what I hear.. We've only every sold two of them in roughly 20 years - both to a university).
Or you can buy, IIRC, Mitutoyo's Diamond Master calipers #522-602 for roughly $100 US funds.
Larry, although many people refer to all 6" (8", 9" for Starrett, 12", 18"...) calipers as "vernier calipers", the term only refers to calipers with vernier scales on them. The general style of caliper is called a "slide caliper" as opposed to spring calipers. Slide calipers can have vernier scales, a dial scale or a digital scale.
Regards,
Robin

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No, I don't mean that the Master Verniers suck....just Starrett in general. And, no, they didn't used to, but they do now...in general. the 123's are all i'll buy from them.
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Starrett "sucks" is a questionable statement. I sell Starrett products (as well as Mitutoyo) and they certainly don't "suck" although perhaps your capabilities and exposure to their product line is not, perhaps, broad?
I'm certainly not saying all their products are perfect, but most of it is, as far as quality and function go, excellent. The only really issue I have is their pricing. However, it's hard to look in an oldtimer's toolbox and not find a couple of Starrett 1" mics (still working, of course), etc.
Regards,
Robin

general.
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You're right, my experience with Starrett is limited. I'm rash to say Starrett sucks. I should not state that like I know what I'm talking about. It's just that my online research has led to a lot of horror stories. In truth, I can't find an exact alternative to Starrett. Brown & Sharpe seem to have gone all digital, or soon will be. Accurate, but battery operated. Mitutoyo seems like the no. 2 contender, but my recent handling of a pair of dial calipers left a very bad impression on me. They were very very stiff. Not smooth at all. And not made in Japan either. For mikes, I'd go with Etalon. Dial calipers, B&S/Etalon too. Verniers...???? Maybe Mitutoyo for their diversity here. Certainly 123's. But I need inside jaws for small hole measuring too. Anything simple engineered would be good, I guess, from Starrett. But with the Chinese cutting their balls off, it seems, according to my research, that Starrett's new 'class of '03' engineering graduates have been unleashed to apply their Calculus of Protecting the Bottom Line/Cost Cutting magic. And I'm really pissed off about the QC/Deception issue of last year. I think that Starrett is out of touch with their customer base and just doesn't care anymore. i.e. plastic dial caliper bezel rings indeed. Even if Teflon is smoother, it didn't take customer desires into account, hence was a laissez-faire move. ("Damn the customers, full cost cutting ahead". People preferred metal. All metal. Not, to paraphrase Montblanc, "precious resin". It just doesn't fill me with confidence. It's typical of all that's left of American manufacturing. Poor QC, outright lies, and lots of slick marketing. Money for nothing seems to be all that's left. Getting quality machinery here in the US is extremely hard nowadays. Snap On is the only exception I know of. I'm very proud to own their tools. According to what I've seen on the net, it seems that any complicated tools I buy from Starrett will leave me eventually sending it in for repair when the Hidden Cost Cutting parts fail. Fiber washers in the micrometers? I'll bet that those old, still working, mikes didn't have the benefit of cheap, extremely functional, short lived (not lifetime), high tech parts used in ther construction. Like fiber washers and teflon rings. You know, I bet that teflon is only used to allow sloppier manufacturing tolerances. No more smooth metal on metal fit and finish. What really frightens me is the lack of QC. I mean, if they really don't care anymore, how can I trust their standards of machining and measurement. It's not like they don't have a history of NOT lying to cover up lackadaisical QC. Still, you're right, the old Starrett stuff was exceptionally good overall. Ebay may be the best bet. I hate to see new graduates milk a company's good name while fing the customers. I miss pride in manufacturing. I miss a lot. It's hard to be anachronistic anymore.
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I understand your comments, but again, they don't inspire me to go and buy Swiss instruments.
Mitutoyo has been making indicators with plastic bezels and crystals (misnomer) for quite some time. Break one? Just pull it off and snap the next one on. The replacement assembly, IIRC is less than $10.
As I understand it, Hardinge Super Precision toolroom lathes (running at roughly $40,000 US if you want thread cutting) uses teflon pads a bearing material for the saddle.
Your comment about Mitutoyo dial calipers is, again, questionable. Dial calipers are notoriously susceptible to failure due to abuse. Too many moving parts. Mitutoyo makes a *smooth series* of dials that feel like their digitals. Very smooth. You pay more but it feels better. If you drop it, however, it'll probably be tight.
Also a questionably practice to expect accurate small ID measurements using inside caliper jaws, from any company.
I'd be happy to buy every precision tool I need that is made by Mitutoyo from Mitutoyo. I have seen some defective products, come from their warehouse, but I've seen it from Starrett and the Chinese tool suppliers as well. Unfortunately you can't guarantee 100% quality.
Same with Starrett. I can't think of any of their tools that are flawed by design. They make very slick hand tools (tap wrenches, spring calipers, etc.) Occasionally we get defectives, but they are promptly replaced...
In regards to protecting the bottom line, you have to watch out on that. Customers are consistently bitching about high precision tool prices yet _they_ don't think they get paid enough _and_ don't believe the quality is still there. Well, something's gotta give. It either costs more, or is of lesser quality. Your choice.
Regards,
Robin

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Gunner will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe hardinge does not use any polymer way bearings on any of their machines, never did and don't right now.
It's all cast iron on steel, or cast iron on cast iron.
Jim
================================================= please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ================================================
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wrote:

Sorry Jim, but yes they did/do. shrug. I just put a new gib in a HLV-H Wed, and it had a transparent bit of polymer on the sliding side. Many HC Chuckers Ive broken down for conversion to OmniTurn CNC attachments had a white teflon type material on the compound sliding gib.
What year did they start doing this? No idea. Shrug
Gunner

"25 States allow anyone to buy a gun, strap it on, and walk down the street with no permit of any kind: some say it's crazy. However, 4 out of 5 US murders are committed in the other half of the country: so who is crazy?" -- Andrew Ford
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Interesting. I was unaware of this - but then, I've never had an hlvh apart - of *any* vintage!
Jim
================================================= please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ================================================
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You know, I just discovered Hardinge. I'm in love with their hlv. Specs are better than any swiss or german lathes. BUT, I'm looking for a 14x40. One day, I MAY get a 14x40 AND an hlv, but only if i have the space and the money. If only i could get a 14x40 hlv. I now consider 12x30 to be the minimum size for me. Just got a 230 series Starrett micrometer on ebay, brand new, for 30 dollars. I can't resist...their cute and sexy looking.
I just found out JO bloks increase in size over time naturally????? Also they expand .0000115 * Length for every 1.8 dgrees F above 68 degrees. They are calibrated with grren light due to its short wavelength.
Any who are interested check out http://ts.nist.gov/ts/htdocs/230/233/calibrations/dimensional/pubs/MN180.pdf for THE nist gage block manual
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AFAIK you need monochromatic light to produce interference fringes with an air wedge. Those lights are about as close as it comes without using a laser (probably considered too dangerous)
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"Do Not Look Into Laser With Remaining Eyeball"
Or so they say. Actually the fringes were often viewed with an orange lamp, which I think was an argon discharge. Mononchromatic, as you say.
Jim
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Sodium vapour comes to mind.... Argon glows blue/green, as I remember.
Regards,
Robin
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Hmm. I thought the sodium gave off a doublet. I wonder if that would still give fringes.
Jim
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