What is a Caliper?

In the spring industry there are all kinds of cool tools and gadgets that facilitate the precision of measurements and work around a spring. Whether it is for quality controlling, selecting, selling and buying both custom and stock springs, there are certain tools you need that will make the journey easier. One of the trusty key tools that everyone looking to buy, use, or even prototype springs needs is a caliper. Calipers can be found in two main types, digital and dial calipers. In this article we will introduce what a caliper is and discuss some of the differences between both digital and dial calipers.

What is a caliper?

Calipers are a type of measuring tool used to measure the distance between two opposite sides of an object. There are two types of calipers: dial calipers and digital calipers, and each can measure in the metric and/or imperial units of measurement. When measuring a coil spring, calipers are used to measure wire diameter and inside or outside diameters with more precision than you can achieve if you were using a ruler or tape measurer.

Parts of a Caliper

There are different parts to a caliper and it is important to get acquainted with them. The following image shows the key parts of a digital caliper.

parts of a caliper

Lower and Upper Jaws of a Caliper

An important part of the caliper to point out and make emphasis on is the jaws of the caliper. Both digital and dial calipers have jaws that facilitate the measuring of a spring. The placement of these is crucial to the accurate measurement of any spring dimension. One quick tip to remember when to use the lower jaws vs the upper jaws is the following: Use the lower jaws when measuring any dimension on the outside of the coil spring. Use the upper jaws when measuring any inner dimension of a coil spring.

jaws of a caliper

Digital vs Dial Calipers

Digital calipers display the measurement in a digital manner, hence the name. Dial calipers on the other hand have a clock-like dial and arrow that you have to learn to read in order to adequately note the measurement. Both offer benefits and the differences are mainly in the form of reading the measurement and not necessarily in its function or other parts. The digital caliper is easier to read since it clearly spells out the numbers while the dial caliper must be read as a clock and can be a little more challenging to make accurate note of the number if unaccustomed to reading it. However when it comes to precision dial calipers seem to be a bit more accurate in smaller springs due to it’s needle precision.

dial vs digital caliper

Calipers Make it Easy to Select the Right Stock Spring

Calipers are the handy tools any person needs when looking for a custom or stock springs because it allows them to properly measure the different dimensions of the spring they want to replace, buy or prototype for. If you are looking for a spring and have the caliper to measure the dimensions you want it will be a lot easier, faster and accurate to assist you in obtaining the ideal spring for your needs. Contact us today at: (951) 276-2777 and let us help you measure and get the right spring for the job.