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What is a micrometer used for? I've only felt the need for calipers, is there anything that a micrometer does that you can't accomplish with a dial or digital caliper?  (Henry Mitchell)

    Calipers are normally used to measure longer things than will fit a micrometer.  (David Zincavage)

    A micrometer has greater precision and should also be more accurate. However, IMHO it is not as easy to use as a caliper and if you are  using  it  for  bamboo,  you  don't  need  precision  of 0.0001".  (Robert Kope)

      It certainly seems easier to slide a caliper with your thumb while holding a strip.  (Henry Mitchell)

        A micrometer has a wider, thus safer surface, and does not have the length, and consequently the inconvenient leverage, of calipers, so you are less likely to scratch varnish, as I've just done using calipers.  (David Zincavage)

          That wider surface also has sharp carbide edges and one face rotates as you close the gap.  And because it is heavier and more awkward to use with one hand, I believe it is even easier to scratch the finish on a rod with.  I've used both, and I just can't get the hang of using a micrometer.   (Robert Kope)

            I have a friend who is a toolmaker, and obsessive even beyond the acceptable level for the profession, and he says that when he was working in the UK for the Atomic Energy Commission, the first (and unstated) test that an applicant for a toolmaker's or machinist's job had to pass, was to pick up and grip a micrometer in the accepted fashion, which actually makes it very easy and comfortable to hold.  Tezza says that if they didn't do that bit properly, the interviewing officer was inclined to have doubts about their potential for the other bits of the job.

            And no, I am not an adept.

            I find the best thing about my micrometer is the ratchet, which eliminates the temptation to just push a bit harder to make things "right".  (Peter McKean)


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