How to Care For Precision Measuring Tools


Proper use and care of precision measuring tools is very important if accuracy and reliability are to be maintained.  Here are some guidelines to follow much of which is just common sense.


1. Measuring a work piece (on a lathe) should be carried out only after the work piece has stopped moving; otherwise, there could be wear on the measuring faces and the accuracy of the tool may be compromised.
2. Wipe the measuring faces of a precision measuring tool and the to-be-measured surface of the work piece to prevent the measuring accuracy from being negatively affected by dirt or dust. It is not advisable to use a precision tool such as a vernier caliper, micrometer or dial indicator to measure forged roughcasts or abrasive-bearing pieces, i.e. carborundum, because the measuring faces will be abraded and accuracy will diminish.

3. Never put precision measuring tools together with hand tools, such as cutting tools, files, hammers and drills for the fear of bumping and damaging the precision measuring tools. Never leave them on a lathe or other running machinery for fear of vibration causing them to fall to the floor.

4. Precision measuring tools should not be used as substitutes for other tools. Donít use a caliper as a pry bar or screwdriver!  Donít use a micrometer for a hammer or C clamp!  You might be tempted but donít do it! 

5. Temperature has a substantial impact on the measuring results. Different materials expand and contract at various rates. Precise measurement of work pieces should ideally be carried out with the temperature being about 70ļF but since itís not always possible to be in an ideal situation one can minimize any error by having the work piece and the measuring tool share the same temperature some time prior to the measurement.  
Precision measuring tools should not be put under direct sunshine or any other heat source because accurate measurements will not be achieved as the temperature increases.

6. Precision measuring tools should never be put near any magnetic material such as a magnetic worktable, to avoid being magnetized.

8. Tools should be cleaned after use.  Perspiration in your hands can be a bit caustic and react slowly with metallic materials so it is a good practice to lightly oil the tools to minimize any chemical reaction that might take place.  Store tools in a dry place.  Never leave them outdoors.


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