Maintaining Measuring Tools

Keeping measuring tools in good condition ensures that you have accurate measurements for production. It is important measuring tools are properly maintained for precise work in the workshop.

  1. Pick a lasting tool
  2. Storage
  3. Cleaning & Regular Maintenance
  4. Repair & Calibration

 

Pick a Lasting Tool

 

Quality Manufacturing

The effort your tool manufacturer takes into finishing directly translates to measurement accuracy.
In the case of calipers - ensure your jaws are finely ground and properly aligned to start.
This can be done simply by having a parallel gauge block handy. You can use the gauge block or setting ring for accurate measurement, and also to do a quick check on the alignment and finish of the caliper jaws.
Caliper Setting Ring
Laser etched and stainless steel products are often also worth the investment - with a slight increase in price, you get a much longer life out of the tool.
Measuring surfaces dull over continued use. You should do this regularly to ensure your calipers are still accurate.

Good materials for Measuring Tips

To ensure tools stay accurate a good material should be chosen.

For example, a bore gauge that is used to slide and measure bore tolerances needs durable tips. It will be sliding in and out of oily and dirty bore holes frequently.

Cheaper models often use carbon steel. This is prone to rust and inaccurate measurement. Pick a model with carbide measuring tips. Carbide measuring tips are harder and last a longer time. They also do not rust which could be an advantage in higher humidity environments.

 

Bore Gauge Carbide

To decide where to invest in quality - figure out which parts of the tool can be repaired. Parts that are critical to final measurement , difficult to replace or have high cost of replacement should be quality parts.

Regular testing with calibrated setting gauges are recommended to confirm accuracy of the device.

 

Storage

Clean and Dry Environment

Measuring tools are recommended to be kept in a cabinet away from other workshop tools. 

This prevents accidental dropping and impact to the device. Measuring tools should also be kept in a box - preferably with foam inlays to prevent unnecessary movement and jolts during transport.

Foam Inlay Caliper Attachments
It is also recommended that tool cabinets have a way to remove humidity. This prevents rusting of the tools especially in tropical environments. This can be achieved through the purchase of dehumidifier canisters or having a humidity controlled cabinet.

 

Cleaning & Regular Maintenance

Cleaning Lubricants

Every few weeks, it is important to clean measuring tools with a cleaning cloth. The cloth can be a simple alcohol solution, or isopropynol if available. 

  • Lightly spray the exposed areas of the measuring tool with the cleaning solution. DO NOT overspray.
  • Use a clean lint free cloth to wipe down the surfaces

Be careful not to spray tools with common lubricants. At times, lubricants may contain a high amount of water which encourages rusting of parts. 

If you prefer to use cleaning sprays and lubricants: ensure that they are made for metal care and protection. The main reason for any protection is to protect sensitive parts are protected from moisture. 

Finally, use a lint free cloth to do the wipe down. Cloths that have a lot of fiber can get stuck within small cavities in the measuring tool. This can result in jerky sliding or in worse cases the need to disassemble the tool to remove fiber strands.

 

Repair & Calibration

Before Repairing Your Tool

Most repairs for measuring tools come from wear and tear. This is often caused by loose springs in mechanical measuring tools or faulty electronics in digital tools. 

Digital Tachometer

Before engaging in any repair, do check with your supplier about warranties and other support arrangements available for faulty tools. Opening particular parts of tools can result in warranties being voided.

Use the Right Tools

Measuring tools should not be handled with tools that are not precise. Precision screwdrivers and other slim and specific tools are required to ensure no further damage is done.

For electronic tools, check that the materials have no static properties that could cause further damage.

Calibration

It is recommended that calibration should be done after the tools are reassembled. This can be done at a service center for the manufacturer or an independent lab.

 

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