Physical Measurement With Digital Calipers

Objectives and Overview

This lesson is an overview of the digital calipers. This is an extremely useful measuring tool that has direct application to designing for fabrication. Digital calipers provide an exact measurement of physical objects. This is helpful for when you aim to fabricate a piece that has to fit onto something else. Proper use of calipers, combined with precision design techniques, open the doors for designing objects for the real-world that have specific requirements.

Lesson Objectives

  • Recognize the usefulness of digital calipers and precisely measuring physical objects.
  • Understand the ability to take a precise measurement of a physical object using digital calipers.

Using Digital Calipers

Digital calipers are useful measuring tools that are essentially necessary for precision design. This tool is used to get an exact measurement of a physical object, and the digital readout can be set to display either millimeters or inches. The two edges of the caliper adjust to fit perfectly around the opposite sides of the object that you are measuring, and when the caliper is lifted from the surface you will have a precise measurement.

Digital calipers should be used when designing pieces that fit onto a surface or object. A proper understanding of this tool will save time and are necessary for certain projects, such as phone cases or any type of object that will mount onto another.

Here is a quick walkthrough on how to use the digital caliper:

Additional Resource: Longer walkthrough on digital calipers from an engineer at Modern Engineering, Ltd.

Measuring Resources and Tips

Proper measuring is crucial to the design process, but it can be intimating at first. There are several great resources and tips out there for learning proper measurement, however, the most effective method is to practice proper measuring by integrating it into your design process from the beginning.

Here is a great video demonstrating different measurements with the caliper:

Additional Resource: This is a longer length video on measuring with a caliper that covers many scenarios and measures. If you need extra practice, watch this video and practice measuring objects that are similar to the examples covered.