Measurement is the comparison of an unknown dimension to a known standard. Good measuring instruments were a key to high volume production. Without them, parts could not be built accurately enough to be interchangeable. Each assembly had to be hand fitted together. Today, measuring tools are essential for most machining operations from initial part layout to final inspection.


The figure below depicts a caliper. It can measure lengths from 0 to 7.5 inches to a precision of one thousandth of an inch. One can measure the outside of a part with the jaws, the inside of a hole or slot with the nibs, or the depth of a hole or shoulder with the extension bar.

This particular one is has a vernier scale. It takes a little practice to read it properly. Calipers often have a dial or digital readouts instead.

A Vernier Caliper
To read a vernier caliper: An example follows:

Reading a Vernier Scale - An Example


A micrometer generally provides greater precision than a caliper, but can measure a smaller range of lengths. A micrometer is depicted in the drawing below.

Parts of a Micrometer
To use a micrometer, place the part in the opening. Next, turn the thimble until the spindle contacts the work. To apply a consistent pressure to the part, use the ratchet stop. Use the clamp ring to hold the thimble in place while you read the micrometer. To read the micrometer: An example of reading the micrometer follows:

Reading a Micrometer - An Example

On to part layout.
Return to the machine shop.
Return to the Mechanical Engineering Department.

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