What’s a Caliber?

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A caliper is a tool used to measure the width or length of an object. It has two arms, one fixed and one adjustable, with markings on the long side of the “L” shape. Different tips can be used for different surfaces, and variations include dial gauges, vernier calipers, and thickness gauges. Feeler gauges can be used to measure the thickness of fabric or belts.

A caliper is a measuring tool that determines the width or length of an item by inserting it between two arms or prongs on the device. At least one of the arms moves to allow for gap adjustment until it exactly fits the measured item. Variations of this tool include dial gauges, vernier and thickness gauges.
The typical structure of a caliber is an “L” shape with one of the caliper arms fixed in place as the shorter leg of the “L”. The other arm of the caliper slides back and forth along the long side of the “L” to allow for precise fitting of the calipers around the object being measured. Incremental distances are marked on the long side of the “L” in a standard gauge, starting at zero where the two gauges meet when the gap is closed. Gauges can also be equipped with an attached digital or dial readout to display the results.

The tips of a caliper can have different shapes. The tips can come to a tapered tip for exact measurement at the ends. Pointed tips can have flat inner sides to fit snugly against the surface of an object. Gauge tips can bend inward 90 degrees to fit a slotted or threaded surface.

A dial gauge is specifically designed for internal measurement of cylinders or tubes. Two bent tines are inserted into the barrel and spread out using a spring-loaded adjustment until the prongs touch the inside of the barrel. The dial display has a bezel which is reset to zero before measurement to ensure accuracy. Some “L” shaped gauges also have prongs bent away from the regular gauges to measure an inside diameter.

Vernier calipers add an extra gradient of measurement to the standard “L” shaped caliper. A vernier scale uses a measurement of 90% of the standard scale on the pressure gauge to give an exact reading to one additional decimal place. It is used when accuracy is of the essence.

Sometimes it is necessary to measure the thickness of a piece of fabric or a belt on the processing equipment. A modification of a gauge called a feeler gauge can be used for this purpose. From a handle on one end, two arms extend sideways with flat or rounded spring tips pointing towards each other at 90 degree angles to the arms. The arms are slid over either side of a belt or piece of fabric and the gauge reads the thickness as the fabric or belt passes between the arms.

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