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A most useful tool and some announcements.

Measuring a coil diameter

Measuring a coil diameter

Tonight’s Post is in some ways almost an embarrassment to admit. I have finally purchased a digital calliper and have found it to be one of the most useful tools I have ever purchased.   Before going into details about that I have a few announcements to make about this website and where we are going.

First, I have invited a long time friend of mine to author some posts.  His name is Fawzi Eyad.   Fawzi lives in Tripoli, Libya and is an electronics student and enthusiast.   He is highly interested in electronics and since he is more current than me, he will be a great asset to this site.  Fawzi is detail oriented and wants to know the why of everything and I believe he will explain things like he would want them explained to him.   He is currently learning his way around the software used to create these posts so be kind to him on his first few posts.   My guess is soon his spelling and grammar will be better than mine.  (He has not had time to learn all the bad habits I have.)   Certainly, he knows the difference between you’re and your and will not be making that common mistake us Americans often make.   I am hoping that soon Fawzi will be taking care of the electronics aspect of this site and I will get more time to play with mechanical things.

Second, I have added a couple of new electronics links.   The first is Electronics Circuits Design.  This site “aims to help ease your work, offering various electronics projects including circuit diagrams, materials, articles, tutorials and ideas for design of electronics projects.”.  The second is Electroniq.net  This website contains a huge electronics projects collection with circuit diagrams and description.   Both of these are well worth your time, especially if you are looking for a base circuit to build upon.

Taking an Inside Diameter measurement.

Taking an Inside Diameter measurement.

There are several things that makes a digital calliper a most useful tool.  First and foremost is the long straight jaws make it easy to accurately measure the outside length of something.  This is especially true when measuring the outside diameter of a small circular thing like the coil in the first picture.   The really nice thing, especially for us people in USA is it has three display modes.  It will display the distance in fractional inches to the nearest 64th of an inch.  It will display decimal inches to the nearest 5/1000 of an inch.  And finally, it will display in metric units in decimal format to the nearest 1/100 millimetre.  All of these modes are useful at one time or other.

The calliper has another set of smaller bypassing jaws on the back side.  These are designed to take the inside diameter of a pipe or a hole.   In the second picture you can see me taking the inside diameter measurement of a a small pipe coupling.

Taking a depth measurement.

Taking a depth measurement.

The final type of measurement the calliper can easily take is a depth measurement.   In the third picture I am finding out how far a pipe can be inserted into the coupling before the pipe hits the ridge within the coupling.

I had not purchased on of these until recently.  I normally used a small steel ruler and took the measurement by directly reading them from the ruler.  Often that required me to take the reading to the nearest 64th of an inch and then convert the fraction into a decimal value to do something with it.   Obviously i could not be very accurate,  especially if I wanted to measure the outside diameter, O.D., or inside diameter, I.D. for some small round thing like I am showing in the pictures.

I had thought this would only be useful in machine work, but I am finding it useful in pretty much any kind of work including electronics.   In the first picture I am measuring the size of an inductor I am using in an electronic circuit that I am hoping to design a Printed Circuit Board for.   Taking the measurements directly is much easier than trying to hunt down the data sheet and read the measurements from it.  My calliper has a maximum measurement of 6 inches, (170 mm)  but it is easy to locate larger ones.  Mine is a made by General Tools and instruments and I bought it from a local “big box” store.  However, it is easy to find them on-line from several sources and much less expensive than what I paid for mine.


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