The Most Essential Measuring Tools You Need In Your Box

On almost all projects you'll need to measure something and often times you'll need a specialty tool. Sometimes you need to be more exact than a regular measuring tape. So LT is running through the most essential measuring tools you want to keep in your tool box and how they work.

The most basic measuring tool is the caliper. They come in both dial and digital versions and there are even a few specialty types. To use one, just take the part that you want to measure, open the jaws, stick the object inside and close it. To read the measurement start with the first biggest number on the ruler, then read the second biggest, and then hop over to the dial and read the number for your full measurement. Several calipers will read it both millimeters and inches. There are 4 different measurements you can take with one: the basic outside measurement, the inside dimension, depth of a hole, and finally the distance of a step surface.

A dial indicator is another very useful tool. You can use it to check backlash on a ring and pinion set or end play on a crankshaft. There's a small needle tip you put on the work surface and the two dials will tell you the dimensions you're looking for. You can also use this tool to check how round something is. There's a magnetic base that you can switch on or off to securely attach it to your work surface. Then adjust the arm to precisely fit the tip of the needle where you want it. By spinning the object you can see the dimensions.

There are two types of torque wrenches: the clicker style and the dial. For the clicker style simply twist the handle until you reach the desired torque setting, put on your socket, and tighten it. When you hear the click you know you've gone tight enough. They come in various sizes depending on your project. The dial type tells you how much torque you're applying at the exact moment in time and the other needle tells you the maximum value that you've reached. Dial types are especially useful when you're setting bearing pre-load.

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