Caring For Your Precision Measuring Tools

As a machinist you rely on your measuring tools to be accurate. Proper care is necessary to ensure accuracy on a consistent basis. Here are some tips for taking care of your precision measuring tools.

Vernier Calipers

  • When not in use, be sure to return the caliper to its storage case
  • Never drop or throw your caliper
  • Don’t lay the caliper on the bench where it can get banged around and damaged
  • Don’t lay the caliper in any kind of debris (metal chips or grinding grit)
  • Be sure to check the caliper’s calibration periodically and follow the manufacturer’s instruction for recalibrating if necessary
  • Only use your caliper on stationary parts
  • Protect your dial calipers from dust which can get inside the dial and cause inaccurate readings
  • Do not exceed the measurement range of the caliper


  • Micrometers are NOT clamps
  • Never spin the micrometer while holding the thimble
  • Never drop or throw your micrometer onto the bench
  • Don’t lay the micrometer on the bench where it can get banged or damaged
  • Avoid laying the micrometer in metal chips, grinding grit or any other type of debris
  • Always store your micrometers in their protective cases
  • Be sure to use the correct micrometer for your application (for example, if you’re measuring a piston with a diameter of 4.5”, use a micrometer with a measurement range of 4.0-5.0 inches)
  • Check the micrometer’s calibration on a regular basis and recalibrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Never use a micrometer on parts in motion
  • Remember that your micrometers will be affected by the heat of your hands and your surroundings so they should be used at room temperature and handled as little as possible

Dial Indicators & Dial Bore Gauges

  • Never drop or throw your dial indicators or dial bore gauges onto the bench
  • Return your dial indicators and dial bore gauges to their cases when you are finished with them
  • Do not lay your dial indicators or dial bore gauges on the bench where they can get damaged
  • Always use your dial indicators and dial bore gauges at room temperature to avoid distortion from heat or cold
  • Check the accuracy of your dial indicators and dial bore gauges periodically and recalibrate as needed
  • Never use your dial bore gauge on moving parts


  • Always keep the vial cover closed when you are not using the level
  • You must check the level of your level periodically (for complete instructions visit the Tech Library at
  • Do not drop or throw your level onto the bench
  • When not using your level, be sure to store it where it will not be banged into or have anything drop on it
  • Always use your level at room temperature to avoid distortion of the leveling bubble caused by heat and cold

A final tip

This tidbit comes from Jim Tapp, Goodson Tech Services (retired). “Put a clean, dry shop towel on the bench and put the measuring tool there while you’re working with it. The shop towel will cushion the measuring tool and keep it clean. It’s also a good signal to your co-workers that they shouldn’t lay something down there.”

We’ve barely scratched the surface with these care and use tips for precision measuring tools. For more information, call Tech Services at 1-800-533-8010.

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