0-4"/100mm Dial Caliper

by LoboCNC, published

0-4"/100mm Dial Caliper by LoboCNC May 16, 2015
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The inch version of these calipers has a direct-read scale with 0.1" markings and a secondary micrometer-style scale that reads down to 0.001"! (Yeah, right...) Realistically, it's maybe accurate to +/-0.010".

The metric version has a direct-read scale with 2mm markings and a secondary scale with 0.1mm graduations.


UPDATE: A metric version has been added! The same slider part is used for both.

  • For metric, use the parts: body_mm.stl, nut_mm.stl, dial_mm.stl and slider.stl.
  • For imperial, use the parts: body_in.stl, nut_in.stl, dial_in.stl and slider.stl.

These parts were printed in PLA with 0.2mm layers, 3 perimeters and 20% infill. If you don't have a heated bed, you should print the body and slider parts with a raft to make sure they are flat. You should print them fairly slowly to retain as much detail as possible. After printing, you'll probably need to lightly sand some of the parts, particularly the inside threads on the nut, to remove any lumps.

To Assemble:

  1. Test fit the dial on the nut. You want it to have some friction so that it takes a little effort to rotate it. Sand down the ID if it is too tight, add a little scotch tape if it is too loose.
  2. Pinch the ears on the slider together and push then into the nut. Once they are started, screw the nut onto the ears until it snaps into place.
  3. Apply a little grease or vaseline to the outer threads on the body. Slide the slider onto the body and start screwing on the nut. At first, the nut will be pretty tight, but as you work it back & forth along the entire length of the body, it should loosen up.
  4. Close the calipers almost all the way. Take a piece of 120 grit (or so) sand paper and clamp it lightly with the grit side facing the nub on the fixed jaw. Slide the sandpaper back & forth to hone the surface of the nub parallel to the moving jaw.
  5. Before using, close all the way until you can't see any light between the fixed nub and the moving jaw. Hold the nut stationary and rotate the dial so that it reads "0". As the threads wear, you may need to re-zero the calipers.

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Going to print this today, it looks like a awesome design!

Dial files are inverted. mm's one is the inch and viceversa.

Oh, thanks for letting me know.

Comments deleted.

Looks fantastic! Just an FYI, this type of graduated measurement is called vernier. So, an appropriate name would be vernier calipers, not dial calipers. :-)


Actually, it's not really a vernier caliper because the dial reads against a fixed indicator rather than using vernier pattern. Although it's not really a conventional dial caliper either - maybe something in-between?

Is it possible to measure the inside of an object with these? You know how some calipers have those extra teeth on the back? Could you add those to the design?

Because of the backlash in the whole thing, you'd need to re-zero the dial every time you went from inside to outside measurements. But otherwise, I suppose it could be re-designed slightly to allow for inside measurements as well. You could probably even figure out how to add depth and step measurements as well.

I tried printing one, but for some reason my slicer decided to fill the inside of the nut with infill. Did this happen to anyone else? What went wrong? I'm using the Cetus slicing software, by the way.

What's the 3d printer? Looks clean and smooth! very nice

If I recall, I printed this a while ago on this homegrown printer: https://youtu.be/Z0rfS4ym5Lc

There are two versions: one for mm and one for inches. Just print the corresponding files.

The coarse measurement (with either 0.2mm or 0.1" graduations) is indicated by the scale on the main beam. To that you add the value on the rotating ring (with either 0.05mm or 0.001" graduations).

Metric dial caliper all on one bed.i have also decreased the height of the body from 137.7mm to 99.9mm as most printers wont print above 100mm. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1599228

Link goes nowhere. Here is a shorter version. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2189176

Shorter mm body

May have gotten a slight elephants foot during print or I rushed assembly. It tore off near the "upper jaw" along a layer line (of course), ear also split off when "reversing" but most likely due to being stuck. Really sturdy piece of kit otherwise. Will mos-def reprint, possibly modding tolerances slightly.

Nice work.


The fit is good.
Thanks for sharing

thats awesome, but wich slicer i need to use to get an perfect print? probably need to use xy compensation right?
i use cura but dont have it and the prints are not perfect

Would you consider uploading this as one single bed print to save a lot of time?

I used Slic3r Prusa Edition and was able to print all pieces at once.

I use Simplify3D, with that I can arrange everything without problems

What slicer are you using? Most slicers will allow you to assemble multiple objects into a single print.

perfect , i printed one for my airplane´s tool box ;) cool !!!

Do you think you could make it where the tips of arms that measure things are filed down so they can go into tight spaces?

I thought about that, but I was afraid that pointy tips would flex too much to maintain accuracy. They'd also get damaged really easily.

I remixed it with some additional ugly arms to use it for measuring inside diameter. Thanks for sharing your design.

love it.. so nice to show my students that using this idea we can print and make tools to help us make even better quality things and prints for class,, jr high and high school .. it an after school class and club :D

thanks again for a great addition :D

Love this idea. I need a caliper so printing one would be ideal. I went ahead and printed one out with 3 set as the shell layer width. I found that everything prints well. My only issue comes when setting the nut on the slider. Even bending the slider's nut mount slightly to get the nut on causes them to break. Do you recommend trying to print with a thicker shell or infill? Thanks for your help!

I printed using .1mm and the first one broke, but I tried pressing it using my pliers, the second one I printed I pushed it gently with my fingers and it held alright.

If the fingers on the slider are breaking, try printing slower and with thinner layers. This will make the layers fuse better.

Thank you! I will give that a try!

WOW! i LOVE it!! Could you upload a 150mm version, or upload a file i could edit myself? ;)

I'll look into cleaning up the Solidworks files and posting them.

this thing is amazing

Awesome part, thanks for sharing!

Hey Lobo that's some really nice work!

Comments deleted.

This should be featured! Look how awesome and clean it is!

These look terrific for outside calipers. I wonder if you could make a simple inside calipers, just by sticking 2 pieces of wire in the opposite side.

Modifying these for inside measurements is a little tricky because you need to measure as the calipers are opening up. Unfortunately, the surface that the nut presses against as you open up is not very solid and the inside measurements would not be very accurate.

Your printer look good nice work ill give a try

By popular demand: I've added a metric version!

This is great work. Metric version will be fantastic.