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Old 31-07-2016, 08:29   #1
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Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

Was just cleaning my 6" analog set of calipers, and was wondering - do the beams get lubricated? And if so, with what? Seems any lubricant would attract dirt. Hmm...

Anyone know for sure? Digital calipers would have the same requirements.
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Old 31-07-2016, 08:54   #2
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

I do believe they do. As you noted any lube will attract grit. I worked in aerospace for 30 years and don't believe I ever saw anyone lube calipers, even the certification tech who recertified them.
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Old 31-07-2016, 12:46   #3
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

On various machinist's forums the opinions are all over the place. Think I am going to keep them dry until indicated otherwise.
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Old 31-07-2016, 13:04   #4
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

Only reason to lube is if they begin to corrode, I have never lubed either calipers or micrometers, or dial indicators either


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Old 31-07-2016, 14:00   #5
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

You could use a dry film lubricant like macLube... very slippery but does not attract dirt.

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Old 31-07-2016, 14:12   #6
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

I think they work by a roller rolling along and moving the needle, if it slips even a tiny bit it won't measure correctly?


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Old 31-07-2016, 14:44   #7
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

[QUOTE=a64pilot;2179118]Only reason to lube is if they begin to corrode, I have never lubed either calipers or micrometers, or dial indicators either

If you start cruising with micrometers you will find corrosion on the shaft inside the body if they are left dry.
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Old 31-07-2016, 15:42   #8
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

Boeshield T-9 goes on all my repair tools. Protects without attracting "yuck".
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Old 31-07-2016, 17:33   #9
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

I spent time, my misspent youth, measuring the carapaces of crabs and other crustaceans on the sorting tray of research trawlers and on rocky shores etc. Using high quality stainless steel vernier calipers. Not the dial ones a64pilot mentioned - that style was spurned because water, fine grit and slime are impossible to keep out of the mechanism. And the need to recalibrate the dial frequently contradicted with the reality of work in those conditions. So verniers only, no dials. And decades before electronics and LCDs.

Standard practice was to rinse the calipers in freshwater to remove salt, grit, and biological slime. Then air dry in the open position. But that was only when back on shore at the lab.

I used a silicone spray, infrequently. Other researchers used a bicycle chain lube, a non-gunk drying clear stuff added one tny drop at a time.

In idle moments, we massaged carbon steel and stainless steel tools with a dry lube stick. Keeps surface rust off carbon steel tools. And enhances one's grip on cold wet things.
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Old 31-07-2016, 17:50   #10
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

I've not been able to keep stainless steel vernier calipers on the boat from needing oil from time to time - the tiny threads on the locking screws seem particularly vulnerable, and once they stick, it's a big risk to add more torque to free them. Identical calipers in my home shop never need it. Mine aren't dial calipers, but I doubt that small amounts of lubricant will cause a dial to slip.
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Old 31-07-2016, 19:11   #11
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

My Starrett dial calipers are wiped down with a light machine oil (3 in 1) every few years. All excess is wiped off. It has not adversely affected precision or repeatability.
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Old 31-07-2016, 20:16   #12
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

The one I have on board is a dial caliper, stainless steel. I keep it in a zip-lock bag with some silica dessicant, inside its own fitted box, stored in a locker. So far, so good. Ten years at least

On the other hand, despite conscientious care of my other hand tools, including regular application of Corrosion Block and keeping the tools inside their plastic tool box, inside a locker, corrosion seems to appear, regardless of my efforts.

Maybe just accept that it is a consumable, like screwdrivers, drill bits, etc.

Not a huge issue, just curious what others do. If I was ashore, it wouldn't be an issue .
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:03   #13
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

Quote:
Originally Posted by redsky49 View Post
On various machinist's forums the opinions are all over the place. Think I am going to keep them dry until indicated otherwise.
True, but try a dry lubricant or just wd-40(lps-2).
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:14   #14
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

I only have a dial caliper on board, it has stayed in its box a couple of years with no issue, I don't have any dial indicators, but will maybe get one, but doubt I'll carry mics as the plasti gauge works well for what I would likely use a mic for.
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:57   #15
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Re: Do Calipers Get Lubricated??

Short answer is yes; both digital and analog. Have used a wipe with a cloth with light sewing machine oil to keep calipers, micrometers and other bright metal parts bright. As I have very damp hands I have found this stops rusting from finger contact and keeping items in an air tight plastic box wraped in the oily cloth when not in use reduces the dirt/dust problem. Once in a long while washing them in white spirit or gasoline and reoiling stops gumming.
hope this helps, Dave. -- Spirals --
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