Adapting digital calipers - Router Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Question Adapting digital calipers

Hi there,
I would like to adapt my digital calipers as a router bit height gauge on my router table. I have a few ideas but nothing definite so has anybody done this and could you indicate how you did it, please?
Thank you,
Bob.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 12:18 AM
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Bob, woodwork doesn't require accuracy of a few thousandths of an inch.there is movement with the weather. I therefore have never used any of my digital callipers or precision height gauge. Marking a line on a scrap of wood and setting the cutter to the line is just one of many simple methods. The marketplace is full of very low cost simple height gauges.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 01:10 AM
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I just use a steel rule my self. But you can make a height gauge pretty easily.
As far as adapting your calipers goes, that completely depends on the type you have.
Does your set have a depth gauge that protrudes out the bottom when in use ?
If so then thats an easy way to check height as well. Just make a small u shaped jig to hold the calipers and zero out the calipers on the plate beside the bit. Then slide the jig over and record your bit height.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 08:32 PM
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There is a huge and useful thread on this in the Table routing section.

Two problems (apart from those already metnioned by others) with using a digital caliper/gauge to set the router bit height:

1) Trying to set the digits to an exact figure manually is maddening.
2) I have found that the digital calipers (at least my cheap ones) become unreliable if the workshop temperature drops to 10 degC.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 08:50 PM
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The new router lifts solve that problem, before I bought the BD I used the brass bars for most of the new work, however when duplicating existing stock hgt adjustments was tedious at best.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 09:45 PM
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After taking a look at mine and thinking it through a little better if you have the type that has the depth gauge or not the same way of mounting them will work. Simply zero it out extended flush with the table. When the calipers are pushed closed the increments will display just as they would using it to gauge thickness. From where you zeroed it to maximum height. You could also ( if you have the plastic digital calipers that is ) super glue a small square piece of acrylic to the bottom of the sliding section to use it more accurately on bits wider then the calipers slide. Just use your square to square it up when gluing. You would have to dedicate that pair for bit / blade height only after that but at $9.99 a pair from Harbor Freight you can afford to

I think I'm going to do this myself this week some time actually.
Thanks for making me think it through more !


I have a cheap pair from Harbor Freight, left them in the trunk in 20 degree weather, as well as 90 degree weather and used them the same days. Never noticed any inaccuracies.
The pair from Harbor Freight is also not to bad to dial in exactly repeatedly. I am sure they very though from pair to pair.

Last edited by Duane867; 11-23-2009 at 09:53 PM.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 08:17 AM
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I have made a simple one by adapting a cheap digital vernier gauge, and holding it in a plastic block. There should be a picture of it on this forum. I find it very useful. Note the exact height and you can later return and make another cut/item/project. Its use outweights any negative criticism.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 09:24 AM
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Just my 2 cents

" adapting a cheap digital vernier gauge " a bit over kill and not worth the time to make one..you can blow on it and will not be on the button

Wood and Metal are not the same..now if you had a mill it would be worth the time but for a router table, it's over kill..

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 10:24 AM
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A couple of images of my device. I cut off one of the caliper arms. It has a zero reset functionwhich is handy. Built for less than £9.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 11:19 AM
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An interesting thread. I have used a digital caliper for height adjustments for a while, mostly because my old eyes can't see increments of 1/32 or less on rulers and such. But I have found a much easier method that is very accurate. A little known fact, but the human finger can detect very small variations, on the order of 1/1000 of an inch. Just raise your router plate 1/1000" and slide your index finger across with your eyes closed (router off, of course!). Most people can detect the edge. So with that knowledge, all that is really needed are blocks of the needed heights. There are the brass bars that many use, but I cut my own measurement blocks out of MDF. I haven't lost a bit of accuracy in my work, but set up tends to go much quicker since I put the digital tools away. Not that these tools are wrong, just not as efficient for me. YMMV.

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