How to Zero A Micrometer

Zeroing in micrometer is the process of adjusting the index line to line up straightly mark “0” of the thimble scale when the measuring faces of the micrometer are closed properly. In basic terms, it’s a way in order for the measuring tool to get repaired its zero error. How to zero a micrometer is simple and just needs some steps.

You may have just bought a micrometer but it’s quite strange because the index line on the sleeve scale doesn’t line up to the mark zero of the thimble scale when the anvil and spindle are contacting. You may also have used the micrometers several times and when you close the spindle and anvil, the index line shows mark “1” on the thimble. These are the most heard moments the micrometers have zero error.

Zero error not only happens to mechanical micrometers but also the digital one. However, the repair of digital micrometer zero error is simpler and easier since there is button zero available. You don’t need a wrench to do it. Whereas, when you buy a mechanical micrometer, the wrench is commonly attached in the box.

How to Zero A Micrometer
When Zero Error Happens to A Micrometer

Zero error is crucial in measurement because of determining accuracy reliability. Therefore, the users are better off to zero their micrometers first every time before making a measurement. In this page, we covering step by step how to zero your micrometer.

Steps to Zero A Mechanical Micrometer

On the following pictures, you can see some major pictures that will guide zeroing the micrometer. Click on the picture to see in a larger view.

  1. Set the anvil and spindle closed. Make sure you apply the ratchet to get the right pressure.
  2. Lock the spindle using the lock nut to prevent the spindle move.
  3. Take the wrench and use the bigger piece.
  4. You’ll find a small hole on the sleeve barrel. Put the end wrench (the jaw) in the hole. Have a sense of the wrench. If it’s tight enough, you can rotate now.
  5. Rotate it carefully smoothly until the index line and mark 0 of the thimble scale line up.
  6. Unlock the lock nut.
  7. Check several times to make sure the zero error is eliminated. Measure an object, check the zero error. Measure again another object, check again.
  8. After repeating the measurement and it doesn’t happen zero error again. It’s now ready to use. You can see vividly on the image below how the zero error has been fixed.
Zero error has been fixed
Zero error has been fixed

Steps to Zero A Digital Micrometer

In general, the process is similar to the mechanical micrometer above. However, the use of wrench is substituted by button zero attached near the LCD screen.

So, after you apply the ratchet to secure nothing; the anvil and spindle will meet, you then check the reading on the LCD. If it displays any number except zero; it means it’s zero error, push the button “zero” and the reading will become all showing zero.

Need to remember that there are actually two kinds of digital micrometer. Firstly, it’s with manual reading. Zeroing this kind of micrometer type needs to consider the position of the index line has to first line up with the mark 0 of the thimble scale. Secondly, it’s without manual reading. In this model, you just close the measuring faces, apply ratchet, and push the button zero if you think the given pressure is appropriate.

Now, you don’t need to be panic if your first bought micrometer doesn’t seem reliable because of the unaligned index line. Just follow the instruction above and the issue will end up.

Steps Zeroing A Dial Micrometer

A dial micrometer is one of the micrometer types which is rarely used because of its limited function, perhaps. On the market, we can see this model on the micrometers for measuring the thickness of the paper. It’s good to measure paper thickness due to its non-rotating spindle. We can use it also as a go/no-go tool which means to inspect the thickness distortion of an object.

Basically, zeroing a dial micrometer is definitely easy because a typical dial micrometer has the bezel that can be rotated. That being said, rotate the bezel until the mark 0 aligns with the pointer. You can zero the micrometer at any position you desire. Just rotate until they are aligned.

Make sure before you do it, the pointer is stopping regardless its where the position is. We can rotate the bezel but not the dial pointer. Don’t forget to untighten and tighten the bezel before and after the zeroing.


Zeroing a micrometer is simply not rocket science. Everyone is basically able to do that. You need to remember that different micrometer types may have a different zeroing process which is not a significant issue. In this post, we have explained them to you plenty clearly. Hopefully, you get the point.

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