What is A Micrometer Used for?

Because of its capability in providing accurate measurement, many work fields rely on the micrometer. It is widely used in machining, metalworking, machinery, mechanical engineering, laboratory, home use, engine building, hobby (cartridge reloading), etc., all the things that need high accuracy.

It measures thickness, inside diameter, outside diameter, length, and depth. There is actually a wide area of dimension a micrometer can measure, some of them will be described on the following list.

Need to know that a micrometer has only a certain range of specific function. For example, when it comes to measuring a ball-shaped object, the flat anvil type micrometer is less preferable to use compared to the V anvil micrometers. In this case, having a good insight into some micrometer types help you decide to buy the right micrometer. Further, when you want to decide what micrometer is best for you, an appropriate anvil type is a must to pick in order to guarantee measurement accuracy.

List of Dimensions

On the following list, we explain some of the dimensions we measure with micrometers. These dimensions might not represent all the real dimensions that the micrometer actually measure in the field but it can give an idea of the area of measurement a micrometer can support.

Tube Wall Thickness

People may prefer to refill their own volume of gunpowder to the cartridge and also it benefits them to save some bucks. Then, reloading happens. Reloading needs to consider the thickness of the case neck. The thickness has to be uniform in order to get used again. To check it, you can use a caliper to do it. In case you need high accuracy, switch over to the micrometer for a better experience.

This kind of micrometer is not only used for reloading, but all the fields that need to measure the thickness of the tube wall will also need it. You can use it for measuring the tube wall thickness of either metal or plastic pipe.

Paper Thickness

A special micrometer to measure paper thickness
A special micrometer to measure paper thickness

Measuring the thickness of a piece of paper becomes easy with a micrometer. However, not all the micrometers we recommend to do that. The first thing is the measuring faces have to be flat. Another thing is the spindle. Choose a non-rotating spindle micrometer. This type of micrometer is only available in some digital models.

A non-rotating micrometer spindle of some digital micrometers prevents compressing the paper. If the paper shape changes due to the compression, the accuracy is not reliable anymore. Although your micrometer is digital, avoid the digital that can be converted into manual mode. That kind of micrometer commonly has the spindle that rotates when it moves to hold the object going to be measured. Having that said, do not use a mechanical (screw) micrometer to measure paper thickness.

Narrow Groove Diameter

Some objects have the part called groove. The groove diameter is a hard-to-reach spot to measure. A usual measuring instrument, a screw micrometer, cannot do that. In this case, there has to a micrometer with measuring faces that can insert into a narrow area. It’s blade micrometer.

A blade micrometer has the measuring faces that look like a blade which can insert into a very narrow area. It enables the measuring face to contact the groove surface properly. After close the measuring faces, then we can measure the diameter of that groove.

Like the micrometer that is used to measure paper, the blade micrometer’s measuring faces have to be a non-rotating system. Its design should adapt to the condition we are facing. Further, consider the thickness of the blade and the groove width of the object going to measure, because the oversized measuring face thickness will be hard to get inserted into the groove.

Screw Pitch Diameter

Similar to groove, screw pitch is also a hard-to-reach area. Even, it’s harder than groove. We need a special anvil to touch the surface of the pitch to measure its diameter. Screw pitch diameter has anvil and spindle designed to fit the shape of pitch.

Some models have identical shape both the anvil and spindle (pointed shape). On the other hand, some models have small V-shaped anvil and pointed spindle. The best option is to use the V-anvil and pointed spindle. The V-anvil benefits to grasp one side of the object to be measured. Moreover, compared to the identical measuring face screw thread micrometer, the V-anvil and pointed spindle is more accurate to provide a measurement.

Spacious Metal Thickness

Deep throated frame micrometer
Deep-throated frame micrometer

Measuring the thickness of a spacious metal sheet can be a challenge when we need to measure the thickness at the center area. In this issue, an ordinary micrometer certainly cannot reach those spots. Nonetheless, if we could design a micrometer with a deep-throated frame, the measuring challenge will be covered.

It’s a sheet metal micrometer. It might look weird but its special function really matters when it comes to measuring a large piece of a certain metal. But, the capability to reach mid spot depends on the frame. It seems that not all the issue can be solved with this tool.

If you can find this kind of micrometer with a non-rotating spindle mechanism, then it can be used as an accurate measurement of paper, plastic, and other sensitive material.

Root Tangent Length

In a certain field of measurement, when we need to measure the root tangent length, it’s appropriate to use a special tool which is intentionally designed for it. Disc micrometer is suitable to measure this kind of length. We might rarely measure this dimension, however, when it comes to a need, you have known what to do.

Ball Diameter

Even though you can quantify the diameter of a ball using any kind of micrometer with a flat anvil, measuring the ball diameter can be more reliable with V-anvil micrometer. This micrometer allows the object to be measured held with three spots. Surely, it prevents inaccuracy or any chance of error caused by an improper object condition.

Depth Measurement

You can more accurately measure the depth of a part by using a depth micrometer than using a caliper. There are analog and digital depth micrometers. Depending on your need, you can choose the digital ones because it serves the reading faster than the analog one.

Final Thought

A micrometer is a specific tool to measure certain dimensions with limited ability but has great accuracy. A micrometer can measure a wide range of dimensions including thickness, length, diameter, and depth. However, the range cannot support a longer measurement. In case you need to get a truly precise and accurate measurement, you have to go to the micrometer.

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