iGaging Digital Measuring Instruments
Snap Depth and Fractional Digital Caliper
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 9-20-2010
When you talk about the need for accuracy in any medium chances are there will be at least two schools of thought. Some feel that the high-precision accuracy of digital measuring tools is not necessary while others like to know what is happening down to 0.001” or less if at all possible. The folks at iGaging Digital Measuring offer products that make high-level accuracy easier than ever so I decided to take a look at their Snap Depth and Digital Caliper.
Both units come with a CR2032 batteries factory installed and a spare in the package. Both instruments have large, easy-to-read LCD displays that make life a little easier for those of us with 60-something eyes. These units also share accuracy down to 0.001” and resolutions down to 0.0005”/0.01mm or 1/128”. That should be precise for most of us though some will undoubtedly think we are bordering on rocket science.
Another thing I like about these instruments is that iGaging Digital Measuring equipped both with common sense user-friendly functions. Both have labeled ON/OFF buttons, Zero and Unit Selection buttons. Zero is a useful function that lets you reset zero at any point within the overall range of measurement. The Unit Selection button is what many users will really like. This lets you select between metric, plain numeric and fractional displays of the measurements.
The Hold function is found only on the Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge. Hold lets you take a measurement, hit the Hold button and that figure is retained on the display. That comes in very handy when you can’t see the display well while taking the reading. After viewing the retained dimension you simply press Hold again to cancel that function out.
The range of numeric display formats makes life easier for those of us that are only comfortable with one of them. It also comes in handy when instructions, drawings or plans include specific numbers. You can select that format and know you are accurately matching the figures on the plan or instructions. I also love this capability when I am trying to find a specific bolt or drill. I can dial in the numeric format to match the piece I am looking for and not have to convert a reading to metric or fraction. You can also take a reading and then keep pressing the Unit button to cycle through metric, fractional and inch versions of that dimension. It seems like a small function but it really is one that can prevent a small error along the way that can turn out to be a major issue later in the job.
Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge
The Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge has a measuring range of 0 to 4” which should cover measuring tasks we normally encounter. The Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge comes with 1” and 2”-long, screw-on plunger extensions to let you most appropriate length shaft for the job.
To use the Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge hold it with the base firmly in contact with a flat surface and press the Zero button. Then slide it over the hole, groove or ledge so the plunger can go to the bottom and read the display. While the plunger is still at the bottom of the spot being measured you can also press the Hold function to retain that measurement if the display is difficult to see.
The Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge also has a mounting lug on its back side that allows it to be used like a dial indicator. Just bolt it to a suitable base (shop made or commercial) and use it like any dial indicator. In this mode the Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge can be handy for checking runout on tooling and many other shop needs.
EZ Cal Digital Caliper
The EZ Cal Digital Caliper has a useable range of 0 to 6” and is capable of measuring inside and outside dimensions within that range as well as step and hole depths. The readout body has a thumbwheel for moving the measuring jaws and a thumbscrew on top to lock a setting at any point within its 6” travel. This lock feature comes in handy when searching for a matching bolt, drill or dowel.
There is nothing fancy about using the EZ Cal Digital Caliper. Just hold it square to the object being measured and move the jaws against it to take the reading. All of the complicated stuff happens inside the EZ Cal Digital Caliper! Like the Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge the EZ Cal Digital Caliper has the ON/OFF, Zero and Unit Selection buttons around the oversized display.
The EZ Cal Digital Caliper comes in a storage case that protects it while it’s in a drawer with other things that.
In the Shop
I really don’t have much to say about the Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge and EZ Cal Digital Caliper because both are very easy to use and work just as their instructions say. I checked their accuracy by measuring different things around my shop with high-buck digital tools I already have. Both the EZ Cal Digital Caliper and Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge matched my big-buck tools with a maximum difference of 0.002” and that was once. All other measurements taken were virtually identical to the baselines I took with my more expensive versions.
I’ve never had a true depth indicator like the Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge and using it was revealing. I had always taken depth measurements with the butt end of my digital calipers. After a little experience I found that the Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge is much easier to use and because of that it tends to be more accurate. The wide base of the Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge makes it far more repeatable than I can be trying to hold a caliper perfectly upright. This is where that old saying “the right tool for the job” comes true.
If you are a fan of high precision measuring instruments the iGaging Digital Measuring EZ Cal Digital Caliper and Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge should be of interest. In every way I could check they appear to be very accurate, repeat well and are easy to use. I can’t think of much more to ask from measuring tools.
With a street price of $19.95 for the Snap Depth Mini Depth Gauge and $34.95 for the EZ Cal Digital Caliper (9-20-2010) bringing this kind of accuracy to your shop is not a budget-breaker.
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