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· Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2012-2015
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to purchase a digital calliper to obtain precise measurements of my tenor sax necks. Any recommendations on makes and models and where to buy?
Thank you in advance.
 

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Don't over-spend. I got a cheap digital caliper from the local hardware store, about CAD$20. Works great, takes a standard watch battery. You can probably find them for even less.
 

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Are you talking about the outside diameter of the tenon? Like Zoot said, a modest investment will get sufficient accuracy for the job. Metric will be the most useful for this purpose. Even if you plan to measure the diameters of the whole neck in 1 cm increments, it would be good for this. I only have an analog caliper and its in inches, so I have to convert to metric for tenon measurements. You can use it to see if the tenon is tapered or out of round. It also can be used to measure inside diameters like the neck collar on the sax.
 

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I got the Neiko Tools version (Model 01412A) for about $23. It's the same tool that the bicycle tool manufacture Park sells as part of their line for around $60 so I paid roughly 1/3 of what it costs with "Park Tool" printed on it. It works well and appears to be accurate based upon my measuring of several feeler gauges I measured. My only complaint is that it seems to eat batteries but it could just be the cheap batteries it came with which only lasted a few minutes. Still I'd be tempted to get a slightly more expensive precision analog version if it was something I planned to use all the time to avoid the nuisance of dead batteries.
 

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I got the Neiko Tools version (Model 01412A) for about $23. It's the same tool that the bicycle tool manufacture Park sells as part of their line for around $60 so I paid roughly 1/3 of what it costs with "Park Tool" printed on it. It works well and appears to be accurate based upon my measuring of several feeler gauges I measured. My only complaint is that it seems to eat batteries but it could just be the cheap batteries it came with which only lasted a few minutes. Still I'd be tempted to get a slightly more expensive precision analog version if it was something I planned to use all the time to avoid the nuisance of dead batteries.
Either the battery was on its last leg or the caliper has a short somewhere. Try a new battery and see if it does the same and if yes, try to exchange the caliper for the same model.
 

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Neck tenons are rarely perfectly round so measuring E - W, then N - S and averaging the two gives a more "workable" measurement. Both "lapping" and using a tenon shrinking tool can improve the "roundness".
 

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Either the battery was on its last leg or the caliper has a short somewhere. Try a new battery and see if it does the same and if yes, try to exchange the caliper for the same model.
Some brands/models are known to leak power even when turned off. Researching digital calipers recently, thinking to buy something in the $25 - 40 range, I encountered many low ratings by dissatisfied customers. Battery issues were often cited. I get the impression that reliable, accurate digital calipers start at $100 & go way up from there. It's difficult to justify such an expense for a tool that will be used infrequently. OTOH, an unreliable implement defeats the purpose.
 

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Neck tenons are rarely perfectly round so measuring E - W, then N - S and averaging the two gives a more "workable" measurement. Both "lapping" and using a tenon shrinking tool can improve the "roundness".
Indeed, I just had my 156 neck tenon fitted, both tenon and receiver were out of round and it made all the difference in the world. Like in taking 30 years of abuse off the horn. And yes, there is no point in going overboard with measuring precision if only one axis is measured.
 

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I got the Neiko Tools version (Model 01412A) for about $23. It's the same tool that the bicycle tool manufacture Park sells as part of their line for around $60 so I paid roughly 1/3 of what it costs with "Park Tool" printed on it. It works well and appears to be accurate based upon my measuring of several feeler gauges I measured. My only complaint is that it seems to eat batteries but it could just be the cheap batteries it came with which only lasted a few minutes. Still I'd be tempted to get a slightly more expensive precision analog version if it was something I planned to use all the time to avoid the nuisance of dead batteries.
Cheap digital calipers are "on" all the time. You have to take the battery out when you put them away. Otherwise it goes dead in a month or two. If you buy an expensive digital caliper (Mitutoyo, Starrett, etc.) this is not true, but still a good idea if you are storing it for more than a day or so - to avoid damage from battery corrosion.
 

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Cheap digital calipers are "on" all the time. You have to take the battery out when you put them away. Otherwise it goes dead in a month or two. If you buy an expensive digital caliper (Mitutoyo, Starrett, etc.) this is not true, but still a good idea if you are storing it for more than a day or so - to avoid damage from battery corrosion.
Yeah I wonder about this. Mine has a switch and supposedly an "automatic shut off" as well but who knows. I'll have another go with it with a couple good batteries and see how it works but if I were to do it again I'd probably go for the analog version.
 

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For calipers, if I were interested in an actual quality tool, I'd go Mitutoyo for digital (they have an on-off switch) and B&S for dial. Quality vernier calipers are almost impossible to find nowadays.

For digital micrometers I'd go Mitu again, for standard I'd go B&S or Mitu - but make sure you get the ones with the verniers on the thimble.

Inch, mm - it's just 25.4. I've got no real preference.

Don't forget to measure at three different heights and two crossed axes (or four axes) - and TAKE NOTES. Tenons are often tapered as well as out-of-round.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Are you talking about the outside diameter of the tenon? Like Zoot said, a modest investment will get sufficient accuracy for the job. Metric will be the most useful for this purpose. Even if you plan to measure the diameters of the whole neck in 1 cm increments, it would be good for this. I only have an analog caliper and its in inches, so I have to convert to metric for tenon measurements. You can use it to see if the tenon is tapered or out of round. It also can be used to measure inside diameters like the neck collar on the sax.
Yes, the outside diameter of the tenon, as well as the height. Also the inside diameter of the neck collar on the sax.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Neck tenons are rarely perfectly round so measuring E - W, then N - S and averaging the two gives a more "workable" measurement. Both "lapping" and using a tenon shrinking tool can improve the "roundness".
Thank you for the measurement "trick!". Makes sense.
 

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Yeah I wonder about this. Mine has a switch and supposedly an "automatic shut off" as well but who knows. I'll have another go with it with a couple good batteries and see how it works but if I were to do it again I'd probably go for the analog version.
See this: http://www.fliptronics.com/tip0006.html

Basically, a digital caliper is never off. The Mitutoyo ones just have more efficient electronics.

You can get a good analog dial calipers with both Imperial and metric scales for $25 - $35 on Amazon. Easy to read to 0.001", or 0.02mm.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Yeah, I feel that my own cheap digital caliper lasts maybe 6 months of very irregular use before I have to replace the battery. That said, the batteries are small, standard, and cheap.
 
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