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MuellerNick in Germany has come up with a neat idea. He has converted a digital caliper into what is essentially a height gage with a round hole in the base so that it can be used on a flat reference like a surface plate or on a reference that protrudes through the base like a tool holder.
Check out this video for more:
If you’re wondering why you’d use a beast like this, check out my 2 part series on tool length offset and ways to manage that tool data.
If I was going to make one of these, the other thing I’d do is make sure the friction clamp feature of the calipers was functional. It’s useful to keep tool stickout at a consistent repeatable length once you’ve encountered conditions that cause chatter. If you have the same stickout, same tool type (same model and manufacturer), same tool holder type (same model and mfg), and the same spindle, chatter conditions are reproducible. This means that once you know where they occur, they can be avoided if you keep all those variables constant. This can be extremely valuable for productivity.