How to Properly Care for Measuring Tools

Measuring tools, by their very nature, are meant to be perfectly precise and to keep them that way they will have to be cared for and maintained properly.

There are a lot of different tools for measuring a lot of different things. But, no matter which ones you have, proper care is required if you want to be able to depend on them for accuracy.

Disregard this advice at your own risk! Measuring devices that have been abused and not maintained as they should have been are apt to be off. In fact, they may be way, way off. Imagine ruining a whole job because you couldn't be bothered to give your hard working tools the care they deserve.

Some tools used for measuring are, of course, more delicate than others and need more care than something like a measuring tape.

There are many types of tools used to measure.

Types of Measuring Tools

Here are a few of the type of tools available for measuring various things:

  • Calipers
  • Lasers
  • Micrometers
  • Telescopic Gauges
  • And More

Some of these tools have to be extremely accurate down to fractions of a millimeter, so you can imagine how precise they are and how important it is to keep them that way.

Care of Measuring Tools

Caring for your measuring implements will mean that they will serve you well, often for a lifetime. Not caring for them means you'll have to replace them far sooner than you would have if you had taken the time to provide the right sort of maintenance.

Here are some tips on how to care for your measuring tools:

  • Always wipe not only the measuring faces of your tools, but of the work piece being measured as well. This will help prevent dust or dirt from marring your tools. Generally speaking, it is best not to use such tools as vernier calipers or micrometers on rough, abrasive surfaces if you can possibly avoid it.
  • Always keep your tools used for measuring separate from your hand tools to save them being knocked about and damaged. Never lay your tools on something like a lathe, either, because the vibrations could compromise the accuracy of the tool.
  • Always use your tools used for measuring for that alone - measuring. This means don't use your micrometers for little hammers or a vernier caliper as a line marker, for instance. This will certainly damage them.
  • Always keep your tools used for measuring at or around room temperature. Never lay them on a heat source or in direct sunlight as doing so could really mess them up so that their accuracy is affected.
  • Always be wary of laying or using your tools too close to a magnet or magnetized surface. Magnets can wreak havoc with many of these precision tools.
  • Always clean your tools after use. Unless they're made of stainless steel, each tool should have some anti-rust oil dabbed on it and then stored by itself in a dry place.

Measuring tools will provide you with years of dependable service if you care for them properly.

Lubrication Method

Proper lubrication, as suggested to care for your measuring tools, is important to prevent damage due to corrosion and oxidation. Using a thin film of mineral oil such as WD40, on a soft rag or cloth, wipe the tool over ensuring to cover all the metal parts of the tool. Be sure to wipe away any excess oil.

Your measuring tools should be cleaned regularly, ideally once a week. However, your cleaning routine all depends on a couple factors.

The environment

If you use your tools in a dusty manufacturing environment, for example, you may need to clean them more often than if you work in a relatively controlled lab environment.

The task

What you are using the tool for will also have an impact on how often you will need to clean it. For example, pressure gage maintenance may involve cleaning it more often if you use it with liquids, as opposed to solid items. Also, if the measurements are so precise that small amounts of dirt or residue could throw them off, you’ll need to clean your instruments more frequently.

Legal Requirements

Some industries may require you to clean your tools more often depending on their rules and regulations. For example, food-related businesses must adhere to higher cleanliness standards.


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