# Q & A: Vernier Calipers

Q:
How to use the Vernier calipers?
- Deedee (age 13)
Hillgrove sec, Singapore
A:

Deedee -

Vernier Calipers are used to measure the thickness of things, especially things that are hard to measure with something like a ruler:

(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vernier_caliper.svg)

There's three important steps for using Vernier Calipers:

(1) Take a "zero reading". In theory, the vernier calipers should be perfectly calibrated. In reality, they usually aren't. With the jaws totally closed, measure how far apart the first lines on the top and the bottom scale are. You'll have to add or subtract this from the measurement you get at the end.

(2) Place the jaws around the thing that you want to measure and close them tightly. The distance between the jaws is the distance that you're trying to find.

(3) Read the measurement. Now measure the distance between the first lines on the top and bottom scale again. Add or subtract out what you got in step (1) and you will find out how far the bottom scale moved when you spread it open around the object. This distance is the width of the object.

For a great site all about how to use Vernier Calipers, check out this link to . They even have a video of someone showing and explaining how to use a set of these.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)