What is a height gauge and how are they used?
A height gauge is designed for measuring or gauging the height of an object, workpiece, feature or component. Traditionally, height gauges consist of a horizontal-facing scriber attached to a scale. The scriber would be moved up or down in the y-axis (either by hand or using a thumb wheel) until it touches the top of the object being measured. A reading would then be taken and this would determine the height of the object.
Height gauges have also been used to scribe or mark objects or workpieces at certain heights. This is particularly useful when multiple faces of a workpiece need to be marked at the exact same height if, for instance, it needed to be machined to certain dimensions. However, this is seldom used in modern machine shops.
Certain models of height gauge also allow indicators and test indicators to be mounted in place of a scriber, which allows flatness or deviation to be measured. Furthermore, many digital height gauges have the option to ‘zero off’ readings at a given height, meaning stepped workpieces or objects can be measured to ensure each step is of uniform height.
What different types of height gauge are there?
Height gauge readouts are available in vernier, dial or digital variants. Digital height gauges will always be the most accurate type, given that the display can be up to 3 decimal places and eliminates human error when reading the scale. Dial and vernier height gauges are also supplied with different graduations depending on the level of accuracy required.
Even amongst height gauges with the same readouts, significant differences between series can be seen. Digital height gauges fall into two categories: standard digital height gauges or high precision digital height gauges. High precision height gauges have additional measuring functions, with price largely determining the extent and quantity of such features. For instance, some premium digital height gauges can mark 4 points simultaneously to determine the diameter of a hole or feature.
Apart from indicators and test indicators, other measuring instruments like protractors can be inserted onto height gauges for measuring the angle of features on a workpiece or ensuring perfect perpendicularity. Application-specific height gauges are also available, such as mini height gauges designed for measuring the height difference of two surfaces like rivets.
What features do height gauges have?
Most height gauges feature a wide, heavy base which prevents the gauge falling or wobbling during use. Standard height gauges also feature either a hand wheel or thumb wheel which can be either wound down or pushed by hand.
Digital height gauges vary considerably in their feature list depending on budget and brand. Standard digital height gauges should feature an LCD readout, buttons to convert readings from mm to inch and on/off, as well as data output capability through a RSC32 or USB wire. High precision digital height gauges (or digital height measurement systems) are far more accurate, utilise a touch screen display with advanced in-built measurement software and motor-driven hand wheel for automatic height adjustment. High precision digital height gauges also, in most instances, feature data output via Bluetooth connectivity.
Accuracy can also vary greatly based on the model. On dial height gauges or vernier height gauges, graduation indicates the increment by which the scale increases, which could be either 0.1mm or 0.01mm. Naturally, dial height gauges with a 0.01mm graduation will be more accurate than ones with 0.1mm. Digital height gauges, by virtue of its numerical readout, provide more accurate measurements than dial indicators and eliminates any human error encountered by manually reading the scale. High precision digital height gauges further eliminate any chance of human error by utilising automatic height adjustment, meaning a thumb wheel is not necessary, ensuring even untrained operators can use the height gauge with ease.
What brands of height gauge do we supply?
Cutwel supplies dial height gauges, vernier height gauges, digital height gauges, high precision digital height gauges and height measurement systems from market leading measuring tool suppliers Bowers Group and Mitutoyo, as well as Insize.
Height gauges from Insize are perfect for general workshop applications and feature a comprehensive range of sizes, styles and accessories. Mitutoyo height gauges feature more advanced functionality and a superior build quality for inspection measuring applications. Bowers Group offer high precision height gauges from their brands Trimos and Sylvac. Both brands feature the latest in height gauging technology and offer the most cutting-edge technology and premium quality with accurate measurements up to 0.001mm accuracy.
IP class protection in height gauges
IP (Ingress Protection) is an internationally recognised standard of measuring the effectiveness and level of protection against dust, water, coolant, steam and other external sources of damage. An IP rating consists of 2 numbers: the first describes the level of protection against the intrusion of foreign bodies to components within the tool, whereas the second details the extent of protection against moisture.
Height gauges supplied by Cutwel are not supplied with any IP class protection as it is usually not a required feature in situations where height gauges are used. Most height gauges are made from a tough stainless steel substrate, meaning they will withstand general workshop use.
Can you calibrate height gauges?
Height gauges can be calibrated to a UKAS standard, however for most practical workshop uses calibration should not be required.
If you would like to discuss calibrating your height gauge, please get in touch with Cutwel today.