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In this digital age, it seems surprising that companies would still produce measuring devices with dials. Digital is better at everything, isn’t it? Maybe not. Batteries die, displays bounce between two or more readings, readings can be slow to update, and forget about using your digital display outside in International Falls on a winter morning.

You don’t have to be a Luddite to appreciate the simplicity of a needle pointing at a scale. Sure, it takes a little more effort to count the number of ticks past the last number, and a little discipline not to try to interpolate between the ticks to get a more precise reading than the instrument is capable of, but it works now and will continue to work as long as the instrument is well cared for.

Bucking the trend of digital protractors, Woodriver’s stainless-steel machinist’s protractor displays the current angle in minutes and seconds on its 2-7/8″ diameter magnified dial. Knurled micro-adjusting and locking knobs let you fine-tune the angle and lock it into place.

Woodriver’s Machinist’s Protractor ships in a foam-lined, plastic molded case and will set you back $56.

Machinist’s Protractor [WoodCraft]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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7 Responses to An Analog Scale In A Digital World

  1. Bren R. says:

    I’ve always hated digital multimeters, an analog needle gives you a general “feel” for the value/changes in value at a quick glance, and spending a second to read the scale gives you an exact value… interpreting flickering numbers on a digital display takes much more thought.

  2. Dave P says:

    Machinists out there who’ve ever used a Trav-a-dial can appreciate the fact that an analog display lets you run up on a position at pretty high speed, as opposed to a DRO, where you pretty much have to creep up or risk overshooting. It’s hard to glean rate of change from a digital display.

  3. G says:

    After the digital dash on my Jimmy went out, I’d rather have analog for anything that doesn’t NEED to be digital for some reason. I don’t want to ever again own a car that can simply stop telling me how much gas I have, how fast I’m going, etc etc because there’s a short in the panel. I don’t want any instrument that can flake out on me that way.

  4. Cameron Watt says:

    Ned Ludd approves of digital instruments so long as they’re not dehumanizing workers or eliminating jobs.

  5. @Cameron Watt:

    Obviously I was using the broader, and also accepted definition of Luddite which is someone who opposes technological change.

    But it’s always good to know your history

  6. Measure Once Cut Twice says:

    I far prefer dial calipers to digital – easy to read at a glance, and waaaaay easier to adjust to a specific setting (I’ll often set a dimension & scribe a mark on a part when I’m fabricating something. Do that a dozen times and you quickly appreciate the speed of the dial vs. a digital caliper).

  7. aaron says:

    this tool LOOKS much more accurate and better made than comparable digital ones, although I’ve never used either. I also prefer to use analog instead of digital for these things, and I wish I had vernier calipers instead of the digital ones I have now, for all the wonderful reasons people have given above.

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