The Subler – Advantages, Disadvantages, Benefits

The subler is one of the most important tools that any craftsman must have in his tool kit. However, the long list of advantages it offers comes with some weak points that it is good to know, in order to be able to benefit to the maximum from its functions. Find out the pros and cons of such a device in this article.

The oldest subler dates from the sixth century BC and was made of wood, with a structure similar to today, meaning a fixed arm and a mobile. However, the modern version represented by the Vernier model was invented in 1851 by Joseph Brown and represented the first reliable measuring instrument, made at a price affordable enough to be bought by craftsmen. 

What are the concrete advantages of this device and what are its weak points, if it has, in the version used in the 21st century, you can find out by going through the lines below.


Plus: You can measure fairly large objects

The measuring range offered by most subleas built after the Vernier model, the most popular at present, varies between 0 and 500mm, although you will also find versions up to 300mm or 2000mm. So you can use this tool to find out both the diameter of a screw or the thickness of a melamine chipboard, and to evaluate the depth of a wine barrel.

This feature ensures its adaptability to a variety of fields, from the accuracy required in micrometric measurement, in scientific research and to the freedom of movement required in construction, where they work with a variety of types of materials.


Minus: You cannot measure distances greater than 2m

If in the case of objects or maps, 2000mm is a maximum range more than enough, when it comes to the distance between two parallel walls of a room, for example, the Verniersubler confuses you more. It is just as inefficient if you want to know how many meters you are from where you are to the neighboring building or a building across the road.


Plus: Provides good accuracy

Using a subler model to find a size means a result that goes as a subdivision up to 0.1 or even 0.02mm. Options that use 0.02mm step graduated scale are preferred by professionals and areas where a higher level of accuracy is required. So you can rely on it to make sure that the parts used fit together perfectly and that the products you make meet the technical specifications to the millimeter.


Minus: It is limited when it comes to the contour of objects

You can use a subler( some models compared by us here ) to measure the diameter of a tube, but not the length of the circle that defines it, for which you need a roulette wheel or a computer, to use the standard formula based on radius.


Plus: Measures a variety of sizes

The subler is one of the devices that can be used to measure multiple object sizes. For example, you can use it to find out the inner and outer diameter of a piece, to evaluate the length and width of an element, but also to know the depth of a channel made of wood or a hole created in the wall. It is therefore adaptable enough to be considered one of the tools that it is good to always have at hand and that should not be missing from a professional’s kit.


Minus: The measurement accuracy is sensitive to environmental factors

We are talking especially about heat, which can cause the material to expand if the instrument is not made of quality steel, thus influencing the accuracy of the measurement. It is therefore important to choose a device that can withstand high temperatures, if you know that you will use it in such an environment.


Plus: Durability

Most options are made of carbon steel, and the classic, mechanical versions are simple enough to work optimally for many years, without being affected by wear. They are also resistant to mechanical shocks, electromagnetic fields and can be used without problems in humid environments.


Plus: Affordable price

The simple mechanical models can be bought at prices that generally vary between 20 and 90 lei, while the digital versions are a bit more expensive. For the latter you will have to take out of your pocket between 50 and 300 lei, depending on the brand and technical characteristics. However, it is an affordable price compared to other categories of devices used for measurement and compared to its usefulness and wide range of applications.


Minus: Low visibility

If you choose a mechanical subler model, without a digital screen, it is good to know that the gradations, especially those that include subdivisions, are quite small, which means that they can be difficult to read in a space where the light is not very good or if you have tired eyes.


Plus: You don’t need any extra tools

This advantage is offered by the subler models from the Vernier category which include in the structure of the instrument all the information necessary for a direct and complete measurement. The classic options, without screen, are provided with gradations in metric and imperial scale and with subdivisions up to 0.02mm that give you all the data you need to measure the dimensions of an object. Digital versions display the result directly on the screen.


Minus: There’s a chance you’ll read it wrong

To measure the intended dimensions it is important to know how to use the subler correctly. Even if you have one with a digital screen, on which the result is clearly written in numbers, you may not position your arms sufficiently against the walls of the evaluated object and get an erroneous analysis. Always use the technical manual of the product to see how it is used exactly or search online for a tutorial that explains the steps.

If you have chosen a mechanical model, there are chances to fix the arms correctly, but to misread the scale, if you have vision problems or are positioned at the wrong angle to the instrument. Always try to stay as close as possible to the reading point and look at the top scale, perpendicular.

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