And until now, few handheld tools could accurately measure distances to theoretical sharp corners, apexes, mold lines, and intersection points.

CornerCalipers from SPS Industries, Farmington, Conn., (www.spsind.com), solves this problem by letting one (single-pivot model) or both jaws ( doublepivot model) conform to slanted walls. The pivot point is precisely located on the bottom edge of the device's caliper beam. So as the pivot jaw rotates, it stays at the zero reading of the caliper. The device can be used on sheet metal, plastics, casting, and extrusions, and on any parts with slanted or drafted walls.

It comes in 6, 8, and 12-in. sizes with resolution and repeatability to 0.0005 in. An LCD powered by a 1.55-V silver-oxide button battery shows results. The singlepivot model measures angles from 35 to 160°, while the doublepivot version handles 20 to 160°.