Printable Quality Control Labels

Below is a list of printable labels for QC, manufacturing and maintenance. I have done my best to keep the labels simple. Fancy pictures or colors will not provide better traceability, they will only cost you more money to purchase. Each label has a picture provided to show what the label will look like.

The label files are in Microsoft Word format and include all of the information you need. The label sizes are listed along with links to the label sheets to use. 

There are three size labels used. These blank crack and peel style labels can be printed on any standard inkjet or laser printer. I have included Amazon links to the various sizes below and in the individual files.

I recommend using the smallest label possible to save on the cost of labels. This is the case unless visibility is a huge concern. 

Please note that these labels will not be water, coolant, or oil resistant. However, a simple piece of scotch tape over the label will provide protection from most things.

Finally, if there is a label you need which you don’t see listed and you think would benefit everyone, please leave a comment below and I will try to update the post over time.

Printable Calibration Labels

Gauge Calibration Labels

calibration label

These calibration labels provide the necessary information to identify your gage inventory. 

Simply list the tool number, who performed the calibration, the date the calibration was performed and the date when the tool is due for next calibration. 

The Calibration labels are available in two formats:

For Reference Use Only Labels

for reference use only label

For reference use only labels can be used for tools which aren’t used for final inspection. I once had an ISO auditor require us to place a For Reference Use Only label on our UPS scale. A little extreme, but an easy enough fix. 

The For Reference Use Only labels are available in two formats:

Do Not Use Labels

do not use label

Do Not Use labels are good for identifying tools or equipment that aren’t functioning properly. They will often be used for labeling gauges that can be used for parts later.

The Do Not Use labels are available in two formats:

Calibrate Before Use Labels

calibrate before use label

Calibrate Before Use labels can be used to identify gauges which function properly but possibly aren’t needed at this time. Calibration takes time and if a tool can be taken out of service and only calibrated when it is needed then you can save yourselves plenty of time and money.

The Calibrate Before Use labels are available in two formats:

In Process QC Labels

QC Passed Labels

qc passed label

The QC Passed labels are available in two formats:

QC Approved Labels

qc approved label

The QC Approved labels are available in two formats:

QC Rejected Labels

qc rejected label

The QC Rejected labels are available in two formats:

QC Inspected Labels

qc inspected label

The QC Inspected labels are available in two formats:

Manufacturing and Maintenance Labels

Preventive Maintenance Labels

preventive maintenance label

Preventive maintenance labels are very similar to the calibration labels because they are on the same type of recall system. 

The PM labels are made in larger sizes because their is usually much more space on a machine than something like a micrometer or caliper. 

The Preventive Maintenance labels are available in two formats:

Limited Shelf Life Labels

limited shelf life label

Limited shelf life labels can be used for items such as paints or adhesives that have expiration dates that need to be monitored.

The Limited Shelf Life labels are available in two formats:

Other labels

If there are any other common labels that I have missed, please let me know in the comments below and I will try to make some up.

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Ultimate Guide to Micrometer Calibration

Outside micrometers are easily one of the most common measuring tools in the machinist’s toolbox. They are so common that they are usually referred to as simply micrometers or mics. For the rest of this post, I will follow the same convention.

A side note, specialty micrometers such as depth micrometers or inside micrometers are more often referred to by their whole name.

Now that you are on a first name basis with your micrometer, let’s think about calibrating it.

So just how important is it to have a properly calibrated micrometer?


outside micrometer
0-1" standard micrometer

Considering a 0-1” micrometer is likely the most used inspection tool in the shop… pretty darn important.

Please note that some of what follows might be overkill for a hobbyist but it is certainly still good practice.

Now, let’s learn more about micrometer calibration.

Why do micrometers need to be calibrated?

Micrometers need to be calibrated to ensure their accuracy.

Because they are used for critical measurements, it is important to make sure that any readings taken with the micrometer are correct.

During the calibration process, the micrometer is checked with a standard, such as a gauge block, to verify it is accurate across its entire measuring range.

How often should you calibrate a micrometer?

There are many factors to consider when determining how often to calibrate your micrometer. The visual below lists some of the most common factors.

Micrometers can be calibrated at many different intervals. When setting the calibration frequency, you should take into account factors such as:

  • How the tool will be used? Is the micrometer being used to measure critical product dimensions?
  • How tight are the tolerances it will be used to measure?
  • Will it be subjected to stresses such as heat, humidity, pressure, physical stress or other environmental?
  • How much usage will it see?
  • What is the tool’s past calibration history?

Where I work we take all of these factors into account and develop our calibration intervals based on them. We group tools into different intervals.

The most important tools are calibrated every four months or sooner. Less critical tools are calibrated on a yearly schedule. Occasionally, tools which see little use and have an excellent calibration history get calibrated at a more extended interval.

It all depends on what works for your shop. If you are unsure of where to start, calibrate more frequently and then adjust based on usage and calibration history over time.

Think about all of these factors when determining how often you will calibrate your micrometer.

What equipment do you need to calibrate a micrometer?

Calibration of your micrometer requires only a known length standard such as a gauge block, an adjustment spanner and your micrometer.

Additional supplies such as gage oil and task wipers will also come in handy but aren’t required.


gauge block set
Gauge block set

Gauge blocks should be chosen that are at a minimum four times more accurate than your micrometer.

If your micrometer reads to a tenth (.0001”) like most common micrometers, then you will need gauge blocks that are accurate to 25 millionths of an inch (.000025”).

This 4:1 requirement started with the military specification, or mil spec MIL-STD-45662. This specification defined the calibration requirements for companies.

This requirement is a minimum requirement. Using gauge blocks that are 10 times more accurate than the micrometer is even better.

length standards set
Length standard set

Note: For larger micrometers, length standards are often used in place of gage blocks.

Do I need to buy a micrometer that is already calibrated?

No, buying a micrometer that is already calibrated is not required.

In fact, I recommend not purchasing a micrometer that comes with a calibration certificate. The certification process costs extra and adds no extra value.

You will want to check the calibration of the tool once you get it anyways. Shipping companies aren’t always gentle and just because it was in calibration at the time of shipping does not ensure it is in calibration when received.

What do I need to maintain for calibration records?

At a minimum, your records should include calibration labels for your tools and a database where you record calibration information.

Free and printable calibration labels are available on our calibration labels page. All types of stickers are included for everything from tool calibration labels to do not use labels.

What information should the calibration label include?

Calibration labels should include at least the calibration date along with the next calibration due date. It is also a good idea to include the person who calibrated the tool and the tool #.

Note: It is acceptable to place a label on the box of a measuring tool if it isn’t practical to place on the tool such as is the case with a set of gauge blocks.

calibration label
Example calibration label

What information should be included in the calibration database?

The calibration database can come in many forms. Card systems, spreadsheets, database files and specialty programs are often used to maintain calibration records.

The following information should be recorded in the calibration database:

  • Who performed the calibration
  • Date calibration was performed
  • Master standard that was used for calibration
  • Calibration checks to be performed
  • Acceptable limits for calibration checks
  • Actual readings from the calibration checks
  • Next calibration due date

While it isn’t always a strict requirement, it is a good idea to think about recording the environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity when performing your calibration.

Example calibration procedure for a micrometer

  1. Read the entire procedure before beginning calibration
  2. If at any time in the calibration procedure a problem is identified, the problem will be corrected and the process will start over. If the problem can not be fixed, the micrometer will be taken out of service.
  3. Clean anvil and spindle faces along with all exterior surfaces.
  4. Inspect the micrometer for any damage or issues which might prevent accurate calibration.
  5. Close the micrometer using ratchet or friction stop if present.
  6. Hold the micrometer up to light and visually examine. If faces are not parallel, light will show between them. There should be no light visible between the faces of the anvil and spindle.
  7. Remove the spindle assembly.
  8. Clean and oil spindle and measuring screw.
  9. Reassemble the micrometer.
  10. Check measuring screw for wear by pushing thimble in and out. Do this in the direction of the measuring screw axis. There should be no movement.
  11. Close the micrometer by using the ratchet or friction stop if present to check the zero setting.
  12. Check accuracy with gage block(s) having accuracy not less than 0.000025 inch. Verify measurements at sizes that are not even intervals. Use sizes such as .206”, .456” or .784”. Avoid common sizes such as .250”, .500” and .800”. Verifying sizes that are not even increments of .025” will verify the scale around the micrometer.
  13. Place block or block combinations between anvil and spindle of the micrometer and close the micrometer using ratchet or friction stop if present. Use block combinations to check the accuracy of the instrument positions across the total measuring range.
  14. Record all above readings in the calibration database.

Steps 8 and 9 are not required but are good preventative maintenance for your tool.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Calipers – Dial and Digital

tesa dial caliper

What is a caliper?

A caliper is a measuring tool commonly used to check precise measurements in a variety of applications. The biggest strength of calipers is in their versatility. Calipers come in many forms, including digital, dial and vernier. They are commonly used to take measurements to an accuracy of .001″ or .01mm. Metric measurements can be made down to .01mm or .001mm.

Below is a list of the most common caliper uses:

  • Inside measurements – hole sizes, slot widths
  • Outside measurements – lengths, widths, diameters, thicknesses
  • Depth measurements – depth of holes, slots, step locations

How to use a caliper

Before using your caliper, check to make sure that the measuring tool and surface to be measured are free of dirt, debris, chips, etc. The body of the caliper should slide freely along the scale or bar. For an outside measurement, slide the jaws of the caliper open until they are far enough apart to be placed over the part to be measured. Now proceed to close the jaws while trying to keep the jaws perpendicular to the surface being measured. Multiple measurements should be taken to verify that the caliper has yielded the true reading. For example, if a measurement is taken where the jaws of the caliper are not perpendicular to the surface being measured then the reading obtained can be larger than the true size.

Note: Do not exert a large amount of force on the caliper in the direction of measurement. This can cause the tool to flex and distort the true measurement. It is best to place the same amount of force that is used to zero the caliper.

How to zero a digital caliper

To zero a digital caliper, close the jaws and check the reading of the caliper. If it reads all zeros great, you can stop here. Don’t be fooled into thinking that means your caliper is accurate, but it’s a start. For more info please see the how to calibrate your caliper below. If your caliper does not read all zeros then while in the close position press the zero or origin button. This button may have a different name based on the manufacturer of your caliper. If you are unsure of the proper button to use then check the manufacturer’s website. 

How to zero a dial caliper

To zero a dial caliper, close the jaws and check the reading of the caliper. If it reads all zeros great, you can stop here. Don’t be fooled into thinking that means your caliper is accurate, but it’s a start. For more info please see the how to calibrate your caliper below. If your caliper does not read all zeros then while in the close position, loosen the bezel screw nut. Spin the bezel until the caliper reads zero. Now tighten the bezel screw nut. Verify that the caliper still reads zero after tightening the screw.

How to read digital caliper

Reading a digital caliper is easy. The digital readout display clearly shows the measurement value obtained. Digital calipers are far superior to dial and vernier calipers in this regard. Digital calipers have the ability to quickly switch between metric and inch readings with fractional measurements available on some but not all digital calipers. The biggest downfall of this is the ease at which the zero setting can be changed on a digital caliper. Because of this it is best to check your zero setting at minimum each time you use the tool and if you are making a multitude of measurement, check the digital caliper occasionally during use.

If you need more help understanding the reading, see our article on Understanding Machine Shop Numbers & Values

How to read a dial caliper

Reading a dial caliper is easy, though not as easy as a digital caliper. Because costs have come down substantially in recent years, I recommend purchasing a digital caliper if possible. If a digital caliper isn’t in the cards either because of budget or because you are working with an inherited tool then keep reading. Dial calipers come in multiple varieties but most have their measurement read in the same way. Dial calipers usually have graduations along the bar that are in increments of .100″ or one hundred thousandths of an inch. Often the 1,2,3, etc whole inch increments are marked with a number and the .100″ increments will be marked with a line. To read the caliper combine all the visible whole inch and .100″ increments on the bar with the dial reading. Example: if you can see the 2 and 3 of the .100″ lines and have a reading on the dial of 46 then your caliper reading would be 2.346″.

If you need more help understanding the reading, see our article on Understanding Machine Shop Numbers & Values

Uses for a caliper

Calipers have multiple uses. They are commonly used to verify measurements in machine shops all over the world for a variety of products. Calipers are also utilized by home mechanics and businesses alike to perform specific tasks such as critical engine measurements. Calipers are a great all around measuring tool. More than any other precision measuring tool, they are capable of performing measurements on a large variety of parts. They have a larger measuring range when compared to micrometers and indicators. They are quicker to perform measurements when compared to micrometers or indicators. Go/no go gages are the only measuring tool that can take measurements faster but go/no go gages are very specialized.

What makes a good caliper

Whether digital, dial or vernier, a good digital caliper needs two things: precision and accuracy. Some adjustments can be made with most calipers to account for small errors in accuracy but nothing can be done to fix a tool that isn’t precise. A quality caliper will move smoothly without any drag. This is the telltale sign of a good tool. If your caliper ever feels like it is rubbing or dragging then it is most likely the result of damage from being dropped or contamination exposure. Unfortunately if you caliper isn’t moving smoothly there isn’t usually much that can be done besides oiling the tool and sliding back and worth. Then wipe off the oil and repeat the process over again. Make sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions before performing this operation as calipers can vary and only use machine tool oil such as this one by Starrett.

Where to buy calipers

Calipers are available from a number of online retailers. For a more in depth guide of which calipers are best for your situation, please see our reviews section. Some general advice, as usual for most products Amazon has a number of good options available. Harbor Freight has a couple good options that are reasonably priced and well reviewed. Home Depot and Walmart both sell calipers but we do not recommend any that they currently offer. 

Are cheaper calipers as good as expensive ones?

While some of the cheaper (made in China) type calipers have gotten much better than they were in years past, they are nowhere near the same quality that you will see in a tool from one of the tried and true manufacturers such as Starrett or Mitutoyo. A caliper is the type of tool that is best to purchase once. In most cases it can be more beneficial to search for a used option on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. For more information on the best calipers to buy for your application see our Best Calipers article.

How to calibrate a 0-6" caliper

  1. Verify that the caliper is clean.
  2.  Visually examine the caliper for any condition that could cause errors in the calibration.
  3. Close the caliper by sliding the body of the caliper until the outside jaws are closed.
  4. Hold the caliper to a light source and visually examine for light showing between the jaws. If the jaws are not parallel, light will show between them.
  5. Check accuracy of outside jaws of the caliper at various locations within the tool’s measuring range. Gage blocks which have been calibrated themselves should be used for this operation.
  6. Check the accuracy of the inside jaws of the caliper at various locations over the measuring range. This can be done by locking a micrometer that is calibrated at a know location and checking the gap.
  7. Check the accuracy of the depth rod (if applicable) using gage blocks to set the caliper on and extending the depth rod down to the surface plate.
  8. Adjustments can be made at this step as needed. Different calipers have different procedures for adjustment. Consult manufacturer documentation for instructions regarding the adjustment of your caliper if needed.
    1. Dial calipers are most often adjusted in the zero position by loosening the dial lock and spinning the dial until the tool reads zero.
    2. Digital calipers are most often adjusted in the zero position by pressing the zero or origin button. This button can vary between manufacturers so check your instruction manual if you have one. If not, don’t worry it is usually very easy to figure out what button zeroes the caliper.
  9. After adjustments are made, the tool should be checked again to verify the adjustment worked.
  10. Calibration results are commonly recorded in a register or database for traceability of measurement history

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