Is there a way to set it so that when you create a new primitive, all the dials are set to value rather than percent?
Not directly, though it might be possible to write a script that would trigger the creation and then set the controller properties. Though scale is the only property in percent, and it is one all other nodes so that's consistent.
Understood. I should have got that it's really the best way to do it.
What I use certain primitives for is to measure the height of my characters...
I'll save a scene file and just merge it... it's not that big a deal.