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View Full Version : I learned a lesson for only $19.00 + shipping today.



DICKEYBIRD
01-26-2008, 01:05 PM
Actually more than one, I reckon.

I dropped my .0005"/.030" DTI a couple weeks ago and it locked up solid. It wasn't an expensive one, actually a H/F unit I bought 3 years ago when I 1st began the hobby. It was nicely finished, worked smoothly and as accurate as I'll ever need or can measure against other measuring devices.

I knew if I tried to fix it, a plethora of little spring loaded widgets & jesus clips would spew outwards into the darkest crevices of my workbench.

So, I searched H/F's website high & low for a replacement but couldn't find a D.T.I. listed. I figured if H/F sold it originally and it was pretty cheap, surely the other resellers of Chinese tooling would have the same one, made in the same factory and of like quality.

I ordered a $19.00 replacement one last week from a popular tool website since I was already ordering a diamond grinding wheel for my H/F carbide grinder from them. I won't name the business since I've been happy (enough) with everything I've gotten from them so far.

It came yesterday and I eagerly opened the box this morning and took a look. Hoo-ahh was it a mess! The outside finish was fresh off a wobbly surface grinder, the dovetails for the mount studs had chatter marks, the knurled rim on the dial was rough & lumpy and the general fit & finish was not even close to what a precision instrument should be. It did seem to work smoothly enough though.

Initially I was pi$$ed and put everything back in the bags to ship it back on Monday to get my money back. Then, I decided to take the old one apart since I had a working backup and had nothing to lose.

Here's a pic of the innards, no SPROING! when I took the back off and it was actually pretty simple inside. I spent a while taking it apart and putting it back together over & over but it kept locking up.

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g227/DBAviation/DTI1-1.jpg

I then decided to take apart the new one to see if I was indexing the lever and the spur gear wrong. Man, what a piece of work! The old D.T.I body unit was milled from bar stock and neat inside other than the obviously hand-sanded brass plates and plus there was no machining debris floating around.

The new one was roughly milled (whittled?) from a rough casting; there was metal dust & chips everywhere and the internal parts look like they came out of a cheap wind-up toy. I did however, discover that I'd been re-assembling the old one wrong.

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g227/DBAviation/DTI3-1.jpg

Once I put the old one together correctly, it worked great until the screw closest to the spur gear was tightened fully; the movement then locked solid. I screwed around for a while and almost decided to lock the screw with some super glue and call it good.

I noticed that it if I slowly tightened the screw in increments, checking the movement each time, I could feel it get notchy & "coggy" as the screw was turned. I scratched my head until finally I had a "voila!" moment.

When I dropped it originally, I had reflexively stuck my foot out and softened the blow before it hit the concrete. Apparently, the dial itself shifted over enough to jam the pinion gear into the spur and lock it up. I heard someone behind me (that voice in my head) say DUH! and I pressed the dial down on the bench in the opposite direction and bingo, she works smooth as silk.

Lesson? (A) Don't doubt your abilities in new endeavors and (B) Slow down enough to let common sense & the laws of physics take over.:)

Am I still pi$$ed about the cheap-a$$ D.T.I? Not really...I'm sure It'll work fine for some fixture or gizmo in the future and the little dovetail mount studs it came with are well made and probably worth the $19.00. If not, the great feeling of fixing something definitely is!

wirewrkr
01-26-2008, 02:46 PM
It SOUNDS like the best 19 bucks you ever spent Dickeybird, education and motivational training usually costs a helluva lot more than $19 bucks.
Robert

Carld
01-26-2008, 03:07 PM
Good learning experience. Nice job.

kendall
01-26-2008, 03:28 PM
Good post, Good pics, and a great lesson.

If the replacement was good, you wouldn't have the new knowledge, and would still have one good indicator for the $19.

Now you have a good indicator, the knowledge, and potentially another good indicater once you use that fresh knowledge on the replacement, all for the same $19, can't beat that!:)

Good pics too, now I also have the knowledge to tear into the same indicator I dropped a while ago...... So thanks!

In my case though, the replacement was the same as the old one and worked right out of the box.

Ken

DICKEYBIRD
01-26-2008, 03:42 PM
Thanks guys!

Ken try this before taking yours apart:

If yours is like mine, pick it up with the dial to the right, the plunger to the left and the cover plate with the 4 screws facing you. Flip it 180 degrees so that the dial is now facing you and press it (the dial) down against a rag on your bench. What you're trying to do is shift the dial assy. "across" the instrument slightly. If yours has the same problem mine had, it'll be miraculously HEALED!

Let me know, I'm sending positive waves your way man.:)

Milton

"Hey, stop with all them negative waves, man." (Donald Sutherland, Kelly's Heroes)

j king
01-26-2008, 06:06 PM
I have broke dozens of 2" face indicators over the years.Most get knocked off the machines and would be stuck.One day I thought what the heck,bang it around a little.Sure enough it freed up.Now I give that a try before giving it a ride to the scrap barrel.They take a pretty good beating and still survive sometimes.
The ones on the turret lathe bed that were used to measure the rear turrets stop depth were never as lucky.I smashed several when I would rapid the front carriage into the rear turret with my indicators sitting on the way cover between the 2.Man that made me mad sometimes.

Paul Alciatore
01-26-2008, 06:12 PM
Well, I guess your $19 wasn't wasted, but I have purchased three or four DIs and DTIs for under $20 and all have worked well from the start with no extra work needed. I got them from Grizzly and Enco I believe. I don't trust HF except purchasing from their store where I can see what I am getting (or not).

Perhaps I was just lucky as I am sure the quality can and does vary from the Chinese sources. Anyway, knowledge is valuable and now you have more confidence. Many times I have dreaded some job before starting it. But usually they turn out to be a lot easier than I feared. One thing for sure; if you don't try, you can't succeed. Jump in with both feet.

DICKEYBIRD
01-26-2008, 07:14 PM
I have 4 of the 0 - 1" D.I.'s on various lathe & mill devices and they all work great. I bought all of them from H/F for various sale prices as low as $6.99. I think they're a great value.

The only thing I don't like is the little clamp gizmo that locks the dial face. 3 of them have the irritating little flat thing that's always spinning out of position. One off them has a wide screw that bears directly against the rim. I really like that one.

BobWarfield
01-26-2008, 07:45 PM
I knew if I tried to fix it, a plethora of little spring loaded widgets & jesus clips would spew outwards into the darkest crevices of my workbench.


Blew me cuppa hot tea all over the keyboard after reading thta one I did. Jesus chips indeed!

That's kinda like what the helicopter mechanics call the Jesus Nuts. That's What holds the main rotor on.

FWIW, there is a wealth of information on Long Island Indicator's web site about these and many other little gadgets. Their parts pages often have exploded diagrams:

http://longislandindicator.com/p72.html

At least you can then inventory whether you found all the Jesus chips!

All's well that ends well I guess. I just got a new Noga indicator stand (b'day gift) and decided to grab all my indicator holder thingeys and put them together with the indicators. Turns out I have a lot of indicator thingeys and not enough indicators.

DOH!

Dickey, you can always use that extra indicator.

Cheers,

BW

DICKEYBIRD
01-26-2008, 08:03 PM
Great link Bob; it's bookmarked now.

Jesus CHIPS? Actually, what I was referring to was Jesus CLIPS. Those are the ones that go c-h-i-n-g and disappear when you're dismantling some complex device and you mutter aww Jesus! You'll never, ever find one of those. They break through to another dimension and cannot ever be found. They are always a one-of-kind size and are not available from any supplier separately. You have to buy the entire assembly for an insane amount of money.;)

Sorry for the blasphemy...hopefully those on high have a sense of humor.:)

oldtiffie
01-26-2008, 08:50 PM
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Jesus CHIPS? Actually, what I was referring to was Jesus CLIPS. Those are the ones that go c-h-i-n-g and disappear when you're dismantling some complex device and you mutter aww Jesus! You'll never, ever find one of those.

Sorry for the blasphemy...hopefully those on high have a sense of humor.:)

Thanks DB.

If they go "c-h-i-n-g" they must be a dreaded "Chicom" part.

Yeah - if you blaspheme you'll get "nicked" and then "Old Nick" himself might take an interest.

Oh Hell!!

S*it.

Now I've invoked "Old Nick" - but that's OK as we are on a "first name" basis - always have been.

There's lottsa people on my "get nicked" list. I'm on a lot of those lists myself - I'd be bl**dy disappointed if I wasn't as I put a lot of effort into getting onto those lists and staying on 'em!!

kendall
01-27-2008, 12:59 AM
Thanks guys!

Ken try this before taking yours apart:


Let me know, I'm sending positive waves your way man.:)

Milton

"Hey, stop with all them negative waves, man." (Donald Sutherland, Kelly's Heroes)


THanks!
I'll do that, it's frozen up as you described, and broke in the same exact steps, foot and everything, so that may help.

When it first broke I was going to toss it, but had a project in mind that I needed a small dovetail like it, so put it in one of the drawers so I would remember where it is, now all I have to do is remember -which- drawer.

Ken.

S_J_H
01-27-2008, 01:18 AM
That is one nasty looking body casting on that DTI! Is that from Enco ?
And I thought I had a cheap one when the needle fell off it. Not easy to remove the bezel without damage,lol.
And then the loose needle fell into one of the many black holes in my shop. So I made do with a sharpened toothpick as a needle until I bought a little better DTI.
I have taken many DI apart. Some real differences can be seen in the quality and materials used.
Steve

DICKEYBIRD
01-27-2008, 07:37 AM
That is one nasty looking body casting on that DTI! Is that from Enco ? Nope, but it's 4 letters that end in CO.;)

I bear them no ill will however. It actually works OK; it just looks & feels shoddily made. I'm sure the gears have the correct number of teeth to spin the needle in the appropriate manner and the dial is printed close enough to read out very close to it's intended resolution.

Also, I'm sure they would take it back in trade for something else since they don't show a higher quality/price D.T.I. in their catalog. I don't feel "right" about sending it back since I had the back off and I do want to keep the extra mount studs.

BigBoy1
01-27-2008, 09:38 AM
What is the camera you used to take those pictures? When ever I try to take any pictures that close, I get fuzzy images. Maybe a new camera is in my future? Thanks.

Bill

aboard_epsilon
01-27-2008, 10:07 AM
set it to macro

move your cam to a foot away ...
then zoom in

all the best.markj

DICKEYBIRD
01-27-2008, 10:07 AM
Thanks Bill. The camera is a little Nikon Coolpix 3100 (3.1 MP) It has a macro focus option you choose in the "Scene" menu and it'll auto-focus down to about 3". I turn the flash off and use a 75 watt bulb in one of those clamp on reflectors to get plenty of light on the object. I hate flash pics. I run them through Photoshop to add 1 level of image "Sharpening" and use the "Auto Levels" function to balance the contrast & brightness. Here's another pic that shows the innards a little clearer.

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g227/DBAviation/DTI2-1.jpg

I've had the Nikon over 3 yrs. now and it's been dropped a couple times and has a piece of duct tape holding the battery cover on. It looks like it belongs in my shop.;) I've had quite a few articles published in r/c aircraft magazines using that camera and they always use the pics with no qualms.

smiller6912
01-27-2008, 10:40 AM
Great link Bob; it's bookmarked now.

Jesus CHIPS? .... They break through to another dimension and cannot ever be found.


I'll bet that they go to the same place that all of my left socks go when I put them in the dryer..................

sidneyt
01-27-2008, 01:06 PM
Well, I guess your $19 wasn't wasted, but I have purchased three or four DIs and DTIs for under $20 and all have worked well from the start with no extra work needed. I got them from Grizzly and Enco I believe. I don't trust HF except purchasing from their store where I can see what I am getting (or not).

Perhaps I was just lucky as I am sure the quality can and does vary from the Chinese sources. Anyway, knowledge is valuable and now you have more confidence. Many times I have dreaded some job before starting it. But usually they turn out to be a lot easier than I feared. One thing for sure; if you don't try, you can't succeed. Jump in with both feet.

I also own one of the HF DTIs as shown by Dickeybird. I took the side plate off of mine and it looks similar on the inside. I have owned it for several years and it works just fine. Note that the HF version is the better quality DTI compared to the newer one shown in the second set of photos (from another vendor). In fact I also own several dial indicators from HF and other vendors (Grizzly, Enco) and the HF versions are the are the best finished on the inside (I have taken several apart to compare). I see little reason not to buy HF test instruments compared to other similar vendors especially if the price is less.

jcarter
01-27-2008, 03:03 PM
I dropped my DTI about a year ago. It wasn't an expensive one but I was still pretty mad at myself for being so careless. So I went out and spent way more money than I should have on a replacement.I figure I won't be so careless if I have a really expensive one.I did take the old one apart and fixed it. Same thing happened- it was "cogging". Can you trust a precision instrument after dropping it? I can't. Even though I repaired mine, now it sits in my tool chest and I don't use it.