PDA

View Full Version : HF Digital Height Gage



DICKEYBIRD
07-07-2009, 10:08 PM
Does anyone have one of these? http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93488

I now have a surface plate and need a height gage to go with it. I've looked at the usual inexpensive suppliers but HF's is the least expensive of all of them. I have 2 of their digital calipers and have no complaints with them. I'm looking for someine that has one before I plunk down the cash.

Before the flaming starts, I've looked around and don't see a nice used Mitutoyo or Starret for an amount that I can afford at the moment. I can dream about a really nice one but need one that I can afford now.

steverice
07-07-2009, 10:21 PM
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=621-8421

This one would be more accurate, and last longer too.

MickeyD
07-07-2009, 11:20 PM
I have one that I got on sale for about $25 when they were closing them out of the stores and it is not bad. If I had to pay full price I think that I would save a little more and try to get a real one though. Under about 2" of difference it is accurate within -.0005, the more you go the more it seems to lose (up to -.002 at around 6"). I mostly use it for setting non-critical tool offsets on my cnc mill, and it is fine for that. Anything serious and I touch off with tissue paper.

Walter
07-07-2009, 11:32 PM
Dickey,

You can find a nice used surface gauge on e-bay. I've invested almost exactly $200.00 in 2 surface gauges(shipping included), One is a digital 24 inch dual column digital Mitutoyo (http://i.ebayimg.com/23/!BVhSHUwBmk~$(KGrHgoH-E!EjlLlyKFGBKS6Cd7Bfw~~_1.JPG) the other is a 12 inch dual column dial Etalon (http://reliabletools.cachefly.net/itemimages/JuneV09/v49q.jpg). Both are very nice units, great quality and feel. If your willing to be patient they can be had at great prices. If your willing to use a vernier style they can be had much cheaper. I have a nice B&S vernier tucked away that I still use on occasion. I think it cost me a grand total of $23.00 when I picked it up on ebay a while back. A guy I work with got his 10 inch Mitutoyo dial for $35.00 +shipping with 2 extra scribers, both brand new in the box. Heck the scribers alone are $50 each out of the catalogs. For the price range of either of the cheap imports you can find a nice starrett, B&S, or mitutoyo.

If you prefer to not use e-bay that's cool too. Best of luck either way!

tdkkart
07-07-2009, 11:42 PM
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=621-8421

This one would be more accurate, and last longer too.


That is assuming you are talking about a user that can read a vernier.
Those people are getting fewer and further between.
I doubt that she can do it now, but I did teach my wife awhile back, she did pretty good once I drew here a picture of 1st number, 2nd number, 3rd number.........

RobbieKnobbie
07-08-2009, 12:03 AM
If you cant read a vernier, then how do you use a mic?

rotate
07-08-2009, 12:23 AM
Vernier scale is old school and it's going the way of slide ruler, unless it's a hobby and time isn't money.

BobWarfield
07-08-2009, 12:56 AM
If you cant read a vernier, then how do you use a mic?

Those come digital too! LOL

I can read a vernier, but I can read digital a lot faster.

I have a cheap height gage like the original poster mentions. It works great. Don't count on better than 0.001" accuracy, but for that, I have had no problems.

Very useful addition to the shop.

Cheers,

BW

lugnut
07-08-2009, 01:02 AM
Just use one of the HF calipers and and make one. Here is a link to how it's done. I made one and it works great.
http://homepage3.nifty.com/amigos/digital_height_gauge/digital_height_gauge-e.htm
Mel:)

oldtiffie
07-08-2009, 02:23 AM
Does anyone have one of these? http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93488

I now have a surface plate and need a height gage to go with it. I've looked at the usual inexpensive suppliers but HF's is the least expensive of all of them. I have 2 of their digital calipers and have no complaints with them. I'm looking for someine that has one before I plunk down the cash.

Before the flaming starts, I've looked around and don't see a nice used Mitutoyo or Starret for an amount that I can afford at the moment. I can dream about a really nice one but need one that I can afford now.

Hi DB.
I reckon I have the brother to that digital height guage and have had no problems with it - at all. I'd be only to happy to recommend it as I'm pretty sure it will do all that you want.

0.001" (a thou) is some where between good enough and pretty accurate - mostly. If you are marking out with the supplied scriber, that's plenty good enough.

If you need to be more accurate or more certain fit a Test Dial Indicator (TDI) to it and use it as a comparator to see how the job under test compares with a known dimension - which can be the job itself, a 1-2-3 block or blocks (most are within 0.0002" or better = "a tenth" or 2 tenths") or similar. If you have a set of "shop grade" slip guages, you are laughing.

The thing I really do like is the very fine adjusting screw mechanism.

"Starrett" and "Mitutoyo" and a few others might be "better" (new or in good condition) but are questionable if bought used.

In my opinion, now-a-days, "Starrett, "Moore & Wright" are a bit over-hyped as those who tell you that they are "US made" may not be right as current standards may not be as good as the "good old" stuff. One the other hand all "Asian" is not crap - some is - same as some USA-made stuff and some - most in my experience - is very good indeed.

The good Asian stuff is hard to beat on a "bang for buck" basis.

Don't let anyone else harangue or bully you into doing as they say or want - at your expense. Just sift any advice and act on your own judgment and in your own best interest.

Just a hint. If your are using your height guage (fitted with a DTI) as a comparator on a surface plate or your mill table - or a sheet of good ground "float glass" - leave the height guage in the same place on the "surface plate" and move the job under the TDI - not the other way round - and you will get optimum results.

I quite often just use an old-fashioned - but still very useful and effective surface guage with a fine-adjusted mast. Before any one "knocks" it, that is the same basic method as used to adjust DTI's for run-out test on lathes and mills as well a "tramming" a mill in many cases.

philbur
07-08-2009, 03:01 AM
For a number of purposes I find a vernier calliper much quicker and more convenient than a digital calliper, especially without auto off.

Phil

PS: Interestingly my version of "Word" doesn't even include vernier in the spell check dictionary.

Circlip
07-08-2009, 03:59 AM
"Vernier scale is old school and it's going the way of slide ruler, unless it's a hobby and time isn't money."

Just think how many thousands of dollars you could be making in the time it takes to use a couple of brain cells. And speaking of Cells, they don't run out of power on a vernier so it MUST be good for the ecology??

Self wipeing toilet paper? THAT could be a great invention.

Regards Ian.

Jim Shaper
07-08-2009, 06:49 AM
In-line vernier scales are far more difficult to read accurately than the rotary style on a micrometer IMO. I have very good vision, but I have trouble consistently getting better than a couple thou on a straight vernier.

Dial calipers are the way to go if you want an analog device.

They even make dial height gages too if you want to go that route.

RTPBurnsville
07-08-2009, 07:33 AM
I have the HF digital and like it for the most part. It's much nicer than a couple of dial style import gauges I also have. Mine cost about $80 with the 20% off coupon. If you are stisfied with the HF calipers you should like the scale as well.

DICKEYBIRD
07-08-2009, 08:03 AM
Thanks everyone for all your input. I haven't given up on finding a good used one but if I don't find one pretty soon, I'm going to give the HF one a try.

I'm hoping it's at least as good as the calipers. They have done fine for my usage in my home shop.

oldtiffie
07-08-2009, 08:22 AM
"Vernier scale is old school and it's going the way of slide ruler, unless it's a hobby and time isn't money."

Just think how many thousands of dollars you could be making in the time it takes to use a couple of brain cells. And speaking of Cells, they don't run out of power on a vernier so it MUST be good for the ecology??

Self wipeing toilet paper? THAT could be a great invention.

Regards Ian.

Use both sides (store until needed if necessary) and you will have a big efficiency gain with no increased technology at all. Better yet - put a 1" hole in the middle so that it can be hung on the nail that has the telephone book hung on it.

And think of the kudos for using recycled paper that was not bleached between uses.

While you are "at it", having a bit of a read and a smoke, drop the smoke butt on the floor and grind it in. Spread it out until its bigger than your "Pit" boots and tread in it and you will not only have your own private carbon foot-print but a very annoyed "better half".
There really is no end to getting on this "green" band-wagon is there?

You can see that we are good students of our "betters" in the antipodean colonies - Port Arthur and Sydney Cove 'n' all.

But lets see who wipes who's what with what in the up-coming "Test" series - tho' the "Poms" are looking pretty good - too bloody good for my liking.

Dawai
07-08-2009, 08:53 AM
Looking at the $15 converted hf caliper to a height guage.. I been drawing up them into everything.. (bore guage, height guage, slide feedback for a roll-bender)

You are aware they have a 232 output on them also?

THE "super hard" stainless would be a excellent application for someone's edm machine.. if anyone wanted to start making them to ebay for us OTHERS..

My edm is still hunting capacitors..


Self wipeing toilet paper? THAT could be a great invention. Ain't that a BEDAY?? spelling?? a toilet where you sit and a gentle stream of water carresses your privates.. then a nice burst of "warm air" dries them to perfection? Yesterday after sweating like a Ho in church I could have used one three or four times with the streams of sweat running down my legs and elsewhere..

steverice
07-08-2009, 11:36 AM
In-line vernier scales are far more difficult to read accurately than the rotary style on a micrometer IMO. I have very good vision, but I have trouble consistently getting better than a couple thou on a straight vernier.

Dial calipers are the way to go if you want an analog device.

They even make dial height gages too if you want to go that route.

In most situations a vernier is a more stable means of measurement, as is a regular micrometer (w/o digits). If you find a dial is more accurate than a vernier, there maybe a problem with the methodology being employed during the tool usage period.

Circlip
07-08-2009, 12:02 PM
Spullin is Bidet David, it's French (An invention like that would have to be wouldn't it??)

Eat yer Heart out Tiffe, Rickkys a long way from home. :D

tdkkart
07-08-2009, 02:09 PM
If you cant read a vernier, then how do you use a mic?


Well, how many people that you know can use a vernier scale mic??

Actually, I was teaching my wife because she was looking at taking a test for work that involved measuring, possibly with mics, dial calipers, verniers etc depending on which verison of the test she got.

mochinist
07-08-2009, 02:39 PM
Dial calipers are the way to go if you want an analog device.What I want is some digital dial calipers, I like seeing the dial spin around, and can make some quick calculations with them without really having to do any math. What I dont like is the chips getting stuck in the racks of the dial calipers and making them jump. Same thing for lathe DRO's, I would love to see one with a accurate digital dial, maybe its because I'm used to trav a dials, but I have a a lot harder time stopping at a digitally displayed number than I do watching a dial spin around.

meh proably a silly idea:p

Jim Shaper
07-08-2009, 05:06 PM
In most situations a vernier is a more stable means of measurement, as is a regular micrometer (w/o digits). If you find a dial is more accurate than a vernier, there maybe a problem with the methodology being employed during the tool usage period.

I don't wear a loup in the shop. That's the only thing needed to make it more accurate - as I've already stated MY issue is being able to accurately see the lines for the fine scale. I typically don't get the line "most aligned" correct and end up within one or 2 in either direction. So even the worst dial indicator would be AS accurate for me. User error.

With a mic barrel, there's no mistaking which graduation is aligned as there's far more distance between them.

DICKEYBIRD
08-01-2009, 09:07 AM
I drug up this thread to report that I never found a "real" surface gage so I ordered the HF one. It arrived in good shape (fitted styrofoam package) and so far seems to be an excellent value for $69.99. It works smoothly and came with an adapter for a dial gauge I didn't know about. The fine adjust system works better than I expected.

As I was trying it out, it occurred to me that its 12" travel matches the X travel on my X-3 mill. Hmmm, 2 allen screws removed and the scale could be used as an easy-peasy 12" DRO between occasions when it's used as it was intended.:)

J Tiers
08-01-2009, 09:26 AM
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=621-8421

This one would be more accurate, and last longer too.

I bought one of those...... and sent it back.

It was so poorly made that the Harbor Freight one would very possibly be far better, and as you may know, I don't say that lightly.

The parts almost fit, file marks were all over it, everything seemed to be at an odd angle to everything else, even the magnifier looked like that green mexican soft glass with the bubbles in it. The best thing about it was the box, which was a very well-made wood box.

The schlemeihls made me pay the shipping both ways to find out it was crap, too.

steverice
08-01-2009, 01:42 PM
I bought one of those...... and sent it back.

It was so poorly made that the Harbor Freight one would very possibly be far better, and as you may know, I don't say that lightly.

The parts almost fit, file marks were all over it, everything seemed to be at an odd angle to everything else, even the magnifier looked like that green mexican soft glass with the bubbles in it. The best thing about it was the box, which was a very well-made wood box.

The schlemeihls made me pay the shipping both ways to find out it was crap, too.

Well, spend cheap, get cheap.

J Tiers
08-01-2009, 07:21 PM
Well, spend cheap, get cheap.

And very helpful THAT is..............

The THREAD is about 'cheap" so why wait to complain until now?

I got a very similar one from Grizzly, of all places, which is well finished, reads accurately according to gage blocks, and has just as nice a box ;)

BTW, it was slightly cheaper than the Enco one.

Who ever said that "cheap" had to mean that you get NOTHING for your money?

"Cheap" may mean that the accuracy isn't as good, that the exact perpendiculars are not as accurately perpendicular, and all sorts of things like that. Finish may not be up to the standard of the best on non-functional surfaces. That is well known and understood, except by complete morons.

However, who ever said that cheap should mean "counterfeit"? Meaning a tool that looks superficially like the real tool, but actually has so many defects and deficiencies that it cannot function in any meaningful way, let alone to even a reduced accuracy.

If you buy a Snap-on or a Harbor Freight wrench, both fit the nut, and both will turn it and even tighten it.

The HF wrench may be not as good in your hand, it may have cruder openings that may not fit the nut as precisely, and finish may not be very good. It may even not be made of as good a grade of steel, may not take teh abuse that the snap-on will..

But it WILL function to turn , tighten, and remove nuts/bolts/etc in any standard situation, without doing damage to itself , you, or the nut..

The Enco height gage was like a wrench that didn't fit the nut, had sharp edges all over it, and bent in your hand......

Care to explain again what "cheap" is like?:rolleyes:

oldtiffie
08-01-2009, 08:25 PM
For the OP:

check this link as well as the several posts before and after it as it seems to address many of your concerns:
http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showpost.php?p=455765&postcount=12

chrsbrbnk
08-02-2009, 12:21 AM
Works great for the price maybe even better than the price. A buddy at work also has one in his home shop and also like his. I checked mine with gage blocks good to .001 whole scale and good to .0005 with in 3 - 4 inch span in speed and reduction in read errors on my part pretty happy with it Keep in mind this is HOME shop machinist and as red green says unless your made of money its pretty hard to rationalize say a new $ 2000 Mit.

DaHui
08-02-2009, 03:08 AM
I realize you already bought a height gage but in case anyone else reading this is thinking about a height gage I'd recommend this one.

http://www.shars.com/products/view/2106/12quot_Double_Beam_Dial_Height_Gage

It doesn't quite feel like a Mitutoyo but surprisingly close for the price. So far I've found it 100% acceptable. For comparison most of my measuring equipment is Mitutoyo except for my height gage. There are some great deals on ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/MITUTOYO-HEIGHT-GAGE-12_W0QQitemZ360175348295QQcmdZViewItemQQptZBI_Tool _Work_Holding?hash=item53dc1faa47&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

QSIMDO
08-02-2009, 09:57 AM
Just an observation here, not preaching.

My father was a T&D maker and I was with him one day when he was buying a new mic. He would only consider the absolute best even though the tool store owner wanted to show him cheaper.
His reasoning was that his work depended on accuracy.
If the accuracy started out compromised then it'd compound itself as he went along.
Now this was an extremely talented man with a wife and two kids and pride in his work and an employer who couldn't settle for second best, so it's understandable.
Myself....not so talented with bum eyes and hands BUT...if I at least use the most accurate and reliable measuring devices I can find even if they're a bit more expensive, then it's down to me.
I have to assume the manufacturer of a better device has tried their best to give me a fighting chance in my amateur efforts.
Worth it I reckon.

J Tiers
08-02-2009, 10:37 AM
My father was a T&D maker and I was with him one day when he was buying a new mic. He would only consider the absolute best even though the tool store owner wanted to show him cheaper.
His reasoning was that his work depended on accuracy.
If the accuracy started out compromised then it'd compound itself as he went along.

That's excellent advice. And virtually nobody will follow it. Generally they cannot.

Why? Because if you buy the best or do without, you will never DO anything. You will always be in the state of "doing without", while you save up for the "best".

You need to make a clear assessment of your needs, and the benefits of the "best" vs what you can afford now. It would not be impossible by any means, for the basic measuring equipment for a shop to cost more than the money many of us have invested in our entire shops. It is probably better to suggest buying at least one grade better than you started out to, where possible.

In tooling there is the very cheapest, which you have to know will be compromised. And as many have found out, it may even be "counterfeit", an "imitation" tool, incapable of really functioning.

Then there is the good quality stuff. You can buy and use it without trouble. if bought used, it will still usually be good.

Above that is the very good, "best" quality. Expensive out of proportion to the benefits for many people.

There is another level which can be mentioned, in which are the makers of the absolute best quality , like the various Swiss machine makers, etc. You won't need to consider them....

The "good" quality is the optimal place to buy, although for some purposes, the cheapest, so long a it is not "counterfeit" is perfectly adequate.

DICKEYBIRD
08-02-2009, 10:55 AM
Because if you buy the best or do without, you will never DO anything. You will always be in the state of "doing without", while you save up for the "best".
Bingo...ye spake the truth brother!

Unfortunately for me, you put my entire tool purchasing program into a few words. I keep looking for the good stuff (used of course) and I have found some "best" tooling at a price I could afford. I treasure those items and the feeling I get when I use them is incomparable. HOWEVER, there are things I want/need in my shop that I want/need now. There just ain't that many years left for me to find affordable "best" tools.:(

That HF gage doesn't give me that rosy glow like a Starrett would but it's a helluva lot better than the empty spot next to my surface plate that was there before!

Besides, Murphy's 3rd corollary will drop a like new Starrett for $50.00 into my life any minute now.;)

steverice
08-02-2009, 03:13 PM
When you have more expensive higher quality tools, that raises the standards. In the end the result is your standards will be raised also.

Snap-on Vs. H.F. wrench; Snap on will work every time with predictable results, the H.F. will work one or two times after that its a crap shoot, rounded off heads, broken handles, poorly machined and fitting parts. Who suffers? the product, the user and on down the line.

My reasoning for suggesting the vernier hight gage over the cheaper digital is the scale is permanent, it isn't hurt from dead batteries, wrong batteries, dead read-outs, and other problems that I have seen from the cheaper (read built with in a small budget). As the long run runs out you will find the vernier will be operational and consistent and better is cheaper.

s.r.

Tin Falcon
08-02-2009, 03:48 PM
Dickeybird you pay your money and take your chances . I have not uses that particular tool I can say i have two or three HF digi calipers acouple of HF digi indicators and a HF digi mic. I can say they all have worked for me and have not had any fail as of this date. I use a grizzly dial height gage and have a mitutoyoy electronic that is worn out recue waiting patiently for a rebuild.
Your dime lots of advice to sort out all right in the eyes of the poster you need to decide what is best for your shop.
Tin

Highpower
08-08-2009, 01:46 PM
Does anyone have one of these? http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93488
Just a FYI.... After reading this thread I went to the local HF to have a look at one of these this gauges. (With 20% off coupon in hand.) :rolleyes:

"Nope, sorry -- don't have any. That one is showing as discontinued." :mad:

Called the only other HF in town and asked if they had any. Again, "No". Soooo.... took a chance and ordered one on-line. (20% coupon is only good in the retail stores of course.) :mad:
We'll see what happens.

DICKEYBIRD
08-08-2009, 02:06 PM
Yup, my local HF store had never even stocked one so I ordered mine online. Shipping was reasonable (not free like Enco though) and it arrived in perfect condition.

I'm still waiting for the bad news...to me it's an incredible bargain. A cheap 12" vertical DRO which looks exactly like the scale portion of the height gage is about $60.00. You get quite a bit of stuff for the extra $9.99! I'm very happy with mine.

You did good ordering one cuz' I suspect the traffic on that item may have picked up a bit recently.;)

Highpower
08-08-2009, 11:52 PM
Yup, my local HF store had never even stocked one so I ordered mine online. Shipping was reasonable (not free like Enco though) and it arrived in perfect condition. Yes, I was somewhat surprised at the shipping cost too. Not bad at all considering how it seems everyone else is out to rob you blind on S&H these days.

A cheap 12" vertical DRO which looks exactly like the scale portion of the height gage is about $60.00.Funny - this gage looks exactly like the SPI gage that Enco has too.

You did good ordering one cuz' I suspect the traffic on that item may have picked up a bit recently.;) And who's fault would that be I wonder? :D

J Tiers
08-09-2009, 10:46 AM
Shipping was reasonable (not free like Enco though)

Free shipping from Enco?

It cost me almost $20 to ship an Enco height gage from them to me (just for me to see that it was junk), and ship it back from me to them.

That's the farthest thing from "free'........ I keep seeing the free shipping code posts, but I am not foolish enough to order anything from Enco ever again.

DICKEYBIRD
08-09-2009, 11:03 AM
I usually only order stuff from Enco when it's the same price (or cheaper) as other sources and use the free shipping code that's pretty well automatic these days. No free shipping is a deal-breaker unless they have something REALLY low priced. I have to say also that their shipping is VERY fast and the UPS tracking link works perfectly. I love that feeling of excitement on the scheduled day of arrival when the big brown truck pulls up!

Out of all the stuff I've bought from them, there have only been a couple things that were pure junk and they were small items that I didn't even bother sending back. I guess I've just been pretty lucky.

QSIMDO
08-09-2009, 11:16 AM
That's excellent advice. And virtually nobody will follow it. Generally they cannot.

Why? Because if you buy the best or do without, you will never DO anything. You will always be in the state of "doing without", while you save up for the "best".


I'm sure readers will understand the difference between a professional T&D maker and the HSM.
Unfortunately for me I wasn't there to inherit his tools when he died and, with only the tiniest fraction of his skills, I too purchase what is affordable and makes sense in my shop.
Most times a wooden yard stick does the job. ;)