View Full Version : Federal 0.0001 Indicator

12-22-2009, 02:18 AM
Hey guys

I stumbled upon a treasure trove of goodies for sale near Chicago. I paid $180 for about 600 lbs of scrap iron, drill bits (some brand new), endmills (some also brand new), reamers, an arbor press, a really old Anderson scraper, misc parts, a chunk of cast iron perfect for making a dovetail master (;)) and lots of scrap iron (some of it is labelled O1 and W1 tool steel).

In the stash was an old 1-2" B&S mic and a Federal 0.0001 indicator. It's all gummy so I'm planning on taking it apart and cleaning it up (won't be the first DI I've been inside) but the crystal is so yellowed I can barely see anything.

Is it worth sending to Long Island Indicator for a new crystal? I think they want $22 to replace the crystal, which seemed pretty reasonably ... ?

I know the new Federal DIs are not very good. In fact, Long Island Indicator Service says they've yet to see a Federal DI that they like, but how about these old ones? Worth repairing or should it go in the junk bin?

12-22-2009, 02:25 AM
Gloat pics, we need gloat pics!

12-22-2009, 03:03 AM
lol - I'll try to get some pics posted later. It's not too much of a gloat. Most of what I bought was junk - but not the throw away kind of junk - the kind of junk you might find at a scrap yard. I paid a lot less than I would have if I bought it from the scrap yard but the seller got more than he would have if he sold it to the scrap yard so I think it worked out well for both of us.

He was a heck of a nice guy, though. Several times I told him what I thought something was worth and he refused the price and let it go for something less! :eek: That doesn't happen with most people - if you offer them 20 bucks for something, even if they think it's only worth 10, they'll keep their mouths closed and take the 20 ;)

He's selling an old flat-belt 16" Hendey lathe, too. He had to disassemble it to get it out of the basement, but all the pieces were there. If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll pass on his contact info. It looked like a real nice lathe - it's a good thing I didn't have a trailer with me or I might have had ANOTHER machine to add to my collection! :D

12-22-2009, 05:22 AM
I have a Federal indicator with the Heald Machine label on it. It is probably at least 20 years old. If it was good enough for Heald, it sure is good enough for me.

12-22-2009, 05:35 AM
My dad gave me one of these back in the late 70's it's going strong. He said he got it in a pawn shop when I was a small kid. I am now 52 so I am guessing it's around 40 years old but it being a .0001 I don't use it like I do my .001 Starrett
I would go for the rebuild if I were you.

12-22-2009, 09:22 AM
There is nothing wrong with Federal products, whether dial indicators or DTI's they are high quality instruments. Federal is not familiar to many HSM's as they primarily were used in industrial applications.

12-22-2009, 09:25 AM
Tom, are you talking about one of these (Mahr-Federal)? Left one is graduated in microns, right in 50 microinches: I use them on my plywood workbench. My concrete is really hard :D


12-22-2009, 09:29 AM
Federal DI's are good, have the lens replaced. You may or may not ever use it but it's there when you need it. I have a Federal .0001" indicator and have only used it a few times but I have it when I need it.

Congratulations on the stuff, have fun sorting and using it.

12-22-2009, 12:24 PM
I have a Federal 3" .0001 indicator. Very hard to use. It is heavy and it is difficult to get a support to hold it in an unmoveable position. If anyone has any ideas on how to better hold this indicator, I'm all ears.

12-22-2009, 12:41 PM
That is precisely the reason I seldom use mine. It is so sensitive that it has to be mounted very solidly and that is not always possible.

12-22-2009, 12:50 PM
Sounds like it will be "rebuilt" then. The Long Island people really didn't have anything too good to say about Federal, but they seem to be much more demanding in terms of quality and accuracy than I probably would be.

Robert - It looks like an "ordinary" DI, not one of those fancy do-dads you've got there. :D

Carld - Yep! To me, sorting through all the goodies is almost as fun as using them.

12-22-2009, 03:49 PM
A few years ago I bought two large boxes of assorted drills, reamer, mandrels, endmills, slitting saws and lots of other stuff I can't remember for $50. Man, was that a gold mine, I had more fun going through that stuff than I have had using it and I never have used all of it yet. He keeps telling me I got the best deal of my life and he's right. If I had bought it all new it would have been at least $500 to $1000.

12-22-2009, 04:06 PM
I've got a couple of federal DIs in dedicated mounts, and one standard DTI. Nothing wrong with them, they are fine indicators. But to me, I would only want one if it was in good working order and inexpensive. You can often get an equivalent B&S BestTest (in 0.0001, 0.005, o 0.001) for $20 or less with a little shopping. I got one that looked brand new for $5 (very unusual). Anyway, I like the B&S style MUCH better, so I wouldn't put $20 + shipping into a Federal, particularly if you don't really expect to want/need that resolution...

Edit: Oh, never mind, for some reason I was thinking DTI. I like the Federal DIs just fine, that might be worth the $20. What is the travel and dial size on that one? I've got a 3" travel 3" face Federal 0.001 DI that is really nice mounted on the long travel of a lathe without DRO.

12-22-2009, 10:04 PM
Your local jeweler should be able to mount a new crystal for you. About the size of a pocket watch. Federal DTI one of the finest. Peter