View Full Version : Trav-A-Dial

02-24-2004, 11:14 PM
I just received a Trav-A-Dial in the mail. I am very impressed with the unit. It came complete with one mounting bracket. Now my question to all you old timers out there is, does anyone have extra mounting brackets fore sale? I want to be able to move the one dial from my lathe to the mill. I will still have to fabricate adaptor brackets for each application. It seems to me that the mechanical Trav-A-Dial can fill most of the functions of a DRO at conciderably less cost.

02-25-2004, 02:02 AM
The calibration procedure for TADs is fairly tedius and, in my case at least, pretty time consuming. I wonder if the calibration would have to be re-done completely, just verified, or can safely be ignored every time you swap it from one machine to another?


02-25-2004, 09:40 AM
You should be able to move your Travadial from one machine to the next...You just need a semi rough surface to achieve the necessary friction to rotate the "wheel"..

Doug:..you lucky dog..How much did you pay for your Trav-a-dial?? I tried to bid on ebay on 3 of them, but I lost...I had to fix the one that I currently have..Works great now...

I have a broken one as well, with some brackets that bolt on to my lathe...I don't know if it would be what you are after or not...I'll have to look at what I got..


Paul Alciatore
02-25-2004, 12:47 PM
I'm not familiar with the Trav-A-Dial. Exactly what is it? How does it work? I would love to find a less expensive way to do the function of a DRO. The main problem seems to be the "scales" or method of detecting the distances moved. So how do they do it?

And if it is so great, why is it no longer available new?

Paul A.

02-25-2004, 01:14 PM
Paul, try this site. http://www.southwesternindustries.com/swi/
They are still around. Also look at the Trak DRO they offer.

02-25-2004, 03:14 PM
Bspoch, O!,I paid dearly for it. $322.00us. But it is in good condition and came complete with the mounting/ tensioner bracket. Its that bracket, the one with the knob,that you adjust for good running contact or release to adjust the meter to zero, that I need extras of. If you have one I would appreciate your help. I had a good look at my new mill yesterday and conclude it would be easy to mount on the x-axis, and a little more difficult to mount on the Y-axis. Which would probably be the most usefull application. thanks, Doug

02-25-2004, 05:05 PM
Sorry Doug, I do not have what you are in need of...One of the broken trav-a-dials that I have, has been sitting in a drawer for 10-15 years...A lot of stuff is missing...I sure wish I could help you out further, but don't hesitate to ask me for anything else..happy to try to help


02-25-2004, 09:22 PM
Does Southwest ind. work on TravADials? I have a chip caught in something.It quit working today and the place in Texas I use to send them is no longer. Really hard to thread to a shoulder without it. Thanks

02-25-2004, 09:51 PM
Southwestern industries do NOT do any repairs no more...they only sell new stuff...I allready tried about a month ago..


02-26-2004, 12:20 AM
So who works on these? Anyone know of a good place to send a broke TravADial?

J Thornton
02-26-2004, 06:11 AM
I did a google search for Trav-A-Dial. Neat little device. Sort of looks like the dial part of a dial caliper. Seems to sell for $575 to $700 or so new depending on the model. I don't know if this includes the bracket. DeAngelo Machinery did have this on their web site: "New Trav-A-Dial Sales & Rebuilding Service
Get a new Trav-A-Dial
Have your Old One (7A's & 6A's Only) Rebuilt
1-856-273-8383 " I would think that if you have someone locally who repairs dial indicators you might call them and see what they can do for you.


02-26-2004, 09:31 AM
Thank you for the phone number. We use to have a guage lab here I will check and see if they are still around. Thanks again

02-26-2004, 01:26 PM
DeAngelo Mach. phone number has been disconnected at least that was the message I got. I did find MTS Tool Repair Wichita Ks. 316-265-2970 that does repair Trav-A-Dial. HOPE THIS HELPS Thanks

Paul Alciatore
02-26-2004, 01:29 PM
A most interesting device. Thanks for the link. So it makes it's own rack on a machined surface it's rolling on. I would wonder about problems with chips getting in the way. It also sounds like it's not a good idea to be continously moving it from one machine to another as it would have to recreate that rack each time it's installed on a different machine.

Have any of you actually used these things? How well do they work? What problems did you encounter?

Paul A.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tomzhere:
Paul, try this site. http://www.southwesternindustries.com/swi/
They are still around. Also look at the Trak DRO they offer.</font>

02-26-2004, 02:14 PM
Every lathe I have ever run until the current job I have used one, they are in many ways far supperior to readouts because they are analog instead of digital so they are easier to anticipate because your eye is following the sweep of a needle instead of countimg numbers as you do on a readout, that is one reason why no racecar ever has readouts for a tach or speedometer. These are very good instruments and flawless if used properly and taken care of, chips don't really bother them if the wiper is kept in good shape.
I really don't recommend swapping them from machine to machine on a regular basis as it would be hard on the roller wheel in the long run trying to re-pickup the original micro grooves or recutting new ones all the time.

[This message has been edited by Mcruff (edited 02-26-2004).]

02-26-2004, 02:22 PM
Mcruff hit the nail on the head...

I looked closely on mine, and I can't seem to find any little tracking grooves on the rotating wheel...On my lathe, it has worn the machine marks on the side of the ways totally smooth..So I think my wheel is rotating from friction alone, and not by tracking grooves..

Who knows, but I do know that it is very accurate...


02-26-2004, 02:58 PM

Can't say it any better than Mcruff did. Chips are no problem.

One thing though, I never really noticed any rack being inscribed on my lathe. I always thought it was just the pressure of the holder keeping the wheel in contact like a tire on the road.