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Precision machinist levels with adjustments

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  • Precision machinist levels with adjustments

    Was reading an old turret lathe book by Warner and Swasey the other evening and a chapter on machine setup had one gadget and technique which caught my eye.

    How many times have I gone back and forth from headstock to tailstock end of the ways with a precision level to level the machine and more importantly, "flatten" the thing out.

    The W&S book showed a precision level which was adjustable. You place it near the headstock end of the ways and adjust IT for a zero reading. You DO NOT touch the headstock end levelers. Moving to the tailstock end, you adjust the levelers to zero the level again.

    This seems fast and almost fun to do So why don't we see any/many adjustable precision levels anymore?


  • #2
    Sounds interesting. Can you post a photo of it?
    To invent, you need a good imagination - and a pile of junk. Thomas A. Edison


    • #3
      Looks almost like a Starrett 98 with an added thumbscrew and hinge but the book does mention 0.0006" per foot sensitivity.

      [This message has been edited by nheng (edited 02-28-2005).]


      • #4
        I guess this compares to a "standard level" in the same way a DTI compares to a DI

        A DI measures
        A DTI compares

        A precision level measures the slope
        This compares the slope


        • #5
          Okay then machinist,why not make yourself a hinged skid to fit a Starrett 98?

          Some O-1 and a good tight rule joint,then maybe a niffy brass(or if nothing better to do a gun blued steel one)rope knurled of course.So,get cracking
          I just need one more tool,just one!


          • #6
            I was a W/S Service Enginer. We were all issued two of these levels and they were used in the plant. W/S had these made by Starret and they had a W/S part no. M-???? which I don't remember. These were available for sale. I bought one in 1984 after leaving W/S for about $300. They are probably still available if you can afford one.
            W/S didn't care if a lathe bed was earth level but wanted all of the bed in the same plane. It was used as someone previously described by zeroing on one end of the bed and adjusting the other end. Weight shift doesn't much affect the level of a long low machine like a lathe bed so it doesn't necessarily need to be earth level. A machine with a head moving up and down a column needs to be earth level to keep the column from leaning more with the head at the top than it does with the head at the bottom.



            • #7
              You would want a very fine adjustment for the
              screw. A great place for a "differential"


              • #8
                Mike, This is really wierd ... I discovered that the PM forum has a "W&S Alumni" specific forum that began yesterday !

                I guess the proprietary nature of the level explains why they are not more common.



                • #9
                  I am John Michael on that forum. Someone e-mailed me to tell me about it but when I went there I found it was just getting started and I was the first W/S alumnus there. Bill Gent the moderator has been printing a W/S newsletter for a long time.



                  • #10
                    I know very little about W/S except in passing. I inherited a 1940 hardcover W/S book on turret lathes and pawed through it the other night. Good stuff, well illustrated.


                    • #11
                      Nheng: Great reading this thread for me! I own one of those levels and thought it was just about useless untill........

                      Brunneng: Great info there. I never thought of using it as a comparator. I'm just thinking someone knocked it out of alignment.

                      I don't think mine has the proper screw in it. What's this "differential screw" that Lew mentioned?

                      I've been trying to find a good machinist level to "earth level" my setup and now it looks like the answer was in my chest all the time! It was a yardsale special as I remember. Anything with Starrett makes the ride home with me!

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                      • #12
                        Try Wyler site for lots of adjustable spirit levels--


                        • #13



                          • #14
                            Dog- that one would be nice to have as it could do both. Earth level and compare. Just flip the level end for end until it reads zero both ways (leveling the surface under it, of course) now it's earth set.