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Garage sale find question.

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  • Garage sale find question.

    Hi Group,

    I got this Mitutoyo dial indicator at a garage sale yesterday and it does not have a dial face lense, it looks like the original is in the case but got hot or maybe chemical made it warp and it does not fit the indicator any more.
    the plunger was stuck so I put a drop of sewing machine oil from the outside and it freed up. It has been in a unheated garage from what I can tell and it did have corrosion on the aluminum body that I had to clean off and a drop of oil to get the face dial to rotate. Hopefully I have not ruined the tool with the oil.

    So the questions are, where do I get a replacement face lense and is it correct to have the hands off of "0" in the relaxed position. I have not owned this type of indicator before. I only have a Starrett 196 kit that I use for my work at this time. Just HSM work so if it's usable it will probably work for the kind of work that I do.

    Oh and by the way I got it for $3.00 is that a good price?
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    Mr fixit for the family
    Last edited by Mr Fixit; 10-18-2020, 04:36 PM. Reason: spelling

  • #2
    3 bucks and it works? Good score. Yes, it is normal for the dial to rest below zero in the relaxed position. This lets you be sure the indicator is in positive contact when zeroing out to begin a measurement. As you press the plunger the large dial should come up to zero, in line with the plunger, as the .100 dial hits its zero. If you're using it in a controlled environment, where there won't be debris hitting the dial face, you can use the indicator without the lens. Just be careful not to bend the clock hands. Mitutoyo might sell replacement lenses. Sewing machine oil is a good choice to lube the movements. A little goes a long way. Did the indicator come with a back plate? If not, that could be a fun little project to build.
    Last edited by tom_d; 10-18-2020, 05:07 PM.


    • #3
      I would call Mitutoyo and see about sending it back to them for repair. It might not cost much to get it back like new.
      Kansas City area


      • #4
        Originally posted by Toolguy View Post
        I would call Mitutoyo and see about sending it back to them for repair. It might not cost much to get it back like new.
        I have a couple of Mitutoyo digital calipers that don't work and called them to see about getting them repaired and was told that they will fix them for half of new price.





        • #5
          Originally posted by Mr Fixit View Post
          Oh and by the way I got it for $3.00 is that a good price?...
          Are you taunting us?

          "Indicator Crystal Replacement":


          • #6
            It is a simple drop indicator, a 1" travel .001" reading Mitutoyo costs less then $100.00 new, in the unlikely event that you find someone to repair it this will far exceed it's value.
            I have a dozen indicators of various types, their use is dependent on the work at hand.
            A majority of the work is simply comparative rather then direct measurement so cheap import drop indicators work just fine, I buy 2-4 cheap $20.00 indicators at a time, smash them, drown them in coolant, drop them in the chips or drop them on the floor and little is lost, simply use another one.

            Have several of these sub twenty five dollar tools branded Turlen, they work well and are reasonably well made and some have lasted an entire year in a working machine shop.

            If I need to actually measure a part I will use a higher end tool.


            • #7
              good score! I've always read to use as little and as thin an oil as possible, these things are pretty sensitive to friction and the like. I've had a 0.001 DTI without a crystal that a friend gave me many years ago and it's been fine. I use it on an indicol for indicating stuff on the mill. As long as you're sensible I wouldn't worry about the missing crystal.


              • #8
                Look at the face, it's actually a 2904, about $90 new on Fleabay with shipping, $110 new from a reputable supplier
                New bezel and crystal, may fit:


                • #9
                  At least some indicators tell you to never use ANY oil on the plunger. Presumably they do not want anything that will stick gunk to it, or potentially gum up.

                  When it is stuck, though, you have to free it in order to have any use of the thing, so I have been known to oil them with thin oil, usually the starrett "instrument oil". Just not much. It's possible that a good solvent would work as well, starting it from inside and letting it drain through the guide tube and wash out the gum. The oil has never hurt anything as far as I can see, though.
                  1601 2137 5683 1002 1437

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  If you look closely at a digital signal, you find out it is really analog......


                  • #10
                    Hi Guys,

                    Yes it really was $3.00, kind of a you suck There is a back to it and I just removed it to check the inside because of the corrosion on the outside. Thanks for the detailed information on the use of the indicator. I did push the plunger for a test, when the large dial is at "0" the small dial is off, so when I try to get the small dial to zero the large dial is .004+ off, so the question is how is the small dial in relationship to the large dial supposed to read? I would assume they both should zero at the same point when the plunger is pushed, does this mean the indictor is junk?

                    Mr fixit for the family


                    • #11
                      The small dial counts revolutions, it is crude.
                      If in typical hobbyist fashion one is unnerved by the fact the the dial and the counter do not zero exactly simply pry the counter arm off and throw it away, angst resolved.


                      • #12
                        Long time ago, I came across the articles on Eds Red bore cleaner on the LASC website. In the article, he mentioned that sperm oil was the preferred lubricant for precision instruments, and was used in automatic transmissions in cars up until the early '50's. Then the demand outgrew the supply, and they had to develop a replacement for it. I've used ATF for all my precision needs, using a two ounce bottle with a rubber stopper with a 30 gage wire stuck in it for a micro applicator. My wife's Bernina sewing machine uses a lot of steel on steel rotating and sliding parts, is over 40 years old, has been heavily used, but shows no wear at all! I've never had any signs of gum forming, us it in my guns, including my match weapons. The main thing is use a tiny amount.


                        • #13
                          The fact that the counter does not go to zero, plus the fact that you paid 3.00 means you should stop worrying about it....
                          maybe try to get a crystal or not..... not like you are out anything if it grenades after six months use..

                          IT does however remind me though of a Mitu DTI story I have....


                          • #14
                            Is $3 a good price. If it works, you bet it is.

                            Replace the window? I would. Any instrument shop can do that for a reasonable fee. Ask for the price for just that before you take it in or send it. Most big cities will have such a shop. Some have more than one. Yellow pages!

                            Cleaning it? Oiling it? Go easy here. I would do the minimum that allows it to be used. If it is working, do nothing. Whole drops of oil, even a thin one as suggested above, can be gross over-kill. A small wire or tooth pick dipped in a drop of oil will pick up about the right amount for any friction point inside a DI.

                            I made a mistake trying to clean the scale on another, name brand, high quality DI. I found that the printed scale would easily rub off with a mild solvent like alcohol. Surprising, but true.
                            Paul A.
                            SE Texas

                            Make it fit.
                            You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!


                            • #15
                              You should be able to find a watch crystal that will work. They seem to be about $5-$10 or so:


                              Or even as little as $1.25:


                              Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                              USA Maryland 21030