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Buying Recommendations for a Centering Scope

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  • Buying Recommendations for a Centering Scope

    Looking at Enco's centering scope, which is made in USA, it looks like a good solution for precision location of work to the center line of the tool. I need to align the tool to some very small parts I am making.

    However, Enco is the only place I have seen them. Are there any other suppliers I should consider and who? What make? I am not rich, so I can't spend big bucks on this.



  • #2

    I've often said that a centering 'scope is the best damn tool money can buy. The number of times, and uses which you can put the 'scope to is only limited by your imagination.

    I have an Isoma 'scope for my Aciera mill, and a Carl Zeiss 'spare' which I use in the lathe for tailstock adjustment. The differences between the two are that the Isoma is a manufacturers accessory for the Aciera. The shank is the same W20 form as the mill. The Zeiss is a straight shank item (0.5" dia.) which I found to be a teeny bit 'out' when used in the mill - but that was before I started using the ER series collets in the mill. The truth was that my W20 collets at the time were a little the worse for wear (thankfully I managed to pick up a full set of nearly new Imperial and metric W20 collets at auction a while back)

    If you get a 'scope - your next buy will be an optical centering punch, or a decent height gauge, or both!

    To answer your question, the best 'scopes to look for are either:-

    Isoma (Swiss made)
    OMT (Optical Measuring Tools, UK)
    Carl Zeiss (E. Germany) or Zeiss Optical (W.Germany)
    Higer & Watts

    Check out this site for a photo of an Isoma (bigger than mine and the illuminated version).

    If possible can you check the Enco 'scope out before you buy? To do this you need to get a scrap piece of suitable metal positioned under the mill head and with a good centre drill 'dink' the surface of the metal (it helps to spread some prussian blue on the surface first!). Fit the 'scope and check how it lines up the x hairs with the centred metal. If possible I would like to use the least changes of tooling - so if the 'scope has a 0.5" shank use a similar centre drill so that you are checking the 'scope and not the collets!



    • #3
      You are so spoiled. Maybe not as much as Alistair...


      • #4
        Titan Tool makes good optical equipment such as centering scopes and other good stuff such as a long working distance microscope with zoom. Very good thing to have for precise tool setting. Get the fiber optic ring light to go with it. Look them up on Google.


        • #5

          Alistair must have been a very nice dog in his previous life!

          Me, I was probably an average rat.



          • #6
            I have the Enco centering scope #631-5250. Looks just like the one in their current catalog. Mine was made in some oriental country judging by the pidgin english in the instruction sheet.

            Bought it about 15- 20 years ago. I guess I've used it 4 or 5 times in that span of time. I found it to be just a bit awkward to setup. Aligning it to your scribed lines require that you swing it in an arc to two positions 180* apart. Then a knurled sleeve must be adjusted and then a table adjustment is needed. My head (which is of normal size) kept banging into the quill/spindle structures of the Bridgeport, nuisance.

            It will show with dismaying clarity just how accurately or inaccurately your machine retains its settings when you tighten down the x-y table clamps.

            It amuses me to remember that we had one in our T&D tool locker. No one could use it for without the instruction sheet no one could figure out how to align it, it does involve several steps. The dept. finally decided it was broken and I suppose it vanished into the great repository of surplus gov't tools.

            It's a good tool but heck, a good height gage to scribe lines, an edge finder, a wiggler and an Optivsor magnifier or its Enco copy will get you close enough. Unless you own a Moore Jig Borer or a SIP.




            • #7
              Ragarsed Raglan:
              I must have been Genghis Kahn or some other sh*t disturber - karmic payback is a bitch!