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  • Dial indicator recommendation sought

    I'm a clock repair hobbyist, and a newbie to machining. I'm in need of a dial indicator to use with my Rivett watchmaker's lathe for the purpose of evaluating TIR of my collet assortment. After cobbling together a workable arrangement with a magnetic base on the lathe bed, I'm realizing that the most efficient use of my available tools would be to mount a dial indicator in the quill of my compound sliderest, since it's moveable along the X, Y and Z axis (the Z axis, "up & down", is moveable due to the brilliant design of the off-center hole in the quill which is rotated within the quill barrel).

    I'm having a hard time finding a suitable dial indicator that incorporates all the features I need, and I'd like to ask you guys for a recommendation or two. The dial indicator I'm seeking MUST have all of the following specs:

    1. High quality - no cheapie crap.
    2. Back plunger style with small contact ball.
    3. Half-thousandths resolution (0.0005"). All I can find on the internet seems to be 0.001" for the finest resolution on the dials.
    4. 0 - whatever - 0 for the dial layout (I don't know the correct terminology, sorry). I want a zero point in the middle, with "whatever" maximum on the left and right.
    5. Mounting post either 1/4" or 3/16" diameter. I'd rather have 3/16" because that's the measurement of my quill's bore, but I also have an alternate quill with 1/4" bore.

    Can anyone point me to an indicator with the above specs? Thanks in advance.......
    -----------------------------------------
    Doug Haeussler
    NAWCC #0167553
    My clock & watch collection website:
    http://dougsclocks.hpage.com/
    -----------------------------------------

  • #2
    Try Mitutoyo they will fit the bill,there are plenty used in good condition on ebay.or new at high costAlistair
    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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    • #3
      Suggest you look at the Mutitoyo 2961F back-plunger .0005 dti, there's one on ebay and a number of links on Google....the one on ebay claims to be new in box....
      Last edited by Video Man; 07-26-2012, 05:46 PM. Reason: addendum

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      • #4
        Although they are not plunge back I suggest you also consider dial test indicators (DTI's). Brown & Sharpe make excellent ones as does Interapid & Mutitoyo. Examples can be found at http://www.travers.com/skulist.asp?r...evel3+id+29629

        and http://www.travers.com/skulist.asp?r...evel3+id+29629

        and http://www.travers.com/skulist.asp?r...evel3+id+29629

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        • #5
          Another vote for the Mitutoyo -- I have three, and I haven't killed one yet

          Brown & Sharpe/Tesa also make a fantastic dial indicator. You can find both for cheap on Ebay, but I strongly suggest you look for New In Box -- too many shysters with use metrology gear.
          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Video Man View Post
            Suggest you look at the Mutitoyo 2961F back-plunger .0005 dti, there's one on ebay and a number of links on Google....the one on ebay claims to be new in box....
            Thanks guys. Video Man, thanks for the tip. The Mitutoyo 2961F looks pretty good to me (I'm currently using a DTI, and I specifically want to switch over to a back-plunging indicator). One question about the Mitutoyo 2961F.... where does the mounting post go? I don't see one attached, so I'm assuming it's separate. Does it screw onto the indicator's body?
            -----------------------------------------
            Doug Haeussler
            NAWCC #0167553
            My clock & watch collection website:
            http://dougsclocks.hpage.com/
            -----------------------------------------

            Comment


            • #7
              I believe the mounting stem surrounds the plunger, or that's how the Mitutoyo back plungers work that I have seen. Stem is probably .375". I have not used this particular indicator....

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              • #8
                You dont want an dial indicator, you want a Test Indicator.

                Way more useful. I have rarely used a regular dial travel indicator when I got DTI's.

                http://www.google.com/#hl=en&gs_nf=1...w=1558&bih=832

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by macona View Post
                  You dont want an dial indicator, you want a Test Indicator.

                  Way more useful. I have rarely used a regular dial travel indicator when I got DTI's.

                  http://www.google.com/#hl=en&gs_nf=1...w=1558&bih=832
                  READ the OP. He says he wants a back plunger style indicator. He doesn't say why, but does say that is what he wants. While I agree that I would use a Compac dial test indicator He seems to know what he wants or at least thinks he does. He may have a very valid reason.

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                  • #10
                    I dont know my butt from a whole in the ground on clockworks,but thought id throw it out there. I havea back plunger one that has an attachment that also works like an interipid dial indicater. Dont think it measures to the accuracy you need though,ill have to check. I do not know if these are thest of both worlds or not,just tryin to help. I also had to hand polish the back plunger cause it was not as smooth as i felt it should be for the attachment part to slide across smoothly.

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                    • #11
                      Lufkin made a back plunger ( model 299 and 399) that also can be used as a test indicator, only reads in 0.001" though. I have the Lufkin 299 and a Starrett 196 and it's very rare that I find them to be very useful.

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                      • #12
                        Harvey i think i agree with you,everytime i think i find a use for it,i always end up going back to my starret last word indicator. Antique but shes beautiful piece of work. But since he wants the back plunger i thought id throw it out there,and i think your right on the accuracy range also.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for jumping in, everyone. I guess I should clarify a couple of things. My main field is collecting & repairing antique clocks. But I'm trying to acquire some knowledge of basic machining, because often I find that clock repair involves fabricating replacement parts. So I've got a way to go in learning the terminology appropriate for this forum.

                          What I'm seeking is one of these things, whatever they're called:
                          [IMG][/IMG]

                          It's a cheapie (Central). I want to find one of the above indicators (it's called a dial indicator, right?) with a 0-10-0 or 0-20-0 measuring range; I need the dial's increments to be marked in half-thousandths (0.0005") because my tolerances are pretty tight. The contact point should be a little ball tip instead of a convex disc, and ideally I'd like the mounting post to be 3/16" ind diameter, although I could deal with 1/4". If the 1/4" post is detachable, I can turn it down to 1/4". Otherwise I can fabricate an alternate quill (the stock one in my Rivett watchmaker's lathe has a 3/16" bore.

                          Here's a pic of my sliderest's quill, where I propose to place the indicator (whatever it's called). This pic is of my better-condition sliderest, I have two of them:
                          [IMG][/IMG]

                          Here's how I'm currently performing my current task, which is evaluating my collet collection for concentricity:
                          [IMG][/IMG]

                          As you can see above, my Mitutoyo DTI is mounted via a magnetic base to the bottom slide. That lets me draw the whole thing along one axis. So I just thought if I had an indicator like I'm imagining then I could just stick the indcator's post in the slidrest quill. Bingo, no magnetic base needed! And all of a sudden I could easily draw the measuring tip toward me/away from me, left/right and also up/down by rotating the quill (the bore is off-center, allowing slight height adjustments...a brilliant design idea from Edward Rivett).

                          Does an indicator like what I'm seeking exist anywhere at all?

                          Thanks,
                          ...Doug
                          -----------------------------------------
                          Doug Haeussler
                          NAWCC #0167553
                          My clock & watch collection website:
                          http://dougsclocks.hpage.com/
                          -----------------------------------------

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Goggle Long Island Indicator, they have comparisons about indicators.
                            The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                            Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                            Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                            • #15
                              Not quite a solution for you, but Starrett makes an adapter that allows you to use 4-48 dial indicator tips on their back plunger indicator. Starrett item # 196R. Starrett back plungers only go to 0.001 AFAK.

                              http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/118/2280/=il9dbl

                              My back plungers also have removable stems, so they could be turned down from 1/4 to 3/16ths.
                              Last edited by Harvey Melvin Richards; 07-27-2012, 02:31 PM.

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