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Embarrassing question ... What the heck are these things called?

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  • Embarrassing question ... What the heck are these things called?

    I'm having a total brain fart at the moment. There is an indicator that fits in the spindle of a vertical machine and aids in positioning the work piece. It has a dial and is meant to be used while the machine is running. Basically, you move the table left/right and back/forth until the needle stops moving. I've got an import version and, a few years ago, there was quite the controversy regarding the accuracy and usefulness of these tools.

    What the heck is the proper name for it?

  • #2
    Coaxial indicator?

    Chuck

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    • #3
      as Chuck says. Blake is the bid name brand. Got one recently....probably the single biggest example of "why the heck didn't I buy one 20 years ago" I've had

      They wouldn't be as accurate as a 10ths indicator mounted on a rod, but they are pretty darn good and soooo easy to use and quick centre the spindle. As always, its not a Q of right and wrong, it's picking the right tool for the job, taking into acount the pros and cons of each and whats required
      .

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      • #4
        Thanks guys! I've got one and I love it but I wanted to pick one up for my BIL for Christmas. I'm at work so I couldn't even look at mine to remind myself.

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        • #5
          I wouldn't be without my Blake. Just WAY too handy for quickly centering up holes,punch marks,sides of cylinders,etc..

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          • #6
            I don't have a coaxial indicator but I do have a 3D taster that I wouldn't part with for anything. For centering the spindle on a hole or a cylinder or finding the edge it is fast. Now a punch mark I don't think it would work.
            Location: The Black Forest in Germany

            How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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            • #7
              Guy Lautard's site is offering ready-made rockers for the coaxial indicator project from his #3 bedside reader.

              http://lautard.com/rockerpage.html

              JCHannum built one:


              There is a long (winded) discussion of the coaxial indicator here http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...xial-Indicator and includes far more than anyone likely has a need to know. For some reason this is a controversial instrument. It might be less stressful to argue politics or health care

              I bought an Asian knockoff of the Blake for about $75 and it is worth every penny which is to say not much. It works but has about 1؛ of internal error (the dial, while not calibrated in degrees, is measuring the offset angle of the rocker).
              Last edited by dp; 11-06-2012, 01:13 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dp View Post

                There is a long (winded) discussion of the coaxial indicator here http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...xial-Indicator and includes far more than anyone likely has a need to know. For some reason this is a controversial instrument. It might be less stressful to argue politics or health care

                Hah! That was the thread I was thinking of when I referenced the "controversial topic" in my OP. Glad you dug it up.

                My import one was quite a bit more than $75 but I've been very pleased. To me, it's like having a 3 jaw chuck on the lathe. You lose a little accuracy but it's super fast. If I really need the accuracy, I've got an Interapid DTI that I use - but for most of what I do, these little knick-knacks are great!

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                • #9
                  Trying to remember - I think they were commonly known as "SPINNERS".

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                  • #10
                    We had a Blake in our toolroom but the primadonnas were pretty much the only ones that used it. I never tried it, just relied on my trusty Starrett Last Word like I had for years.

                    Now that I have been doing some commercial work and there is more often pressure for delivery, I decided to get the Blake. I have not used it much yet because I haven't been taking on a lot of work since I got the Blake but I can see that it will save maybe a minute every time I need to indicate a hole and more importantly it saves me from having to bent my neck around to see a last word.

                    The Blake was an auction find and I spent around $165 for an indicator lot but it included about 15 other indicators from a couple of Swiss made ones in .001 and .0001, a federal or 2, A couple of starrett sets and more. A real score. I thought the Blake needed service because it felt somewhat sticky but when it turns it is free and works like it should. Score one for the good guys.

                    Brian
                    OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

                    THINK HARDER

                    BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

                    MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

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                    • #11
                      Remind me again why it's not faster to just put a center finder (conical tip) in the spindle and jam it right into the hole?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by beanbag View Post
                        Remind me again why it's not faster to just put a center finder (conical tip) in the spindle and jam it right into the hole?
                        The coax is the same speed as the wiggler (and some argue that it is more accurate than a wiggler) but the real advantage isn't for small holes but for large ones. In my rotary head mill, I often find myself setting up to enlarge a circle or center a part with a large bearing pocket, etc. An edge finder doesn't work in those situations. Similarly, I use my coax for centering a cylinder in my mill, since it can trace the outside diameter of a part as well as the inside.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Black Forest View Post
                          I don't have a coaxial indicator but I do have a 3D taster that I wouldn't part with for anything. For centering the spindle on a hole or a cylinder or finding the edge it is fast. Now a punch mark I don't think it would work.
                          I have a co-axial and a 3D taster and for most jobs I go with the taster and like Black Forest I wouldn't part with, ever.
                          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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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by beanbag View Post
                            Remind me again why it's not faster to just put a center finder (conical tip) in the spindle and jam it right into the hole?
                            Depends on the size of the center finder and the size of the hole.

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfioLDhBNBQ

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                            • #15
                              The Starrett Last Word indicator is cute,and I have a few, BUT,it is not sensitive enough for high precision work. Takes too much force to move the tip. If you were using it to center holes,you were not getting as accurate results as the Blake would give.

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