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Looking for a good coolant proof dial indicator that is actually coolant proof

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  • Looking for a good coolant proof dial indicator that is actually coolant proof

    We use dial indicators on our large parts to make sure they don't shake around on the bridge mill we operate. We usually buy the cheapest indicators possible because they don't last long after a few weeks of being hosed with coolant. I know some people will say "just tighten the parts down better" but sometimes the parts we run are kinda flimsy and clamping can be a challenge. We rarely run more than 2 or 3 parts so we never invest in fixturing.

    I know mitutoyo makes a digital "coolant resistant" indicator but i need something that could literally be submerged and come out unscathed.

    Does anyone have a suggestion????

    Also, I am in the process of putting a rubber bellows on an indicator but i can't fully seal off the face without dipping it in rubber or something and i'm worried that the rubber will get scratched up to easily and make the dial unreadable.

  • #2
    If all you care about is that it didn't move why not just make some mechanical indicators? Set them in, center the pointer and your set.

    John
    My Web Site

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    • #3
      forgive me if this is a stupid question, but "mechanical indicator"?

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      • #4
        Like this... http://longislandindicator.com/p241.html (last one, bottom of the page). It is the simplest of test indicators, being a lever with one leg much longer than the other. Most of the early ones don't "measure". They just are set to coincide with "0" on a reference datum. Then the indicator tells you if you repeat to that datum or not based on the lever position.

        So, in other words, you can take your allowable tolerance and make a simple lever unit and mark the scale for maximum, minimum and target position. This will be able to tell you visually if you are "right on", running toward the upper tolerance or the lower tolerance as well as if you are OUT of tolerance. What it won't do is tell you your part is "0.02mm high". But that is okay. If you need to quantify something for inspection, you can do it off the machine later. For loading, you just need to know you are within tolerance and, generally, a relative position within the tolerance zone.

        No commercial indicators of any kind are truly "waterproof" to my knowledge. The most rigid standard they will be submitted to is IP64, which is a liquid spray---not submersion.
        Last edited by Arthur.Marks; 12-08-2012, 11:32 AM.

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        • #5
          Thanks. a picture is worth a thousand words. It's an interesting idea. I was hoping for something that is a bit easier to read from about 4 feet away though. That's why i was hoping there was a dial indicator out there that was waterproof. You've confirmed my fear that there aren't any out there that are truly waterproof.

          My next step will be acquiring an indicator and coming up with a method of sealing it off completely using a small rubber bellows and clear case. If i come up with anything interesting I'll post pictures.

          thanks

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          • #6
            Flexbar, federal-mahl, compac and many other companies offer ip67 indicators.

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            • #7
              One option is to put the indicator under a shield and use a U shaped arm attached to its plunger to come under the shield to the part. Think how a glass scale digitals are installed.
              Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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              • #8
                Why not put a scraper (like a wind-screen wiper but bigger or a "squee-gee") on the part above the indicator? It will remove most of the coolant from the indicator area but won't affect the cooling of the part.

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                • #9
                  I had one 1" travel indicator equipped with a stem bellows and little barb fitting in the case wall. Bought the bellows; installed the fitting myself. Got the fitting from a model and crafts shop. It's the kind used for teeny glow plug engine fuel lines.

                  Run a tube to dry air and apply a slow flow. The air flowing out kept the coolant from seeping in. Used it for years on the sidehead running Bullards. Hardly a speck of trouble so long as the air was flowing but not enough to pop the crystal.

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                  • #10
                    why not dip them in rubber/plastic dip?...just be careful to not brush it on the moving parts...

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                    • #11
                      You didn't say why you need the indicators...yes, you want to know if the part moved !
                      but does that mean the part is scrapped, or do you just 're-indicate the part again ?

                      The reason I ask, is if you just want to know if the part moved, there is another way that doesn't have a coolant problem.

                      For critical machining, or if I have to put a endmill in a collet, I paint the joint with bright nail polish.
                      It is a very fast drying laquer paint . If I pull the endmill, or the part moves, you can see the crack or break in the paint quite easily
                      Its fast, and cheap ( $ 1 a bottle) and coolant is a non event

                      When you change parts, wash it off with laquer thinner or acetone

                      Rich

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                      • #12
                        The part moving could result in scrapping it, but would most like just mean a realignment. Its a nip-it-in-the-bud scenario. Paint on the cutter is a good idea but we tend to run 6inch and 8 inch face cutters more than endmills. In the past when a part has moved it was during a heavy facing operation and the cutter doesn't shift but we will loose a few inserts.

                        I really like the air line into the indicator method. In fact i'll try that next. Our table travel is about 110 inches so i'll have to make sure i use a long enough line and one that won't get caught on anything easily, but a positive air flow from the indicator may be the cheapest solution.


                        I could dip it in rubber but my worry is that the rubber would start to break down and make it impossible to read the indicator. I could try and block the indicator face off but it may be an elaborate setup. It's worth a try either way though.

                        thanks all

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by robosilo View Post
                          The part moving could result in scrapping it, but would most like just mean a realignment. Its a nip-it-in-the-bud scenario. Paint on the cutter is a good idea but we tend to run 6inch and 8 inch face cutters more than endmills. In the past when a part has moved it was during a heavy facing operation and the cutter doesn't shift but we will loose a few inserts.
                          I think you misunderstood. Use the paint / nail polish between the table and the part, that way you see if it has moved.
                          Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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                          • #14
                            That is a possibility, but often the parts are sitting up on a combination of parallels and leveling jacks. Rarely does the part sit flat on the table. In a situation where it would work, it may be hard to see when coolant is splashing all over the place or hot chips are flying at the window. We find dial indicators a little easier to notice. we try and set 0 at 12 o'clock. If the arm isn't at 12 then we know something happened. It also makes it easier to tell if the part is shifting it bit as it heats up.

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                            • #15
                              Depending on how much you'd like to spend; I'd get an eddy current displacement sensor with a readout. A small bellow could keep swarf out from under the head.

                              Igor

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