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Starrett 711 Indicator vs Mitutoyo 513-403

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  • Starrett 711 Indicator vs Mitutoyo 513-403

    I recently acquired a real nice Starrett 711 indicator set, this is the one that reads in tenths. So today I was comparing it to my Mitutoyo 513-403 which I have owned for probably 15 years or more. I always felt the Mitutoyo was pretty high in quality. The only thing I don't like about it is when you reverse the direction of the part your indicating the needle will jump a tenth or so. I guess it doesn't like the change of direction. It's very sensitive.
    The Starrett, dial is really small, about the size of a quarter as compared to the Mitutoyo which is about the size of a half dollar. Hard to read.

    So I set up a test arbor on my T&C grinder with the Mitutoyo. I have less than .0001 run out as indicated by the Mitutoyo dial, actually the needle fluctuates within the tenth mark, like about a half a tenth. I checked the same arbor in the same spot with the Starrett dial and don't see any fluctuation at all. Either it's because the dial is so small or perhaps it's not as sensitive as the Mitutoyo, perhaps a little stiff ?? I still have to do some more testing between the two.
    The other thing is the Starrett has a small lever to reverse the direction of which way the indicator reads, pushing from the front or pushing from the back, I don't mind that. The Mitutoyo works in both directions.

    JL..............

    Last edited by JoeLee; 03-30-2018, 08:10 PM.

  • #2
    The Starrett 711 indicators are notorious for being "sticky". that's probably what you were seeing

    I have had 2 of them of different ages, and I have used several others, including ones that were nearly brand new and barely used. They were ALL sticky to some degree, and often would not move when other indicators were showing motion..

    Something about the design of the things just seems to be AFU. I have cleaned them , adjusted them, etc, and they still were sticky.

    I'd keep the Mitutyo, and deep-six the POS Starrett.

    Oddly, there are a number of other Starrett indicators that use much of the same mechanism, and they work better. I have a couple of them, It seems to be an issue with that particular design.

    No doubt several folks will come along and claim the 711 is the best thing ever.... they are welcome to those ^%$#@! things....
    CNC machines only go through the motions

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    • #3
      The Starrett's are fine indicators if people wouldn't oil them. I've several that are not sticky. Once the hairspring gets gummed up, its all over until you properly clean it, like a watchmaker would, so there is no residue.

      For what you'd get for it, hang onto it, never hurts to have an extra in the drawer and sometimes the smaller form factor is an advantage
      in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
        The Starrett 711 indicators are notorious for being "sticky". that's probably what you were seeing

        I have had 2 of them of different ages, and I have used several others, including ones that were nearly brand new and barely used. They were ALL sticky to some degree, and often would not move when other indicators were showing motion..

        Something about the design of the things just seems to be AFU. I have cleaned them , adjusted them, etc, and they still were sticky.

        I'd keep the Mitutyo, and deep-six the POS Starrett.

        Oddly, there are a number of other Starrett indicators that use much of the same mechanism, and they work better. I have a couple of them, It seems to be an issue with that particular design.

        No doubt several folks will come along and claim the 711 is the best thing ever.... they are welcome to those ^%$#@! things....
        You have a better way of putting it.
        But that is what I was trying to say in my hastily written post. I remember reading a post on these Last Word indicators some time ago but couldn't find it. The Starrett looks almost unused, but as you say that doesn't mean anything. I've never taken one apart but I'm willing to make the attempt. It may just be gummy oil.
        Is there a procedure for doing so??? any documentation on it??? I should at least give it a fair shake before I dump it.

        JL............

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        • #5
          The big deal is that there is a little sapphire pin that rides up and down on a coarse pitch hardened worm, turning it. A long arm from the end of the indicator moves the pin.

          With the 711, if there is any sort of oil on that mechanism, it's all over, the thing will not work right.

          They have to be squeaky clean, perfectly smooth, with no oil, dust, etc on them. Problem is, on many versions the mechanism is somewhat open, and stuff gets in regardless.

          Mostly it is probably either/both oil or dust, neither of which is easy to keep out of a semi-open mechanism. The verions that work well seem to all be closed up, fairly dust-tight.
          Last edited by J Tiers; 03-30-2018, 09:49 PM.
          CNC machines only go through the motions

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          • #6
            The reversing levers on the Starrett Last Words are a total PITA! I long ago moved on up to Mitutoyo, Interapid, and Compac, and am not going back. The Compac is especially nice, because the needle goes clockwise regardless of which direction the stylus is pushed. Not only is there no reverse lever, there’s no need to think about which direction is increased deflection (or tap on the indicator to figure it out, which is the case with the Interapid).


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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            • #7
              Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
              The big deal is that there is a little sapphire pin that rides up and down on a coarse pitch hardened worm, turning it. A long arm from the end of the indicator moves the pin.

              With the 711, if there is any sort of oil on that mechanism, it's all over, the thing will not work right.

              They have to be squeaky clean, perfectly smooth, with no oil, dust, etc on them. Problem is, on many versions the mechanism is somewhat open, and stuff gets in regardless.

              Mostly it is probably either/both oil or dust, neither of which is easy to keep out of a semi-open mechanism. The verions that work well seem to all be closed up, fairly dust-tight.
              I've seen the open versions where the side is cut away. They use a different style indicator contact. This one I have is the closed design, probably the better design. I never leave my dials laying around to collect dust. When I'm done they go back in the box and in the drawer. I don't wipe them with oily linty clothes either.

              JL.....

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              • #8
                Not even open at the end? I have not used that type. But it still might get, or have, oil in it.

                there are also the bearings at the contact end... they have to be just snug enough to eliminate movement, but not be tight. Any movement there might prevent the sapphire pin from moving (and so might being over-tight).
                CNC machines only go through the motions

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                • #9
                  JT, if you look close at my original pics, and you should be able to click on them and get a larger image, you can see that both dials have exactly the same design at the pivot point.

                  I think this is what you would call the open design version of this dial. I never liked it and avoided these dials because of it. It might be easier to work on, clean and or adjust but everything is exposed.

                  I knew a guy that had a engine rebuilding machine shop. He used to grind a lot of crank shaft journals and had one of these mounted right behind the journal to indicate what he was grinding. The wheel was in front, and coolant flowed all over. I guess he used it because it was small enough to fit between to fit between the crank balance weights.
                  I wouldn't trust his measurements.

                  JL..................

                  Last edited by JoeLee; 03-31-2018, 08:47 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Flood coolant? Maybe it kept the thing wet enough that it never got sticky....

                    Yes, those seem very hard to keep clean.
                    CNC machines only go through the motions

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                    • #11
                      I know we're talking test indicators here, but somewhat on point - I picked up some old brass Federal and Ford branded .001" dial indicators at a sale. They're Heavy. They've have been used hard. Like auto repair shop hard. Some are missing crystals. You'd think they were junk.

                      One day I was screwing around with some new chinese .001" indicators. Hardly used, if at all. They look good. A couple were bought back in the 90's.

                      When I tried to move the plunger with my fingers, as minimal as possible, I found the chinese indicators had limited resolution. It was all I could do to move it only 1 thou. Those old federals? I could smoothly move the indicator within one thou, over and over, very repeatable. I was blown away.

                      Long Island Indicator puts those Federals in the "non-repairable" category, either due design or lack of parts or both.. They aren't great indicators, but what a difference. Decades of hard no apologies shop use and they still blow away a bunch of new China junk.

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                      • #12
                        A flush through with naptha or lighter fluid usually suffices to clean the Last Word. The same advice pertains to other indicators and DTI's, all of which can and will get gummed up if not properly cared for.
                        Jim H.

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                        • #13
                          JC, I have thought of doing this. Which part of this indicator should I flush with lighter fluid??
                          The only moving parts that are exposed are the pivot point, anything else would require disassembly.

                          JL........

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Glug View Post
                            Long Island Indicator puts those Federals in the "non-repairable" category, either due design or lack of parts or both.. They aren't great indicators, but what a difference. Decades of hard no apologies shop use and they still blow away a bunch of new China junk.
                            I've always viewed Federal indicators as very high end. i've one apart right now, fully jeweled, every part well made. I'm never sure about LII's comments. Sometimes the ones they complain about I've found to be excellent - perhaps their paradigm is based on how easy they are to fix, or how generous the manufacturer is with trade discounts on parts and so on.
                            in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                              JC, I have thought of doing this. Which part of this indicator should I flush with lighter fluid??
                              As far as I know, all have a plug screw on the top or a male thread adaptor that can be removed to allow flushing through. lacking that, just squirt up inside the body. The object is to flush the area behind the dial where the mechanism is.
                              Jim H.

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