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lathe dial magnifier

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  • lathe dial magnifier

    I was on the lathe recently and needed to hit a number. I could not read the lathe dials on my Atlas. They are 1" in diameter and have 100 markings. My son whipped out his phone and used it as a magnifier. Worked great, lol.

    I don't have $700 for a magnifying glass. ;-)

    My hare-brained idea is to find a lens, mount it in a ring, apply some white LEDs, and then mount the ring to a magbase etc.

    I don't speak lens, so how can I determine the characteristics of the lens I would need?

    I know
    1. The lens should be close to the dial
    2. The field of view probably cannot be less than 25mm dia
    3. The focal length would probably be something like 40cm
    4. About 5x magnification?

    Also, tell me about fresnel lenses. I see they are dirt cheap and flat. I am not taking pictures, I just need to reliably read a dial. Any opinions on how useful these would be?
    Last edited by Tony Ennis; 09-08-2018, 03:43 PM.

  • #2
    I use a Optivisor - would that work for you?

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    • #3
      There's plenty of cheap jeweler's loupes on ebay, (less than $10) I would get one and modify it to suit.

      Or get a large dial kit for a South Bend lathe and make it fit. They are very similar in some ways.
      25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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      • #4
        Well I could certainly use one of those, in general. I am not sure it would efficiently solve this problem. 20" focal length has 1.5x magnification which isn't a lot.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post
          There's plenty of cheap jeweler's loupes on ebay, (less than $10) I would get one and modify it to suit.

          Or get a large dial kit for a South Bend lathe and make it fit. They are very similar in some ways.
          Curious about the focal length on a loupe...

          Regarding dials, there used to be a dude making Atlas dial kits. I could probably make a dial, too.

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          • #6
            I did a quick search for "dial magnifier" and came across an unexpected solution. http://www.julesborel.com/products/c...ial-magnifiers has magnifiers for watch dials in various sizes and pretty cheap.

            These should be very shallow focal length so you could mount it just above the dial.

            Dan
            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

            Location: SF East Bay.

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            • #7
              My dials are bigger, but for similar situations, I keep a pair of $3 3x reading glasses handy.
              Actually, I have 1x to 3.5x and use the ones that work best for the job at hand. The choice of different focal lengths come in handy when working in areas with limited room, like under a dashboard.
              Location: North Central Texas

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              • #8
                I think I have seen curved rectangular magnifiers for this sort of application. I suppose you could bend a flat magnifier by positioning it on a wood form and heating it in an oven.

                These are sold in various quantities.

                https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Reading-M...W/261590315154

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Joel View Post
                  My dials are bigger, but for similar situations, I keep a pair of $3 3x reading glasses handy.
                  Actually, I have 1x to 3.5x and use the ones that work best for the job at hand. The choice of different focal lengths come in handy when working in areas with limited room, like under a dashboard.
                  These can be had at Amazon (2 pair @$11.00)

                  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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                  • #10
                    I picked up one of these shortly after I turned fifty: https://www.sciplus.com/rubber-magnifier-47887-p (I'm kind of surprised they still carry them. Or maybe they're carrying them again. Or maybe I bought it from their competitor and I also need a memory aid in addition to vision aid.)

                    It lives in my back pocket and comes out to play fairly often.

                    ...Upon review, this is a little different from the one I got. Mine uses a pair of AAAs.
                    Last edited by Lee Cordochorea; 09-08-2018, 07:32 PM. Reason: additional info found...

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                    • #11
                      You probably don't need a lens as much as you need a linear magnifier. I'd look in a stationary store and find a ruler that has the center section as a magnifier. Just cut out from it what you need.
                      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                      • #12
                        I just went through that same thing tonight. And its a bitch when you want to back
                        it off a couple .. having to come out past the slack and back in finding that exact line.
                        I'm thinking maybe cheap DRO.
                        John Titor, when are you.

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                        • #13
                          I just use my phone's camera

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mike Amick View Post
                            And its a bitch when you want to back
                            it off a couple .. having to come out past the slack and back in finding that exact line.
                            I'm thinking maybe cheap DRO.
                            A sharpie helps - I keep a couple of colors at the lathe. A dot usually is fine, but I usually end up with all sorts of markings before it gets crowded enough where they all get wiped off the dials. I also use a marker to write measurements or whatnot on the mill's vise and table.
                            Location: North Central Texas

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                            • #15
                              Ditto on the marker on the mill vise, I do it all the time.

                              As for the question asked, why not use a dial indicator, magnetic back or other type ?

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