Accurate cross cuts

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gauges, they ought to be pretty darn good.

Undoubtedly true, but when looking at precision tools, you're comparing differences of only a couple thousandths per foot anyway. For me, being able to buy *one* tool that gives precise 45 and 90 degree angles *and* linear measurement accurate to 1/64" is more important than a difference of two or three thousandths per foot.

Can't help you much there. Rockler has decent pricing, not the best, not the worst. Other than that, I don't really know. Sorry.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

So here's the $50,000 question. How do they guarantee the squareness of their squares considering the horrors of shipping? Are they individually packaged in some kind of shock resistant box or something?
I'm rather serious. Seems to me unless they courier it to you directly and only entrust it to a driver who knows what it is, and who is paid to be extremely careful, could they possibly ensure the kind of tolerances you're talking about. Somebody jiggles a pallet the wrong way and the carton of expensive squares falls 13' to the ground.....
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If there was enough damage to affect the square, there would be obvious signs. Like a smashed box.

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CW wrote:

I've always been under the impression that if you drop a precision square on the floor one good time, it's probably no longer precise.
If those big dollar squares are packaged the same way that other typical squares are, with hanging card thingies and something like 10 or 15 to a carton in a fairly thin box, then I can see them getting abused enough in transit to get knocked out of whack.
I'm a truck driver. I drive for a private carrier run by a distributor who operates its own trucks because common carriers were destroying all of our merchandise. A lot of it was concealed damage. Box looks fine. Contents are borked.
I look into the back of Yellow/Overnite/etc. trucks all the time, and see a gigantic mess of stuff strewn everywhere with a loose, unsecured pallet jack slamming around tearing stuff up.
So I'm just curious. I'm not being a smartass. I just wonder if Starret (?) takes special care to package those things so that they can withstand the abuse of shipping intact. Some kind of wooden box with egg crate stuff in it would probably suffice. Do they come like that?
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wrote:

I agree that it would be nice to have them coming in some kind of hardwood instrument type case, since thats basically what they are. I found this on Amazon (about the only negative comment I could find on the 12" combo square):
<snip> I'll admit, that I was a bit disappointed by the fact that it was shipped in a plain cardboard box, and not a more permanent storage container. <snip>
So it doesn't seem like they come w/ much in the way of protection from the manufacturer. But I'd hazard a guess that since about every good mechanic and machinist I've ever come in contact w/ swears by Starrett and considers them basically a 'gold' standard, that the tools aren't *that* easy to mess up, whether due to simple design, close tolerances, or quality materials. I recall a fellow a while back here on the Wreck saying that he'd been having issues w/ Starrett over the last few years, and preferred a different (even more expensive!) brand, but he worked in a metrology (i.e. calibration) shop and I'd guess is a little more picky than I am ;) Haven't heard any complaints otherwise, but then, I guess most people aren't equipped or qualified to make those kind of evaluations...
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I remember that post and I agree with him. The subject was dial calipers and he prefered Mititoyo over Starrett. The Starrett required repair far more often than Mititoyo. This has also been my experience. Some of Starretts tools are quite good. Some I wouldn't touch. Just like any other tool manufacturer, they do some things well and others not so well.
wrote:

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No need to get snotty about it. But while we're at it, lets see: a few years back, in the U.S. Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program, the dial indicators and micrometers and calipers and about every other mechanical measuring device I came in contact w/ was Starrett (disclaimer: I was a sub nuke electrician). Don't remember using anything else. Just like we used Fluke for the multimeters, Techtronics for the oscilloscopes, etc. There *might* be other equipment that could be arguably better, but generally speaking, if there was, I'd be surprised they weren't using it. Military contracts or not. Picky doesn't even *begin* to describe the attitude towards tools and procedures in that program.
Then when I got out, in the (big) steel mill in Kansas City I worked in, the millwrights and machinists and motor rebuild shops used, thats right, Starrett. I went from there to a civilian nuke plant for a brief time, and the stuff in the electrical maint. shop at least was Starrett and some Mitutoyo.
Now I work at a hydro power plant, and a brief tour thru the tool room reveals an awful lot of Starrett stuff, and again, some Mitutoyo. A friend of mine is a fairly skilled machinist who used to work at LE Wilson Tool & Die here in central Washington. Since most people don't know that name, they make custom dies for centerfire rifle competition shooters, of whom many are machinists, mechanics, engineers, or other picky sorts. Take a wild guess at what he used there, and still uses for instruments: Starrett. Most of the shooters have a small amount invested in calipers, either dial or digital, micrometers, and dial indicators, and when people step up from the $20 steel calipers from RCBS, or $50 mikes from Midway, they go either Mitutoyo or Starrett. In a sport where its not uncommon for people to have $3k plus tied up in just the gun, be it Benchrest or HighPower, if there was something significantly 'better', I think it'd be selling like hotcakes.
Not knocking Brown and Sharpe, but the above is why when someone mentioned Starrett slipping and Brown and Sharpe being 'better', my initial response was 'Brown and who?!?'
Now, I might be barking up the wrong tree here, and maybe B&S does make some product that is better than a comparable product from Starrett. That's entirely possible. But please don't go making assumptions about the machinists and mechanics I know. They might take it wrong ;)
In any event, I'm working at getting some better tools myself, and it may come down to the same thing that resulted in me getting Mitutoyo digital calipers and micrometers instead of Starrett: For my uses, they are accurate *enough*. I most likely wouldn't notice the difference btwn Mitutoyo, Starret, or Brown & Sharpe for what I'm doing.
Anyway, time to get off the soap box. Have a nice night ;)
nuk
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The companies that sell precision tools (Starrett, Mititoyo, ect) know about shipping and do pack their tools appropriately. To the distributor. It is up to the distributor to get it to you. Your best bet for precision tools is to buy from a tool supplier such as Rutland Tool, Travers, ect. They deal with this stuff for a living and do pack appropriately. The woodworking tool places may not, though I would bet that most do pretty well. In any case, go to a real tool suplier for precision tools. Not only do they have a better selection, they often have better prices. When I was first starting out (as a machinist), I lived in a place that no precision tools were available. Everything was mail order. I dealt with the big tool suppliers. Never had anything damaged in shipping.

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Ha! Reminds me of the opening sequence in Ace Ventura - Pet Detective. What a riot!
dave
Silvan wrote:

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You must guarantee the squareness of the square when you purchase the damn thing yourself. Jeez! Tom
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You don't need to draw TWO lines. Just draw the line...then flip it...and see if it lines up with the square.

The square will only be accurate for a given distance. There is NO square the will be accurate ad infinitum. So 'square' for YOUR work is all that is necessary.
I make things square for MY projects...usually spanning 8 to 12 ft. And I've built some wooden, quick squares precisely for this...2', 4', 6' in length, etc. These are dead-on...for my uses.
If you set up a square...and draw a line 10,000 miles long...lol...its not gonna be square at the end of that line. But it may be perfectly square at 4 ft. So its also relative.
IMHO, a combo square is one of the least accurate tools you can buy. I've never seen one yet that doesn't have at least a little play in them.
Draftsman's T-squares are usually pretty accurate.
Best is to make your own. And a good template can be a sheet of 4x8 plywood.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Cat...the OTHER white meat!
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wrote:

If the blade is strait and it is out of square at any distance, it is out of square at all distances. It just becomes more obvious at longer distances.

No it won't. See above.

Quit buying those Chinese squares. Try a Starrett or Mititoyo. You'll change your mind.

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wrote:

Change my mind? I don't think so.
There IS no square square...as we've both stated.
Its all relative...to the distance yer tryin' to traverse.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Cat...the OTHER white meat!
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What an idiot.

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wrote:

What a last resort.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Cat...the OTHER white meat!
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On Wed, 20 Aug 2003 15:15:17 GMT, "Absinthe"

You don't need to draw the other line. Just flip it.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Cat...the OTHER white meat!
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Steve Radoci wrote:

Shooting board and a #5.
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Thank You All, I am going to make a "sled" and use the table saw. I see that an RAS is o.k. if you don't move the arm. That seems to defeat its versatility.
Thanks, Steve

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

I've had a 12" model for over 25 years. I used to use it for everything since I didn't have other options at the time. If that's the case for you, than making the adjustments goes with the territory. Here are a couple of quick tips that may help.
1. Once I get the thing to make perfectly square cuts (arm perpendicular to the fence, blade perpendicular to the table with no toe-in or out) I often use jigs to hold the work for cuts that are not square. This may seem to be defeating the purpose of having a RAS somewhat, but if it's only a few cuts, it's quicker whip up a quick jig than it is to get the thing re-aligned.
2. When swinging the arm back to where it is square to the fence, always swing arm in the same direction. If you "overshoot", back up and try again. I normally swing from the left to right since the right side of the blade registers against the arbor flange and provides a constant reference plane. That way, it doesn't matter what kind of blade I'm using, the right side of the blade is always at the same point and the arm is square to the fence.
3. You can also set up a gauge block, that you can mount temporarily during alignment, that references a fixed point on the table. Then to get the arm square to the table, you swing it back to where it just "kisses" the end of the gauge block.
Doug
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