Next planer upgrade, installed a Wixey digital height gauge (w/pics)

Hello everyone,
The previous upgrade I did to my planer was to install a Byrd cutterhead in it.
The latest upgrade was to install a Wixey digital height gauge onto my Canadian made General model 130 14" planer.
Here is a shot of the guage fresh out of the box,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey1.jpg
It didn't come with much, just a random bag of screws and things that didn't look too helpful to me.
I checked the Wixey web site to see if anyone had posted pics of an install on a 130. No one had, so it looked like I was on my own.
I held the gauge in various places on the planer until I found the place I wanted to mount it,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey2.jpg
Once I figured out where to place the gauge, I took it apart and made cardboard templates of the brackets I would have to make,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey3.jpg
I bought some 2" wide by 1/8" thick aluminum stock to make the brackets out of. I traced my cardboard patterns onto the aluminum and cut the parts out on a 14" bandsaw. A little work with both a round and a flat file and things looked pretty good. I also had to drill some holes in the brackets for where the screws would attach the Wixey to the bracket, and the brackets to the planer,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey4.jpg
I then marked for those hole on my planer before drilling and tapping the cast iron to accept the pan head machine screws that would hold the brackets in place,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey5.jpg
Next I mounted the Wixey to the main bracket,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey6.jpg
I put the Wixey back together and installed in on my planer,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey7.jpg
You can see the screws that are holding on the brackets I made.
Now that the Wixey is installed, it is time to calibrate it.
Here is a gratuitous shot of me planing a board,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey8.jpg
I now take this board and use the onboard calibration function of the Wixey to set zero,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey9.jpg
I lift up the spring loaded scale of the Wixey and place the board on the reference tab and press "Calibrate" for 3 seconds. This sets the gauge to zero.
I raise the head up to 0.435" or 7/16" (trust me, that is what it says, bad photo)
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey10.jpg
and run a board through.
I then measure the board with my trusty dial caliper,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey11.jpg
Looks like I am off 0.003" or less than 1/300". Pretty good.
Lets raise the cutterhead to 0.405" or 13/32",
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey12.jpg
Make a cut and measure the result,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/wixey13.jpg
Looks like I am out almost 1/1000". <grin>
I am very happy with the upgrade, but I do not suggest it for the mechanically challenged. For some planers, you are going to have to figure out the entire install yourself.
I didn't install this so I can mill my boards to exactly 0.750", but rather for repeatability. When I mill boards, I often go for "maximum thickness" that I can get from a board, be it, 13/16", 7/8" or 27/32". I don't work from set plans and I usually make everything up as I go along, so my only real goal was repeatability, and I now think I have that.
For those of you with bench top planers, you might not know this, but cast iron planers have a minimum thickness they must remove per pass. Because of the highly sprung serrated infeed roller is set lower than the cutterhead, you must take off around 1/64" minimum per pass, or the infeed roller leaves marks on the board. On a bench top planer, you can pass the same board through twice without adjusting the cutterhead and not have a problem due to the rubber infeed and outfeed rollers.
I used to have difficulty sneaking up specific thicknesses, but this gauge should allow me to just set cutterhead and get the job done.
Thanks for looking,
David.
Every Neighbourhood has one, in Mine I'm Him.
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On Tue, 12 Dec 2006 22:53:08 -0800, "David F. Eisan"

I installed one on a DeltaTP300, not happy over the long haul. I need to make the mounting of it more solid the sticky foam tape did not hold up well over time. A solid mechanical mount would be best. Have not got around to it though, round tuits I have though.
Mark (sixoneeight) = 618
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nice i would say it was easy and would endorse it to anyone not familiar with decimal of the inch btw, 7/16" = .4375", which rounded is either .438" or .437" and 13/32=.406".
Either your indicators discrimination is .005", or you're in in the habit of rounding off to .005". In reality that ain't gonna be a problem, but I would never persoanlly alow it. Everything I do I do to within a tolerance of about that much. If I introduced that amount into the "system" intentionally at the beginning I could never live with myself.
The dial caliper you show is good to show any 001" anywhere between any and at all points to its end, and also is good for all of those .0005", so you're actually out by .4375"-.432", or 5.5 thou. Unless you can't, you have to zero set that. I understand it may not be repeatable, but if you get consistent results.... You only get a few of those, and after that, you can start reading them off on a tape measure. I never use a tape measure. Its impossible. For the same reason I would never use a fractional caliper.
I know the /16ths of by heart, and always line up quarters between thous on the dial gage, accurately I must add.
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I'm just gonna point out the logic. I took a $20 caliper ($30 befor sale) to the gage blocks and measured at a bunch of random points. They were all right. I've never been proven wrong. The whole spinning dial thing rides (literally) on the tiny threaded rack set into the inside of the shaft of the caliper, which has the writing. If all of the .001"s are right. All of them. From this one to that one, from the begiining to that one. From the second from the last to third from the first, then they are all right. Any point in between these accurate .001" points is a linear ride on that thread. With the exception of slop, its a ride on the linear. You can actually logically measure .0001" with a dial caliper. In practise it is left up to a micrometer. And some people actual buy micrometers that are good only to .001", go figure.
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bent wrote:

Somehow, I manage to get by with these when measuring wood thickness:
<http://www.garrettwade.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID 6171&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat395&iSubCat407&iProductID6171>
Boy, am I imprecise! <G>
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B A R R Y wrote:

<http://www.garrettwade.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID 6171&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat395&iSubCat407&iProductID6171>
Those are great! Mine are a little longer, good to 1/128 th. I, on impulse, bought a digital caliper once, but one time grabbed my old one, without thinking, to check to see if the digital was right...sooooo.. in the drawer it went... now still needing a battery. I mean, if you use a familiar caliper over a new-fangled one, you have a caliper you trust. I have well over a dozen tape measures. They all measure the same. I only 'really' trust one. Most of this crap is in one's head.
r---> who likes them little brass jobbies.
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digital bdh, unless using SPC, statistical process control, under cnc where there are many variables that need to be taken into consideration possibly within the program itself. ATC is an example, automatic tool change. Lights and humans are optional.
with a dial you can rock and roll
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thats a comparator, not a measuring instrument
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besides precision is a matter of relativity. You're just inaccurate.
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OTOH, if your discrimination of your indicator is 5 thou, and you can gt to within 1 thou on your m/c, then all the more power to ya.
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the wheel, now theres an invention
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hey, I know nothing about a planer, or how its supposed to function, other than it planes wood flat to a thickness. How repeatable are you getting, and if u got (a sec), what does a planer, or yours do this?
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