Sure - a dial indicator on a stick can be used, but
1) You don't have an offset bar - letting you measure closer
to the table surface (which increases accuracy)
2) There is no angle measurement
3) Can't use it as a height gauge, (i.e. a jointer)
4) You don't get a spindle rod, letting you measure drill press
Also - I had a problem trying to get my crosscut sled accurate, and I
send Ed an e-mail. He suggested some options, and solved my problem.
Yeah - it's a deluxe system. I like it.
Sending unsolicited commercial e-mail to this account incurs a fee of
$500 per message, and acknowledges the legality of this contract.
...a whole bunch of stuff but this one comment caught my attention. I
assume you were referring to the Jr. when you said:
I have to admit that I've heard comments like this many times before
and am always hoping to find some clever new soltions that
comprehensively cover the functions of the Jr. at a "much lower cost".
So far 100% of the people who have said this didn't even bother to look
at the capabilities of the Jr. They just mount a cheap dial indicator
on a stick (or magnetic base) and assume that it does "the same thing".
Some have fashioned fancy gadgets by combinind two or more sticks but
essentially they just do table saw blade and fence alignment. While
there are competitive products which don't do anything more than a dial
indicator on a stick and they do sell for competitive prices, the Jr.
The question for you is this: Do you really have an innovative
solution?. Can you really "achieve the same thing" as a TS-Aligner Jr.
"at a much lower cost"? I'm naturally curious but I would think that
this is information that the whole group would be very interested in.
By all means, if you believe in the "original intent" of Usenet, share
While you are busy checking out what a Jr. does, you might also bother
read my philosophy page:
That's where you will learn that I don't sell things that people can
make on their own at a "much lower cost".
| That's where you will learn that I don't sell things that people can
| make on their own at a "much lower cost".
I do - but I tell people that they can make their own cheaper than
they can buy mine - *and* I give free "look and learn" hints to help
'em do it.
(Sorry, the devil made me do it.)
DeSoto, Iowa USA
No problem Morris!
Actually, I tell people how to make the "dial indicator on a stick" all
the time. I even have a page devoted to comparing its capabilities to
my lowest cost Jr. Lite:
Jr. Lite still does a lot more. I think that there's some value to
selling something that people could do on their own. Lots of stuff I
buy falls into that category. I guess it's just my own personal
neurosis which keeps me awake at night if I were to do it.
Morris Dovey wrote:
| Morris Dovey wrote:
|| firstname.lastname@example.org (in
|| email@example.com) said:
||| That's where you will learn that I don't sell things that people
||| can make on their own at a "much lower cost".
|| I do - but I tell people that they can make their own cheaper than
|| they can buy mine - *and* I give free "look and learn" hints to
|| help 'em do it.
|| (Sorry, the devil made me do it.)
| No problem Morris!
| Actually, I tell people how to make the "dial indicator on a stick"
| all the time. I even have a page devoted to comparing its
| capabilities to my lowest cost Jr. Lite:
| Jr. Lite still does a lot more. I think that there's some value to
| selling something that people could do on their own. Lots of stuff
| I buy falls into that category. I guess it's just my own personal
| neurosis which keeps me awake at night if I were to do it.
I know. I've visited your site and done some important looking and
learning there. If my woodworking were more dependent on the types of
tools your products help to calibrate, I'd almost certainly have been
a customer years ago.
I truly hope the current (and inevitable future) fooferaw over the
evolution of the Internet doesn't cause you personal discomfort. It's
an ever-changing world; and the one constant seems to be that we all
need to keep in mind is that it's important to contribute /something/
to the general welfare. IMO, you're not only doing that; you're also
making it easier for others to do the same.
I like your shop :-)
DeSoto, Iowa USA
I wouldn't have bothered to respond to this thread if I was worried
about the reponses I got. I really did expect it and I really don't
care what those who responded think. I'm more entertained by it than
I never said I could achive the same thing that ed does with a stick.
I would have gladly enlighted some of you before but understanding the
true profiteer nature that many of you have, I don't see a purpose in
giving you something else to sell. I can tell you that I get much
better accuracy with a system I put together with a cheap laser, prisms
that I swap in/out and an FPGA to calculate distance. Dial indicators
are mechanical and have flex in them. The only shortcoming of my
approach is atmospheric conditions which only come into play under
Since I've made so many friends here lately, I thought I'd pay some of
them a visit. I wonder who I should visit first?
My buddy at 841 N Kentucky Ave?? Maybe the one at 3272 W 42nd St?
Maybe Lee in NYC? Or maybe I should just head on over to 5220 N Sawyer
Ave where Ed and I could debate the utility of our measurement tools.
Not exactly. But you *did* say "I achieve the same thing at a much lower
Even accepting that claim as true -- which I don't -- it's still pointless.
The accuracy and repeatability of the TS-Aligner already exceed that of any
commonly available woodworking equipment. Greater accuracy is of no benefit.
I bet *that's* convenient.
Still cheaper than the TS-Aligner, huh? I doubt it, somehow.
I'm sure some of the machinists here will have a comment or two on that one.
ROTFLMAO!! You've devised a system that's (a) cheaper than the TS-Aligner, and
(b) is so precise that its accuracy can be affected by atmospheric conditions.
Oooohhhhhh... you can do a whois lookup to find publicly available
information. Wow. I'm so impressed.
Come on over. You're welcome any time. Bring your magical alignment system
along, and we'll compare it to the TS-Aligner Junior in my shop.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
On Thu, 02 Nov 2006 14:07:47 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller)
Ya know, Doug, I'm beginning to regret my prior voice of moderation.
A Google search finds only one occurrence of Mr/Ms "notmenotnow"
anywhere, in any group. That may not be accurate since that's the
first time I've used Google for that purpose. But, in light of that
and the tone of some recent posts, I'm seriously thinking "sockpuppet"
or, to paraphrase the elusive "notmenotnow":
"WTF is this???????? Sounds - Looks - Walks, like TROLL!"
I count four postings - over a period of 6 years.
3 in the wreck.
I could even guess his name, but will just say his initials are AR.
But his e-mail is ...@cfl.rr.com and
So notmenotnow's from Florida - I'd guess.
Sending unsolicited commercial e-mail to this account incurs a fee of
$500 per message, and acknowledges the legality of this contract.
I do have some familiarity with laser interferometers (used them at IBM
and HP) and other optical measurement instruments (I have a fully
equipped autocollimator in my Metrology lab). So I hope you understand
exactly why I firmly believe that your statement contains a fair amount
of bovine fecal matter. Many people who don't understand what you are
talking about might not be able to discern the facts but I actually
can. Just saying that you do this automatically puts you in the camp
of people who don't understand what you are talking about. Especially
if you think that the alignment of woodworking machinery is influenced
by the mechanical "flex" in dial indicators or atmospheric turbulence
disrupting the stability of your interferometer.
There is nothing to "debate" here about the "utility" of your solution.
This is not "the same thing" and it is definitely not "much lower
cost". You are not going to use such a setup to align table saws, set
jointer knives or tram drill press tables. It won't measure blade tilt
or miter gauge angles. And, such a setup can never sell for less than
$200 (except for those who use the five finger discount at the midnight
super sale). The closest thing I've ever seen was a 20 year old HP
setup on Ebay and it went for an order of magnitude more than a
TS-Aligner Jr. (still kicking myself for letting that one go!).
By the way I'm not a big fan of veiled threats. So, if you do decide
to visit I will be happy to arrange free accommodations including
meals. The Garden City Police Department is about two blocks away.
The posting of addresses is in reply to e-mails I've received. I
didn't want other
people to know their exact addresses so I only posted enough for them
to know that
I can also google up some data. I tried replying with e-mail but that
Obviously someone had the desire to look me up and threaten me via
e-mail. Why are
Ed and Doug so hostile over me suggesting that they keep marketing off
newsgroup? So hostile that they'll lie about me calling them? They
must be making
more money off that hunk of sheet metal than I thought they were.
For the record, I haven't called anyone. This is a discussion forum,
wrestling ring. You can also rest assured that having a public
disagreement with me is an automatic exclusion from being harmed. If
that was my intent that I wouldn't have replied at all. Speaking of
which, I'm not the one who responded with insults in the first place.
I just pointed out that I would rather not see advertising here.
I own a small company that improves manufacturing processes through the
lasers. We engineer the systems and write embedded front-ends to
process data for
various pre-made laser systems. One of my favorite vendors is just
down the road.
Check out their product page at:
If you checked out the website you'll see that this company makes
products that measure DISTANCE using lasers. They also measure ANGLES
and that data is used to CALIBRATE machinery. It's not rocket science.
Dial indicators aren't used as much
for calibration anymore. Back when Ed and Doug were working for Mr.
Slate in the
quarry, dial indicators were cool. Today people have the option of
lasers. The client I'm working with today uses a system we developed
to ensure the
circumference of their cigarettes is consistent. That's 8000
cigarettes per minute
per machine. Each cigarette is measured 20 times from different
smoking is an obsessive behavior, it's important that a smoker always
exact same experience when they light up. That includes, length,
weight, color, odor, etc. Lasers are used to help achieve that.
Lasers are prone to atmospheric interruption, particularly in a
manufacturing environment. Tobacco dust of .2 microns can throw
measurements out of whack. So can adverse changes in humidity. Most
of the time we engineer a known positive airlow into the system to keep
dust out of the stream. Be sure to read this little blurb on that:
The calibration tool I put together for my shop uses a laser that's
specifically made for measurements. The cost is $70. I use a Xilinx
Spartan 3 FPGA
to control the laser, check sensors, run the UI and calcluate the trig.
I think I paid $6 for it. I did use a Motorola 68000 CPU core,
implemented in verilog and programmed into the FPGA.
(http://opencores.org ) This was due to cost/speed/familiarity. I also
used a compact flash slot and System Ace interface chip to program the
FPGA on powerup. The entire solution is around $90. I'm not the first
person to do this by any means but wanted to try rolling my own.
This guy gives a simple explanation of how distance is measured with
lasers but I do I'm doing it a little differently. I use the latency
So what can my setup do that Ed's doesn't? First, you can take
measurements when a
machine is running. Want to detect blade wobble? How about blade
flatness or tooth pitch consistency? Turn on the saw, select the test
and hit a button. When the memory fills up the test is over. Download
the data to your PC and graph. Ed's device is also limited to 2
measurement points. If you want to miter slot alignment, my device
will measure from A through C, not just A and C. A and C refer to end
points. B is the middle. Ed's device also requires the use of goofy
triangles and charts to determine an angle. Yes Ed, I have bought one
of your products.
In the near future you'll likely see a similar device being marketed.
I don't own the patents needed to make something like this happen but I
can put one together. The big plus in laser calibration is that most
of the physical deviations of a device like Ed's are gone. You don't
have bearings, rails, steel rods or a slab of aluminum that will
deviate in changing conditions.
Well, there you have the answers to many things that Ed and Doug stated
are false. They declared themselves the experts. Doug stated that
atmospheric conditions wouldn't affect a laser. Ed stated that
measuring angles with a laser is not possible. Both said it would be
too expensive. In fact, Ed said that I couldn't make the same thing
cheaper. Ed must not know that I have a mill and some T11 sitting in
the shop. I'm pretty confident that I could copy his design in a day
or perhaps two. But why bother when I have one that I don't use
What was the purpose in Doug and Ed stating something that's not true?
lies or deliberate attempts to mislead the group? Are they just trying
to sell more product? Why is it that Ed and Doug decided to be
aggressive towards me when I started with a friendly comment? I'd say
they feel that their superiority as the all-knowing guru's of this
newsgroup is threatened. There's nothing wrong with other people being
more knowledgable in a subject than I am. That's just the way it is.
Ed and Doug should learn to accept that too.
BTW: Whichever one of you has my address is welcome to send me an x-mas
: Lasers are prone to atmospheric interruption, particularly in a
: manufacturing environment. Tobacco dust of .2 microns can throw
: measurements out of whack.
Well, then thank goodness no dust or anything would occur in a woodworking
shop to interfere with on of your spiffy laser alignbment systems for a tablesaw.
Gonna git me one real soon now!
-- Andy Barss, happy with his TS Aligner Jr.
It would appear that there's some confusion. I never sent you any
email. My email server does not have any record of any email messages
I never said anything to you about your protesting my message.
I never said that you called me. I said that I received a call from
the same number that Doug did and that I know exactly who it is. It
appears that you accept guilt before being accused.
Actually, Doug makes no money from the sale of my products. And I make
next to no money! Honestly, every month is a major struggle. I have
to keep a lot of irons in the fire to make ends meet.
And, I don't make anything out of sheet metal. Everything I sell is
machined from aluminum extrusions, or ground rod and flat stock
Great, I never said that you did. And, that address and phone number
isn't yours, right?
Glad to hear it. So, the veiled threats were....just for effect?
Fine. So you retract the veiled threats, right?
Nice products. Still, they don't seem to do "the same thing" or "cost
much less" than a TS-Aligner Jr. I would think that the work required
to adapt them to the alignment of woodworking machinery would far
exceed the cost of a Jr. Certainly the cost of even the least
expensive of these units must be more than $200, right? Someone who
owns a company that specializes in such adaptations should probably
I did check out the web site. I didn't see anything that could be used
to set blade tilt or miter gauge angles. Nothing to set jointer
knives. Nothing at all adapted for the alignment of any woodworking
machinery. I don't doubt that someone skilled in optical metrology
can't use this equipment to accomplish some of these tasks. But, this
isn't "the same thing" and it doesn't "cost much less".
Do you really believe this? This is an exaggeration for effect, right?
Hyperbole, right? I would have to say that dial indicators (and their
digital cousins) are still selling pretty well - probably better than
any other time in history. Perhaps you could cite a major industrial
supplier who has replaced their offering of dial indicators with laser
measurement systems. I don't see any laser measurement systems in MSC,
Grainger, or McMaster. But they do have a boatload of dial indicators.
Sounds like a good application. Much better than blade tilt, miter
gauge angles, jointer knife alignment.
Nothing here surprises me. Like I said, I've worked with lasers.
Can't afford my own setup but could use one if you are giving it away!
Where can a person buy such a laser for $70?
But, it doesn't do "the same thing" does it.
Distance is fine but it's still not adapted for aligning and adjusting
It's not a question of what your device can do that mine cannot. It's
a question of your device being able to do everything that mine does.
Really? Earlier in the thread you said: "...I won't buy Ed's product
based solely on the fact that he's taking advantage of this forum to
make a buck." Now you say that you already have bought one of my
products. I must say that it's a bit confusing.
Yes, but there's no need to be worried about any of these sources of
error when aligning woodworking machinery. And, you can't say that
there aren't some significant issues involved in laser measurement
devices (air turbulence, temperature variation, vibration, dust,
alignment, stability, etc.). If I'm certifying a large machining
center or boring mill, then the laser system is great. But, I really
don't think it has much application in the woodshop.
I don't think so.
I didn't do it before, but I'll do it now: I am an expert! Sorry,
couldn't resist. I do have a whole bunch of years experience doing
I have the upmost respect for Doug but I can't speak for what he said.
No, that's not exactly what I said. In fact, that's not even remotely
close to what I said. I said: "You are not going to use such a setup
to align table saws, set jointer knives or tram drill press tables. It
won't measure blade tilt or miter gauge angles." So, was I wrong? Are
you using your laser to do all these things? We know what you claim
above (about being able to measure the blade wobble while the machine
is running) but what about practical things? Do you have the fixturing
necessary to do a blade alginment? How about blade tilt or miter gauge
angles? Can you do these sort of tasks in a practical, timely manner
in a working woodshop environment? Or, is this just a bunch of theory
and goofing around in your garage?
That's not quite what I said. I asked you to explain your comments.
Specifically, I said: "Do you really have an innovative solution?. Can
you really "achieve the same thing" as a TS-Aligner Jr.
"at a much lower cost"?" You replied with a vague description of your
laser setup. So, I'm willing to be really liberal in my definition of
"much lower cost". If I give you $171.90 (one cent less than a
TS-Aligner Jr.) will you send me a complete laser setup that will
"achieve the same thing" that the TS-Aligner Jr. does? Be careful how
you answer. If you say "yes", then I might just call your bluff. And,
I bet that there might just be a few others in the group who would be
interested. If you say "no" then you are admitting that I was right.
Well, we're not talking about my design, we're talking about yours.
But, I'm sure that if you don't count your time, cost of materials,
cost of equipment, and other various costs of doing business, then you
probably could copy a Jr. for less than my selling price. Big deal, I
do it all the time! That's how I make my living! If I couldn't make
it for less than the selling price I would have gone out of business a
long time ago.
The point is that you haven't done this yet. In your original
statement you said: "I achieve the same thing at a much lower cost".
You did not say "I could achieve the same thing at a much lower cost".
It's not a matter of what you can possibly do at some time in the
future, it's about what you are doing right now.
I wouldn't know. I didn't state anything that wasn't true. Did you
I'm trying to discern the truth of your claim. I don't think that Doug
is selling anything.
I'm not being aggressive toward you. I'm just trying to get you to
stand by your own claim.
I think you are getting a bit carried away here. Hyperbole again,
I wouldn't have your address unless it was you that called. Don't you
remember? You were denying that up above. Are you now saying that it
was you that called? Is it your address that I have? I'm confused!
PS: you might have noticed that I sign my messages. I do this because
I believe in and stand behind what I say. I am not the sort to hide
behind some sort of anonymous moniker. You found my address (and a map
to my shop) because I put it up on my web site.
Sorry, I missed this one the first time around:
Below you say that you own one. But here you call it a "hunk of sheet
metal". Anybody who owns a TS-Aligner Jr. would know that it's not
made from sheet metal. So, once again I'm confused. Both statements
can't be true. I wouldn't mind an explanation - especially since this
comment is not exactly complimentary.
Yes Ed, it's not made of sheet metal. That was a joke. Sense of
humor. Got one? I do have one of your aligners but I didn't buy it.
It's one of the many tools that's found its way from my fathers shop to
mine. I got some good use out of it while making a homebrew CNC
machine (that's still not finished). Yes it's very sturdy and very
heavy and I'd probably use it a whole lot more if I didn't have access
to the laser toys I work with.
I think you didn't quite get what pinlaser products are designed to
accomplish. They're specifically made for calibrating machinery. That
includes lathes, joiners, saws, mills, etc. The best part is that you
can can troubleshoot issues that only crop up when the equipment is
running. Yes, the solutions I install with their products are very
expensive. I wouldn't use them in my shop because I can't afford that.
If you do a google search, most laser calibration tools include the
hardware and software to control the laser and detection units. I put
mine together from just a laser. The logic is what costs you. I could
have gone with a cheaper laser but I got stuck with an extra from a
previous job. I didn't just "fiddle around in the shop" as you
suggested. Not entirely. I do this for a living but if you count
precision milling, programming gate arrays and writing controller code
"fiddling" then I suppose you could say your correct.
As for your other question, no it's not my phone number so that doesn't
bother me. The one sent in the email is obviously correct so yes, it's
a bit disturbing that someone has nothing better to do. I never made a
veiled threat to anyone. I don't live south of the mason dixon
anymore. I never said Ed wasn't knowledgable at calibration - only
that he's not an expert at everything - nobody is. My OP just said
that I'd prefer not to see advertising here. I'm surprised how that
comment led to all the aggressive language. I'm not what I'd consider
to be a newbie to the rec. I've just done a lot of lurking over the
past few years. Mostly because I've seen threads like this in the
I have to get back out to a client now. I don't get to sit at home and
post messages all day like some of you.
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