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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 tables, etc.
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.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:
...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. is different.
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 your knowledge!
While you are busy checking out what a Jr. does, you might also bother read my philosophy page:
http://www.ts-aligner.com/philosophy.htm
That's where you will learn that I don't sell things that people can make on their own at a "much lower cost".
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
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snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com (in snipped-for-privacy@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.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.
<vbg>
(Sorry, the devil made me do it.)
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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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:
http://www.ts-aligner.com/tsjrlitevsdistick.htm
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.
Ed
Morris Dovey wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com (in snipped-for-privacy@h48g2000cwc.googlegroups.com) said:
| Morris Dovey wrote: || snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com (in || snipped-for-privacy@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.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. || || <vbg> || || (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: | | http://www.ts-aligner.com/tsjrlitevsdistick.htm | | 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 :-)
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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wrote:

Good stuff Ed. That is a good page that stands well on its own. I really don't thaink that many businesses could come up with anything better.
I wonder if the original objector has a philosophy page?
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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 anything.
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 extreme circumstances.
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.
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Uh-huh.
Not exactly. But you *did* say "I achieve the same thing at a much lower cost anyway."

<chuckle>
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. <g>

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.
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

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.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Thu, 02 Nov 2006 14:07:47 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:
...

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!"
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Tom Veatch writes:

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 X-Trace: tornado.tampabay.rr.com
So notmenotnow's from Florida - I'd guess.
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okayyyyyyy.... but 'notmenotnow' isn't the one who's been misbehaving...
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Hmmmm.....
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.
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com wrote:

Ed -- please have a look at my post titled "Strange phone call this morning".
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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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 keeps bouncing back.
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 the 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, not a 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 use of 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.
http://www.pinlaser.com
Check out their product page at:
http://www.pinlaser.com/products.html
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 precision using 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 angles. Because smoking is an obsessive behavior, it's important that a smoker always have the exact same experience when they light up. That includes, length, circumference, 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:
http://www.pinlaser.com/faq.html#q15
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 (http://www.xilinx.com/products/silicon_solutions/fpgas/spartan_series/spartan3_fpgas/index.htm ) 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 instead.
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hall/1410/lab-Project-11.html
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 anymore?
What was the purpose in Doug and Ed stating something that's not true? Were these 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 card.
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: 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.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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 from you.

Not me.

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 (steel).

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 know this.

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?

(http://www.xilinx.com/products/silicon_solutions/fpgas/spartan_series/spartan3_fpgas/index.htm )
But, it doesn't do "the same thing" does it.

Distance is fine but it's still not adapted for aligning and adjusting woodworking machinery.

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 this.

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 Doug?

Neither.
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, right?

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!
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
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.
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Sorry, I missed this one the first time around:
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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.
Thanks, Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
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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 past.
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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Sure looked to me like a veiled threat. And to other people.
Fourteen.

Oddly enough, the NNTP headers of this message show that it was posted through 'lds.al.charter.com'. That wouldn't happen to be located in... Alabama... would it?
Fifteen.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Fri, 03 Nov 2006 15:10:24 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

eBay seller - user ID todd1814 - location Birmingham, AL
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