Updated review: SuperBar by MasterGage, Inc.

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Hi Folks,
Finally sunk some cash into one of these things. Thought people might be interested to learn exactly what they get with one of these. Feedback is always welcome!
The review:
http://www.ts-aligner.com/tsjrlitevssb.htm
Thanks, Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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Nice Ad, Ed. I didn't know spam was allowed on this NG.
Max
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It's a review Max. Like most web sites that host reviews, it includes some promotional materials as well. Most people can get the information that they want from it and ignore the information that they don't want.
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Ed, maybe the problem with problem reviews does really lie in your court! Would the reviews and the whole perception of the TS-Aligner series be different if they were originally name WS-Aligner (wood shop) or WM-Aligner (woodworking machine)? The TS does lead the uninitiated to think your baby is a one trick pony. Has any review stacked your product up against your 'competitors' doing anything other than a table saw alignment?
I do own one of your units and could not be happier.
TinWoodsmn
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I think you make a good point. The name can be misleading to the uninitiated.
The Wood Magazine review (9/03) did a competitive lineup and included functionality on a wide variety of woodworking machinery. However, most reviews do focus solely on the table saw and are limited to blade and fence alignment. This is how the most recent one went (Woodsmith 8/07). They ordered a TS-Aligner Jr. (not the Jr Lite!). The two other products in the article (SuperBar and A-Line-It) are pretty much limited to table saw blade and fence alignment and were completely outclassed by the Jr. Even so, the article included such phrases as "...all three jigs work in the same way." and "...each of these jigs does more or less the same thing...".
Were the comments in the Woodsmith article based on perception brought about by the name? Not this time. I had included a two page Reviewer's Guide along with the Jr. outlining the scope and purpose of the product. There was a short cover letter pointing out the Reviewer's Guide (as if it could be missed). One of the paragraphs in the Reviewer's Guide reads:
"The TS-Aligner products are an overkill if they are used only for table saw blade and fence alignment. They perform these functions very well but are really designed to facilitate all machinery adjustment with the precision and accuracy needed to eliminate test cuts. So, comparisons with low cost or home made jigs that only perform fence and blade alignment are not relevant."
Yet, that's what the article focused on and 70% of the Jr's functionality was disregarded. Clearly, the Reviewer's Guide was completely ignored (along with about 37 pages of the manual). They did something else that was very curious. The photos in the article show that they peeled off the Jr's product label. That's a new one!
I think that there are a lot of reasons why people get the wrong idea about the TS-Aligner products. Certainly the name contributes to the problem. But, I have to say that ignorance (both inadvertant and deliberate) plays a big role especially with the journalistic types. Maybe it's just me, but I just can't imagine writing a review without fully disclosing all of the relevant information I know about the product (and it's maker).

Thanks Tim, I appreciate the good word!
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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Ed,
The review is informative, but at the end you appear to be going on a rant about your personal issues with Mr. Reilly. To be blunt, it makes you look a bit like a kook. I think you would be better off just sticking to the facts about the tool.
-Jack http://zo-d.com/stuff

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Thanks Jack, I appreciate the feedback. I waffle back and forth about including the adventures I've had with Mr. Reilly. As I said in the review, I've attempted to be very conciliatory concerning his objections - and this was after I discovered him pirating the TS- Aligner trade name with bad faith intent. He has published his objections to me, my reviews, and my products on his web site. I have reproduced those objections in the reviews with my commentary. I'm not sure how that makes me look like a kook. I hope it helps people understand the sort of person they are dealing with when they buy his products.
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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wrote:

My recommendation is to take the high road. I agree with Jack that your ranting at the end really make you look like a wacko.
I know that it hard not to want to correct misconceptions that some nutball has about your products. One time I was representing a product on a PBS TV Show. Before the show the host discussed some of the highs/lows of the products and had a huge mistake about mine. When I told him the problem he said that he would make sure to get it right on the air.
You can guess what happened when we went live. He make the same mistake and you can hear me shouting No! I looked like a total raving lunatic.
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I understand what you are saying - especially if someone just looks at it and doesn't actually read it and follow what is being said. Based on your comments, I have done some major revisions:
http://www.ts-aligner.com/tsjrlite_vs_superbar.htm
It may not be the "highest" road, but I believe that it is considerably higher than before. I would be interested to know what you think.

Yep. These sort of situations are extremely common and almost hopeless. You have an actor playing the part of an expert. He really doesn't know the subject or the issues and probably would never understand them no matter how hard he tried. He's got some idea in his head and it just won't go away. Magazine reviews often take this same bent (with a journalistic type playing the part of an expert). It generally does no good to try and correct them.
My situation is a bit different. Mr. Reilly is being deliberately malicious.
Thanks, Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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Well, it was Mr. Reilly who purchased all of those domains similar to Ed's. That's kookish.
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My 2 cents - if I didn't already own the tool, the review would be helpful to me in making a choice.
Owned the TS-Aligner for years, and to be honest, the SuperBar looks like junk to me. You'd have to use the TS-Aligner to really understand what a value it is. The parts are well designed and built to last. The documentation is superb - from the manual to the video tape.
Don't know Ed... but I know his product, his service and support - and it's second to none. Couldn't do w/out the TS-Aligner after using it for so long.
As far as "Spam" goes - I learned about the TS-Aligner from this newsgroup years ago - as I did Steve Knight planes. I'll always buy a quality tool at a good price - their support and "spam" on this board is just a bonus....
- jbd
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wrote:

Question for you. You say putting the dial indicator at an angle to get a reading near the table introduces error. It would seem to me that we don't care about absolute values and the plane from which we chose to measure is arbitrary. You may not get exactly the same reading, but I don't see how that prevents you from accomplishing the goal, especially when the angle we're talking about is small.
Btw, I agree with the others about taking the high road. I can see addressing the FWW article, but if I want to compare two products I'll do it myself. All I had to do was look at the picture of the competition to know it wasn't worth anything more than a cheap dial indicator.
-Leuf
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As a general rule, you want to control error introduced by your measurement setup so that it is less than the resolution of your measurement device. That way, the reading you see on the measurement device truely represents the object you are measuring. Otherwise, you are forced to adjust the readings based on the bias that the setup imposes - a very error prone procedure.
Error from tilting the dial indicator is going to correspond to the cosine of the angle of the tilt:
Reading = actual deviation * cos(tilt)
For small angles it's not too much. One degree will make a 0.005" reading look like 0.004999". But, tilt that indictor 30 degrees and the 0.005" deviation will look more like 0.004" (0.004330")
Blade alignment should be to within 0.005" to avoid adverse affects in the quality of the cut. Tilting the indicator in this situation will reduce the reading by about a thousandth. So, if you can manage to align the blade so that the reading shows less than 0.004" error, then you're OK. But, if you don't take this into account, you could think that it's aligned to 0.005" when it is really more than 0.005". And, if you factor in the instability of the reading when using something like a SuperBar (0.002" - 0.003") then the problem becomes even more complicated.
It would seem like the blade replacement plate is a good solution to this problem. It is if you can be absolutely sure that it's flat and will not introduce error greater than the resolution of your measurement device. In the review I mention the MasterPlate product. As I understand it, the stated spec for this product is +/- 0.003" (three times, or 300% greater than the resolution of the dial indicator). It's obvious that use of this particular instrument is far worse than tilting the dial indicator. At least with the tilted indicator, you can anticipate the direction and magnitude of the error. With the plate, it is not possible to discern if a change in reading is due to arbor misalignment or variation in the reference surface.
When it comes to flange runout, the tolerance is very small. You really don't want anything beyond a thousandth of an inch because it will end up getting magnified by the diameter of the blade. You might think that your runout is less than 0.001 (ideal) but in reality it's more like 0.002 - 0.003 (which is something you would like to get fixed).

Take a look at the new version and let me know what you think.
http://www.ts-aligner.com/tsjrlite_vs_superbar.htm

I certainly wish more magazine editors had your powers of observation!
Thanks, Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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wrote:

Okay, I hadn't crunched the numbers. I went down and looked at my dial indicator on a stick setup and it looks like mine is a fair bit closer to the table than with the superbar. I measured about a 20 degree angle at most. It seems to me, purely for aligning the blade, that keeping in mind you're losing .0005 to .001 by tilting is as viable as your offset bar.

I think you're spending too much effort to be detailed, it makes it look like you're trying to find anything wrong when the reality is you don't need to look hard at all. I think you could make a clearer and more damning argument by just having a three way comparison between yours, the superbar, and the dial indicator on a stick method. Something like this:
http://krtwood.com/compare.html
It needs explanation of what some of the terms on the left column actually mean and why they are important, but it cuts right to the heart of the matter.
-Leuf
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It assumes that the point of contact will be a sphere. Most dial indicators have a spherical stylus but some have more of the sphere exposed than others. If you run off the edge of the sphere then all bets are off.
The dial indicator angle on SuperBar is going to depend on how long the stylus has been extended. The shorter it is, the steeper the angle. But, you also gain some stability.

Well, the purpose of the review is to lay out everything about the product and try to approximate the buyer's experience. I really dislike the reviews where someone has already decided for me what they believe is most important. More often than not, that person doesn't have the slightest idea of what is important and manages to gloss over points that can make product desirable or unacceptable. When you show everything, then the reader can decide for themselves if they like the product or not. Unfortunately, careful scrutiny can look like a witch hunt.

Nice chart. It outlines the things that are most important to you. Many people would not be able to use it to make a decision. You're right, the terms in the left column would need explanation. By the time you went to all the trouble to explain what each meant and why it mattered, taking pictures to illustrate the points, you would be approaching what I have already done. You would just need to include things like warranty, case, miter slot mechanism, indicator quality, etc.
It's important to cover the manufacturer's selling points because these are things that presumably attracted the buyer in the first place. If they are real, and have some importance, then the review needs to confirm this. If they are a bogus pile of bovine fecal matter, then the review needs to expose them (and the maker for being deceptive).
So, really what I was interested in was the end part. I didn't make changes to anything else. The feedback from you (and others) said that the ending was inappropriate. I changed it considerably (taking a "higher" road) and was wondering what people thought of it.
Thanks, Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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Much better.
-Jack http://zo-d.com/stuff
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Thanks Jack! I appreciate the feedback.
Ed
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Ed, I agree that the tilt alters the reading you get on the dial indicator. I also agree with your statement about the tip being spherical and getting off the the sphere causes all bets to be off.
However, I think you're incorrect about the error you get by having the dial indicator tilted. What happens is the actual error displayed is *increased*, not decreased.
The correct formula is:
Reading = actual deviation / cos(tilt)
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On Sep 18, 4:20 pm, snipped-for-privacy@smof.fiawol.org (John Cochran) wrote:

Hi John,
That's funny, I remember it being an error factor, not an error quotient. I don't have my books here at the shop but I found this on the web:
http://www.mmsonline.com/articles/1003gage.html
He seems to think it's a factor too. Hmmm...
So, I rigged up a 0.0001/div indicator to see what happens. I tilted it down 30 degrees relative to the table. This makes it 30 degrees off axis with a line perpendicular to the surface of the blade. I used a cone indicator point with an 80 degree included angle to avoid interference from edges. Then I used two gage blocks (0.1000 and 0.1050) against a 2,3,4 block to check the difference in reading. If there were no error, then you would expect the indicator to show a 0.005" change. Instead, it showed a 0.0058" change. The error did make the reading larger, just like your formula would predict. It's off by a little but then I didn't do anything to ensure alignment in the other direction).
The emperical data does support your formula. And, as I think about the geometry, it seems to make sense. Hmmmm.....
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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On Sep 18, 4:20 pm, snipped-for-privacy@smof.fiawol.org (John Cochran) wrote:

Hi John,
Are you sure? I don't have my books here at the shop but I found this on the web:
http://www.mmsonline.com/articles/1003gage.html
This guy is saying it's an error factor, not a quotient.
You've got my curiosity going. I jiged up an indicator to see what happens and the reading was higher than expected. For a 0.005" change, the reading is 0.0059". That's pretty close to the calculated 0.005773, considering I didn't do anything to align the indicator in the other direction.
I tilted the indicator down so that it formed a 30 degree angle with the table surface. This would be the same as being 30 degrees off axis with a line perpendicular to the blade. Then I measured two gauge blocks (0.1000 and 0.1050) proped vertically against a 2,3,4 block (standing in for the blade). I used a cone shaped indicator point (80 deg included angle) to ensure that no edges were going to interfere with the measurement.
I'll check the books when I get home tonight. The emperical data does support your formula.
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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