I didn't understand what you meant by bed extension until I read it again.
When I get off my butt and install my DRO, I'll push the up and down arrows
to accomodate the sled. Or I'll adjust the planer so that it just touches
the sled, and then zero out the display.
Have you considered attaching one of these to your planer?
I just received mine and will be attaching it to my Ridgid planer in a few
weeks (I have a few other projects to finish first). I'll post after I
I've had the 6" and 4" calipers for several years and really like them. The
4" fits nicely in my pocket.
What's wrong with a vernier? They are difficult to read at an angle or in
dim light. You can't zero them out when partially open to do a comparison
reading. You can't switch to metric at the push of a button. And when
taking dozens of readings, they take a long time. Comparing a digital
caliper to a vernier is like comparing a calculator to slide rule.
I've also been very happy with HF's dial indictors (normally around $13 but
frequently on sale for around $7). Dial indicators are very useful when you
have more than one. Many tools (such as the TS Aligner Jr, and numerous
height gauges used to set jointer/shaper blades) use outdated designs which
assume only one Starrett (or Starrett like) indicator at $100+ (ie. you only
have one). But these tools could do a far better and quicker job if they
were designed to use 2 or 3 indicators.
I'm not very well versed in the nuances of alignment and set up jigs
for machinery, but I'm very intrigued by your line of thinking. Could
you elaborate a little on how you would envision a multiple gauge to
work, and why it would be better and quicker? Thanks.
Now you've got me thinking....
Consider the gauge used to set jointer blades. To see an example, search
Woodcraft's web page for item 126979. It is essentially an iron square that
holds one dial indicator above the blade. The design dates from a time when
dial indicators were very expensive and so the gauge was designed to use
only one indicator. You slide it back and forth repetitively, and wiggle
the blade until you get the same reading at different positions.
Now consider a modern version that holds two dial indicators spaced about 4"
apart. You set the square on the jointer's outfeed bed such that both
indicator stems touch the bed. Move the arrows (ie. most dial indicators
have 2 moveable arrows around the outside) to mark the readings (both
indicators do not need to read the same). You've just zeroed out both
indicators. Now slide the square so that the stems touch the blade, and
adjust the blade so that the indicator needles touch the arrows (ie. the
zero position that you previously established). You don't have to slide the
gauge back and forth. And you only need minimal adjustment of the blade.
As for a table saw alignment tool like the TS Aligner Jr, first you slide it
back and forth and adjust the bearings to take up slop in the miter gauge
slot. Then you slide it back and forth along the blade (turning the blade
at the same time). You have to do this because you only have one dial
Consider an improved version which has two indicators spaced about 8" apart
which has been factory adjusted so that both indicators read the same. You
put it in the miter gauge so that both indicators are touching the blade.
Then you turn an eccentric bolt which locks the gauge in place. No more
sliding back and forth. Now you turn the blade several revolutions by hand
and watch both indicators as you turn. If the blade is warped, the needles
are going to move a lot, and you want to stop at a point where the needles
aren't moving very much (ie. you've moved the warp into the vertical axis).
If the blade isn't warped, the needles won't move much and you can stop
anywhere. Now get out the hammer and screwdriver and adjust the table so
that both indicators read the same. If you don't want a factory adjusted
gauge, you can use a machinist's square to zero out the indicators.
snip of multi-gauge discussion
Are there gauges that can be retrofitted for multiple dial indicators,
or is this something that you'd need to create from scratch? Given
the low cost of highly accurate (or is it precise?) gauges, I'm
surprised their aren't a whole bunch of commercially available,
multiple gauge alignment aides.
My gut tells me that I should first learn how to tune machinery using
the most rudimentary jigs and devices, so the physics of the process
become very clear. Then I can better evaluate whether a certain jig
is timesaving and/or more accurate.
Give yourself the best chance to do excellent work.
My whole point is that people who design the gauges are stuck with an
outdated way of thinking that says "dial indicators are expensive so my
design will only use one".
Gauges that are designed from the beginning assuming multiple cheap
indicators won't work with just one. So you won't see gauges that can use
one indicator, or optionally use more.
Not at all. Dial indicators were developed by, and are used extensively in
the metalworking industry. The reason for using a single gage is the
elimination of variables. The cost of indicators has never been a factor to
them. They have always been relatively cheap. For someone using an indicator
for alignment at home, two might seem easier. For me (machinist), setting
two indicators to do a simple alignment (mill vise, or tablesaw blade) would
increase the time to do the job.
Aligning a mill vise with two indicators would take longer because the jig
used to do the alignment was designed for one indicator (ie. clamp the
indicator in the chuck and sweep the fixed jaw). Imagine a jig that you
clamp in the chuck/collet/holder that holds 3 indicators (all factory
calibrated to read the same). The center indicator is centered with the
shaft in the chuck/collet/holder. All you have to do square the jig against
the table (ie. all 3 indicators read the same), clamp the spindle, then
adjust the vise so that the two outside indicators read the same as the
middle one. No more sweeping.
How do you square the 3 dial jig in the chuck? One indicator in a
locked chuck and all you have to do is a sweep to check. Does it take
hours to establish that the jig is square? What jig does it take to
make sure the 3 indicator jig is square or parallel or plumb or choose
What you call magic, I call child's play.
The three indicators need to read the same to work. Adjusting them at the
factory is child's play. Merely a setscrew that allows the indicator to
slide back and forth.
If you want to do your own calibration, you merely need to use a machinists
square. One leg against the indicator stems, another leg against the edge
of the holder (that has been machined square).
I use indicators all the time. I don't handicap myself by doing things the
I own I think 6 or 7 indicators. sometimes I set them up in multiples,
but never more than one to measure the same thing, which is what it
sounds like you are advocating. bloody waste of time, much like what
this thread has become.
tell you what. take some pictures of your setup and post them to ABPW.
'till then, this thread is dead as far as I'm concerned.
As I said, you square it against the table by getting all 3 indicators to
read the same. To elaborate, you let all three stems touch the table, then
turn the chuck so that the three read the same. When this happens, the jig
is square to the table. Then clamp the spindle. It is a few seconds of
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