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Must Have Measuring Tools

Discussion in 'METROLOGY - MEASURE, SETUP & FIT' started by Management, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Management

    Management United States Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    ? 6" digital caliper, possibly a 12" as well
    ? Dial test indicator
    ? 0-1" micrometer (0.0001" or better)
    ? 0-6" or 0-12" micrometer set
    ? micrometer head
    ? depth gage
    ? gage blocks (aka Joe Blocks)
    ? Dial indicator
    ? Dial test indicator holder for mill spinlde, possibly indicol style
    ? Magnetic base dial indicator holder
    ? Comparator stand for dial indicator, you can get ones with an 8x10 granite surface plate
    ? Thread measuring wires
    ? telescoping bore gages
    ? screw pitch gages
    ? angle blocks
    ? radius gage set
    ? angle gage set
    ? center line gage accessory for caliper
    ? micrometer anvil set
    ? surface finish comparator
    ? Magnifying loupe with reticles
    ? 230X USB microscope
    ? large surface plate, height gage, precision squares, etc. is nice to have but large, heavy, and expensive.
    ? scale with right angle, center finder, and protractor
    ? Universal bevel protractor
    ? Sine bar
    ? master precision level
    ? pin gage sets, particularly the <0.250" size
    ? plain inside/outside calipers and dividers
    ? kill-a-watt meter so you can see how many HP you are running

    Please feel free to add to this list!

    Best,

    Nelson
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2013
  2. aametalmaster

    aametalmaster H-M Supporter - Premium Content Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Looks like i need some more tools :)
    I use an old Craftsman 5 1/2" vernier caliper 99% of the time. I like it so much i found 2 more of them on ebay one used and a Fowler brand new in the box.
    I have Sherr inside mics 1 9/16"-12"
    Starrett OD mics 0-4" a few of each
    5 or 6 different dial indicators all brands.
    Sherr depth mics to 6" and a pile of other tools i don't use much...Bob
     
  3. Arved

    Arved Iron Registered Member

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    David - the jpgs you posted don't show up, and when I download them, I get an error that they're not a supported file format. Can you try again, please?

    Thanks,
    - Arved
     
  4. Uncle Buck

    Uncle Buck Active Member Active Member

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    The basics in measuring tools (at least the basics to work broadly)

    A 0-6" dial/digital caliper Brand of your choosing or vernier if that is your liking.
    Mics 0-4" with 0-6" being better. Brand of your choosing
    An adjustable mag base and a fixed post ideally.
    ID mic with rods to 12"
    Depth mic that goes to 6" at a minimum is best
    several 6" pocket rulers
    Universal dial test indicator set
    several back plunge indicators as well
    Small hole gage set
    telescoping gages
    combination square with centerhead and protractor head
    thread gages
    machinists level
    machinists squares
    parallels
    a set of 123 blocks
     
    4gsr likes this.
  5. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    Must haves? ALL OF THEM!!! :)
     
  6. Uncle Buck

    Uncle Buck Active Member Active Member

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    My list is likely not as lean as many others, but I can explain. I have had this addiction to buying, trading and aquiring tools as I can since I was a young guy and as such generally I don't do very well thinking in terms of only must have tools or accessories to run the machines I own. Too my thinking it isn't much good to have a machine without having the tooling, measuring tools, and accessories to make the very most out of the machine. That isn't to say that a very skilled machinist cannot build you a rocketship with just a 1" mic, a dial caliper and a 6" ruler. (you get my drift) it is more a statement of a broader selection of measuring tools or options to be able to select from possibly being able to sort of compensate for the fact that one is perhaps not a crack machinist. (me) :biggrin:

    To expand on the first paragraph I will further explain my thought process on buying tools. I have been buying tools for thirty five of my fourty nine years with no plans of stopping and have some definite thoughts on procurement of tools, machines and equipment bought for my own interests and not for making a living. In fact, I will follow this with a list of tool buying rules I follow.

    1) Always buy the best quality tool you can AFFORD, quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

    2) Buy used as much as you can.

    3) Know what tools cost new and used. Pay attention, study prices and brands alot. To succeed buying tools used you have to be able to think on your feet and buy at the time. That means you have to have a good sense of the worth of tools before buying them used. Not only the worth, but knowing good brands, both old and new goes a long way when buying tools used. If you cannot or do not have this ability you really need to avoid most used tools because in the long run you will lose more than you gain. The importance of knowing rough value of used being that by the time you leave and research the item, another guy will have already snapped up the deal and you lost out since you did not have the knowledge of the items worth.

    4) Buy USA as much as you can, however do not rule out an import or cheaper tool as the situation dictates. (my thing, I do not judge what others buy as that is their business) with that said, there are some tools where cheap alternatives can get you hurt or worse, a prime example being pullers. Also, along with pullers there are some other tools etc where cheap stuff just does not work. My list looks something like this. Sandpaper, drill bits, cutters, fuses and the like. One learns what can be trusted of the cheaper import stuff, and what is junk through use and purchase. Once you learn what the real junk is you just do not go there again. Some stuff is so easy to see the potential you just do not go there to begin with, IE pullers.

    5) Don't wait until you need a tool or accessory to buy it, look for the deal and be realistic in what tools you might actually use and buy those tools or equipment as you find them at the right price.

    6) While on the subject of price do not buy tools used at a price greater than you could later sell that tool/machine for.

    7) One last recent addition to my tool buying rules; pay attention to old USA made names leaving the country for offshore production. A prime example is Vise-Grip pliers. A few years ago Irwin Company bought the brand and moved them from DeWitt Nebraska to China or somewhere like that. When I saw that was going to happen I bought a decent selection of the USA made stuff for my son while it could still be had. My boy is nine, by the time he is of age to need those tools I wanted him to have some decent ones. This is the one circumstance that will cause me to break my buy it used philosophy. The new USA option is leaving likely never to return in my life so I will jump on stuff like that as I can afford to and as situations dictate.


    I think I might have highjacked this thread, sorry bout that. I will watch that! :eek:
     
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  7. Robert62

    Robert62 Active Member Active Member

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    I have most of the "Must Haves" but the pin gauges, do you use them very often? For the microscope, I have both the manual and a USB microscope. The USB microscope has software that can be used to measure different shapes based on a calibration.
     
  8. porter_jamie

    porter_jamie Active User Active Member

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    6" rule. if you dont have one of those in your top pocket you don't look the part!

    my must have is a 150mm/6" mitutoyo digi caliper. I do not make the mistake of lending if to anyone, since somebody ruined my last set using them to scribe a line, ffs.

    Being born in 1970 in the uk, we were not taught imperial/english at school, so i do struggle a bit with fractions. I envy my father who can convert effortlessly in his head between metric and imperial. I have to measure stuff in metric and then consult my trusty wall chart to see what the nearest imperial size is. How am i supposed to know what the next size up from 29/64 is!!!

    as for using an imperial micrometer, they frighten me! and i do not own any imperial clocks/indicators so i cannot get confused there.

    true story:
    i have worked at an automotive oem, and i visited the german supplier of clutch hydraulic master cylinders and slave cylinders. there are basically two sizes of mc, 19.05mm, and 15.875mm

    i immediately knew what these sizes were, so i asked the german supplier why we chose 19.05 and not 19mm, and 15.875 and not 16mm. He gave me this cock and bull story about how the diameter of the mc and the slave have been carefully chosen to get the correct hydraulic ratio blah blah blah.

    He had no idea at all it was 3/4" and 5/8". completely stunned.

    i like to think that it winds up the French that they invented the metric system, and michelin being one of the worlds biggest tyre manufacturers still have to make tyres in inch diameter .
     
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  9. Rbeckett

    Rbeckett Platinum Rest In Peace

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    And lest we forget the 25.4 wheel cylinders that abound on just about every rear wheel drive car on the planet. That is just too funny about how he missed such an obvious thing. I guess once your firmly entrenched in metric you forget the imperial system is around too. I would have been unable to walk away without schooling him at least a little or leaving him with some food for thought. But I have been refered to unkindly on more than one occcasion too. Great story.
    Bob
     
  10. rdhem2

    rdhem2 United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    One tool I have not seen mentioned yet but has saved my bacon more than once is a a Starrett tool that resembles a 6" scale. However it is tapered from one end to the other. Reads metric on one side, inch on the other. Sorry I don't know the part number.

    USE? You stick it in gaps or narrow openings until it stops and read the opening size by where it stops on the taper. Sure beats dragging out feeler guages and messing with them. If you need a REALLY accurate dimension, use the feelers, otherwise this gizmo is a dream. Came in a batch of used tools from e-bay and I probably owned it for 5-6 years before I took the time to figure out its purpose.

    Talley-Ho, time for making SWARF.
     
  11. ariscats

    ariscats Greece Active User Active Member

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    How about a thread measuring micrometer?I just got one,and i don't know if is better than
    the wires.Surely is more convenient.I will try to understand fully its operation.
    Help would be useful.Thanks in advance
    Ariscats
     
  12. swatson144

    swatson144 Global Moderator Staff Member Active Member

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    Cheap magnetic back dial indicator with at least 25.4 mm of travel (I derived that by carefully measuring the distance traveled with 10 turns of the hand wheel).

    Steve
     
  13. eightball

    eightball Active User Active Member

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    That funny looking starrett with the taper and lines on it is. Just that . It's a Taper Gauge and its used to align machinery

    - - - Updated - - -

    That funny looking starrett with the taper and lines on it is. Just that . It's a Taper Gauge and its used to align machinery
     
  14. Farmer Dodds

    Farmer Dodds Canada Active User Active Member

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    It looks like I have a long way to go with required tools. Purchasing as I can afford or need them, it will take quite a while.
     
  15. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    Nobody just up and buys them all at once. It takes a lifetime to get even close to everything you will want. Take your time and get the basics, then as you see the need, add to the tool chest.
     
  16. Richard King

    Richard King Active Member Active Member

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    One thing I always make sure a new machinist trainee has is a set of feeler gages and a 1" Mic. So he can practice measuring using his mic. My Dad taught me to never look at the Mic when tightening it. I also never use the ratchet as I like to feel it. But if you are new to measuring with a mic, check a .005" feeler gage and mic it and don't look at the dial and when you think you have it right, look at it and keep checking the feel until it is the same as the gage. Be sure to the anvils of the mic are clean and the feeler is clean before making the test. Another thing I show them is when you want to run it out fast, is to roll it out or in by running it against your arm.
     
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  17. boxersatheart

    boxersatheart United States Iron Registered Member

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    I like to clean my anvils with a clean piece of white paper. Close the anvils to just barely put a drag on the paper. If you soak the paper first with a little alchohol the crud that comes off may surprise you! I am lucky to have been in measurement science for better than 40 years and have worked with some great folks that allowed me to learn a trade that has served me well.

     
  18. JohnG

    JohnG United States Active User Active Member

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    A couple of people mention the humble set of feeler gauges in passing without adding them to the list. They can be augmented for larger measurements in a pinch by the shank ends of drill bits if those haven't been burred.
     
  19. ariscats

    ariscats Greece Active User Active Member

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    A micrometer stand. It helps greatly if you don't have three hands.

    Ariscats
     
  20. The Liberal Arts Garage

    The Liberal Arts Garage United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Just an off- topic thought- I worked at a shop where the serious ( microwave) machining was done in a segregated area ; they wouldn't accept even brackets,
    Etc. if they weren't nominated in thou's. Note: they checked each drill they used
    at the lips.........BLJHB.
     
  21. The Liberal Arts Garage

    The Liberal Arts Garage United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Also,learn how to hold a mic........BLJHB
     
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  22. The Liberal Arts Garage

    The Liberal Arts Garage United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Also note: teeny-tiny hook rules........BLJHB.
     
  23. John Hasler

    John Hasler United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I don't have ten percent of those.
     
  24. John Hasler

    John Hasler United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Explain, please.
     
  25. darkzero

    darkzero Global Moderator Staff Member Active Member

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    I don't know what teeny-tiny hook rules are either, my smallest hook rule is a 6". I do have some some small scales though. Got this brand new set for $20 but I've never needed to use it yet.


    Img_0534.jpg

    Img_0535.jpg

    Img_0539.jpg
     
  26. Andre

    Andre Active User Active Member

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    I maybe have half the tools on the list, but you can improvise with a lot of them. For instance if you don't have a comparator stand you can use a mag base on a surface plate.
     
  27. Doubleeboy

    Doubleeboy Active User Active Member

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    I am not sure Starrett still makes the thin body 6" hook rule. I looked for one but have not found one. Its only about 1/4" wide, great tool. I want a second one as mine has seen a hard life.
     
  28. bpratl

    bpratl United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I think that a coaxial dial indicator is very useful in setting up a lathes tail stock, mill rotary table and boring on a mill.
    I have also used it to set up an odd part, in a lathe with a 4 jaw chuck, for boring.
     
  29. The Liberal Arts Garage

    The Liberal Arts Garage United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I found mine at the bottom of a$7 bucket of dull and rustles - bought the bucket
    just to get the rules. .......BLJHB.
     
  30. Ulma Doctor

    Ulma Doctor Infinitely Curious H-M Supporter-Premium

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    apparently i need stuff, i didn't know i needed...:grin:
     
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