Easy Tramming Tool

iron man

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I saw a tramming tool you could buy I had a couple of old dial indicators I dont use anymore so I made this one out of a 3/4 square aluminum and a 1/2 stress proof shaft. I bored and pressed the shaft into the aluminum I then turned everything on the lathe so it was all squre with the world drilled and tapped some holes and it was done. I was surprised how easy and well it worked. Ray

100_0499.JPG
 

righto88

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Nice work Ray. I trammed my "new to me" mill a few months ago.
 

Rick Leslie

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Looks really good. I've seen the store-bought versions and boy are they proud of 'em. I've planned to do this for a while, but I got to dig up a couple of matching indicators. ( I know,HF has el-cheapos on sale from time to time, just have to get by there.)

Thanks for the kick in the pants to get mine done.
 

SEK_22Hornet

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Looks great! I've been thinking the same thing - way too much money for one of the ready made versions. Glad to see I'm not alone! That looks like a fairly nice simple project for newbie like me to play with - maybe this winter, if my shop isn't too cold. Thanks for sharing that. I see Shars has dial indicators on ebay for about $10 each every once in a while.
 

iron man

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These both where old cheap indicators there not even the same brand but once you zero them out on the same spot it really does not matter thanks for lookin.. Ray
 

Charley Davidson

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made one quite some time ago out of pieces I had laying around. I used the HF brand indicators they sell for $9 I just went & bought 2 more yesterday for some future projects

Tramming tool.JPG
 

Terrywerm

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Nice work Ray and Charley! I've got one of those on my list of things to do, just got the two matching dial indicators last week.
 

parastoo

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Hi,
Does it matter if the plungers protrude different distances from the underside of the tool?
Thanks ,
Mark
 

xalky

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Hi,
Does it matter if the plungers protrude different distances from the underside of the tool?
Thanks ,
Mark
Not really. You should zero the indicators out every time you use it anyway by turning it 180 degrees to the same point. As long as the travel area is in the same neighborhood for both indicators, it'll work. I've found mine to be really helpful for tramming the front to back nod of my mill because the center line of the pivot point is so far back. It's a real time saver there. On the side to side tram, it's almost as easy to do with a single indicator. Even there though it saves time.
 

Rbeckett

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I was looking at the store bought one last week, but decided that I needed a Rotary table and dividing plates more urgently first. Eventually I will assemble one of my own from the dial indicators I already have on hand. I figure I can build one for about 50 bucks with all new parts or 20 if I use old Cial indicators from my shop... Yes I am a cheap so and so and don't understand why folks spend money when they could build it cheaper and better themselves.

Bob
 

dave2176

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Nice job Ray! I've got the DIs and metal waiting for me to put mine together.

Bob,
That's not cheap, it's frugal. Besides, making anything useful is worth the effort, not to mention satisfying.

Dave
 

NodakGary

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Great idea! I trammed my mini-mill this morning and using only one dial indicator and swinging it from side to side and trying to figure out which way to move the column took me about 30-40 minutes of playing around to get it right. I am getting a pair of indicators tomorrow and will fix up one.
Thanks again. What a great forum site.
NodakGary
 

NodakGary

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I checked with our local "nuts & bolts" shop to find out they are getting $30 apiece for the dti's. So being proud of my Scottish heritage, I made due with two 2" long 7/16" carriage bolts and one 2" long 3/8 bolt, and a 12" long 1/2" square stock. I drilled and tapped for a 7/16" bolt one inch in from each end of the square stock( at the 1 and 11 inch marks). Then I drilled and tapped for the 3/8" bolt in the center of the stock. I screwed on a lock nut and threaded in each 7/16" bolt leaving a precise 1" sticking out of the lower side of the stock. I screwed on a lock nut and threaded in the 3/8" bolt into the center hole and left 1 1/2" sticking up out of the square stock for inserting into the spindle ( I cut off the head of the bolt, of course). The waste bolt lengths were cut off. I made sure the mounting 3/8" bolt was 90 degrees to the square stock.
To use it, I insert it into the spindle and lower the spindle until I can see both the carriage bolts touch the table simultaneously. Inexpensive and it works.
I thought of mounting a battery and an led on each carriage bolt to light when they hit the table, but, then I would have to insulate the carriage bolt, tape the battery and led on somewhere, yech. I have been a K.I.S.S. fan way too long to make it more complicated than it need be.
 

ddmunroe

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This is an idea I've seen before and liked it then, nice to see you boys put into practice, I have not yet ..... this tool needs rotating in order to work.
What if you made a cross and had 4 indicators you would then not need to do the rotating.
I realise not many ppl have 4 indicators just lying around but in theory I think this would work.
I see the real advantage as you could face all the indicators to you for easy sight during the adjustment.
 

John Hasler

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This is an idea I've seen before and liked it then, nice to see you boys put into practice, I have not yet ..... this tool needs rotating in order to work.
What if you made a cross and had 4 indicators you would then not need to do the rotating.
I realise not many ppl have 4 indicators just lying around but in theory I think this would work.
I see the real advantage as you could face all the indicators to you for easy sight during the adjustment.
Could you explain how that would work without rotation?

[Edit] I assume you mean no rotation after rotatiing the assembly to zero all four indicators at one spot?
 
A

Andre

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Nice work, it's on my bucket list.

You just have to make sure you are square when boring for the shank, or have a setup to calibrate them square to the shank. If the shank is not square, when you calibrate it on a plate it will give a false reading when tramming.
 

John Hasler

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I checked with our local "nuts & bolts" shop to find out they are getting $30 apiece for the dti's. So being proud of my Scottish heritage, I made due with two 2" long 7/16" carriage bolts and one 2" long 3/8 bolt, and a 12" long 1/2" square stock. I drilled and tapped for a 7/16" bolt one inch in from each end of the square stock( at the 1 and 11 inch marks). Then I drilled and tapped for the 3/8" bolt in the center of the stock. I screwed on a lock nut and threaded in each 7/16" bolt leaving a precise 1" sticking out of the lower side of the stock. I screwed on a lock nut and threaded in the 3/8" bolt into the center hole and left 1 1/2" sticking up out of the square stock for inserting into the spindle ( I cut off the head of the bolt, of course). The waste bolt lengths were cut off. I made sure the mounting 3/8" bolt was 90 degrees to the square stock.
To use it, I insert it into the spindle and lower the spindle until I can see both the carriage bolts touch the table simultaneously. Inexpensive and it works.
I thought of mounting a battery and an led on each carriage bolt to light when they hit the table...
Interesting idea. If I had a Bridgeport I might be tempted to build one using capacitive or inductive transducers. With the Avey, though, tramming is a matter of shimming the table and shouldn't need redoing.
 

ray hampton

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I made due with two 2" long 7/16" carriage bolts and one 2" long 3/8 bolt, and a 12" long 1/2" square stock. I drilled and tapped for a 7/16" bolt one inch in from each end of the square stock( at the 1 and 11 inch marks).

I like this idea but if you drill a 7/16 hole in a 1/2 square , the wall will be a mere 1/32 think if the hole are straight or the drill is not over sized
 

KevinD

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One idea I picked up somewhere was to purchase a disc brake rotor, the cheapest available. One doesn't have to worry about the indicator legs bumping into the t-slots. The surfaces are ground parallel.

Could be a market for DTI's with a face on both sides, kind of hard getting behind the machine with those (damn) tram tools for the counter view.

KevinD
 

Pat of TN

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I made one of these a couple days ago after seeing this thread, it works really well. It's truly amazing how much simpler it is to tram a mill in than just a DTI in one of those crappy, slippy over-the-quill holders. Thanks to iron man for giving me the inspiration to make it!
 

iron man

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I made one of these a couple days ago after seeing this thread, it works really well. It's truly amazing how much simpler it is to tram a mill in than just a DTI in one of those crappy, slippy over-the-quill holders. Thanks to iron man for giving me the inspiration to make it!
I agree I use to hate tramming my mill now it is very simple. Ray
 

srfallsallot

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I made one. I was inspired by the professional tools and the ones made by hobbyists. A little different but just an iteration of others work. It works great. I found my PM932 to be very square on x and Y ~.0005.

1" square Al bar 12" long, 3/8-16 bolt, 1/4-20 socket head cap screws and Harbor Freight dial indicators. Less than $40, I made a 3D cad model and used the DRO for the holes. Used the power down feed and the depth stop. Everything went well. Still did not figure out how to power tap.

This unit is designed to use as long a distance between the readouts as possible and a set of holes for the vice tramming too.
 

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