[4]

height gage recommendations

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

ARC-170

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
273
I need to get a height gage. I was looking at this one. Thoughts?

$129 at a local supply shop

I'm not building the space shuttle, I just need something to use with a surface plate. I'm not good enough yet to make anything to anything other than a 0.005" tolerance (I could maybe get to 0.003"). Thought I'd ask about this brand since Mitutoyu and Starrett are out of the spousal-approved price range.

There is a brand called Procheck that is also available for $116. Any thoughts on that?
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
5,455
Should work fine, Jeff. It has a carbide scribe, which is good, and that can be swapped out for an indicator holder to perform the two key functions of a height gauge - marking out and measuring stuff with a dial test indicator for flatness relative to a surface plate. It has the fine adjust features that are normally seen only on vernier gauges and that is a very good thing; it will allow you to make minute changes with precision and ease. My vote is good enough!
 

projectnut

Brass
Registered
Joined
Apr 14, 2014
Messages
670
Personally I'd look for a used one on eBay. There are currently over 1,100 available. Name brands like Starrett, Brown& Sharpe, and Mitutoyo are going for far less than what you are currently looking at. I purchased a used 24" Brown & Sharp a few years ago for less than $50.00.
 

darkzero

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
3,702
I agree with projectnut, I'd look for quality used on ebay if you're not in a rush & patient for the right one to pop up. Fowler doesn't actually make tools, not these days anyway. That height gauge is most likely made in China or India. Nothing wrong with that & it should work fine but you can find the same quality for cheaper if buying new without the Fowler name on it.

I got my 12" Mitutoyo for $75 shipped on ebay & in the original wood box. It was practically brand new, the scribe still had the wax covering on it.

If I could only have one, 12" dial is a good choice but I found my 12" cumbersome to use all the time, plus I don't have a huge surface plate. Eventually I bought a 6" digital by M-DRO. I bought it new during an ebay flash sale so I ended up paying the same price as I did for the Mitu and it's an import. Yes it's a battery eater but I use this one most of the time, mainly for scribing layout lines. I love my Mitu vernier but with this one being digital & so much smaller it's very quick to use. The Mitu always gets put back into the case after use. The 6" digital just sits on the work bench.

20190402_124327.jpg20190402_124543.jpg
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
5,455
Yup, my little 6" Starrett analog height gauge is my most used one, too. My 12" Mit is out on loan and has been for almost a year - I need to go get it back - but I honestly don't miss it. I use a big Starrett surface gauge for indicator work and it works well for that.
 

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
6,685
I don't use my height gage that much, so I prefer a vernier scale on it, never gums up, no batteries to die, no electronics to die. I bought a nice, old, slightly used Starrett 12" height gage off eBay in the original box, with accessories, in like new condition for 30 some dollars, delivered. I will take it over an import dial or electronic height gage anytime.
 

DiscoDan

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 16, 2018
Messages
424
I have a very nice Brown & Sharp listed under the measuring tools.
 

darkzero

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
3,702
Yup, my little 6" Starrett analog height gauge is my most used one, too. My 12" Mit is out on loan and has been for almost a year - I need to go get it back - but I honestly don't miss it. I use a big Starrett surface gauge for indicator work and it works well for that.
I miss my 10" Mitu vernier. I thought I did good cause I bought the 12" Mitu for $75 then sold the 10" Mitu for $75. Plus the 10" Mitu I had was a "left hand" model. I'm not sure if height gauges are actually marketed that way & it really doesn't matter but at the time I thought it was awkward.

I quickly realized how much I missed the little 10" after using the 12". It was only 2" difference in capacity but it was so much smaller/shorter than my 12" cause the 12" has an adjustable scale. Tried to find another one for a good price but couldn't, not for as low as what I paid for it. Been very happy using 6" digital but only cause I know I have the 12" Mitu when needed.

Img_3228.jpg

Img_3209.jpg

Img_3219.jpg
 

benmychree

John York
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
3,435
I have been using the same 12" Starrett height gage that I bought back in the 1960s, and it is as good as the day I got it; if looking to buy an vernier height gage, make sure to buy one with the 50 division vernier, not one with 25 division, which is hard to read, even with a strong magnifier, the 50 division, I can still read with only reading glasses; when I was younger, I could read it with naked eye, not at 74 years, magnification is necessary!
 

ARC-170

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
273
I was thinking of getting a dial (not vernier) gage. Easier to read for me. Digital is fine, but there is the battery issue. I'm not in a hurry, either. On Ebay right now, there are just a few for sale under about $150, mostly vernier. Searching for Mitutoyo, Brown & Sharpe and Starrett also brought up every off-brand. Many of these are sold by people that have, by their own admission, little or no idea what these are, either. I'm not even sure these will measure accurately, either. I can probably have a colleague check them.

I might borrow a 12" and a 6" and see what one I use the most then buy that one. I only have a budget for one.

I like the 10" idea as well. I plan on getting a 12x18 surface plate, 12x12 at the smallest.
 

pontiac428

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
488
ARC-170, I have two height gauges and a 12"x12" cut marble "surface plate" that serve my purposes well. I have a vernier gauge from Helios that's a work of art, but I can only operate the instrument when I am working alone because the .0001 vernier scale takes concentration to use correctly (ask me how I know). This type of height gauge is very affordable. The other one is a China metric dial-type, with count-up and count-down resettable digits in addition to the big dial. It's convenient and accurate, bulky, and also affordable. Both are 12" in range.

That said, I like the old vernier gauge more. It's simple, stout, and does tenths with repeatable joy. It's just more elegant than the dial gauge, but that's my personal thing. I like paying respect to the old ways. Not everything needs to come with a touch screen and an app to download. If you wanted your students to get involved, maybe teaching them how to read a vernier is useful; maybe it's not and that time could be used someplace else.
 

richl

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
894
I bought a 12" brown and Sharpe vernier height gauge on ebay, a bit more than others mention, in the 70.00 range original box and acc's 12" seemed like a good size, but as others have mentioned, it is big and cumbersome.
 

ARC-170

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
273
Here's one currently on Ebay for about $105 shipped:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Brown-Sharpe-No-576-Vernier-Height-Gage-Gauge-14-Made-In-USA/352627867393?hash=item521a423f01:g:aHEAAOSwowdcmtva

It has inch and metric, which is nice. Might be a little tall, though; I only have a 12x24 lathe and a smaller mill.

By the way, I read 9.201"/233.46mm, which aren't exactly the same: 9.201"=233.71mm, and 233.46mm=9.191". I suppose I could be reading it wrong, and it's not easy to really see it. I could see maybe reading a few marks in either direction on both scales. Just thought I'd ask what others saw.
ht gage 1.jpg

Most of the other ones currently available on Ebay seem to all be missing the scribe and/or the scribe holder. A scribe is $50!
 
Last edited:

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
6,685
Searching for Mitutoyo, Brown & Sharpe and Starrett also brought up every off-brand. Many of these are sold by people that have, by their own admission, little or no idea what these are, either. I'm not even sure these will measure accurately, either. I can probably have a colleague check them.
For what most of us do most of the time, the import height gages are probably just fine. My Starrett vernier height gage is probably 70+ years old, and is in like new condition, either very well taken care of, or not used much. I calibrated it myself with my gage blocks, surface plate, and squinting eyes, and it was within a tenth at multiple heights. Good enough for the work I do. I will take the fine old Starrett gage over a more expensive, brand new import gage anytime, even without provenance.
 

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
6,685
By the way, I read 9.201"/233.46mm, which aren't exactly the same: 9.201"=233.71mm, and 233.46mm=9.191". I suppose I could be reading it wrong, and it's not easy to really see it. Just thought I'd ask what others saw.
.010" is a really large discrepancy. Check it again carefully.
 

darkzero

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
3,702
By the way, I read 9.201"/233.46mm, which aren't exactly the same: 9.201"=233.71mm, and 233.46mm=9.191". I suppose I could be reading it wrong, and it's not easy to really see it. I could see maybe reading a few marks in either direction on both scales. Just thought I'd ask what others saw.
Hard to tell from that pic but yeah it does look off comparing metric to inch. If not out by much it might be possible to calibrate it.

On the Mitu I have now I can unscrew the vernier scales & slightly adjust them as well as the main scale. That one has screws for the vernier scales too, not sure how much wiggle room it has though. I'm not sure if it's actually designed for that but on mine I adjusted the metric scale to line up with 0 on the inch scale. Mine was only off by a couple of thou though.
 

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
6,685
Are those button head screws or pop rivets holding down the vernier scales? Hard to tell from the photo. If button heads, you can calibrate them fairly easily if you have a gage block set or access to one. If pop rivets, heaven forbid, they might be loose enough to gently tap the scales to move them, or carefully drill them out and start over with a better idea. I cannot see Mitutoyo using pop rivets for that application, but perhaps a previous owner did...
 

ARC-170

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
273
Are those button head screws or pop rivets holding down the vernier scales? Hard to tell from the photo. If button heads, you can calibrate them fairly easily if you have a gage block set or access to one. If pop rivets, heaven forbid, they might be loose enough to gently tap the scales to move them, or carefully drill them out and start over with a better idea. I cannot see Mitutoyo using pop rivets for that application, but perhaps a previous owner did...
I asked the seller. Stay tuned.
 

ARC-170

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
273
Are those button head screws or pop rivets holding down the vernier scales? Hard to tell from the photo. If button heads, you can calibrate them fairly easily if you have a gage block set or access to one. If pop rivets, heaven forbid, they might be loose enough to gently tap the scales to move them, or carefully drill them out and start over with a better idea. I cannot see Mitutoyo using pop rivets for that application, but perhaps a previous owner did...
They are screws. I bought it. When I get it, I'll figure out how to calibrate it. I liked the inch/metric feature.
 
Last edited:

stupoty

Active User
Registered
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
1,189
If you get a tall one it's definitely worth getting a small one also :) the heaviness can be annoying sometimes when working tiny parts.

Stu
 

Janderso

Jeff Anderson
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Mar 26, 2018
Messages
1,487
I don't use my height gage that much, so I prefer a vernier scale on it, never gums up, no batteries to die, no electronics to die. I bought a nice, old, slightly used Starrett 12" height gage off eBay in the original box, with accessories, in like new condition for 30 some dollars, delivered. I will take it over an import dial or electronic height gage anytime.
Bob, that same "like new" gage today is over $100 shipped. E-bay has changed.
Dang it. I had a beautiful "Mauser" made in Germany, height gage. It burned.
I have been looking.
A new Starrett today, $MSC on sale $1,358.
 

JPMacG

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
375
I picked up a small (10"?), very old B&S vernier height gauge at Cabin Fever this year. The price was right. But I gotta say, the vernier scale is just about unreadable. I need a magnifying glass and flashlight to use it. I think an import dial height gauge is in my future. Shars has a 6" dial height gauge for $42.
 

ARC-170

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
273
I bought the B&S inch/metric one mentioned above. I was able to unscrew the scales and calibrate them. It was $90 shipped. Now I need to get a surface plate. I will also look for a 6" dial height gage, this one is really big.

Incidentally, what do people use to lube these? 3-1 oil? They make gage lube, too. I thought I would lightly lube the sliding scales and the screws.
 

macardoso

Brass
Registered
Joined
Mar 26, 2018
Messages
506
I have a Shars 8" dial height gauge. Like it a lot and it wasn't very expensive
 

stupoty

Active User
Registered
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
1,189
I bought the B&S inch/metric one mentioned above. I was able to unscrew the scales and calibrate them. It was $90 shipped. Now I need to get a surface plate. I will also look for a 6" dial height gage, this one is really big.

Incidentally, what do people use to lube these? 3-1 oil? They make gage lube, too. I thought I would lightly lube the sliding scales and the screws.
I use baby oil on tools i handle a lot just for slight lubricity and rust provention. Its mineral oil so seems ok and its human safe.

Just personal opinion their not best practice or anything.

Stu
 

pontiac428

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
488
You can use any light oil, CLP, etc. Corrosion-X is good stuff for instruments. I've never liked 3-in-1 oil because the vegetable oil component gums up, but YMMV. I try not to use oils that creep or penetrate on older measuring tools because they can spoil the dial face. Not so much an issue with etched metal dial faces. A gun cloth is good to keep around for wiping down tools prior to putting away.
 

darkzero

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
3,702
I try to stay away from oiling measuring instruments, just keep them clean. If I do ever add oil, pretty much the only time is a gib for a sliding scale, I use instrumentment oil & very sparingly, like a drop or two. As mentioned certain oils will gum up over time. Starrett sells instrument oil. I use Kano Microil instrument oil cause I got it free with my last Kroil order.
 

ARC-170

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
273
Thanks everyone. I just want to lube the metal to metal sliding part (the ways?). If I get a dial instrument, I suppose I can use the lube for that as well.
 

Toolmaker51

Active Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2017
Messages
104
Vernier, import or domestic, I like 50 division Starretts, or VIS with the magnifier. As long as I can find a reference datum, a few calculations don't bother me.
Digitals are handy with floating/ variable zero, but I don't own one.
Dials have to be name brand produced by them not offshore, and ONLY in clean environments. Like calipers the rack and mesh don't accept dirt. But good ones can be serviced.
Cheap means there isn't any parts inventory.
 
[5] [7]
Top