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Starrett precision level

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PT Doc

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#1
I am very grateful to receiving a Starrett precision level from a friend. Photos seems to show some rust on the ground underside. What is the best, most effective, least aggressive way to remove the rust? I do not have a surface grinder and won’t be sending this out to be reground. I have wet dry paper in very high grits and precision ground bench stones but they might not be as precision ground as they should be. Thanks for the suggestions.
 

Bob Korves

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#2
Probably Evapo-rust. How about a pic or two of the level, or at least the model number of it, so we can have a mental picture the level you have?
 

benmychree

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#3
I am very grateful to receiving a Starrett precision level from a friend. Photos seems to show some rust on the ground underside. What is the best, most effective, least aggressive way to remove the rust? I do not have a surface grinder and won’t be sending this out to be reground. I have wet dry paper in very high grits and precision ground bench stones but they might not be as precision ground as they should be. Thanks for the suggestions.
A regular India stone and some liquid like paint thinner will do the job; what model of level is it?
 

PT Doc

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Starrett 98-6. Do not have photo right now.
 

benmychree

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#5
Not to worry too much over rust removal so far as doing damage is concerned, the vial on that model is graduated at .005" per foot, not the .0005" of the "precision level". The model 98 is several steps above a carpenter's level and an ordinary combination square level, but far from the accuracy of a true precision level; they are suitable for rough leveling of machinery, but not so for fine leveling, such as is necessary for a lathe bed, for instance.
 

P. Waller

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#6
The best method of preserving a Starrett tool for hobby use is to buy it new and leave it in the original packaging and NEVER use it, the first time that it is actually used it becomes less accurate and will show signs of use, you do not want this do you?

Then buy another one that you actually use, this assures that you have one without discoloration or use marks.
 

benmychree

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The best method of preserving a Starrett tool for hobby use is to buy it new and leave it in the original packaging and NEVER use it, the first time that it is actually used it becomes less accurate and will show signs of use, you do not want this do you?

Then buy another one that you actually use, this assures that you have one without discoloration or use marks.
You gotta be kidding ????????
 

P. Waller

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#8
Not at all (-:

It appears that many expect such tools to look unused, no scratches, no discoloration, no faded coatings or heart stopping "DINGS".

There have been several posts here asking how to return mill tables back to a uniform appearance after it has been discolored buy cutting fluids, I kid you not.
 

PT Doc

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The best method of preserving a Starrett tool for hobby use is to buy it new and leave it in the original packaging and NEVER use it, the first time that it is actually used it becomes less accurate and will show signs of use, you do not want this do you?

Then buy another one that you actually use, this assures that you have one without discoloration or use marks.
I think you have missed the boat on what was originally asked. But I thank you for your response nonetheless.
 

mikey

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What is the best, most effective, least aggressive way to remove the rust?
I think this is a reasonable question to ask, no? I would imagine that any machinist, pro or otherwise, would seek to eliminate rust on a tool.
 

P. Waller

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#11
I think you have missed the boat on what was originally asked. But I thank you for your response nonetheless.
This is what I consider machine shop humor much like Free Holes, 30 years in the business gives one a different perspective.
 

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#12
Hi Ptdoc,

Scotchbrite green will do what you want without damaging the surface. A lot of the kitchen sponges with the green abrasive layer are the same stuff.
 

PT Doc

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This is what I consider machine shop humor much like Free Holes, 30 years in the business gives one a different perspective.
Ohhh...OK. I missed the intended humor. I thought what you were really saying is that you are old, grumpy and need a nap.

Hope you didn’t miss mine. :)
 

talvare

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#14
they are suitable for rough leveling of machinery, but not so for fine leveling, such as is necessary for a lathe bed, for instance.
Lathes really don't need to be level at all. It is only necessary to have the bed in proper alignment with the spindle to insure that the machine cuts true (no taper). The leveling screws on the base of the lathe are used to accomplish this goal.

Ted
 

PT Doc

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#15
Not to worry too much over rust removal so far as doing damage is concerned, the vial on that model is graduated at .005" per foot, not the .0005" of the "precision level". The model 98 is several steps above a carpenter's level and an ordinary combination square level, but far from the accuracy of a true precision level; they are suitable for rough leveling of machinery, but not so for fine leveling, such as is necessary for a lathe bed, for instance.
Seems like it’s actually .005 per 10”.
 

Bob Korves

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Seems like it’s actually .005 per 10”.
Plenty good enough for leveling a lathe used for making parts that will stay in the earth's gravitational field. Still, not the high precision model, hope you did not pay too dearly for it...

Sometimes it is important to count the zeros after the decimal point... :eek 2:
 

benmychree

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#17
Lathes really don't need to be level at all. It is only necessary to have the bed in proper alignment with the spindle to insure that the machine cuts true (no taper). The leveling screws on the base of the lathe are used to accomplish this goal.

Ted
Not entirely true; consider a lathe with 3 sets of legs, that method does not work, twist and sag are issues that need to be dealt with by other means, such as leveling or laser alignment. In my shop, I had two machines with intermediate legs that had to be leveled to insure proper alignment.
 

GL

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#18
Clean off the crud using whatsoever works. It probably will not read the same if you turn it end for end. We are looking for coplanar, level is relative. Set the level on the ways the same way on both ends - square with bed, end of level same both ends. As said before, a level will get you close, the two collar dials it in. I may get chastised, but I have a machinist friend who sold his "precision" level because it was so "good"you just chased it around. As a tool, the machinist level is fine. Sometime we toss around tenths as if that is way off. Most of us don't have tools to measure tenths in any real sense, or tools that can actually reliability cut to those tolerances - you are looking at good grinders to get there, not lathes and mills (and not our kinds of lathes and mills).

No one buys a tool to keep it in a drawer. Yes, we all want to find the guy who did, then died and the family doesn't know that whatever it is was bought years ago for 10x what they are asking for (or has no clue). If we, as hobby guys, are whining around about use as an argument for reduced value as a negotiating tool that may be one thing, but if we really think it, we are probably full of crap. If it has to look like new, go buy it that way - but don't complain about price or quality (wih the understanding that those are probably at odds with each other). Off of soapbox, reality check statement complete.
 

PT Doc

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#19
Seems like a question about removing some rust from a machined surface has morphed into a verbal lashing of all the tools polishers out there. Shame on you guys that polish your stuff and not use it. Let me know when you want to sell them though. ;)
 

benmychree

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#20
I leveled my 19" Regal lathe with a #98 level, so that the bubble was exactly the same at both ends of the bed, it cut with a taper; I re leveled it with the precision Pratt & Whitney level with .0005 graduation, it then cut straight; accuracy and sensitivity do make a difference.
As to polishing, I have no problem with it if the purpose is to remove rust; a lot of old tools get rusty, I see nothing wrong with making a tool look as it originally did; rust is not attractive!
 

mikey

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#21
Doc, I would second Bob's recommendation for Evaporust. I've only been using it for the last year or two but that stuff is pretty amazing. If you put the level in a pan and pour in just enough to cover the rusty parts, it should do the trick. Otherwise, I use synthetic steel wool, #000, with WD-40. Gets the rust off quickly without damaging the parent metal.

For what its worth, the Starrett 98 is not a very sensitive level but if someone were to give me one, I'd grab it in a heartbeat.
 

mikey

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#23
Was there supposed to be a pic of the level, Doc?

Here we were, stumbling over ourselves trying to tell you how we would remove the rust and there ain't no rust? Sort of feels like we've been deprived or something ...
 

PT Doc

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Was there supposed to be a pic of the level, Doc?

Here we were, stumbling over ourselves trying to tell you how we would remove the rust and there ain't no rust? Sort of feels like we've been deprived or something ...
Sorry for the disappointment. Was given a better condition 12”. I think it’s the same precision as all the Starrett 98. Although looking online I did see a high precision Starrett 98 that was the 10 second accuracy. Must have some type of hybrid. Anyways, this should be plenty good for me.
 

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mikey

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#25
I have a 98-6 and it's a nice little level. I'm sure yours will serve you well.
 

WarrenP

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#26
I have found that if I use the 98 starrett level first to get the lathe close then use my .0005 level it is alot easier and faster to get level than if i start with the .0005 level to begin with. Seems once it is close its easier for me to fine tune it in.
 

BaronJ

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#27
Hi Guys,

I've used the two collar method, as described in the Myford handbook for years ! At the end of the day, as long as the lathe turns a parallel shaft its job done. I find that even if the lathe does move, and it will, it only takes a few minutes to get it back to true.

Rather than buying an expensive test bar ! This is technique that I use.

That is to keep the test bar with the two collars on it, but mark it so the you know which jaw goes where. I use jaw one and when I made the two collars, I made sure that the test bar went just past the back of the jaws. So when putting it back in the chuck it is in exactly the same place as when I first made it and got the lathe turning true. This is to account for the slight run out in the chuck.

From now on it is just a matter of using a DTI in the tool post and checking each collar. The collar nearest the chuck is the reference collar and the one at the tailstock end will show any run out. Tweak the tailstock end as needed to get back to parallel again.

NOTE: My test bar started life as a 13" length of 1" diameter silver steel (drill rod in the USA).
 
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