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What do I use to make a height gage scriber?

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Ken from ontario

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#1
Hi all.
I'm working on a height gage (very similar to Ralph Patterson's plan) ,it is a simple design, I'll be using my digital caliper to attach the gage to so I can zero it at any height I want but I'm kind of stuck on what to use as a scriber, I was thinking of using a broken carbide mill or HSS even but the shaft diameter is 3/8" which maybe too big, my other option is to use a 1/4" blank HSS cutting bit.
I'm wondering if anyone of you has a better idea ?
 

Bob Korves

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#2
I would use a hardened scrap piece of tool steel. Looks like 3/16" thick plate or square stock would be possibilities in the drawings, though there is a lot of flexibility to alter those plans as needed or wanted. Carbide will also work, and will tend to stay sharp better, but is more expensive if you have to buy it, and more difficult to shape if you don't have the proper tooling. Edit: Your HSS bit idea is a good one.
 

pontiac428

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#3
Bicycle spoke. They're hardened and they're cheap. Edit- ok, better for a surface gauge than a height gauge. oops.
 

Ken from ontario

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#4
I have a Dremel Diamond wheel and also a Diamond cup(made in China) that made arbors for so they can be used in a lathe, I have used both to grid /sharpen inserts, I thought maybe I could that to shape carbide bit I have but I'm not sure if Carbide is an overkill for my occasional hobby use.
 

Ken from ontario

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Ken from ontario

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That's the type of ideas I'm after, I was also hoping to hear ideas like making the part and then hardening it or gluing a flat piece of Carbide at the tip, ,but to keep it simple a piece of tool steel or a 1/4" cutting bit will do the job and most likely that's what I'll do.
Thank you all.
 

BaronJ

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#7
Hi Ken,

Zeroed-01.JPG
I made mine from a cheap digital caliper a few years ago. I used the blade I cut off the caliper and fastened it to the existing one.
I needed to make a 2mm thick spacer so that the gauge would zero at the point where it touched the table. The screw is M6 and gives 1 mm per turn. The acetal nut is molded around the threads so it is backlash free.

Assembly-01.JPG
 

Ken from ontario

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Hi Baron, that's one clever design, so the black nut is also used for fine adjustment? or is it just for getting no backlash? I like the simplicity of the design .
 

BaronJ

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#9
Hi Ken,

The whole of the head is moved up and down using the knurled brass knob at the bottom. The M6 threaded shaft is supported in bearings at the top and bottom. The Acetal nut was made by splitting a short length of bar lengthwise and using heat to mould it around the threads. Afterwards it was turned down to be a press fit into the aluminum bar that is moving the readout.

The phosphor bronze bearing pressed into the aluminum bar sliding on the chromed steel rod, was salvaged from a scrap HP ink jet printer.
The base was an off cut from a 100 mm diameter continuously cast Iron bar 20 mm thick. The bearings supporting the threaded rod are precision spindle bearings salvaged from an old hard disc drive.

Bearing-02.JPG

They are secured by means of a circlip, and just push out of the housing.
Bearing-01.JPG

This picture shows how the adjustment arm goes together. You can see the PB bearing at the right hand end.
Adjustment_Arm-04.JPG
 

Ken from ontario

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#10
Thank you Baron for posting the pics and also for the explanation, to tell you the truth I'm a little slow today but after reading your post a couple of times the penny finally clicked:).
One question still hangs around my head, let's say if you were marking two spots on a workpiece, 1" and 3", after marking the one inch, do you keep tuning the brass knurled disc to reach the 3" point or is there a quick slide feature somewhere?
Sorry for being a pest I just want to fully understand how the gage functions .
 

P. Waller

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#11

Ken from ontario

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#12
I use a height gauge scriber to make height gauge scribers. This seems to be the easiest and least expensive method.
I understand why you would think buying is the least expensive method but you need to remember many of us here are retired hobbyists and building something from scratch is where the fun is.
 

P. Waller

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#13
I understand why you would think buying is the least expensive method but you need to remember many of us here are retired hobbyists and building something from scratch is where the fun is.
I fully understand your position however an import scribe tool is one of the least expensive tools that you will buy. You can buy one in a Red Box for $43.20 and you then have a Red Box tool to show off to friends and visitors (-:
Many feel that this is worth the money.
 

Ken from ontario

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benmychree

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#16
A rectangular scriber, as are common on most height gages are commonly made of O-1 tool steel, and hardened, and to my opinion, best ground to a radius on the scribing surface; otherwise, they just scribe on the corners and get dull easily, the radius can scribe on its whole width and keep sharp much longer. Nothing wrong with carbide, buy not so necessary for limited hobby use, and more difficult to sharpen. Tungsten TIG electrode for scribing is just plain silly, first it is round, and difficult to grind a concentric point for a repeatable tool to be used on a height gage.
For just hand scribers, I have used the quills from a needle scaling gun, easy to sharpen and reasonably hard, and be re hardened to be harder.
 

Jubil

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#17
Made mine from an old file. Used abrasive wheels to shape and didn't hurry (to keep down heat). May not be the best but it works.

Chuck
 

Ken from ontario

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#18
I would use a hardened scrap piece of tool steel.
A rectangular scriber, as are common on most height gages are commonly made of O-1 tool steel,
The tool steel gets the first choice .
benmychrre new ideas may sound silly but I'm hobbyist and don't shy away from experimenting ,or thinking outside the box, just look at the last post ,jubil used an old file, but I admit ,tig electrodes would not be my first choice. lol.
Thanks for the tip on how to grind the scriber, I also like the idea of using quills from a needle scaling gun.
Great replies so far and very much appreciated.
 
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mikey

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#19
Given that your scribe needs to be able to extend down to the reference surface, I would buy the scribe and focus on making the rectangular clamp to bind it to the movable foot. Here is a stainless steel scribe with a carbide tip for cheap: https://www.amazon.ca/scriber-Heigh...40963748&sr=8-21&keywords=height+gauge+scribe

This is what you would need to make, fit specifically to your needs: https://www.amazon.ca/HHIP-4300-015...540963948&sr=1-10&keywords=height+gauge+clamp

I can understand wanting to make everything from scratch, believe me, but sometimes you also need to be practical. A carbide scriber will likely last the rest of your life, for under $15 Canadian.
 

BaronJ

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#20
Hi Ken,

Quite interesting reading these following posts !
Since I too am retired and like to salvage things to build things with, I don't see the point in spending money needlessly.

Ken whilst I also have some tig electrodes, it is far easier to use a broken carbide PCB drill bit. I've made a scriber like the one in that advert and sharpened it to a 45 degree point using a Dremal and green wheel in the lathe. 30-09-2018-004.JPG 30-09-2018-007.JPG

Once you cut off the caliper leg, you have your scriber ! Not only is it hardened its also stainless like the rest of the caliper.
Whilst I remember ! Remove the depth probe before you assemble the caliper in the frame. Too easy to poke your eye out.

To answer your question ! Yes the only way to set the hight that you want is to rotate the brass knob. Unfortunately unless you use a different thread on the screw, you will need to turn it 25 times and a bit for 1" inch.

I actually did a calibration on mine using gauge blocks, and without using the readout found that I could set it within 3/10ths of a thou just counting turns, and the readout confirmed that. Which I found very pleasing.

If you want more detail its no problem.
 

BaronJ

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#21
I fully understand your position however an import scribe tool is one of the least expensive tools that you will buy. You can buy one in a Red Box for $43.20 and you then have a Red Box tool to show off to friends and visitors (-:
Many feel that this is worth the money.
Whilst I understand where you are coming from, I don't find the need to brag to my friends about what I've got !
I get far more interest in the things that I make.
 

Tozguy

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#22
If I interpret the Patterson design mentioned in post 1 correctly, the idea is to use a calliper temporarily as a height gauge, keeping it intact for regular duty after that.
 

BaronJ

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#23
If I interpret the Patterson design mentioned in post 1 correctly, the idea is to use a calliper temporarily as a height gauge, keeping it intact for regular duty after that.
He uses a dial caliper in the same way as I used the digital one !

The reason I made mine as I did was because of the difficulty of setting a precise value using the thumb wheel. Also being able to go from one value to another from a zero reference, or being able to zero at any point and then move to a new measurement.
For instance from a center line and moving to an accurate value above or below it.
 

Tozguy

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#24
The Patterson design does not call for cutting a jaw off the caliper nor removing the depth probe. The caliper, whether analog or digital, remains intact.....or am I missing something???
 
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Ken from ontario

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#25
Thank you all for your posts, very interesting comments and opinions.
BaronJ, I appreciate the answers and pics, your height gauge design is unique/ obviously very functional and accurate.

Mikey, thank you for your post and also for your advice, the Patterson design does not call for that type clamp though , the idea of buying the scriber has already been brought up but I happen to enjoy salvaging through my part bins and also re-shaping or repurposing stuff so last night I actually found a nice rectangular 1/4" hss bit that would be perfect for the scriber.
The Paterson design does not call for cutting a jaw off the caliber nor removing the depth probe. The caliber, whether analog or digital, remains intact.....or am I missing something???
you're right , the reason I am following the Patterson design is so the caliper could perform the two functions as, A= a caliper and B= a DRO. just like you said :
the idea is to use a caliper temporarily as a height gauge, keeping it intact for regular duty after that.
We are talking about two totally different designs, the one Baron made has a dedicated DRO and it is not removeable as I understand.

I'm all set for now, I have all the parts that I need to complete the task.
Again I want to thank all of you for your thoughts and opinions, . definitely enjoyed reading your posts, learned a few thing in the process.
 
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Bob Korves

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#26
Given that your scribe needs to be able to extend down to the reference surface, I would buy the scribe and focus on making the rectangular clamp to bind it to the movable foot. Here is a stainless steel scribe with a carbide tip for cheap: https://www.amazon.ca/scriber-Heigh...40963748&sr=8-21&keywords=height+gauge+scribe

This is what you would need to make, fit specifically to your needs: https://www.amazon.ca/HHIP-4300-015...540963948&sr=1-10&keywords=height+gauge+clamp

I can understand wanting to make everything from scratch, believe me, but sometimes you also need to be practical. A carbide scriber will likely last the rest of your life, for under $15 Canadian.
The sizes of those components are not really given, the scribe has no sizing, the clamp says it is 15 cm in each direction, perhaps a bit large... :eek 2: It would be easier to start with raw stock than a component that is not of a useful size.
 

mikey

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#27
I agree, Bob, but what I meant was that it would be easier to buy the scribe and make the clamp. Starrett made some thin scribes for their height gauges that were based on their dial calipers; they would be perfect for this project.
 
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