Dial indicator & stand

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mmatisoff

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I have a Taig mini lathe, and I want to purchase a dial indicator and stand. As I've never purchased one before, I would like to know which dial indicators are accurate and sturdy. I try to buy tools (metal or woodworking) that are well made. That's what I'm looking for in a dial indicator.
 

rklopp

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Interapid. They're about the best DTI there is. They cost and are worth a good fraction of the cost of the Taig. I have three: 1.5 and 1.0-inch horizontals and a 1.0-inch vertical. They make a Starrett Last Word seem like a cheap, kludgy toy. A Mitutoyo DTI is OK, but not as nice as an Interapid.
 

aarggh

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I've bought several of the cheap and not so cheap Chinese ones, and wouldn't recommend them. They all had trouble returning to the exact same position without load. As the others have said a good one, my fave s Mitutoyo, is invaluable. But treat it like the delicate and expensive precision tool that it is! :)

cheers, Ian
 

jack620

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I have a few- all Mitutoyo. My fave has 30mm travel. This is useful for fitting in a holder and mounting on the lathe bed for use as precision depth indicator.
 

cncjunior

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For starters, a regular dial indicator would work. Then if more funds are available, you can get a finger dial indicator--this can get into tighter places and is generally more accurate. For a magnetic base, there are a few styles. You might be limited to the smaller sizes so that it can attach to your lathe. The imports don't have as strong a magnet as say a mitotoyo.

Here is a link describing each indicator http://www.mini-lathe.org.uk/dial_indicators.shtml
 

bb218

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My choice for a DTI is Girod-tast, swiss made, sold by Fred Fowler. Been using same one for 30+ years with no problems. Same price range as Interapid. Second choice is the Interapid, I have owned both. Main thing I like with the Girod-tast over the Interapid regardless of the contact direction the dial always moves CW, makes for less confusion when indicating a part in.

Mike
 

jack620

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The OP asked about a dial indicator, although he may have meant a DTI. If you do buy a Mitutoyo be aware there are plenty of fakes out there. The Mitutoyo website has a section on how to spot a fake.
 

rodw

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The OP asked about a dial indicator, although he may have meant a DTI. If you do buy a Mitutoyo be aware there are plenty of fakes out there. The Mitutoyo website has a section on how to spot a fake.
Nothing wrong with a fake! I've got one :fan::fan:

Comes from having no idea about these things and buying a cheap one out of China. Mine is a Mitutogo and aside from the name, it is a spitting image of the Mitutoyo 513-404. I only made the connection this week....

It is better quality than the first cheap Dial indicator I purchased. A refurbished Tesa is on its way, hopefully it will arrive today.
 

pete

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Very much a plus one one for the Long Island Indicator site and the information they freely provide. I've always found their website to be 100% correct, unbiased, and very factual, and I certainly wouldn't hesitate to ship anything I own to them for repair. That's my number one site I use when deciding on any purchase of new metrology equipment.

And another plus one on buying the best you can afford. Some of the Chinese equipment can be ok, but if the one you end up with won't repeat? Then it's pretty well a useless paperweight. I usually buy Mitutoyo or Starrett so have really no experience with any other brands. But none of the top manufacturers make inaccurate equipment. So any of them should be good. Some are just a bit better at some jobs than others.

For the metric minded? Please use your own versions of the following. I think and work in imperial.

You can't really expect one type of dial indicator to do everything needed. There's Dial Indicators (D.I.'s) for short. There normally .001 reading with either a 1/2" or the more usual 1" travel on the indicators spindle. For that reason you want to make sure to buy an indicator with a secondary dial that shows each .100 thou of the indicators movement, at one time it seems it was more common to produce indicators without that secondary dial than it is today. But with that and the main indicator dial, your good to within + - .001 on very good indicators. Most of them will repeat far better than that, but the various manufacturers will only state their equipment will repeat within that + - .001

But you also need when you can afford it, at least one model of a Dial Test Indicator (D.T.I.) for short. While I guess they can be bought as .001 reading indicators, most seem to be and I think it's worthwhile to buy a .0001 reading indicator. Due to the design of most DTI's, they will reach in and are capable of running checks and setups in places where it would be impossible for the standard D.I.'s to do so. Most of the .0001 reading DTI's have around .030 or maybe a bit more of measurement range. But due to the actual mechanical design most DTI's use, they just aren't accurate for the linear measurements over that .030 range. That's not a fault of the indicators, it's just a mechanical design issue that relates to the linkage from the probe tip to what the actual needle deflection shows. So in use, DTI's are normally considered a "null" or zero setting indicator. By that I mean your trying to set up your part, tool, or machine with the lowest possible deflection showing on the DTI's needle.

There's probably no single magnetic base system that will work for every setup either. Even the cheap ones will work with the base sitting on flat horizontal steel or cast surface. But it's when you need to set that base at other than horizontal when you need the very good quality and strong magnetic attraction. Having that magnetic base pull away from your surface and crashing your expensive DI's or DTI's make those cheap magnetic bases very very expensive. And I do own those cheap $25.00 ones, and the $150 Mitutoyo and Starrett models. There is a vast difference in holding power for the money. But I make a point of pulling on the magnetic base after setting it up as a trial of just how strong the base is attached to the surface just so I don't get any of those very expensive crashing noises. Please don't ask how I know to do this now.:mad: I've heard but have no experience yet that Noga magnetic bases are generally considered to be just about the best.

But whatever you buy, you will one way or another end up machining extra parts for various methods of holding and placing your indicators at the correct orientation. That's just part of owning them. Sometimes even the magnetic bases just won't work on some setups for various reasons.

And I'd very much agree about treating them as a very delicate tool that needs to be respected and kept as much as possible away from the usual swarf and crud in any shop. Good indicators are worth every penny of what they cost. DON'T ever oil them without a lot of further research first. You will do it wrong if you don't. I hope some of this helps.

Pete
 

rodm1

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I've found that the Starrett flex model to be the best. If you could find a smaller version of the Starrett 657T or use a full sized model you will be all set. I've used the rod type and small ones and never liked them. I wasn’t able to get it into position or the magnet whose to week.
 
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