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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
 
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Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

I'm looking to buy a dial indicator with magnetic base, digital 0-6" caliper, and a normal 0-1" micrometer. I'll mainly be using the tools to setup gears but they will also get used for motor and drive train work on occasion. Will the cheaper tools work for me or should i drop the big bucks on measurment tools?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 12:09 PM
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Re: Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

I bought mine at Harbor Freight Tools. It's good enough for my use. If I were to make my living with these tools I would spend a whole lot more on better quality tools.

I bought the dial guage for measuring run out and end play on shafts when I repair automatic transmissions.

So far, so good.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 12:11 PM
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Re: Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

Try Ebay for a used one first....or maybe a pawn shop.

This is actually a good question and we talked about it a little bit in the thread regarding Sears Craftsman tools.

For the most part, most guys agree that a cheap tool (assuming it does the job) is ok for onesy twosy stuff.

But if you plan to put it to good long term use...spend a few extra bucks....in the long run it's cheaper to buy it once than several times.

The best comparison I can give is saw blades. My first table saw had a nice sharp stamped steel blade. But any wood I cut I would always leave about 1/32" of extra wood so I could sand off the saw blade marks.

A few years ago my wife bought me a new table saw with a nice carbide blade....night and day...no more sanding after a cut....so for me to spend $50 or more on a saw blade is not a problem. I save that much in sand paper.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 01:00 PM
 
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Re: Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

I think you'll know right away if a dial indicator is any good, and if used simply to measure endplay, TDC or centre a workpiece on a lathe, a cheap one might suffice.

For making absolute measurements (knowing a shaft is 0.975 diameter), like a micrometer or caliper, I'd only rely on a quality instrument like Mitutoyo or Starret for instance. It can be tricky enough getting a good measurement with a micrometer, let alone factoring in that it might not be accurate or repeatable.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 02:41 PM
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Re: Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

Sears. they have some nice ones. but not in there store you need to get it online or from the cat
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 02:43 PM
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Re: Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

How many times have you regretted buying quality instead of junk?

You get over price, you never get over poor quality.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 02:57 PM
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Re: Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

Like any tool you need to decide on how your going to use it.

For most home use, the Harbor freight dial & digital calipers will probably work. I use them for my gun & auto stuff. While they read out to .000 (thousand ths)not too sure just how accurate that last digit is. I have at least 4 laying around the place.
For my dial indiactors (for end play,diff gear setups,etc) I bought them off E-mail for a "song".

At work where we go out .1111 (10 thousands) we use Starret and usually re-check with two different guages & operators.

And Ditto to what RRich said!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 03:45 PM
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Re: Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

whenever I here Micrometer, I can't help be think...

Measure with a micrometer
Mark it with chalk
Cut it with and axe
Grind it to fit
Paint it to match.
[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 04:07 PM
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Re: Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

Ha He -- I love it!

"""""
Measure with a micrometer
Mark it with chalk
Cut it with an axe
Grind it to fit
Paint it to match.
"""""

And -
Patch it with JB Weld and do it again!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 04:39 PM
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Re: Cheap Vs. Expensive Measurment Tools

Wow, something I actually know something about.
Remember, this is all based on the assumption that you'll be using the Mic 3-4 times, Indicator 5-6 times, and the Calipers 40-50 times per year.
I'd recommend you just skip the Mic for now and invest that money in a good DIAL caliper. Mitutoyo, Starrett, and B&S all seem to be nice gauges. I've heard newer B&S aren't as solid as they used to be, but that's purely hear-say.
Unless you can afford a complete set of quality Mic's, up to 6" at least, you'd be better off using a good caliper that you can trust. Are you really going to be measuring anything down to the 1/10th?
As for the indicator, watch MSC's website for clearance items. I bought a cheap 1" travel and mag base with fine adjust for less than the price of a mag base alone, $15 or $20 I think. You can use the cheap indicator for a couple of years then replace it with a good one after your funds are replenished. Over the first few years it will be accurate to within .001" which is more than good enough for your application. After that it can be used in nasty conditions or to get things close before switching to your new high dollar one.
When you're ready for a good indicator, get either a starret or interapid. .0005" graduation is plenty close enough, and with them you get .030" total travel which is nice. 1/10th is overkill unless you're a tool maker, IMO.
Also, you can always ship them to me for calibration if you are feeling really anal about it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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