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Best Dial Test Indictor for the Money

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mksj

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#31
I have two Compacs and an Interapid. Two were purchased as NOS (new Old Stock) and one as used but in great condition, all where about 1/2 the price of new ones. They all work great. A few things to also consider is the the range and reversibility of the indicators. If I recall some of the older ones had a reversing lever, many are limited to +/- one revolution which can be a challenge when dealing with the higher resolution models. The extended range is a great help when you are trying to get your work dialed in and the TIR is fairly wide to start with. With the Compac and Alina, you use to be able to pick them up on Fleabay for a lot less, but not so these days since they are now associated with Interpid. The newer Interapid, Compac and Brown & Sharpe I believe are the same, and just cross branded.

You sometimes get lucky with buying used ones, but most of the time they have been abused which is often seen as the pointer neutral position has been knocked out of alignment. Alternatively when I have purchased a Chinese knockoff measuring tool, it has either broken and/or it does not work smoothly. After a few earlier experiences, I avoid any tooling from China when possible. I just had this problem with two Shar'sR8 collets that I use for my metric center finders and had some repeat measurement issues, both where out almost 0.001". I have a set of English Lyndex R8 collets, and the concentricity is 0.0002". The challenge was then to try to get two close tolerance replacement metric collets. Ended up purchasing two UK Crawford collets. Unfortunately they are no longer produced, so when they are gone I guess that just leaves Lyndex.

I have been looking for a 0.0001" test indicator model for some time, the newer Interpid's have gotten very pricey, even the NOS and lost a few bids. The Compac 214 and 215 models at 20% off through Long Island Indicator are pretty sweet and a lot less than the Interapid equivalent models. So I recently picked up a Compac 215GA from them that I needed to setup some of my centering indicators.

Compac test indicator with a long contact point that I use on the lathe to center stock in the spider. Love this one because of the wide range, it was perfect for this application. Interpid test indicator and Starrett dial indicator setup for my QCTP.
Spider Indicator 3.jpg 20161218_124502.jpg
 

Doubleeboy

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#32
If you are flush with cash, MSC has had pretty good prices on 312-b from Interapid. I have more than enough Swiss and german indicators to last a few lifetimes. That said if my 312 broke today, i would order a new one and send the broken one into L I Indicator for repair. I have had two major mishaps with Interapid in last 12 to 15 years, survived both, still dead nuts accurate. My Chinese clone lasted less than 2 months when I first bought it, I never dropped it, or abused it. At a bit under $200 the Interapid 312 is a good investment. Mine has fallen out of sippery arthritic hands twice, hit mill, bounced to concrete floor, pick it up and go back to work. An acquaintance of mine likes to fiddle with test indicators, clean em and fix. I asked him about Interapid, he said he has never opened one up, never had a broken one, but finds lots of broken Starrett and Mitutoyos to work on, based on his thoughts I bought my Interapid, it has been a great piece. On a .0005" reading 312 I can easily dial in to less than 2 tenths and with patience and magnifier visor hit 1 tenth, that in combination with its ergonomic design and near indestructible build quality I am hooked. If MSC does not curently have good prices on them Penn Tool usually does.
 

EmilioG

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#33
Curious, why two indicators on the lathe at the same time? Nice indicators, though I am partial to Interapids. Would like to get a new 312 Bv .0005" Interapid.
Makes it easier to indicate bores w/o a mirror. I recently bought a mint condition Interapid .0001" DTI to check TIR. Great instrument. When buying used, I always look for wear on the stem, dovetails and overall condition.
 

mksj

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#34
Curious, why two indicators on the lathe at the same time?
It is a clamping fixture that attaches to my QCTP so it/indicators stays in the same plane of the axis being measured. The attaching fixture block also has two set screws to hold a Noga type arm, the picture shows both as an example but I use one or the other for measurement. The test indicator on the arm is used for hard to reach places that need a narrow probe and also for indicating inside measurements, otherwise the Starett dial indicator is easier for me to see, and the range is 0.200" with a dial resolution of 0.0001". When setting up stock in my 4J, it is much easier to use, but there are times where I either have very short stock in the chuck or checking inside tolerances where I will use the test indicator.
 
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