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Must Have Measuring Tools

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n3480h

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#32
Either I am sorely under-equipped, or I have been creative with what I have. However, with small machines I can get by with less, and my hobby machining rarely requires better than +/-.002" tolerances. Here's what I have and use:
Starret 0-4 mics
12" Digital height stand
Dial indicator (with an "in-house" machined mount so it can be used with the height stand)
Coaxial dial indicator
2 Noga Mag bases for the indicators
Feeler gages
12 x 18 granite surface plate
Mitutoyo digital 8" caliper
6" and 24" steel scales
A set of 1-2-3 blocks
Starret telescoping bore gage set

It would be nice to have a set of good gage blocks and pins, but the above list has met my needs so far.

Tom
 

Franko

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#33
The most used layout tool I have is a pair of small Starrett double squares, one has a 4" blade and one a 6" blade. They are good for dozens of uses. Laying out cuts and placing holes. Center finding and marking, Transferring dimensions, inside square marking on the inside of angle stock, and indexing parts in an mill vise is just a few examples.

starrett double square.jpg
 

Bill C.

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#34
I am not sure Starrett still makes the thin body 6" hook rule. I looked for one but have not found one. Its only about 1/4" wide, great tool. I want a second one as mine has seen a hard life.

Starrett H604R-6, a 6" spring tempered scale was listed in their 2012 catalog. I have one like it a very useful scale.
 

chips&more

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#36
Nobody just up and buys them all at once. It takes a lifetime to get even close to everything you will want. Take your time and get the basics, then as you see the need, add to the tool chest.
I did just that! Now I have 3,100 sq/ft of crap to the 10’ ceiling! Take some advice from me guys. You can have every tool in the world, but just one life time to use them. And I say it’s not possible to do it. You will find your favorite tools will be a small pile in the shop. When you need that special tool, you will spend hours/days trying to find it in all that crap. I have one lifetime with ten lifetimes of projects. It ain’t gonna happen. Instead of me buying more crap, maybe I’ll just have a garage sale, Dave
 

Franko

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#37
I picked up most of my rules and builder squares in pawn shops, back when things in pawn shops sold for used prices.

I love tools, but I've not allowed myself to buy one just because I thought I might need it someday. There are very few tools (and I have thousands of them) in my shop that haven't earned their keep.
 

The Liberal Arts Garage

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#38
? 6" digital caliper, possibly a 12" as well
? Dial test indicator
? 0-1" micrometer (0.0001" or better)
? 0-6" or 0-12" micrometer set
? micrometer head
? depth gage
? gage blocks (aka Joe Blocks)
? Dial indicator
? Dial test indicator holder for mill spinlde, possibly indicol style
? Magnetic base dial indicator holder
? Comparator stand for dial indicator, you can get ones with an 8x10 granite surface plate
? Thread measuring wires
? telescoping bore gages
? screw pitch gages
? angle blocks
? radius gage set
? angle gage set
? center line gage accessory for caliper
? micrometer anvil set
? surface finish comparator
? Magnifying loupe with reticles
? 230X USB microscope
? large surface plate, height gage, precision squares, etc. is nice to have but large, heavy, and expensive.
? scale with right angle, center finder, and protractor
? Universal bevel protractor
? Sine bar
? master precision level
? pin gage sets, particularly the <0.250" size
? plain inside/outside calipers and dividers
? kill-a-watt meter so you can see how many HP you are running

Please feel free to add to this list!

Best,

Nelson
Remember stiff joint calipers ? I have a friend ,decades of pouring and
machining motor bearings, etc. Used plain calipers to repeat tenths ,
Because it was simpler and faster. It's all in the Touch !........BLJHB.
 

PaPa_Jack

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#41
Being new to this "Hobby", I thought that the title of this thread could give me some perspective on where do I go from here. I have very few "precision" instruments. Instead of guiding me, I now feel totally intimidated. I know that was not the purpose, but c'mon guys. Give me, a real novice, some guidance about what basic measuring I need to get started. I realize that most of you have acquired all these instruments over many years but you had to start somewhere.

What basic measuring devices should I attempt to purchase to get me started?


Jack
 

John Hasler

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#42
Being new to this "Hobby", I thought that the title of this thread could give me some perspective on where do I go from here. I have very few "precision" instruments. Instead of guiding me, I now feel totally intimidated. I know that was not the purpose, but c'mon guys. Give me, a real novice, some guidance about what basic measuring I need to get started. I realize that most of you have acquired all these instruments over many years but you had to start somewhere.

What basic measuring devices should I attempt to purchase to get me started?


Jack
Get a 6" and a 12" steel scale, a 6" digital caliper, a DTI with a simple magnetic mount,, a 4" or 6" machinist's square, and some feeler gauges.
 

PaPa_Jack

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#45
I was talking to a good friend this morning. He asked how my lathe was coming along. We talked for a while. Aboout 20 minutes ago he stopped by and dropped off a Chicago brand 3 micrometer set and about 20 Hardinge 3c collets. They were mixed in with a lot of tools he got last year when his grandfather passed away. So, at least I can measure accurately to 3 inches now. It's a start.
 

Charles Spencer

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#47
What basic measuring devices should I attempt to purchase to get me started?
It's not a tool but I find Dykem to be almost indispensable for marking my work. A 4 oz. bottle has lasted me for years. $5.97 if you have Amazon Prime:

https://www.amazon.com/Dykem-80300-Steel-Layout-Brush-/dp/B0018ACR6G

I started with a 1" micrometer, 6" calipers, pocket rule, inside and outside spring calipers, a protractor, a center punch, and a combination square with 6" and 12" rules.

I cut a 59° drill grinding gage out of sheet metal. I also made a lathe tool bit grinding gage. You can find the pattern for one here:

http://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/i-need-some-cutting-tools.49571/#post-417567

I made a scribe by grinding an old round file.

I got my hands on a 6" round of steel about 1 1/4" thick. I faced it off and then rotated it on sandpaper to get a reasonably flat surface to work on. I still use this a lot even though I have a surface plate now. It's very handy because it sits within arms reach on the bench.

The next things that I bought were a 2" micrometer and a dial indicator with a magnetic holder.

Here's a printable pdf of a Decimal Tap & Drill chart. Very handy for converting measurements as well.

http://www.imperialsupplies.com/pdf/I_DrillSizeDecimalEquivalent&TapDrillChart.pdf


You should be able to do a lot with just these items.
 
Last edited:

owl

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#48
I haven't yet found a need for a micrometer of over 2", my dial caliper seems to be accurate enough for me for the larger sizes. In that vein, I don't want digital instruments that use batteries, as they seem to go dead and leak before I need that particular tool, but the mechanical digital or dial ones just keep working. I do use a 12' tape a fair amount, especially useful when measuring spaces for rearrangement. Like drill bits, you can never have enough measuring devices that there isn't something out there that would work better for a particular situation. Sometimes work-arounds are half the fun.
 

EmilioG

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#49
Does anyone use dividers and calipers anymore? I have a collection of around 12 in various sizes and type, mostly Starrett vintage.
Some tools that see a lot of use: 8" Mit digital calipers, Etalon dial calipers, 1-2-3 blocks, mics, surface plate, squares, protractors, and rules of all sizes.
Those Starrett hook rules are great. Just bought the thin one for $10 in mint shape. My Mitutoyo Japan made mic stand is also indispensable.
Starrett thread gages are also good to have. I couldn't figure out a fastener the other day, turns out it was a rare M3.5
 

swatson144

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#50
The calipers are very useful for me. Say something needs to be 13" +.000 -.006 2 calipers can be pretty quick and inexpensive (at machine) GnG. Not every shoulder on shafting needs to be press fit for bearings. When you have tolerances for bushings you don't really need the big Mics, or balancing the 36" verniers on your shoulder. I even use it a lot on production runs of small pieces. That No Go drags and the Go don't... It'll pass QA.

Steve
 

Bob Korves

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#51
Not all work is measured to tenths, and much time and effort is wasted by doing so for no reason. It makes a lot more sense to use spring calipers over a rough cut part while it is turning to check it than to use a tenths micrometer after stopping the lathe. Save the tenths mic and the extra effort for the finish cut.
 
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