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SPI .0001 DTI fails

JBowlin

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#1
So I bought 2 brand new SPI .0001 DTI last week. Opened both tonight while indicating some bar stock for head alignment and one of them is completely garbage and the other could be used to hold prints from flying away. SPI use to make decent stuff but I noticed the box said made in China. Real bummer.

That brings me here to ask for advise on a good .0001 DTI that will not leave me crying at the bill. I need 2 of them. I'm leaning towards Mitutoyo but would entertain other quality brands. I know about Browne and Sharp, Interapid, and Starret but most I've seen are just out of my budget right now as I just bought a new machine and a ton of new tooling and still have DROs to go for mill and lathe.

Thanks in advance.
 

mikey

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#2
I know there are going to be many opinions on this subject and I'll offer mine. Dial test indicators are used often and it pays to buy a good one (or two). For most uses, a 0.0005" model is sufficient. For that matter, a 0.001" model will do for most of the things we do.

I don't like to pay for something that cannot be repaired, cleaned and calibrated. That leaves all Chinese, most Japanese and modern American indicators out. I'm talking about test indicators here, not dial or drop indicators. I have an Interapid and multiple Compact DTI's and they are absolutely reliable and bulletproof. If I drop one and render it unusable, it can be fixed to new condition for a lot less than a new one costs. You can often find new or near new indicators on ebay for good prices if you're patient. Amazon sells a very good Best Test indicator for $132.00, or about what you would pay for a Mitutoyo that can't be fixed: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006J4X2...lid=348W6RKXZ64DY&coliid=I106R2PUCZK76O&psc=1

I would suggest you bite the bullet and buy a Swiss-made 0.0005" indicator and buy it once.
 

JBowlin

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#3
Funny I was just talking to an old machinist friend and he said go with .0005 also. Said the .0001 DTI would make me crazy. I'm working on firearms and most smiths I talk to say for action and chambering that they typically get within .0002 before doing any work but I think I can read between the lines and get it within a couple tenths with a .0005 DTI.
That being said, I'll look for some deals on the B&S best test.
 

mksj

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#4
Yes, SPI use to be a good company but now things like Swiss Precision and German engineering, mean nothing. I learned early on with a similar experience as yours, that the recent SPI products are for the most part rebranded junk.

The Starrett 25-511 and 25-611 dial gauges are very good if you can find them in NOS or very good shape are a reasonable price ($75-100). You could also look at something like the Mitutoyo Dial Indicator, 2803S-10 or 2804S-10. Be aware that there are a ton of fake Mitutoyo stuff on eBay and from Asian sellers, so buyer beware. Also the size and mounting aspects are different for each manufacturer, so check the dial indicator specs first.
https://www.zoro.com/mitutoyo-dial-indicator-0-to-0025-in-0-5-0-2803s-10/i/G3552202
https://www.zoro.com/mitutoyo-dial-indicator-0-to-0050-in-0-10-2804s-10/i/G0986903
If you sign up for Zoro email it is 15% off, and periodically they have a 20% off FEBLOVE until midnight CST tonight.
 

mikey

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#5
Hey mksj, thought he wanted a DTI, not a DI?
 

mikey

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#6
... most smiths I talk to say for action and chambering that they typically get within .0002 before doing any work ...
That is some rarified air they work in. Cutting to tenths can be done but you have to gooood!
 

mksj

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#7
Hey Mikey,
Either one can be used, the link you had connected to a dial indicator, so I assumed he was also interested in a DI. A DI will read true distance, a DTI is relative. I use both, but for headstock alignment and setting up stock in the 4J I use a DI, I use a DTI for close in work near the chuck or inside stock alignment. Most of my work requires tolerances of better than 0.001" so I use my Starrett 25-611 most of the time and it is much easier to read than my Interapid which is a 0.0005" model. The nice thing on the Interpid DTI (also Compac, Tesa, newer B&S seem to be the same) is that they have a several revolution range measurement, so on their 0.0001" the range is 0.024". I would look for NOS or lightly used, sometimes you can find one at a decent price, but seems less so these days.
20161218_124518.jpg
 

markba633csi

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#8
Thought I had read that Long Island Indicator doesn't have repair parts for Compac/Interapid stuff anymore- Bummer if true
Mark S.
 

JBowlin

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#9
Mikey I didn't say they were cutting within .0002 just that the work is indicated with .0002 before cutting lol. And that seems like overkill to me
 
Last edited:

Doubleeboy

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#10
SPI got bought out by MSC a number of years back, that was the beginning of the end. Not to say they can not make good stuff, but the days of blindly trusting the name are over. Interapid 321-b for me, I have dropped it on concrete floor several times, still works perfect, built like a tank but small enough to bet into tight places.
 

JBowlin

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#11
Ordered 2 bestest 7031-5 DTIs last night. And on another note just got my headstock within .0001 taper at 3.5 inches, only took me 2 days lol. Since my DTIs were garbage I did it the way that matters really, taking a cut measuring and adjusting. The cut doesn't care what the indicator says.
 

mikey

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#12
Hey Mikey,
Either one can be used, the link you had connected to a dial indicator, so I assumed he was also interested in a DI. A DI will read true distance, a DTI is relative. I use both, but for headstock alignment and setting up stock in the 4J I use a DI, I use a DTI for close in work near the chuck or inside stock alignment. Most of my work requires tolerances of better than 0.001" so I use my Starrett 25-611 most of the time and it is much easier to read than my Interapid which is a 0.0005" model. The nice thing on the Interpid DTI (also Compac, Tesa, newer B&S seem to be the same) is that they have a several revolution range measurement, so on their 0.0001" the range is 0.024". I would look for NOS or lightly used, sometimes you can find one at a decent price, but seems less so these days.
View attachment 225407
You're right - I did link the wrong thing; they were next to each other on the list I saved for one of my friends and I copied the wrong link. I meant this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006J4Y3E/ref=biss_dp_t_asn

I use both, too, and what I wanted to get across is that it pays to buy a good tool the first time. The trick is in figuring out what "good" is nowadays, and I think the Swiss instruments offer the most bang for the buck in a range most hobby guys can reach.
 

mikey

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#13
Mikey I didn't say they were cutting within .0002 just that the work is indicated with .0002 before cutting lol. And that seems like overkill to me
I was just joking. I have a lot of respect for good gunsmiths. I met one locally and he was the grouchiest man I have ever seen but that guy was meticulous and did good work.
 

Wreck™Wreck

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#14
Thought I had read that Long Island Indicator doesn't have repair parts for Compac/Interapid stuff anymore- Bummer if true
Mark S.
LII doesn't repair Starrett Last Word indicators either, cheaper to buy a new one. Bought a new one in January for $180.00 shipped.
 

wawoodman

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#16
Don't know enough about B&S pricing to say. Just beware of the $35 Mitsubishi!

If the price is too good to be true, it's a fake.