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Alignment Tool (Calipers instead of a Dial Indicator)

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Project by USCJeff posted 687 days ago 2049 views 10 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I don’t own an accurate dial indicator. Against pretty sound wisdom and experience, I bought one from Harbor Freight breaking the #1 rule shopping there (If it measures or has a battery, thou shalt not buy). Funny thing is, the calipers I used came from HF, measure, and have batteries as well. I replaced them a while ago and haven’t touched it until recently when conceiving this project. The important thing in this set up is being able to take a measure and transfer that to another spot to test alignment. They work perfect for that as they lock well.

Anyhow, the pictures give most of it away. I used a piece of MDF and made it to fit the miter slot very snug. I drilled toe hole for the threaded insert and threaded that into place. Using a matching machine screw and the appropriate allen wrench it allows one ot remove the calipers. I’m not sure all calipers have to same measurements, but I drilled overlapping small holes as true to the shape of the calipers as I could. A little filing squares it off.

The application is straight forward. Take measurements at the front and back of the blade/fence and make adjustments as needed.

Note: If you’re using calipers (that you like) in this manner, make sure to pad the bottom of the machine screw or it will leave an indentation on the calipers.

-- Jeff, South Carolina





9 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile (online now)

waho6o9

4752 posts in 1179 days


#1 posted 687 days ago

Neat idea Jeff, thanks for posting.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11639 posts in 2290 days


#2 posted 687 days ago

I saw something similar to this just last week. Good job : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View MisterBill's profile

MisterBill

337 posts in 854 days


#3 posted 687 days ago

Pretty ingenious!

View JoeinDE's profile

JoeinDE

366 posts in 1925 days


#4 posted 687 days ago

I do the same thing with my tri-square. It has a lip that I can butt up against the right side wall of the miter slot. It locks effectively and allows me to make sure that my table saw fence is the same distance from the miter slot on both sides of the table. This is critical with the crappy fence that my old craftsman table saw has. I am one of those that wants my fence perfectly parallel to the blade.

-- A bad craftsmen blames his cheap #$%ing tools

View DanoP's profile

DanoP

135 posts in 941 days


#5 posted 686 days ago

Zero it out on the left hand side of the blade and you have a thin rip gauge.

-- We've got enough youth. Let's search for a fountain of smart.

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2002 posts in 1435 days


#6 posted 686 days ago

Mmm, very clever!

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View jm82435's profile

jm82435

1228 posts in 2344 days


#7 posted 686 days ago

Seeing that tightening wrench makes me wince for your calipers – even if they are HF.
Do you use it to measure the differences along the fence like an indicator?, or just lock it down once it touches the fence at the closest gap and eyeball it from there?

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View sedcokid's profile

sedcokid

2663 posts in 2201 days


#8 posted 686 days ago

Looks like a decent idea, however one must be careful not to damage those calipers…. Being a toolmaker and used to using precision tools, I would never use a screw in this maner on my tools. That being said…......it is pretty ingenious!! Congrats on the Daily Top 3!!!

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2670 days


#9 posted 685 days ago

Jim & Chuck: I don’t use these calipers for measuring anymore as it proved inaccurate. But yes, I wouldn’t suggest using a nicer Starrett square (or the like) in this manner. There is an indentation on mine. I use the same spot, but still. The nicer measuring tools come with fancy cases for a good reason!

Jim: I don’t take a measure. I just get the fence (or blade) close to it and adjust and lock the caliper to the contact point. The measure in this case doesn’t matter so long as it matches front to rear.

Dano: Haven’t thought of the thin strip use. It essentially does the same thing as the standard jigs you see. I’ve always like the jigs with the bearing attached to the contact point.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

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