|Review by StumpyNubs||posted 11-29-2010 03:40 AM||6287 views||1 time favorited||23 comments|
I’ve been reviewing some of my favorite Harbor Freight gems and this is the latest: The Cen-Tech 623 Dial Indicator.
I’ve wanted a machinist dial gauge for a while, they’re fantastic for fine tuning your workshop machines, adding super precision to jigs, even easily and accurately installing jointer knives. But they are usually pricey in my opinion, especially when you add the stand. But Harbor Freight has come through again!
First of all, if you check it out on the web, it shows a photo of the dial and the stand together. THIS IS NOT HOW THEY ARE SOLD! You have to buy them separately. But I got the pair on sale in the store for about $25.
First, the gauge: It’s well made for the price. Not perfect, but I took it apart for the sake of doing a good review and inside I found nice brass parts, no plastic. That means it will wear well and stand up to less than ideal conditions. It has two dials, one measures in the thousandths and the other keeps track of how many times the needle makes a full revolution around the dial for larger measurements. It works smoothly and is very accurate.
Now, the stand: This is a MUST because it holds the dial securely for various measurements. It excels at mounting jointer knives, especially when you sharpen them by hand and need to make sure the edges, which may be different on each knife, are perfectly even. I saw a video of how to do it online, don’t remember where- google it!
The stand fastens to any cast iron surface with a surprisingly powerful magnet that you turn on and off with a switch. I’m already thinking about how I could use this magnet for a band saw fence or table saw feather board like the much more expensive ones they sell at woodcraft!
To use the gauge to set your table saw blade parallel to the miter slots you’ll need to make a separate holder, but it’s a simple enough thing to build.
Over all, at $25, this is a STEAL and there’s more uses for it in a shop than you can imagine!
-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' premiere online publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/