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Any experience using smartphone inclinometer?

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Forum topic by wildbill001 posted 01-27-2016 10:26 PM 1024 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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wildbill001

111 posts in 2103 days


01-27-2016 10:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wixey digital angle gauge

I was about to pull the trigger on a Wixey digital gauge when my grandson says, “I bet there is an app for that”. Sure enough, there are several free inclinometer apps in the android store. Anyone have any experience using them for setting tablesaw blade angles?

Not sure how well they would work as my phone doesn’t have sharp, 80deg corners. The price is certainly right—free. And it is not like I need to set angles all the time so the Wixey would spend most of the time in the drawer.

If you have tried, what app did you end up using and how well did it work for you?

TIA

Bill W

-- "You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their back" -- Unknown


20 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3124 days


#1 posted 01-27-2016 10:38 PM

Without a way to attach your phone to the blade, I would think it would be a PITA to use. The advantage of the Wixey (and other similar devices) is that the magnets leave both hands free. True, you don’t need both hands to crank the tilt wheel on you saw, but holding a phone up by the blade while cranking the wheel would seem a bit awkward to me.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View 716's profile

716

502 posts in 377 days


#2 posted 01-27-2016 11:13 PM

You do not change the blade angle that often, and besides the table saw scale is perfectly fine, so you would just need to check and correct the angle. Could be a bit less convenient than a specialized tool but for me it does not grant $60 or even $30 for a cheaper model.
And even more besides you only need it when setting odd angles (once in lifetime?), a good Rafter Square would be hands down more accurate for standard angles.
However if every board you cut requires different tilt and you do it all day long that is a different story.
( I do not know how accurate the phone inclinometers are, potentially the same or better than Wixley’s )

P.S. Great idea wildbill001 !

-- It's nice!

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pmayer

864 posts in 2526 days


#3 posted 01-27-2016 11:46 PM

I’ve used both and Wixey provides better accuracy. If you only need to get within +/- 2 degrees or so, you should be fine with your phone. But if you need better precision and repeatability, then get the Wixey.

-- PaulMayer, http://www.vernswoodgoods.com

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716

502 posts in 377 days


#4 posted 01-28-2016 12:02 AM

How do you know which phone he uses ?

-- It's nice!

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hotbyte

841 posts in 2436 days


#5 posted 01-28-2016 12:06 AM

ShopNotes #136 has a reader tip that shows building a wooden case with magnets that would allow you to use phone like a Wixey. I had already bought a Wixey when I saw the reader tip.

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TheDane

4997 posts in 3124 days


#6 posted 01-28-2016 02:16 AM

You do not change the blade angle that often, and besides the table saw scale is perfectly fine, so you would just need to check and correct the angle.

Unless you are cutting staves for turning blanks. I use my Wixey to dial in angles for staved vessels (like vases and urns).

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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woodbutcherbynight

2419 posts in 1870 days


#7 posted 01-28-2016 03:11 AM

The Wixley can be used for several applications making it a versatile tool that does a good job and increases accuracy. For $30 I thought it an excellent addition to my shop. The phone = no. It belongs in the house as I am busy enjoying my quiet evening making things. They can call tomorrow. LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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becikeja

643 posts in 2274 days


#8 posted 01-28-2016 11:49 AM

Can’t see the phone being any better than the gauge on the saw.

Back in my college days we had to take actual mechanical drafting classes, and use pencil and paper. No computers, no CAD. We actually had a set of plastic angles that we would use. I still have mine and use them all the time in the shop. They are very accurate, and very easy to use. Now the question, can you even buy these things anymore?

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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hotbyte

841 posts in 2436 days


#9 posted 01-28-2016 11:59 AM



Can t see the phone being any better than the gauge on the saw.

Back in my college days we had to take actual mechanical drafting classes, and use pencil and paper. No computers, no CAD. We actually had a set of plastic angles that we would use. I still have mine and use them all the time in the shop. They are very accurate, and very easy to use. Now the question, can you even buy these things anymore?

- becikeja


I recently found my old drafting kit from college…what a trip down memory lane. And, yes, you can still buy all of those items. Local Hobby Lobby has most of them including the little barrel lead sharpener and letter guide.

View ScottM's profile

ScottM

346 posts in 1607 days


#10 posted 01-28-2016 01:06 PM

Surely someone with both a Wixey and a phone could do some accuracy comparisons between the two?? That would be much better than speculation comparisons…

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HokieKen

1738 posts in 599 days


#11 posted 01-28-2016 07:19 PM

I considered the phone but it was just too big and skinny to be convenient. Opted for the Wixey and am VERY glad I did. It’s turned out to be much more useful than I thought. I originally intended just to use it to set TS blade angles and check to make sure BS blade was square to table. Now I’ve also built a jig to use it to set miter gauge angles. I use it to set miter bars on my Table saw sled by sitting the sled on end and zeroing off the fence. Granted, I have done all this for years using squares and angle blocks, but the Wixey is much more convenient and has proven to be highly accurate. When I first got it, I used it to measure all of my machinist’s angle blocks off my granite surface plate. It was within +/- .1 degrees on every block in the set. Definitely close enough for me!

Your phone may do the job just as well, but for $30, the stability of the Wixey base and the magnets make it worthwhile IMHO.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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MrUnix

4208 posts in 1660 days


#12 posted 01-28-2016 08:03 PM

Last time I saw specs on the gyros used in the phones (little over a year ago), they were somewhere around +/- 0.2 or thereabouts IIRC. They seem to hide those numbers now as I’ve been unable to find any for the current crop of phones. But a quick check of what the Samsung Galaxy uses for it’s gyro shows it using an Invensense MPU-6050 chipset, which provides a 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, and a Digital Motion Processor. It is interfaced using a 16 bit DAC. In theory, that means that 360 degrees of rotation can be represented by a number between 0 and 65535 (2^16), which would mean a theoretical accuracy of about 0.005 degrees. I don’t know if they have implemented it to that level of accuracy though, or if it’s even possible given the inherent error injected by the digital/analog conversion, but it would seem feasible that it could be as accurate as the dedicated devices such as the Wixey.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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716

502 posts in 377 days


#13 posted 01-28-2016 08:48 PM


Last time I saw specs on the gyros used in the phones (little over a year ago), they were somewhere around +/- 0.2 or thereabouts IIRC. They seem to hide those numbers now as I ve been unable to find any for the current crop of phones. But a quick check of what the Samsung Galaxy uses for it s gyro shows it using an Invensense MPU-6050 chipset, which provides a 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, and a Digital Motion Processor. It is interfaced using a 16 bit DAC. In theory, that means that 360 degrees of rotation can be represented by a number between 0 and 65535 (2^16), which would mean a theoretical accuracy of about 0.005 degrees. I don t know if they have implemented it to that level of accuracy though, or if it s even possible given the inherent error injected by the digital/analog conversion, but it would seem feasible that it could be as accurate as the dedicated devices such as the Wixey.

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix


Inclinometer is a mechanical device so the width of the DAC certainly is not the limiting factor. Since 16bit DAC costs so little ( about 1 cent in bulk pricing for a dedicated chip, much less when embedded into other element) there is really no reason to skimp here.
Temperature and linearity would be the bottleneck not the DAC. The latter can probably be calibrated individually to a very high degree, I just saw no applications that allow do that.

-- It's nice!

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MrUnix

4208 posts in 1660 days


#14 posted 01-28-2016 10:34 PM

Inclinometer is a mechanical device
- 716

Yup, which the 6050 isn’t in the typical sense… it’s a crystal gyro. After my first glance of the spec sheet for the MPU-6050, I mistakenly thought it provided angular position, but that is not the case… it provides angular velocity, which must sampled and then further processed to calculate position based on previous data (and typically in conjunction with data coming from the accelerometer to compensate for gravitational errors). Sample rate is programmable, so different levels of granularity can be obtained depending on the application it’s being used for. Regardless, it is a commonly used chip for the purpose. It is also quite popular in the arduino crowd, and seems like it should be able to provide a good level of precision if implemented right. If that is the case with smartphones, I dunno, and they don’t seem to want to tell you.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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slimpickens

10 posts in 1412 days


#15 posted 01-28-2016 10:54 PM

I have used my Casio from Verizon, I built a case for it from plans in one of the wood working mags, used a strong magnet on sides and bottom. The trouble I had was it will indicate degree but will not zero out. If your equipment isn’t flat at 90 deg originally you have to do the math for the correct angle. I bought the bullet and purchased the wixley, haven’t regretted it.

-- Slimpickens, Be true to yourself and helpful to others

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