Dial indicator set up

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Forum topic by needshave posted 02-08-2013 04:40 PM 3621 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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175 posts in 1862 days

02-08-2013 04:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tools planer jointer table saw jigs fixture jig question

I have used my old starrett dial indicator to set my planer blades, router blades, tables, rollers, etc. for years. This morning it decide enough is enough. So I’m looking at whats out there to replace it.

I have the planer buddie but I prefer the accuracy of a dial indicator. You really need to be a machinist to have accurate woodworking tools (IMO). I’m looking at Grizzley’s Rotacator or a similar model or unit available from Woodcrafters as a possible replacement.

Any thoughts on either, recommendations or experiences on your planer and knife set up praciices?

8 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile


30112 posts in 2769 days

#1 posted 02-08-2013 06:00 PM

Go to MSC. That’s where I bought a lot of my machinist tools over the years. They have all sorts of fixtures and devices for dial indicators.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View needshave's profile


175 posts in 1862 days

#2 posted 02-08-2013 06:11 PM

Actually my powermatic and the grizzly/woodbridge have a saddle that sets atop the head to allow for the setting of the knives. I modified the cross bars to allow the starret to be mounted on the revised crossbar providing consistent results over the years.

I did not think of the bases you illustrated here to set the feed rollers, pressure rollers, outfeed tables etc. Thats just excellent. Are all of your bases non magnetic? Do you do the same thing for the jointer knives, make a special saddle? Do you clamp your dial indicator to the bases or how do you mount the dial indicator to the bases?

Sorry about all the questions, but thanks for your help.

View needshave's profile


175 posts in 1862 days

#3 posted 02-12-2013 12:08 AM

Rick L, That’s smart and efficient! I could see where that would work very well. I’m assuming your dial indicator has an ear on the back that permits its mounting to the vertical support.

It also looks like there is wear on that bed and fence which indicates it’s also being used. Very nice!

Appreciate the information.

View MrRon's profile


4627 posts in 3146 days

#4 posted 02-12-2013 09:28 PM

You can’t beat a good dial indicator. Pawn shops are good places to find a dial indicator if you don’t want to spend for a new one.

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3551 days

#5 posted 02-12-2013 09:33 PM

I have a unit similar to Rick L posted above, but never used it personally.

you can make something similar with a dial indicator from HF:

I use that same DI on my lathe:

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3551 days

#6 posted 02-13-2013 03:46 PM

Rick L : I have the exact same one you have, with the same Starrett DI and mushroom tip. got it at an estate sale. not even sure where to buy one new though :/ frankly, I don’t have a use for it, I thought I could use it for metal work, but it’s too limited for that kind of work so it’s just laying around in the toolbox ever since I got it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View 489tad's profile


3309 posts in 2914 days

#7 posted 02-20-2013 10:44 PM

nobuckle posted a cool home made jig.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View needshave's profile


175 posts in 1862 days

#8 posted 02-21-2013 01:46 AM


Thanks so much for sending me the link to the dial indicator set up. That is great idea and a great help.

Thanks again.

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