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Looking for a dial caliper

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Forum topic by bbc557ci posted 03-21-2014 09:19 PM 702 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bbc557ci

543 posts in 794 days


03-21-2014 09:19 PM

Hey all….I’ve been looking for a dial caliper. I checked out a few at Harbor Freight and wasn’t able to get any of them to set to zero. So I passed on them.

Don’t want to break the bank just looking for something decent. Any suggestions where to look on line?
Suggestions appreciated :o)

Thanks !!

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"


25 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

1974 posts in 1213 days


#1 posted 03-21-2014 09:29 PM

I’ve had this fractional dial from Highland Hardware for 10 years or so, and it’s done well. For woodworking, the fractional scale is quite handy. Always returns to “0”, and it measures accurately when compared to my digital caliper (Mitutoyo)

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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bbc557ci

543 posts in 794 days


#2 posted 03-21-2014 09:38 PM

Fred – maybe I’m using the wrong terminology/description. I’m looking of the type used to set the fence on a table saw. To line the fence up with the blade. The type I’m looking for has a spring loaded end that changes the reading when pushed on. I’ll try and dig up a photo and post it here. But thanks!!

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

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bbc557ci

543 posts in 794 days


#3 posted 03-21-2014 09:42 PM

Here we go…looking for something like what’s in the link

http://syracuse.craigslist.org/tla/

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

View Bob Current 's profile

Bob Current

351 posts in 337 days


#4 posted 03-21-2014 09:42 PM

Sounds like you are looking for a dial indicator.

-- When you are wrong admit it, when you are right forget it.

View Bigriverman's profile

Bigriverman

12 posts in 366 days


#5 posted 03-21-2014 09:42 PM

The right word you’re looking for is indicator, not caliper.

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bbc557ci

543 posts in 794 days


#6 posted 03-21-2014 09:44 PM

Ah!! I stand corrected. Thank you both. Would help if I used the right description (palm hits forehead)

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

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Ocelot

664 posts in 1358 days


#7 posted 03-21-2014 09:48 PM

Harbor Freight’s dial indicators are cheap and adequate.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3931 posts in 2383 days


#8 posted 03-21-2014 09:50 PM

On dial indicators, zero is relative … you set the indicator up in a jig or bracket, put the leg against the surface you are calibrating, then set the twist dial to zero.

I have had a Harbor Freight dial indicator for years … very happy with it.

-- 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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bbc557ci

543 posts in 794 days


#9 posted 03-21-2014 09:59 PM

TheDane – I never used one before so didn’t know that, but it makes perfect sense.
So, guess I’ll take another trip back to HF this weekend…...

Thanks TheDane for the explanation.

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

View steve_in_ohio's profile

steve_in_ohio

1147 posts in 330 days


#10 posted 03-21-2014 10:55 PM

You can set the dial indicator to zero if it doesn’t read zero when not pressed

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View rg33's profile

rg33

51 posts in 722 days


#11 posted 03-22-2014 12:15 AM

Bbc557, I think I know why you are confused with the setting to zero on the harbor freight dial indicators. As others have noted, zero is relative. When you are ready to measure your offset, make sure you compress the indicator at least a little bit (.050” or so, or for aligning your fence I’d shoot for halfway say 1/2” on the 1” travel indicator so you have plenty of travel both ways) then, you turn the bezel to zero and this becomes your baseline. All dial indicators will have a lockscrew, so make sure to loosen it otherwise you’ll have a hard time turning the bezel (that may be the reason why you thought you couldnt get it to zero). Also the bezel on my HF indicator will sometimes stick a little bit if its sat there for a while but a little extra force always gets it moving again.
Along with my 6” digital calipers, and clamps, this is one of my best buys at harbor “Fright”

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woodchuckerNJ

892 posts in 354 days


#12 posted 03-22-2014 01:50 AM

How could you not get it to set to zero????
The dial rotates, set it to zero.

I have a HF fractional dial, and it is absolutely dead on.
The only disadvantage to it is the fractional is in the inner dial, while .01 is outer .

The Highland looks good as it has the dials reversed, but they are using Igaging now, and I read some reviews that make me wonder.

and to the others, he said caliper, not dial indicator..
damn… reading down, I see he wants a dial indicator..
The HF dial indicators are great tools for the price. Very accurate. I have feeler gauges and setup blocks. They are dead on.

-- Jeff NJ

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4324 posts in 1100 days


#13 posted 03-22-2014 07:13 AM

Bought mine from Little Machine Shop, I highly recommend them—fast and very reasonable shipping.

http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1236&category=

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

1974 posts in 1213 days


#14 posted 03-22-2014 11:57 AM

Back to the HF dial indicator then, it doesn’t matter if you can set it to “0” (oooops, I see several others noted that). What you are interested in is that the reading (whatever it is) is the same on both ends of the blade (or Masterplate). BTW, you align the blade to the miter slots, and then the fence to those miter slots as well…it’s a lot easier plus it means the miter gauge will work as intended.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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bbc557ci

543 posts in 794 days


#15 posted 03-22-2014 03:25 PM

Sorry for the confusion on what I was actually looking for….my bad fellas!! I’m sure the HF indicator will do the job.

Fred, I think the blade and miter slots are lined up pretty well. That was one of the 1st things I checked after dragging the ol’ Unisaw home. But a dial indicator will come in handy to confirm/double check the alignment, and correct it if necessary. Also, I had the fence lined up pretty much dead on with the miter slots, but I set the back side of the fence maybe 1/64th (or less) farther away from the blade. Rips are very smooth with minimal to zero blade marks.

Thanks again everyone for the info and helpful hints!!

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

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