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Help Reading Dial Indicator

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Forum topic by Ezra posted 02-08-2009 12:14 AM 3948 views 2 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ezra

52 posts in 2432 days


02-08-2009 12:14 AM

Can anyone help me out with a few questions on a dial indicator. I am finally getting at making sure my table saw blade and fence are parallel to the miter slot on my contractors saw. I have an A-line it dial indicator, but don’t exactly know how to read it. I have watched the video that came with the tool, but they don’t actually tell you how to read the indicator. I have read various degrees of tolerances for acceptable alignment in the .002 to .003 range but don’t know how to tell on the dial indicator. I have also read that many people heel their fence away from the slot a bit to avoid kickback. My question is how do you know if your blade is (-.003) or just .003 out of parallel. My dial indicator going clockwise goes from 10 to 90. Thanks in advance.

-- Ezra in Brew City


6 replies so far

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Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2566 days


#1 posted 02-08-2009 02:20 AM

Ezra, with your dial indicator one complete revolution is 0.1” or 100/1000s. Each line on the dial from 0 to 90 represents 1/1000th of an inch.

Basically to align your saw you need to get the blade and miter track parallel to one another. Then adjust your fence parallel to the blade. There is a school of thought that the back of the fence should be set a slight distance away from the blade (up to 0.003”) but an equal number of woodworkers set it parallel. For my purposes, while I have gone both ways, I generally try to get the fence and blade parallel.

I generally do not use my dial indicator to set the fence to blade distance because I have a Craftsman contractor saw and, simply put, it would take forever using a dial indicator. I just use a 40” metal straightedge and get it as parallel as I can measuring with the straight edge.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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MedicKen

1602 posts in 2206 days


#2 posted 02-08-2009 03:25 AM

I would make sure that the blade is square to the miter slot before attempting to square the fence. It is a little more difficult to do on a contractor saw vs. a cabinet saw due to the fact that the trunnion is mounted to the table on a contractor saw. In a cabinet saw the trunnion mounts to the cabinet. Here is a good article on table saw tune ups. http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/SkillsAndTechniques/SkillsAndTechniquesPDF.aspx?id=24930

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

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Ezra

52 posts in 2432 days


#3 posted 02-08-2009 04:35 AM

thanks for the feedback. I marked a tooth, zeroed out the indicator at the front of the blade, and then slid it to measure the same tooth in back. The dial indicater moved to between .002 and .003. Is this an acceptable variance. Secondly how do you go about angling out the back of your rip fence. If I zero the gauge out in the front, what should the reading be on the back. Should it move counterclockwise?

-- Ezra in Brew City

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MedicKen

1602 posts in 2206 days


#4 posted 02-08-2009 05:39 PM

The measurement for the blade is acceptable. If you place the dial indicator against the fence and slide the fence toward the indicator, which way does the needle move? I believe it will rotate clockwise. If you want to heal the back of the fence, I like mine parallel, but thats a personal preference, somewhere around .003-.005. The indicator will rotate counterclockwise.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

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Ezra

52 posts in 2432 days


#5 posted 02-08-2009 05:43 PM

Thanks MedicKen. That is the help I was looking for. I figured I was on the right track, but wanted to make sure since my gauge did not come with any instructions on how to actually read it.

I love this website!!

-- Ezra in Brew City

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

906 posts in 2357 days


#6 posted 02-09-2009 12:36 PM

I set mine up with a straight edge and tape measure and it works fine! However, HF had a sale not too long ago on their dial indicators and I picked one up for $10. If it ever gets nice again, I want to recheck it all and see just how close it is. I just can’t measure .001” with a tape measure.

It made sense to me to set the blade parallel to the miter slot and then set the fence parallel to the miter slot. I think the table itself should be the reference point, at least on a contractor saw.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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