Jump to content
Sarge

New shop tool

Recommended Posts

Sarge
Posted (edited)

I rarely ever get on Facebook anymore - just not worth my time to see all the political bs and misinformation being posted by various beliefs of the members there. The only reason I check in on occasion is to see what my wayward Nephew is up to in his international travels and keep in touch with old friends. In the last few years, Craigslist and eBay have turned into sites not worth visiting - way too many scammers and people trying to make maximum money from junk. There are occasional good deals, but it has gotten a lot worse and a lot less useful. Oddly enough, the FB marketplace has become the new CL and direct feedback has kept the bad sellers in check pretty well, so far. I do take time once in a while to scan for things I'd like to own, but don't want to pay for new due to cost or shipping.

 

Enter a local machine shop businessman that is retiring due to a health problem. I noticed he had posted a few small measuring tools, mostly worn and quite dirty but for a home shop they are more than useful. Most things he's posted have sold pretty quickly - but one item seemed to just sit there with no interest to anyone - except me. After a couple of messages, we arranged to meet up and look some items over - 

 

Does anyone know what this is, lol?

 

1044744293_20190312_1955211.jpg.8ef281e6d9c79ba27268100138d52ea9.jpg

 

For those that know what these are - those numbers will mean a lot. Its a shame it hasn't been re-certified since '07, but I cannot find any marks in it and he stated it has seen almost zero use since that last certification - plus, it lived in his office with no one else having access to it. The process to lap these stones in and certify their tolerances is quite interesting - no mechanical instrument is capable of reading a tolerance down to .00005", or 50 millionths of an inch. This one is a class Grade A - Inspection grade. For my shop - it is far more than I could ever require when setting up tooling or inspecting/measuring parts - current certification or not. I've wanted to find a smaller one for the shop for years, but this was too good not to pass it up, although no fun at all to move around at almost 220lbs. To make it worse, this one has no ledges at all and that makes it much harder to handle but the good news is the edges have not one mark or chip in them, nor the entire main surface. He did have another one with dual ledges as well as a hard to find pink Starrett, but that one is even bigger and thicker - as well as over 300lbs and I just don't have the room here or I'd own that one, too. The dual-ledged version was thinner, but also quite beaten up as it lived on the main production floor and saw quite a lot of abuse by the machine operators. The bigger pink Starrett had a couple of serious chips in it and he still wants quite a buck for that one, of course, due to the name brand only.

 

Lab grade stones are not really that expensive, but the real killer is moving them and the cost of shipping - the bigger they are, the easier they are to damage and more expensive to ship. I have wanted a good, solid inspection plate for years but the added shipping price has made them a very expensive investment for an otherwise low-tolerance home shop - so it made no sense to buy a new one. Most used ones I've found are generally damaged, misused or just priced way too high for what they are - this one was $60. Other than a really sore back, a very worthwhile investment for the cost but it will take a day or two to make room in the shop for it. Oh, I also scored a pretty nice Brown and Sharpe surface gauge that was filthy and had a cheap dial indicator on it that is missing the lens. Already got that cleaned up and ready for service again and other than some missing paint it looks nice. Missing the hardened pointer as most are, but I can make a new one easily enough.

 

It took 3 of us just to unload this thing safely last night - when I bought the thing the shop owner had a nice lift table cart that placed it perfectly into the back of my truck, going to ask him if he wants to sell that thing as well - rated to 750lbs and in excellent condition.

 

624570160_20190312_1955291.jpg.34bbcd0181127d6859deb5ed70f44dc5.jpg

 

1378867083_20190312_1955111.jpg.64ff4863419b808a9de5e7b042158173.jpg

 

Now, back to rearranging the shop and getting the stone in its final resting place on the old bench. I'll have to make up a cover for it as well, nothing worse than something landing on one and chipping that lapped surface.

 

Sarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sarge
missed detail
  • Like 3
  • Excellent 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
WHX22

Nice Sarge :handgestures-thumbupright:

 I have no use for such tools as the best I can get to is +- 1/8 inch and that's with my shoes off but can appreciate it's use. :)

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Sarge

Honestly, if you read about them and how to use one they can come in quite handy for almost anyone. A grade B or even C is more than most home shop owners require but they are an excellent tool for using as a surface plate to check engine or transmission parts. Even for wood shops, setting up cutter heads or just measuring things off a known, certified flat surface is worth the effort to own one. Look around, they are out there and lightly damaged stones are worth buying - even if you only ever use it to flatten small engine cylinder heads or check for warpage on other parts. A few simple tools and a couple of cheap imported or good used US-made test indicator/dial indicators make easy work of identifying problems. Need two parts cut to the exact same length? No problem - a dial or even cheaper vernier height gauge can be used to scribe lines for duplicating parts to an exact tolerance. Just a cheaper marking gauge with a fine adjustment is more useful than most folks would imagine. Most folks get by with consumer-grade pieces of glass, ceramic tile, and such things but if you actually checked those surfaces against one of these high-grade inspection plates you'd be surprised how far off those glass or ceramic pieces really are - many times well over the required tolerance for manifolds, heads and various castings or machined parts in need of repair. A simple sheet of 220 grit or higher will reveal where parts are warped from age or damage - these can save you money over time easily when working on high tolerance parts.

 

Sarge

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
oliver2-44

Very nice! an inspection grade surface block is quite a score. 

Now you need a digital optical comparator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
KC9KAS

We have several small ones (like yours) at work and one that is probably 8' X 6' and 12" thick!

A very sensitive measuring device works with it to measure all kinds of stuff, but I have only seen it used and do not know what the device is called.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Sarge

No way I'm buying a digital optical comparator - that sort of metallurgical equipment is so far out of my income range its laughable. Used versions can't be trusted and re-certification/testing costs more than I make in 2 months. Besides, I have no reason to be at tolerances that are that tight around here. The block's main job is calibrating tools, parts and be used for marking duplicates or measuring - that is all. I'm still trying to figure out where it will live in the shop as I have little room left as it is - plus, these things sort of need to be off by themselves in a protected area from unknowing humans that think it's a perfect shelf. Leaning now towards putting it on a bottom toolbox section - I need to go pick up Dad's other old box set from my sister's place and get it here so I may go that route. It's an old Montgomery Ward set, the bottom is nothing really special other than being pretty heavily built - the top one is more of a machinist style box and would be perfect for storing some of my measuring equipment.

 

Been watching several dial height indicators on our love/hate favorite auction site - the Mitutoyo I was bidding on last night went pretty high for what it is but that one was in nice condition. Not interested in the Chinese built ones and the price of the Japanese, US, or German made units are well north of my range. Another huge expense I need to invest into is a master precision level - that one will hurt a lot.

 

Sarge

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×