Height gages

I had some weird deal today, having bought five height gages, out of which three are digital Mitutoyo gages, for $50. (but then, last
night, I gave away 8 boxes of valuable metalworking stuff to an acquaintaince, so this may be the karma paying off). The obvious question that arises after this sort of transaction is, do I need a height gage, so I want to do a little survey.
Have you used a height gage and what is the point of a height gage, altogether, given that one has calipers and other similar devices.
i
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Ignoramus12651 wrote:

Height gauges are useful when setting tool length parameters for CNC machines using individual tool holders in any of the various ATC styles. A base with a receiver for the spindle taper is used to zero the gauge and then the toolholder with tool is placed in that base and measured with the resulting spindle nose to tool tip distance entered into the CNC control. This is for the folks with the big machines though, most home CNC stuff isn't ATC and/or uses a tool length touch-off block to auto set the parameters. I haven't been involved in recent years, but I suspect auto length setting is common on new CNC machines, so the height gauges are probably going the way of the DoDo or at least the way of the HSM with a shop big enough for a big old CNC machine.
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Does not apply to me... No CNC equipment here. But thanks Wes, I learned something from you today.
i
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Pete, I am sorry, I meant to say Pete. I thought I was replying to Wes.
i

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I was about to tell you that. Btw, did you post a link to pictures? I don't seem be able to find it. I'm curious about the old Mitutoyo.
Wes
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Yes, here they are...
http://igor.chudov.com/tmp/Height-Gauges/
I will try to locate or make some sort of a scribe to go on the arms of the gauge that I will keep (most likely the Digimatic).
i
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On Sep 11, 6:26pm, Ignoramus10071 <ignoramus10...@NOSPAM. 10071.invalid> wrote:

The home-made scriber on mine is a 1/4" lathe bit with one end beveled.
They are useful to measure and lay out a hole pattern on a casting, such as the mounting holes on a pump or its motor adapter. Once you have jigged the casting square and level you can indicate the holes or snug-fitting drill bit shanks to get their relative X and Y coordinates even if they aren't in line and the casting has rough edges. That can be very hard to do with a caliper.
You could shim and strap the pump and adapter to angle plates and scribe the hole pattern directly if you have transfer punches the right size but not enough clearance to use them properly, for example put one in the hole backwards and line up on its point when the mounting flange is smaller than the pump housing.
I use cone point set screws to align the scriber with tapped holes. If the points don't wobble as you turn them they are probably well enough centered.
jsw
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I'm hanging my head in shame. I bought an old vernier height gage to use to hold a test indicator and thought I might as well make a scriber. I was going to silver braze a piece of carbide to something and you just pointed out what should have been obvious to me.
I like your idea.
Wes
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Well, with a surface plate you can measure heights.
With an angle plate, you can scribe accurate guide lines and intersections. Really handy if you don't have a DRO on your mill. It keeps you honest (on track).
With a test indicator mounted it is an awesome indicator holder if you are comparing a feature to a gage block stack.
That is just for starts.
Keep one, you won't regret it.
Wes
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Well, I have a DRO on my mill.

I agree with you, I have beeb bitten many times by getting rid of stuff of this nature. I will soon post a picture to see which one would be most practical.
i
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On Thu, 10 Sep 2009 20:09:25 -0500, Ignoramus12651

Btw...the white mity with the blocks is NOT a height gage..but a height standard. Its used for setting or measuring uninstrumented height gages.
Which is what I use most often. Ive got a Cadillac thats nearly 36" tall. Which of course is a pain in the ass. How much you want for yours?
Gunner
The current Democratic party has lost its ideological basis for existence. - It is NOT fiscally responsible. - It is NOT ethically honorable. - It has started wars based on lies. - It does not support the well-being of americans - only billionaires. - It has suppresed constitutional guaranteed liberties. - It has foisted a liar as president upon America. - It has violated US national sovereignty in trade treaties. - It has refused to enforce the national borders.
...It no longer has valid reasons to exist. Lorad474
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They're used for layout work on a surface plate and for precision measuring, particularly where you have to measure between a point or a max or min of a circle or radius versus a line -- say, the line between two points.
If you're familiar with surface gages (scribers used with a surface plate), one application can be thought of as a precision version of those. With an angle block and clamps to hold the work perpendicular to the surface plate, you can scribe lines that are precisely parallel and a precise distance apart. And there are many other scribing applications.
For measuring, they give you a way to measure distances from a datum line (a line you establish parallel to the surface plate) with great precision, especially when you're laying out or measuring on a piece of plate or sheet stock. For rough work you use the point of the scriber; for precise work, you use a dial indicator set against a stack of gage blocks and held in the chuck of the height gage.
It's an essential precision tool. Once you learn how to use one, you'll appreciate how many measuring jobs done in other ways are really crude and inaccurate.
You really need some illustrations to help make it clear.
-- Ed Huntress
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Ed... Thanks... I want tio know your opinion... Here are pictures of the four gauges.
http://igor.chudov.com/tmp/Height-Gauges/
The first to the left is analog. Works great and is simple.
The next is a Mitutoyo Digimatic height gauge. Also works great and is also very straightforward to use. Needed a battery.
The next one is a Mitutoyo Heightmaster, and while swapping a battery made it power up, I have not yet figured out how to move it from zero and make it do something.
The last one seems to need an external power supply, which I do not have. I will stop by that factory tomorrow for other reasons, and will try to get the power supply if they can find it (they are moving).
So my question is, assuming the heightmaster works, what would be the most sensible one to keep in a manual shop. I lean towards the Digimatic battery powered gauge, for the simple reason that everything digimatic works great for me.
Let me know what you think. I know that you know a great deal about Mitutoyo anything.
i
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We had one of those two-bar deals like the one on the left at Wasino. I never used it myself, so I don't know how they behave. They seemed to be pretty popular a decade ago or more; I've seen them in a lot of places.
The Digimatic is a good, basic digital. They're good stuff but the mechanical toughness of that Digimatic line in general (I don't know that particular model) is...shall we say, not quite Swiss. I'd probably go for that one for my own shop, though, because it's practical and because Digimatic stuff is functionally reliable and accurate. Also, Mitutoyo has always been really good to me about supplying information when I need it, and the tech people there now don't even know I used to be their agent and writer, so I'm not getting special treatment.
The plug-in model is not something I recognize. If it's not a popular brand, I wouldn't keep it myself, because getting info about it might be difficult. What's the brand?
As for the Height Master, that thing sells for over $2,000 new and it isn't really a height gage. It's primarily used as a gage standard for *setting* height gages, checking production tooling dimensions, etc. I forget how to use them but they measure in steps, using the top and the bottom of the individual steps as measuring surfaces. Somehow. <g>
If I were you, I'd stop down to Aurora and see one in their showroom. They'll demonstrate it for you and tell about what you can do with it. They might even give you a manual -- yours looks like an E-Series 515, which I think is still made. If you got a deal, it ought to be a fun thing to have, but you probably could make some money on it, too. It will give you another decimal point in measuring accuracy over conventional gages.
FWIW, my height gage is a 30-year-old B&S vernier model in new condition, and I used it a lot in years past, when I was experimenting with toolmaking on a lathe (master watch plates and other precision jigs). I haven't used it in five years or more but I would be, if I were doing anything that required precise layouts on plate stock.
I'm partial toward them because they're a classic tool for helping modestly equipped shops to produce very high precision parts with old and simple machine tools, using nothing more than the height gage, a surface plate, and an angle plate to do a wide variety of measuring and layout. In a modern CNC shop, I have no idea what they use them for.
BTW, I've used that dial-indicator stand on the right of your photos a lot when we were doing runoffs at Wasino. With a digital indicator mounted on it, with SPC output, it's a complete SPC inspection station in a shoebox. Very neat, if you make a lot of parts.
Enjoy.
-- Ed Huntress
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ENCO cheap 1-2-3 blocks .
Granite plate ( i dont have the courage to look up the shipping costs )
only $50 for the rock , and about $200 to ship it !
I dont use $$ mikes ( with 10 plates spaced 1 inch apart ).
i stack the 1-2-3 blocks plus some Enco Gage blks ( $50 set )
This is 2 in 1 . its a standard also .
You cant use gage blks alone , they fall over , nick the surface plate . stack 1-2-3 blks , flat side down . "wring" them , then add gage blks on top .
----------------------------------
I set bore gages with a cheap set of Enco Mikes and the included 1",2",3" standard rods ,, in a holder of wood .
I use Mitutoyo 3-4 to CAL the cheap mikes , for speed . I cant allways use 3-4 mike , cause many bores arent in that range.
I use gage blocks to CAL Mitutoyo 3-4" mike .
Its for speed .
Note the readings on the standards ( 1" , 2' , 3" , 4" rods included w/ mikes ) so when ya clock them in the cheap mikes and the Mitutoyo , you get closer ..
goood Chinnese from H'F ....
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Brazed bicycle tube and lugs are better from the
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-------------
H'F' Micro Butane Torch about 5" tall for $6 ..
Tank will maybe blow up on propane .
Regulator can be adjusted to 40 PSI . MicroTorch tank
will probably take 40 PSI .
I hate the $ 15 Italian P' torch head that mounts on a fat P' tank .
i can never adjust the flame , so i use 4 MicroTorches
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I bought a 18x24 from them with free shipping a couple years ago.
Wes
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I usually give that stuff free.
i
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I have several Starrets and quite a number of Standard blocks, up to 2x3'
Most are labled Grade A, a few are Bs
Gunner
The current Democratic party has lost its ideological basis for existence. - It is NOT fiscally responsible. - It is NOT ethically honorable. - It has started wars based on lies. - It does not support the well-being of americans - only billionaires. - It has suppresed constitutional guaranteed liberties. - It has foisted a liar as president upon America. - It has violated US national sovereignty in trade treaties. - It has refused to enforce the national borders.
...It no longer has valid reasons to exist. Lorad474
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    It wasn't anything like that when I got mine from MSC quite a few years ago.

    I've got a set of holders designed for stacking gauge blocks after wringing them together which include longer 1" blocks to make a more stable balance.

    Not with the holders.

    Hmm ... the 1-2-3 blocks aren't usually certified to the accuracy of good gauge blocks. Even the cheap Chinese sets are certified to be within 0.000050" (50 micro-inches). Better gauge blocks can be much more accurate.

    Hmm ... not with *my* bore gauges -- tri-mikes by Tesa/B&S, and similar ones by Mitutoyo and other makers. Those measure at three points 120 degrees apart, so they are truly self-centering -- and are likely to discover lobed bores if they exist. But this means that they need to be set to ground ID rings to be truly accurate.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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Order the block when shipping is free :-)
Martin
kc7cc wrote:

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