How to paint dials on mill?

The dials are etched, and are .200" per turn.
I can't read them without magnification and an extra lamp.
I would like to make them black down in the grooves and white on top.
How is that done?
Reply to
Clark Magnuson
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If there is any depth to them, paint and either a fast wipe with a solvent dampened cloth, or sandpaper on a backing block.
You can also get black wax crayons for filling in the markings. Rub in, wipe with a dry cloth. Repeat as required.
Consider springing for new dials,. They are availablefor the Bridgeport style machines, and adaptable to others.
Best solution, though not the cheap one, DRO! On a mill, put 3 axiis on, and forget about the quill, or put one of the cheapo digital micrometer type units on the quill.
Cheers Trevor Jones
Reply to
Trevor Jones
Another solution is to use a lot more light.
Reply to
LacquerStik Fill-in Paint. Comes in Black or White. Sort of like a crayon in a cardboard tube. I think I got mine from MSC. You rub it into the etched marks, let it harden a little, then wipe off the surface with a hard cloth so the fibers don't get into the marks and pull the paint out.
Good luck making them white on top. I'd settle for just getting the black into the grooves.
Pete Stanaitis -----------------------------
Clark Magnus> The dials are etched, and are .200" per turn.
Reply to
Paint white.
Let dry.
Scratch white paint out of grooves.
Apply lacquerstick.
Reply to
Sometimes you can clean them well (slots, hopefully they are recessed and not just painted on) and darken them with a fine tip felt marker. Color of your choice.
Reply to
Leon Fisk
I prefer the dro though I did scotch brite the wheels and rub in lacquer stick from McMaster for my uncle who will not use the DRO.
Reply to
I agree. A DRO gives you so much extra capability. The investment will pay itself off in a very short time. Your productivity will increase, aswell as your accuracy. Setup times will come down aswell. If you go this way, get yourself an edge finder also, no more witness cuts required.
Cheers, Dom.
Reply to
How is it done? Well, Hardinge use a white plastic for the dial, which is engraved and then filled with black. If you want to make entirely new dials, you can do it their way.
If you want to use your existing dials, I can't imagine how you might get them white and then black. You might try some type of plating, such as satin chrome or even copper, followed by a paint stick in the grooves. Maybe the satin chrome will give you the contrast you want.
John Martin
Reply to
John Martin
"will not use the DRO."????
Why not? Is it against his religion?
I'm scratching my head trying to figure this one out and I've got nothing.
Reply to
The Davenport's
I knew a professional machinist, older school, he specialised in gear shaping, splines, and keyways, but thats not really important. He didn't have a DRO on any of his machines. He had various mills, lathes, and gear shapers. I knew him through my neighbours and one year when he was over at their place he came to look at my BP with DRO. He checked the dials against the DRO readout, spot on. I don't think he trusted the new electronic stuff though, which is a shame as it would probably have improved his output by quite a bit.
Reply to
David Billington
Hey Clark,
Etched!?!? I mean really etched?? Like with a chemical or a laser?? You've got a problem.
For scribed marks with stamped digits, as most dials are, others have suggestions, except I didn't read " remove, clean really well, run a sharp pointy thing in each line and digit to remove old paint, clean again in some good degreaser, let dry well, spray with black paint". After it is really good and dry, crocus cloth the surface off, leaving all the scribed lines and stamped digits filled.
One thing that is quite easy to do for a short fix is to use any CAD program to make a long slip of paper printout that is surprisingly accurate with a bit of fiddling. For instance, my Bridgeport has 3-1/4" dial wheels. That gives a circumference of 10.2102, divided into the 200 required lines gives a line every .05105 inches. You can either get fancy and "array" the lines, or just plow through making them the line length you want for each thou, five thou, and ten thou. Add numbers to suit, and plot or print that out and you can simply tape to the dial with clear Scotch tape. It's cheap to try, and works quite well if you use lacquer or decoupage glue to fasten it instead of the Scotch tape. Easy to replace too, and you CAN get fancy and use some sort of colour coding.
I just took fifteen minutes and did that in Autocad, printed out on a five year-old inkjet. (Your skills may take less time.) Spacing was good, but I'd need to work on the "text" a bit. But it sure is easy to see !! And I can try different ways of aligning the "text" to suit my preferences too !
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.
ps.....This same sort of CAD and paper thing works very well for dial faces to your liking on pressure gauges and meters, etc., too.
Reply to
Brian Lawson
Another option, if you'd rather just throw money at the problem:
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--Glenn Lyford
Reply to
He is a Luddite. ;)
Reply to
I can't speak for him, nor for his religion------but I, too, don't use a DRO, Never have, and likely never will.
I was trained on manual machines, and made my living with them until I closed the doors on my commercial shop back in '83. I don't use a DRO because I can run machines without one-----and prefer to keep those skills sharp. I can still split thousandths reliably, and my dial is coarse, .400" off the diameter per revolution. Nice part about this is I can keep working should the DRO die, which many would find challenging. It takes considerable experience to use dials reliably. Key word is "reliably". Most folks know how to use dials, they just screw up a lot.
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
First you would paint the dial with KHRILON gloss lac. base spray paint ;;; spreay bomb. Let it dry for two days. Then spray the end of a old sock with a RUSOLIUM ... OIL BAISED spray bomb and wipe it on the dial untill just the increments held the black paint and the white was clean.
Q - tips can be of a help.
Steve E.
Reply to
Steven E. Eyrse
Uncle used dials all his life too. He can see how a DRO could be useful but at this point in life why bother playing with something that might bite him in the butt.
I can work either way though I'm more likely to blue and scribe lines when using dials to keep me honest.
Most people want a dro on a mill but get along fine w/o one on a lathe. I don't see surface grinders with them either. The idea of fitting a DRO to the surface grinder is interesting though.
Since you did a lot of grinding, when you re-dressed a wheel, how did you rapidly pick up on where you left off and keep track of how far you were from where you wanted to be?
On our ID/OD grinders, the wheels are sent periodically to the diamond dresser by a certain amount further than the last time. The machine now knows the reduction in diameter of the wheels and creates new offset data and goes back where it left off.
Reply to
Considering my lack of electronics prowess, I tend to see it much like that. Besides, I get great pleasure from being able to work without one, although I acknowledge that many things would happen faster with one. I am a dinosaur in today's manufacturing world, that I understand all too well, so I look at my self as one restoring a vintage car---------make it as good as you can----but keep it original. You have to work with someone with my mindset to fully understand----it's not just what we do, it's how we do it, and what we are. :-)
I use my ever present 6" (or larger----I have them up to 24") scale, and rarely, if ever, make a layout.
My experience in grinding dictates that a DRO would be unlikely to be useful----but a great deal depends on the nature of the work at hand. And--don't lose sight of the fact that I choose not to use them. My comments are flavored heavily by my personal choices. YMMV.
Pick up and measure, with clear coolant and grease pencils being the methods of choice.
When operating grinders without CNC controls, it's important that the coolant be transparent. I alluded to this in the recent thread in which soluble oil was included in the conversation. Heavy, clouded coolants make proper grinding very difficult.
It stands to reason that every type machine will present its own set of problems, but touching off was pretty much the acceptable practice, including surface and centerless grinding. In a centerless, there's no doubt when you have intimate contact, for the part will feed through the machine, and won't even change size, assuming all you've done is pick up.
Surfaces that are being ground, particularly on cylindrical grinding, both ID and OD surfaces, are marked with a grease pencil, then the wheel is carefully closed on the part. When the grease starts to smear, you are very near the surface of the part. Careful observation as tenths are removed (very easy to do on grinders, unlike a lathe or mill), one watches until the color is gone. At that point you may well have picked up without altering the surface, although that isn't necessarily the case. Once a surface has been picked up, the part is measured, and one works accordingly. It's all up to the operator-----and many make lousy grinders. It's a game of practiced skill and patience, often not a desirable task. It takes special people to be successful.
The method I described can be very useful. While the pick feed was very reliable on the grinders I operated, there are times when you prefer to not remove a tenth. We had air gauging for one of the products we ground, which had a narrow tolerance of +.0002", - .0000". I'd often find myself hovering at the low end, only by a few millionths. Not wishing to risk the remote possibility of going oversized, it wasn't uncommon to grease the bore, start the table stroking, and observe the grease film. Because the wheel had entered a hole that had been previously ground, the wheel would pick up the precise location. After carefully observing the grease film, which by now would have been virtually eliminated, one placed a finger on the wheel head, and applied the slightest amount of pressure and held steady. When the color was gone, the hole would be enlarged by a few millionths. Try that on your trusty old Southbend lathe! :-)
While I respect those that have CNC knowledge, they are becoming cripples in a sense. No problem in the scheme of things, for I gather the majority of machines are intended to be run by numerical control solely------but skills that are necessary to run manual machines are not being taught-- or exercised--so the grinder of today, who may well be exceedingly skilled and talented, may not have the skills necessary to operate manual machines. That takes us back to working with a DRO------or not. :-)
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
Yeah, I should have written "scribed".
Reply to
Clark Magnuson
Then there are those of us who are just too cheap to buy a DRO ;) I freely admit there are times when it would be helpful, the most recent being a small stepped part on an RT - more clamps than work visible, so there was not much in the way of a clear path for a scale. For most things that I do, it is easy to slap a scale on the work and use the dials to refine positions.
For windows, a DRO would save some time. I mark the corners with a 30-50 thou plunge, which is the worst of it (travel time mosly). Working out the backlash-affected dial readings does not take long.
I can see why someone cranking out large numbers of parts on a daily basis would want one. In my case, I'd rather direct the money to another machine some day.
I use layout fluid for rough cutting, which I mostly do on a bandsaw. The time it takes to do the layout appears to be more than repaid in less time on the mill - I think. I tend not to make layouts beyond that, because it would usually be an extra step. I either fly-cut to thickness (kinda tough on the layout fluid left over from roughing), or am too chicken to clean rough cuts to the layout. As soon as I hit clean metal, I stop and begin cleaning the other side. The result is that my rough layout is always shifted just a little, so any further layout would be shifted too.
Every so often a layout survives long enough to be useful in approaching final dimensions, and they are indeed helpful.
Reply to
Bill Schwab

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