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Thread: Economy machnist level?
07-25-2009, 06:54 AM #1
Economy machnist level?
Hello everyone, I was wondering if any of you have recommendations for a cheap-er but still respectable machinist level? Not really ready to dish out $150 for a brand new Starrett...
07-25-2009, 08:11 AM #2
I had got a really nice 6" Starrett No.98 (like new, in box) from a local guy who advertised on Craigslist....for $5.
You won't be quite as lucky, but I'd try Ebay. Tons of them there.
F/S Flotsam & Jetsam from my cave
07-25-2009, 08:52 AM #3
In buying a used one, does the bottom of the level need to be re-ground?
Last edited by gadget; 07-25-2009 at 11:36 AM.
07-25-2009, 01:52 PM #4
Not unless the reference surface has been badly abused -- in which case you shouldn't buy it anyway. The important thing is to make sure that there are not high spots or corner dings, and to make sure that the level can be calibrated. If the level can be placed on a surface plate and all feels flat, no rocking, then as long as you calibrate the level for same reading when turned end for end, you should be good. A stone is usually good for cleaning up dings on the reference surface.
07-25-2009, 04:44 PM #5
My 6" Starrett wasn't all that flat- I had to lap it to prevent rocking on a surface plate or my lathe bed. You might try the Grizzly H2683 from Amazon for $79.95. It's more sensitive and probably of sufficient quality. It's easy enough to check and calibrate a level.
07-26-2009, 04:45 AM #6
Sorry to hear that. I'd never seen a bad Starrett level that hadn't been dropped or otherwise abused. Those you can usually detect from a good look even before checking it on a known flat surface. I bought mine without checking because it looked so pristine, and it was fine.
07-26-2009, 06:05 AM #7
Be careful there...I think Starrett #98's still have ground vials (as did all the old time levels like Lufkin etc.)....the imports today do not clearly state this. Maybe they have them...maybe not. Ground vials are vastly more accurate and sensitive. Look for it.
07-26-2009, 06:08 AM #8
I bought one from Phase II plus. Well made, imported (did I really have to say that?) and accurate for cheap.
About two weeks after I bought the level I found a Starret that belonged to my late father. Both check out equally accurate.
07-26-2009, 08:19 PM #9
07-26-2009, 08:46 PM #10
FWIW, this weekend, I picked up a perfect Starrett 98-12" at an estate sale for less than $50. They were asking $65, but I threw it in a box with a bunch of other stuff and got a package deal.
thnx, jack vines.
07-26-2009, 09:35 PM #11
07-27-2009, 05:48 AM #12
I have purchased 2 Starrett master levels in pristine condition.One for me and one for work. These are the most expensive ones they make. Somehow,both these levels are a bit hollow on their scraped bottoms. I wonder why this is.
07-27-2009, 06:15 AM #13
07-27-2009, 06:31 AM #14
07-27-2009, 07:45 AM #15
It seems like a nice level and I think this is the level I'm also going to buy. I can get it here in Israel for about the same price (usually it's higher).
07-27-2009, 08:16 AM #16
A lot here say the Starrett 98 is not accurate enough it being only 0.005/10 inches, the #199 is 0.0005/10"..
Can one of our scraping gurus give us fact as to what percentage of machinery surfaces on which a #199 would usually be used are flat in X and Y, as well as parallel and perpendicular to 0.0005/10" over their entire length?
thnx, jack vines
07-27-2009, 12:29 PM #17
to the posters question about how level do surfaces normaly get scraped.... I dont think for most do-it-yourselfers that you need to use the level as your main or only source of measurement. you scrape to FLAT. you measure with other methods to define perpindicuar paralell etc... I dont know of much reason to need to scrape to "level" directly. I used my levels to set the leveling feet on my lathe to make sure the bed wasnt twisted. I rarely used it when I was actually scraping parts. but i'm no pro.
07-27-2009, 01:13 PM #18
Just a thought but, could you make one?
If you bent a long glass tube over a thin spacer in the middle of a other wise straight edge (to form tube with a very large radius). Bunged the ends and (almost) filled said tube with an appropriate liquid.
Given that it would not have the an internal barrel shape that most bubble levels use, how would it perform as a level?
08-03-2009, 10:16 AM #19
Talking about levels, can someone please explain what makes one vial more sensitive than the other?
08-03-2009, 10:39 AM #20
I'd think the homebrew bent tube would work fine. Fill it with alcohol. One could also make a tall support with a plumb bob (plumbob? plum bob?) and a magnifier and scale at the bottom. Have to be pretty tall to see .0005/" though ;-)