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  1. #1
    gadget is offline Plastic
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    Default 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...

  2. #2
    PixMan's Avatar
    PixMan is offline Diamond
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    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.

    Or:

    F/S Flotsam & Jetsam from my cave

  3. #3
    gadget is offline Plastic
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    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.

  4. #4
    specfab is offline Hot Rolled
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    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.

  5. #5
    Conrad Hoffman's Avatar
    Conrad Hoffman is offline Stainless
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    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.

  6. #6
    PixMan's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #7
    bluchip's Avatar
    bluchip is offline Stainless
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    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.

  8. #8
    flutedchamber is offline Hot Rolled
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    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.

  9. #9
    Gregg K is offline Cast Iron
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    Try getting a used one.

    This guy is great. I got a Starrett from him years ago, and it was a bargain.

    http://www.rowe-machinery.com/

  10. #10
    PackardV8 is offline Cast Iron
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    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.

  11. #11
    RC99's Avatar
    RC99 is online now Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    FWIW, this weekend, I picked up a perfect Starrett 98-12"
    A lot here say the Starrett 98 is not accurate enough it being only 0.005/10 inches, the #199 is 0.0005/10"..

    I have an 8" #98 and have used a European Kimex brand 0.03mm/metre level....I was forever chasing my tail with the Kimex when levelling a machine...

  12. #12
    gwilson's Avatar
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    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.

  13. #13
    Screwmachine is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwilson View Post
    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.
    My guess is that the level will work if a bit hollow but not at all if a bit convex. Over the years it will wear flat, and eventually convex which means it's time to scrape.

  14. #14
    dsergison is offline Diamond
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    SPI. i have this, it's very nice. simple, sturdy, compact.

    https://www.penntoolco.com/catalog/p...categoryID=699

  15. #15
    avivz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsergison View Post
    SPI. i have this, it's very nice. simple, sturdy, compact.

    https://www.penntoolco.com/catalog/p...categoryID=699
    Which is made by EDA (Ducourret) France (the 114 model):
    http://www.ducourret.com/standardA.html

    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).

  16. #16
    PackardV8 is offline Cast Iron
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    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

  17. #17
    dsergison is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by avivz View Post
    Which is made by EDA (Ducourret) France (the 114 model):
    http://www.ducourret.com/standardA.html

    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).
    yes, that particular level was discussed & reccomended here a few years back. that's why I bought it.


    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.

  18. #18
    Billtodd's Avatar
    Billtodd is online now Stainless
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    Default Home brew?

    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?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails level.jpg  

  19. #19
    avivz's Avatar
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    Talking about levels, can someone please explain what makes one vial more sensitive than the other?

    Thanks

  20. #20
    Conrad Hoffman's Avatar
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    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 ;-)

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