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Surface Plate Stutter


May 14, 2001
When moving or rotating gage stands on surface plates they often stutter or chatter causing vibration in the gage. Are there any ways to reduce this? It seems to happen at a variety of different movement/ rotation speeds and does not seem to be tied to stand base design (seems to happen across different base designs).
Absolute cleanliness of the surface plate fixes this. Proprietory cleaners or isopropyl acohol work well, I prefer the latter. Use the proprietory cleaner until you know the surface is pretty-well decontaminated. Fingerprint grease is pernicious! (Yah, wasted too much time herding mirrors across some tables chasing miro-inches with an autocollimator)
Several years ago I bought a surface plate from Tru-Stone in St. Cloud, MN - Starrett bought them. I was inside the wearhouse and one of their employee's was filling a 1 gallon jug from a 55 gallon drum. I said "what you doing?" and he said he was pumping red Windex that they sell for $24.00" and laughed. I clean my plates with Windex I buy at the grocery store and white paper towels. Every now and then I slide a one sided razor blade on it too, no pressure, just to make sure it's clean. If the plate is stained with Dykem bearing blue I first buy Goop cream (no abrasive) hand cleaner and use that first, rub it in with a rubber gloved hand and keep cleaning / wiping it up with white towels until after I wipe the Goop and the white towel stays white..Then wipe the plate with your hand and fingers. You can feel the dirt with your bare hand.
I use Prepsol, grease and wax remover as sold to spray painters. Have also used Metholated spirits and lighter fluid. Tesa did sell us some pink fluid once, looked like handwash with a hefty price tag.
As the others have said, cleanliness is the key to smooth surface plate action. If your plate is out in a shop or warehouse-type area, keeping the plate covered when not in use will be a huge help.