OT. How do you read your tools when the eyes are old?
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    Default OT. How do you read your tools when the eyes are old?

    This morning I was making some tooling and needed to use a depth micrometer and protractor on the Bridgeport. Then on to the lathe and and another micrometer. At my age old I can barely read them anymore. That is with glasses and a magnifier to read 10ths on the mic. The protractor needed to be at 27.5 degrees and if it was at 26 or 27 or 28 degrees, who knows??? Thank god I have DRO's on the machines or I would really be in trouble! The wife came out to help and she can't see them either. Finally was able to read the tools by taking everything out in to direct sunlight and got the job done but took way to long when you can't see.

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    Just another opportunity to buy new tools?

    Brighter illumination helps. Bring the sun inside your shop. LED lamps on the ceiling. Dedicated machine lights. I use lots of 4 tube ceiling lamps in the main shop - now converted to LEDS. They're switched in banks and also with either of 2 tubes per fixture illuminated. Two tubes per fixture is plenty for general work. Add the others and I can do fiddly stuff. Most every machine also has a dedicated machine lamp.

    For a couple hundred dollars you might get digital calipers, mics etc. with large and clear digits. Someone younger will be happy to buy your old Starrett etc. if you can no longer comfortably read it. There's enough light in my shop that most analog instruments still work fine.

    An illuminated hand magnifier is handy -- Peak is a good brand. I have them at three locations and a couple more to float around. I also keep a Luxo type lamp with a large magnifying glass in the center at three different workbenches. At one it reads things like whether that's a #24 or #25 drill bit -- or set that protractor of yours to exactly 27.5 degrees. At another it helps locate a metal sliver in need of tweezing or be set over a board for precision soldering. At the third (in the woodworking shop sharpening area) it's mostly been gathering dust -- not doing much woodworking recently.

    I use a stereo microscope, brightly illuminated, for things like checking an 0-80 or .35mm metric thread against a thread standard. Like the Luxo lamps it leaves both hands free. Unlike them it goes from 7x to 40x or more. Some folks use them over their lathe or mill - but most of my work is more instrument-sized small than watch-sized small. I think every shop should have at least a 7-10x stereo microscope.

    Don't use it as often, but also have a high power fiber optic colposcope repurposed for fiddly work. Its main advantage over a stereo microscope is an even longer working distance.

    I also have a set of no-line trifocals specifically for the shop, including side shields. Don't always remember to use them (other glasses are good enough) but they're there whenever I have a problem. The long distance is set for the farthest wall, the medium around cutter distance, and the close one around hand work distance. Still need to remove the glasses or use a magnifier for really tiny stuff.

    Somewhat pricey, but the eyeglass type magnifiers dentists use often help us old folks continue to do very detailed work. I don't work that small or yet need them -- but the good ones work well and some of the cheaper Chinese ones might be OK.

    Hopefully looking far ahead, I have an example of a Braille micrometer sitting on a shelf in my library. Whoever once used that is someone to really admire.

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    I rely heavily on my OptiVisor. Sometimes I can't find the damn thing though, have to look for it for a half hour before I realize it's on my head.

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    Perhaps you answered part of the problem, not enough light, then some magnification (the magnification doesn't help too much without enough light (and more is needed with magnification). Inexpensive articulated desk/task lamps with an LED flood or spot on the machines and bench work really well.

    I posted this before but can't stress how handy (and easy) they are, a 5x cheap single-lens loupe , attached to an LED pen-lamp (30 lumens), such that the majority of the light is at the 2" focal length--I use these all the time for setting tools, reading drill bit numbers, instruments and countless other misc. tasks. The 2" is a decent working distance for looking at tools in a machine, compact enuf to get in tight spaces, the angled light gives contrast (and can be rotated), the loupe shroud shields the viewing side from stray light, and holding the pen keeps the hands away from moving parts. I have 4 of them around, a couple with the loupe and penlight just taped together (the picture is epoxied with a 15 deg shim, tape is for visibility on cluttered sufaces) Cheers.
    img_6027.jpgimg_6028.jpgimg_6032.jpg

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    Another for light, you said sunlight did the job, IMO fluorescent strip lighting isn't much good for fine work, ok for general lighting.
    As for machine lighting etc I find the old fashioned tungsten or halogen bulbs are best - and don't be mean on the watts, ........maybe it's just me but I'm not a lover of most LED lamps - the light colour is all wrong.

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    If you use a bright enough light source, your pupil's diameters will become smaller allowing greater ability to focus. With a 5x loupe you will be fine.

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    In a pinch, don't forget that you can use your cell phone to photograph something hard to read. Then open the photo and magnify it. A little cumbersome, but that has gotten me out of a jam a few times when I have nt had glasses handy or in poor illumination. You could check your mic or protractor that way, for instance.

    Denis

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    car2
    Thanks for that reminder. I knew there was reason I grabbed a brace of LED keyring lights in a bubble pack right cheap on a "once they are gone they are gone" deal from Lidl about 3 months back. Just couldn't recall why at the time but knew it would surface eventually.

    Limey
    Couldn't agree more about LED colours. LED version of daylight white 6200°K is very harsh for space lighting but it does make for clear vision. Currently fighting off the urge to replace my 5 ft tubes with panel fittings but can't see me holding out much longer. Especially as modern tubes don't seem to last so the net financials aren't as horrid as they used to be. £30 - £40 for a LED panel against £15 for two tubes from shop round the corner with typically 2 or 3 years life. Edison screw LED bulbs go into the machine lights at replacement time. Decent value at Screwfix prices.

    Clive

    Clive

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgfoster View Post
    In a pinch, don't forget that you can use your cell phone to photograph something hard to read. Then open the photo and magnify it. A little cumbersome, but that has gotten me out of a jam a few times when I have nt had glasses handy or in poor illumination. You could check your mic or protractor that way, for instance.

    Denis
    Working on my sons 67 Ford F100 I seen a broken bolt deep in a hole. Could not get a drill started. Took a photograph with cell phone, magnified the pic and behold, it was not a bolt but a broken tap. (and that's another story)

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    Totally agree with others...Good light and reading glasses. I keep a Streamlight LED penlight in my pocket all the time. It's a lifesaver.

    Amazon.com: Streamlight 6612 Stylus Pro PenLight with White LED and Holster, Red: Home Improvement

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    OK, so maybe the lighting type? The overhead lights are all florescent. Also the lathe, mill and shaper all have another florescent as close as possible and two LED spotlights each. And I still can't see!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    I rely heavily on my OptiVisor. Sometimes I can't find the damn thing though, have to look for it for a half hour before I realize it's on my head.
    If I can't find my coffee cup it's probably in the microwave. If I can't find my Optivisor it's probably on my head.

    I got halfway home the other day before I noticed I was still wearing the stupid thing.

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    Optivisor and large display caliper.
    dscn0664.jpg

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    There's a 1" mic for sale in the commerce section, it's graduated in Braille. Maybe that will work for you?

    Sent from my SM-G930R4 using Tapatalk

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    They're cheap, buy several

    Magnifier Head Strap With Lights

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    Another for light, you said sunlight did the job, IMO fluorescent strip lighting isn't much good for fine work, ok for general lighting.
    As for machine lighting etc I find the old fashioned tungsten or halogen bulbs are best - and don't be mean on the watts, ........maybe it's just me but I'm not a lover of most LED lamps - the light colour is all wrong.
    I agree with the type of light being important, a hard light increases contrast and that can help with seeing fine detail, fluorescent is just too soft for that. When I was young I didn’t care much about lighting, I could read a veneer caliper in the dark, now I need glasses and good light.

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    Had the same problem, cataract surgery

    took care of it.

    jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by tim9lives View Post
    Totally agree with others...Good light and reading glasses. I keep a Streamlight LED penlight in my pocket all the time. It's a lifesaver.

    Amazon.com: Streamlight 6612 Stylus Pro PenLight with White LED and Holster, Red: Home Improvement
    I carry one of these next to my wallet, Coast HX5 Flashlight Use it many times a day. As we age we need more light, would be hard to do without it now.

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    I thought the thread was "O/T". Guess not, around here huh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clive603 View Post
    car2
    Thanks for that reminder. I knew there was reason I grabbed a brace of LED keyring lights in a bubble pack right cheap on a "once they are gone they are gone" deal from Lidl about 3 months back. Just couldn't recall why at the time but knew it would surface eventually.

    Limey
    Couldn't agree more about LED colours. LED version of daylight white 6200°K is very harsh for space lighting but it does make for clear vision. Currently fighting off the urge to replace my 5 ft tubes with panel fittings but can't see me holding out much longer. Especially as modern tubes don't seem to last so the net financials aren't as horrid as they used to be. £30 - £40 for a LED panel against £15 for two tubes from shop round the corner with typically 2 or 3 years life. Edison screw LED bulbs go into the machine lights at replacement time. Decent value at Screwfix prices.

    Clive

    Clive
    Thanks Clive, those Energizer LED 35 lumen LED lights are really handy, and much more powerful than a keychain light; they also have a well-designed diffuser/lens on the end, and the end click on/off is convenient. They're available at the Walmart's here, or on ebay, about $4 each. I also use them at the stereo-microscope to easily have the ultimately adjustable oblique lighting (versus wrestling with fiber-optic gooseneck lamps).
    Optivisors are really handy handy, but restricted by very short working distance, so only useful mostly for bench work. Also have a pair of Keelor surgeons' loupes which provide 5x at arms distance (these are like little telescopes pointed at a common point); these are also handy, but the restricted field of view takes some getting used to, and more light is needed, and they're rather bulky.. There just ain't anything free in physics and optics... Cheers, Charles
    Cheers, Charles


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