Is there a point in buying a small surface plate?
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  1. #1
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    Default Is there a point in buying a small surface plate?

    I'm contemplating buying a small surface plate, like this:
    Granite surface plate | FINE TOOLS

    In the long run I want to get a bigger surface plate like a 630 x 400 mm one, but money and priorities... you know how it is. I have such a long list of materials, projects and tools already...

    I think something like this would at least allow me to scrape smaller items such as gibs and whatnot, and also allow me to train scraping things flat, without it I cannot do much useful work or training...

    Do you guys think it's worth getting a small plate like this, would it have any use after acquiring a full size plate? At least it's portable I guess so I can take it with me. In the long run it's more expensive to buy two plates, but it will get me going faster.

    I've looked for 2nd hand plates too but they are rare as hens teeth in Finland it seems so this is what I am contemplating at the moment.

    The plate does not specify if it's up to DIN 876 standards but the site says it is within 3um flatness across the diagonal, that is ~480 mm, DIN 876 grade 00 specifies a tolerance of 3um over 400mm, so it seems to be high quality. For what it's worth I was going to just go with a grade 0 plate for the larger one.

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    I started with a very small granite toolmaker's plate for benchtop use, and have been through three larger sizes, and now I need an even larger one for use with 3' (1m) straightedges.

    If I were smart, I would get rid of all but the largest one (yet to be obtained) and one about 9"x12" (roughly 220mm x 300mm), the smaller one for benchtop use.

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    All I know is that I listed a 6"x12" plate on eBay and it sold within minutes. Just sayin......

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    Small ones are handy if you want to check something by bluing the plate up and flipping it over and rubbing it on a surface. I have a 12" x 18" and use it when scraping centerless grinder beds. but I use larger ones the way your thinking of too. I can't imagine trying to rebuild machines without them. Years ago we used cast iron plates and in many ways the are better then granite, but now a days granite is cheap and very accurate. Bigger is better but the small ones are handy. What ever size you buy, store it on 3 points.

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    I tend to make small parts. I have a small plate. Seems logical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    I tend to make small parts. I have a small plate. Seems logical.
    Are you using it to scrape? or just testing off the surface?

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    I find the small ones to be handy at the machines. Whether it be for just checking parts with a height gage or flat lapping smaller parts.

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    If you initially just want it to learn scraping techniques, you could get three round or square pieces of cast iron and practice scraping by making all of them flat using the Whitworth technique.

    I originally made a set of squares this way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisCA View Post
    I'm contemplating buying a small surface plate, like this:
    Granite surface plate | FINE TOOLS

    In the long run I want to get a bigger surface plate like a 630 x 400 mm one, but money and priorities... you know how it is. I have such a long list of materials, projects and tools already...

    I think something like this would at least allow me to scrape smaller items such as gibs and whatnot, and also allow me to train scraping things flat, without it I cannot do much useful work or training...

    Do you guys think it's worth getting a small plate like this, would it have any use after acquiring a full size plate? At least it's portable I guess so I can take it with me. In the long run it's more expensive to buy two plates, but it will get me going faster.

    I've looked for 2nd hand plates too but they are rare as hens teeth in Finland it seems so this is what I am contemplating at the moment.

    The plate does not specify if it's up to DIN 876 standards but the site says it is within 3um flatness across the diagonal, that is ~480 mm, DIN 876 grade 00 specifies a tolerance of 3um over 400mm, so it seems to be high quality. For what it's worth I was going to just go with a grade 0 plate for the larger one.
    Depends on where you plan to head in life w/r rebuilding machines vs USING machines.

    If all you need to do is restore - for example:

    - three "major" machine-tools

    - for your own use

    - and you are not REALLY going to be relying for your daily crust on delivering work off them to some unrealistic degree of precision, anyway..

    ...you still need a reliable and accurate "master reference".

    But it does not HAVE to be a surface plate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard King View Post
    Are you using it to scrape? or just testing off the surface?
    Mostly checking, but I can't say it's never seen spotting dye!

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    small surface plate usually for comparing a small parts height (like 1,2.3 blocks size) compared to gage blocks next to it using a .0001" test indicator. small surface plate can be on a tool box on wheels thats easy to move around or a cart next to machine you are working at.
    .
    if bigger surface plate is over 100 feet away that can be tiring if you have to go back and forth hundreds of times per day

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    I have a small plate 8x18 or so and a 24x24 mostly just to support my surface grinder.

    *Also very handy is having a steel plate 6 x 12 or 8 x 12 x 5/8" or 3/4" thick(half " is OK)..with having a few threaded holes about for use as portable plate and use as a gauge plate that you might clamp on a fixture or clamp on a gauge. This being made dead square can be a stand up for the grinder or mill for use on a bigger job.
    What is so nice about this is that you can skim it when needed,of if not having a grinder just send it out to a Blanchard shop for a skim. just mild steel is fine with you taking care not to bang or bump it.

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    Thanks for all the replies, I decided to buy the surface plate in question. Believe I will have use of it even after acquiring the larger one.

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    I use smaller surface plates as Richard suggested to spot surfaces on bigger castings. Also use em as portable regular surface plates when I take them to friends places to help with their projects. Not so easy with my 30x48 chunk of granite. Not being a professional, it's harder for me to justify buying granite to spot big castings as I can and have rescraped worn cast iron plates. Don't have the tools (or knowledge) to lap granite back to tolerance. Small bonus- my two smaller iron plates have tapped holes for easy handling and the ribs underneath are easy to grab. Guys in business have to justify the time-money equation so totally understand granite works for them...

    L7

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    To me a scraped CI surfaceplate spots much better as a granite one
    So for scraping I save the CI plates The granite plates I sell

    Peter

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