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  1. #1
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    Default Fowler Quadratest

    I was just curious if anybody could tell me about the quality of this indicator. Its got a high range of measurement and 360 swivel head and seems like a nice indicator for $262 from MSC compare it with a $290 Interapid from MSC. I know I can get an Interapid from some where else for about the same price as the Fowler so I'm at a crossroads. With the recent discussion on PM about Fowler quality I don't want to get something that is cheap and easy to break, but I do like the digital factor. Brown & Sharpe make a similar one but its on .0005 and that does me no good.

    So my question is does anybody have any experience with the fowler quadratest? Is it a quality item? Is it accurate? I know that its rated accuracy is +- .00014 but the trusting feel of an indicator is what i'm interested in.

    Thanks for any and all feedback.... oh plus here is another item these are the only two i'm looking in to. I have had ever other indicator under the sun and am switching it up so these are the two options.

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    I can't speak from experience about this specific tool. My general experience, however, recommends that you avoid the digital test indicator and get an Interapid or Brown & Sharpe.

    Fowler doesn't manufacture any of their own tools. Most of what they sell is Asian stuff. Just like SPI. However, Fowler sells some Sylvac stuff, like this digital test indicator, and Sylvac is Swiss made.

    This indicator is not going to end up in the tool box of half the machinists in the world, like Interapid or Brown & Sharpe. Any time you need parts or service, you're going to have to send it to Fowler. Fowler may not see a real need to provide support for that instrument in 10 years. In any case, the tool will most likely be obsolete in 10 years, they'll have a new version out, or have discontinued it.

    You'll also face an increased risk of tool failure or problems with the Quadra-Chek, simply because the extra components and sensitivities of the electronic readout provide more ways for the tool to fail.

    Don't do it, man! That digital test indicator looks clunky, fragile, and cheap. It's gonna look ancient and funny in about 10 years, and you'll never be able to get service for it. Get an Interapid, Compac, Mercer, Brown & Sharpe, Tesa, and it's going to look gorgeous in 40 years.

    Personally, I prefer dial indicator instruments over digital. Being able to see the sweep of the indicator needle while you settle in on a measurement is useful even on a caliper, I'd think it is absolutely vital on a test indicator. It looks like Sylvac has incorporated a bar graph type readout above the digits on their Quadra-Check for this exact reason. Watching the numbers flit around wildly isn't going to do you any good when you're running the indicator across a surface. You need to see the sweep.

    Send a message over to the guys at www.longislandindicator.com for their opinion.

    Check out their website too, they have compiled a very great deal of advice, history, and technical instruction there. They also sell indicators and provide free lens replacement if you've bought from them.

    http://www.longislandindicator.com/p23.html $249.00 (.0001")

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    I agree with what you're getting at with the extra failure rate just due to extra mechanical parts. My biggest problem is that even at my young age of only 24 I have increasingly bad eyes. I find when using a brown & sharpe .00005 I sometimes lose the needle in relationship with the graduations and that is why i'm thinking that a digital indicator might be a little easier on my eyes.

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    I have one.

    It seems well made. It's Sylvac after all.

    The whole digital vs analog thing...hmm, I do both.
    Sometimes you're working mentally in numbers, sometimes you're working in tends.
    If your readings are going immediately to a DRO or CAD(cam) or for setting up your next pass, then I like the digital. If you're centering, or coming up to a zero, I like analogs....etc.

    I have some eye problems too. The digitals are helpful if it's the numbers you need (stationary) over the sweep (reading in motion).

    Nice to have both.

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    Sean, does that Sylvac indicator have a bar graph that provides some analog indication of movement? I've been watching for such an innovation in digital readouts for instruments, it's sorely needed.

    Alex, are you aware of the heavy discounts of MSC/J&L/Enco ? I'm positive you can get 25% off list price for that instrument.

    Have you ever tried binocular loupes like the kind dentists or surgeons wear?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean S View Post
    It seems well made. It's Sylvac after all.
    Yeah well, whoever the doofus at Sylvac was in the late 1980's that gave the ok to use on my Trimos Mini Vertical, what amounts to a paper covered flat wire type ribbon cable, bent 180 degrees, utilizing an 8 pin connector on flat wire meant for use with *round* wire ribbon cable....should be profusely dope slapped

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    LOL, I was reading about that, Milacron.

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    I've tried loupes and they just don't work for me. I'm extremely near sited so to just take off my glasses all together works great for bench work. The only reason I brought up this topic was because I have a chance at snagging one for $100 less than what its listed for on MSC and I think it might be easier on my eyes. Its out of the plastic but hasn't been used. I know that I will eventually get an interapid just due to their..... I guess you could say style? layout? design? (Where the face is in relationship to the indicator point) It works for the kind of work I do. It doesn't hurt that they don't suck as an indicator either.

    I don't want to switch topics on the thread... maybe I'll post a new one on this subject, but I don't want everybody to get confused. The main problem I have with my eye sight is that I'm almost at bifocals. That isn't really the problem though. The problem is that I have "blind" spots. Spots where my lenses don't cover and hence just plain can't see out of. I have contacts but the problem is I work third shift so my contacts get dried out and then my eyes itch and i'm miserable even if I use visine or something to keep them moist. I do think I'm going to post a new thread because I'm now questioning ideas like LASIK and other things that might help in the shop.

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    I was gonna suggest that you at least buy used. I've had great luck on eBay with measurement tools.

    A good deal on ebay for a new condition but opened / used measurement tool is about half of the sale price of the instrument. Maybe more depending on the popularity of the tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by apestate View Post
    Alll I have to say is S*** I had bid on that and was going to come back and bid again before it was over seeing as I'm on the week before payday wanted to make sure I had the $$$. Went for $73 with free shipping....... Got busy at work and didn't get the time to get to it.... oh well so is life. I'm sure at some point there will be another.

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    maybe I shouldn't have posted huh! :X

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    It was the thought that counts

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    www.bidnapper.com

    people hate sniping, or bidding at the last second through a proxy server. there's nothing wrong with it. if someone bids higher than my bid, they're gonna win. and if I didn't place my snipe bid in the last 4 seconds of the auction, the item would have went for even LESS $$

    why bid up an item if you can wait until the last couple seconds?

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    I don't particularly like the idea of GETTING sniped because its always by like .01 or .50, but when I bid on something 99.9% of the time I'm secretly hoping to get outbid..... doesn't mean I like when it happens, but .... Besides the idea of losing something for a penny or something I really don't mind getting sniped.

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    heh.

    I hear you there, with ebay auctions. "THANK -GOD- I DIDN"T WIN THAT!!!"

    I've been really amazed at the auctions I've won using sniping. $500 mitutoyo inside bore groove gage for $27... $550 set of 5 Tesa optical flats for $70. Both brand new.

    It's a powerful tool for winning what you want to win. I wanted to mention the unsavory opinion people have of sniping before recommending bidnapper.

    Another nice feature is that once you've put stuff into bidnapper, you can delete the auction, change your bid, whatever you want. It keeps everything organized, too.

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    I have some Dorsey metrology indicators, large ones, micron and 1/2 micron (20 millionths.) They are relatively easy to see just because of their size.

    As for eyeware, you need to get the right kind of loupe. Normally the ones with a lot of magnification are meant for very close work (where you'd just take your glasses off!)

    You might try the 3x single eyeglass loupe about 2/3rds down this page.
    Or see page#2251 at http://www.mcmaster.com

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    Oh I thought since this thread has kind of been based upon my eye sight being in and out I figured I'd update since I went to the eye doctor. I just basicly started working third shift about 3 to 5 months ago. Doc says that since I started working night shift my eyes are starting to strain more than in the day light. Said that it would either fix itself (get use to it) or if it continues need to either change styles of glasses ( I have the small ones that if you look direct left or right your complete vision is without lense) or update the prescription.

    I'll keep everybody updated for the next visit.

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    RE: the Sylvac Quadratest: I recently bought one of these, and I'm pretty happy with it. It does have a bar graph that is nowhere near as useful as a mechanical dial indicator needle, but I have been able to use this for what appeared to be fairly accurate high resolution (1 micron) measurements, as well as being able to snake it into some constricted areas with the extra-long (~1.5") tip. Very handy for my purposes. The dial bezel can be rotated, but if you do this while the indicator is ON, the display registers progressive displacement with the rotation. Curious, and a potential source of error if you brush it hard enough to move the bezel during a measurement process. Generally, it seems to be fairly reasonable quality. I keep it set in single micron unit display mode for highest resolution. It has no off switch, but does shut itself off after a couple of hours. Not a bad unit for $250, but as Apestate noted, mechanical indicators have a "more transparent" functionality. I prefer them generally, but once you get into the area of a few tenths or single-digit microns, most everything has its problems of one sort or another.

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    Is it true that this indicator is actually only reliable to .0005? I was told that these indicators are only reliable to .0005 measuring range. Does anybody know if thats true or not. I've been trying to google it but I've yet to find the answer. I think this would be the determining factor.


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