What do people do with a height gauge like this?
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  1. #1
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    Default What do people do with a height gauge like this?

    Hello,

    I have an opportunity to buy a 18" Brown & Sharpie height gauge for $200. Could anyone please suggest if I should go for it?

    I'm a hobbyist and occasionally I take measurements on a surface plate. I have a Noga-style indicator holder and a vintage, non magnetic indicator stand.
    Recently, I tried to measure a spindle shaft with a 0.0001" indicator and I think both of my indicator stands moved a lot - I couldn't get repeatable measurements.

    Would the height gauge be a good purchase? Is there any use for it given that I'm a hobbyist? Is the price reasonable?

    Thanks!


    01313_gif1xist2v3_1200x900.jpg

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    Good to have a simple V nose surface gauge..It can compare height for a plate check, off-plate height to a jo block stack and with a ball can check the squareness of a part. Some guys will notch a surface gauge straight end side to add a bug radius also for checking squareness.
    Brown And Sharpe 621 HARDENED Surface Gage Vintage Machinists Tool. England. | eBay
    MITUTOYO 10” HEIGHT GAUGE MACHINIST TOOL. Used. | eBay
    these can be handy..

    Noga-style indicator holder is only good for holding and not much use for a plate check.
    The B&S non measuring height gauge you are considering is not as handy as an old-fashioned vernier height gauge for fewer bucks.
    You did not mention type of machines you use..but having a plate the ones I mentioned might be handy.
    IMHO

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    I've got a clone of the 12" Mitsubishi twin-column height gauge. This has a (mechanical) digital read-out for large scale range with a caliper-style dial indicator for thousandths between the digital markers. For most measurements and scribing, this is infinitely preferable to a comparator-only non-indicating height gage. For the most precise measurements, both indicating and non-indicating styles will need to work comparator-style with gage block stacks, but I rarely need to measure 6-12" dimensions to tenths in my shop.

    I've been in the market for an 18" height gauge for a while, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. Whatever I buy will be an indicating style. So I would save the $200 to put toward a different gauge. On the other hand, if you are all about working comparator style with gage block stacks, that B&S would be better than an indicating style height gage because it's simpler and more solid.

    Yes, Noga-style arm indicator holders, and even old-school post-and-arm surface gauges, can move a bunch if you're not careful. This is another use of a precision stack, as a fixed comparator reference to determine whether it's your indicator holder or your part that's been squirming around.

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    What I referred as "vintage non magnetic indicator stand" looks very similar to the Brown And Sharpe 621 from the link and it has a V-slot at the front. I scrapped the bottom of it, so it's perfectly flat. Still, I feel like it moves a little bit with the indicator when I rotate the shaft that I measure. I may be wrong on this.

    I have a Hardinge HLV-H clone lathe and an Abene VHF-3 milling machine. Both are distributed evenly over the floor in form of individual parts - I'm in the middle of rebuild process.

    Thanks!

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    that's a lab grade stand. Overkill for a hobbyist. But it's a hobby. if you have the money and it doesn't bother you spending it, it will make a nice precise test stand.

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    Why would a hobbyist want that, much less for $200? You'd be way better off with any decent height gage with a scale. You can get an 18" Lufkin for way less, or any number of others. My "standard" is a Starrett #255-18 and sometimes a C454 (18"). They're both taller than I usually need. The C454 is probably better, but I usually use the other one. Needless to say, they're used, as the new price is astounding. Either one seems plenty solid with an indicator installed. Those twin tube Mitutoyo are also very good and you don't have to squint.

    When you scraped that base, did you make it every so slightly concave for stability? Also, many tenth indicators will be more stable on axis than across.

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    I use one just like it at work. That is a good solid stand and has a fine adjust and meant to hold an indicator or scribe. Be better off buying vernier height gage. that can hold either and still measure. Do the twin beam ones lock enough to use a scribe?

    Dave

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    Ok - it seems to I can make better use of the money.

    Thank you everybody for commenting on this!

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    When you scraped that base, did you make it every so slightly concave for stability? Also, many tenth indicators will be more stable on axis than across.
    No, I scraped it perfectly flat. How much of concave it needs to be? Thanks!


    img_3117.jpg

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    Think of it as mega buck super tall and accurate version of michiganbuck's first link.
    It is not a traditional "height gage" if that is what you are looking for.
    A compartor gauge, you have to set it off a master or gage block stack. It is a very nice tool to have but not the universal of a height gage.
    200 bucks is a very good deal but it may not fit what you want to do.
    Dealing with under a tenth when checking spindles in rebuild? Yes, you need such as this.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frigzy View Post
    Ok - it seems to I can make better use of the money.

    Thank you everybody for commenting on this!


    No, I scraped it perfectly flat. How much of concave it needs to be? Thanks!


    img_3117.jpg
    Well, less than I can measure, but enough that it doesn't rock. The ones I have like that are flat, but completely stable. Not scraped. If it rocks, it has to be slightly convex or has a high spot you missed. The scraping pros here can offer better advice on getting it near perfect.

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    One way to think about what measuring tools you want is to think about the work envelopes of the machines you have and the parts you make.

    If everything fits in a six inch cube, you might only need a small surface plate, a set of mics to six inches, a short cylinder square, a stiff indicator holder with a short mast, and so on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by winger View Post
    Do the twin beam ones lock enough to use a scribe?
    I do occasional layout scribing with mine. I would not expect the lock to hold against substantial up or down force on the scribe tip, but it works quite adequately to resist lateral pressure. Locking lever on my gauge is sized for fingertips; a really ham-handed mechanic might snap it off.

    Do keep in mind that the width of a stout scribe line is many multiples of the resolution of the gauge. Scribing to tenths is nonsense, you'd be lucky to scribe to any better accuracy than a manual center punch, call it +- 0.002 accuracy with a 0.008 (guesstimate) width.

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    For comparative measurements to gauge blocks (or Cadillac gauge). If everything is square and in good shape, sounds like $200 is a good price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    Why would a hobbyist want that, much less for $200? You'd be way better off with any decent height gage with a scale. You can get an 18" Lufkin for way less, or any number of others. My "standard" is a Starrett #255-18 and sometimes a C454 (18"). They're both taller than I usually need. The C454 is probably better, but I usually use the other one. Needless to say, they're used, as the new price is astounding. Either one seems plenty solid with an indicator installed. Those twin tube Mitutoyo are also very good and you don't have to squint.
    Me, too. I have a couple of B&S vernier height gages, and a Starrett 254. Like the Starrett best though I've used the B&S plenty too. Set to either a block stackup or usually my Hite-icator, it does the job. I've used the Mit twin bar gage with the dial, it's faster for layout work, but lacks the feel of the Starrett.

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    go on ebay look up height gauge. There is a ton of good older used vernier height gauges for less then 100.00 some even free shipping..

    sample below

    BROWN & SHARPE MFG. CO. MODEL 585 18" VERNIER HEIGHT GAUGE ~IN WOODEN CASE | eBay

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    When you scraped it did you rotate it on the plate to find where it pivots? Richard King refers to this as hinging. If not, it's easy to get a good looking print but the part still be quite convex.
    Hard to tell just looking at the print, but it seems like you've got some high areas in the middle where it smudged a bit, maybe rocked and a little giving the false impression it's touching out at the ends???

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    The print looks to me like the right side is high in the middle and light at the upper right corner so it might allow a slight rock. Cut the blue in the middle on the right side and print it again keeping pressure on that lower left corner (lower right when upright) to see if it's a little low in one corner. If so, work more of the blue off the of the upper left bottom and a little more from the middle on that side. If you have some other means to mount your tenths indicator on the surface plate, bring it up to the surface gauge base (upright) and press different corners to see if you get movement.

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    I bought one of those for £10.00 including a height micrometer to set it with, nice thing to have but I could manage without it.

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    I know these as transfer stands.

    I have the Starrett equivalent (#252). It's a quick way to pick up hole locations or check flatness. Zero the indicator on the surface to be checked, then transfer to a height gage to get the dimension.

    It's not a substitute for a height gage, but a compliment to one.


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