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1976 Ranchero GT
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Discussion Starter #1
I was just wondering if anyone had tried out these HF cen-tech dial indicators or micrometers or calipers. They are cheap but are the worth a dang? I would like to own some of these tools because I want to tool around with engines so I need them to be fairly accurate but I am not going to be doing this sort of thing all the time so I don't want to spend a fortune on these tools.
 

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I have a Cen Tech 0-1" micrometer with the "digital" scale on the side. it is accurate. Also the auto class I take, we have a few Cen Tech mics, but they don't have the digital scale. the digital scale is not very accurate ( .001 or more diffrence in reading ) but if you take the measurements from the barral, they are accurate
 

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I bought a cen tech 1" dial indicator and magnetic base from HF in 1990. I beat the crap out of it and it still works. It is probably as accurate as a regular guy needs. I use it to pretend like I'm a big time engine builder, degreeing cams and finding TDC.

I have also had numerous 20.00 dial calipers and cheapo micrometers, unless you are actually doing the machine work on a motor, those also work fine. I use them for measuring all kinds of stuff around the shop and never had a mishap because of inaccuracy of the tool.

I have some of the good stuff too. I'm sure it is more accurate in the right hands, and I can feel the difference in the action, but a regular guy doesn't need all that. ( I have 2 dial indicators that read in 0.0001. All it does is confuse me when I try to use it. :pain: ) I did use my tesa .0001 micrometer a while back for checking some needle bearings in a harley tranny, but how often does a guy do that?

Buy it. :thumbup:

Later, mikey
 

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1976 Ranchero GT
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Discussion Starter #4
Well I guess I am going to get these tools and I will hold you guys responsible if they are crappy and my engine blows up! :thumbup:
 

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I got my dial indicator and dial caliper from grizzly tools for about 20 bux for the indicator (came with the magnetic base too) and 15 for the caliper.
 

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Those HF micrometers and dial indicators work just fine and the only malfunction I have experienced was when I dropped a dial indicator on a concrete floor, cost me $8. :rolleyes: I can not bring myself to trust the electronic digital gizmos from HF but I have a Starrett digital caliper which cost more than 3 times what the HF dial indicators, mag bases, mechanical calipers and Mics together cost. With the HF mechanical measuring tools accuracy does not seem to be an issue and apparently, so far anyway, neither does reliability. Like most cheap HF stuff these things are just fine for hobby use but if you are making your living with them and your reputation is on the line spend the money on the good tools otherwise you can spend a few bucks and get what would cost you hundreds or even thousands in the name brand lines and for practical purposes you probably will never know any difference.
 

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I seldom get my Starrett suff out - I just use my CenTech dial indicators, my General mic or my cheapy vernier. Why? Well as Oldred say, for (most) hobby work.....
Dave
 

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I agree completely with the general consensus of all the responses thus far. I have (and use) both the HF dial indicator with magnetic base and the digital caliper. They have both served my needs extremely well - but this is my obsession :pain: - er, I mean hobby, not my livelihood.

However, there is an old saying in the commercial shipyards that:

"You design it with a computer, measure it with a micrometer, mark it with a piece of chalk, cut it with an axe, then beat it with a hammer!" ;) ;)

Sound familiar??? :p :p

texastomeh
 

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1976 Ranchero GT
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Discussion Starter #12
Very good to know. I am going to stay away from the digital tools. Who wants to fuss with batteries anyway?. :cool:
 

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Those HF digital tools may very well be ok but it just seems to me that the chance of error is far greater than with a mechanical tool and besides is there really any advantage except for the gee-whiz factor?
 

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Race The Truck
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Hmmm,
I just think there easier to read thats about it. Electronic stuff the world run on this stuff. Ever have a computer go down at a place where you shop? They don't know what to do HA! There's no back up plan. If the internet ever went down it would be a big old mess. You could not buy anything.WOW
trusting electronic stuff, I still feel weird with the deal.
Heck with being a mechanic now its Electronic tech. Old habits die hard I guess.

Craig
 

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I feel comfortable using my $200.00 Starrett digital caliper but I would not feel so sure if I was using a $15.00 HF model. With the mechanical measuring tools there is not much of a problem with accuracy since they are based on a gear mechanism or precision threads but with the electronic gizmos, well I am not so sure.
 

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oldred said:
I feel comfortable using my $200.00 Starrett digital caliper but I would not feel so sure if I was using a $15.00 HF model. With the mechanical measuring tools there is not much of a problem with accuracy since they are based on a gear mechanism or precision threads but with the electronic gizmos, well I am not so sure.
Old guys like me need digital tools - we can't see the lines without a magnifying glass anymore - I had my Starrett .0001 mic out the other day - thousandths were kinda ok, ten thousandths, well, good thing I didn't need to go that fine. A magnifying glass is now with my measuring tools.

Dave
 

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No doubt about it those digital outfits are easier to read, But, if they are lying to you. :pain: I still think the cheapo digital types should be used with caution.
 

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I know those magnifying glasses are in all my toolboxes too :(

If i'm trying to read anything with a vernier scale all i can see anymore is a bunch of fuzzy lines that are as resolute as mud.
I don't like the digital stuff, no matter who makes it, ( I still like analog stereos and dash gauges too)
I depend on my dial calipers alot.

I just bought some magnifiers for my welding helmet.
it's all down hill from here, isn't it.

Mikey
 

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powerrodsmike said:
I know those magnifying glasses are in all my toolboxes too :(

I just bought some magnifiers for my welding helmet.
it's all down hill from here, isn't it.

Mikey
Mikey,
You have a few years to catch up with me, age wise, and from experience, the magnification level just keeps going up, the bones start to creak and you start to do something and forget why !! :embarrass

Magnifiers for a welding helmet ?? - haven't seen them yet. Might be I should look into them - occasionally I get a bead that wanders off my mark. :sweat:

Dave
 

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I got an avatar now!!! WHOO-HOO!

Thanks Ireland for the heads up,
I can't wait. :pain:

Magnifying lense...


I think mine cost 7.00 at the welding supply house.

It sure helped. I have been tigging a bunch of .035" sheet metal lately with an .040" electrode and .032 rod. I can't hardly even see the rod on the table, much less the bead.

Them magnagogglers made me feel like a kid again. I seen things I haven't saw in years. :mwink:

Now if I could see them without a mirror :rolleyes:

Mikey
 
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