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Opinions on a good Magnetic Base Dial Indicator?

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by dbreid, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. dbreid

    dbreid 1/2 ton status

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    I am going to be picking up a magnetic base Dial Indicator to swap the gearing in my truck, and I was curious if any of you have a good recommendation. I usually go with Starrett stuff, but there are a pile of semi-cheap Central Tool type setups on ebay for about half the price. In reality, I won't use this that often.

    Thanks, Dan
     
  2. chevyin

    chevyin 1/2 ton status

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    I've used dial indicators in machine shops for 30 years. In my opinion the Central Tool indicators are good units. Since the Japanese got into the machinist tool business, I think that Starrett tools are overpriced and the quality has gone down. Also,the indicator comes separate from the base. Getting a good base with switchable magnet and good rod clamps is just as important as the indicator itself.
     
  3. bigblaza

    bigblaza Registered Member

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    Yeah I was looking on ebay for the same thing. I was about to do a front end gear swap as well. I was looking at the fowler gear set for about $52. Anyone heard of fowler?? are they decent? Im not looking to blow a whole paycheck on a dial indicator, but I do want good quality.
     
  4. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Fowler is a decnt brand. I personally own a central tools dial indicator since that it what i was able to buy locally when i needed one fast. I haven't had any trouble with it yet and i've owned it for about 15 years now. Just about any brand you get will work just fine... until you drop it.
     
  5. 88sub4x4

    88sub4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Completely agreed. I have Fowler calipers and micrometers and a Central dial indicator. Fowler makes alot of the name brand (Snap-on, Mac, etc.) stuff. Although they do sell different quality grades, but even the cheaper stuff is great. The Central dial indicator worked great until i dropped it and the plunger bent. Now i need to get a new one to set-up my gears.
     
  6. mechted

    mechted 1 ton status Premium Member

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    No idea on other people's opinion, but I have one from Summit for like $30. It works well enough for doing the 2 gear setups I have done, and I dont have anything to complain about yet.
     
  7. garlicbreath

    garlicbreath 1/2 ton status

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    Try MSC industrial supply, I got mine there for 32, base indicator, and a whole slew of tips.
     
  8. Confedneck79K30

    Confedneck79K30 3/4 ton status

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    if you dont need it every day, central is just fine, central makes (believe it or not) a pretty high quality unit...

    fowler has some really nice stuff, with infinitely adjustable magnetic bases (called anyform) that you can use on uneven surfaces... central should work just fine, but if you drop it, toss it..
     
  9. Confedneck79K30

    Confedneck79K30 3/4 ton status

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  10. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    My understanding is the Fowler doesn't really make anything, but rather farms it all out with their label. That said, they generally have better grade stuff from Taiwan or Main Land and I have yet to get anything Fowler that I did not like, inlcuding a 0.0005 DTI and an 0.001 DI. But, I prefer B&S BestTest DTIs and Federal or Mitutoyo DIs. Initerapid is top of the line, but oh dear lord they are pricey! But for simple gear setup, a HF DI will be just fine for less than $10...

    Noga single clamp bases/arms are the shiznit if you can find one for decent money. If not, get one of the similar single clamp designs. I've got one Noga and one knock off and love them...
     
  11. K5MONSTERCHEV

    K5MONSTERCHEV 1/2 ton status

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    Central. I personally think the magnetic bases are a PITA, espically for doing gears. I have a Central, and love it, easy to get parts to fix it too.
     

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