View Full Version : dial indicator

11-15-2002, 02:49 AM
Can anyone recommend a decent, yet inexpensive dial indicator? I need to take a few measurements on my TR6 engine and don't want to spend a fortune. Harbor Freight sells them but I would be afraid they are junk.


11-15-2002, 04:34 AM
Hello BSR,
I can't comment on what is available in America, but to me they are not an expensive tool as there is not much in them. You could try looking for a used one in machine tool dealers or specialised
magazines. Just ensure that the plunger runs smoothly from top to bottom. Another very useful and versatile tool is a vernier caliper gauge, which can measure inside and outside diameters and be used as a depth gauge. Care is required in their use as they are not as inherently accurate as a micrometer.


11-15-2002, 10:49 AM
We buy a fair amount of stuff at work from Enco. In fact I just bought several dial indicators (and other items) last month). Decent quality (I agree, you have to be careful with Harbor Freight).

Go to:

www.use-enco.com (https://www.use-enco.com)

11-26-2002, 02:34 PM
I bought a magnetic base/stand and dial indicator on EBay for cheap money. Made in China (where else) but very good quality. First use paid for it.
A lot of these tools on Harbor freight etc. are cheaper quality than Starrett, or other made in USA tools. But then again,they were so expensive I never could afford to invest in them. At least this DIY stuff is afforable. Like a lot of people, I like to buy the home market stuff when I can, but for the few times I need some of these tools , it doesn't make sense.

11-27-2002, 12:59 PM
I figure that, if I’m trying to measure down to thousandths or tenths then it’s important that I be as accurate as possible. I’ve bought a few cheap measuring devices and have never been happy with them – I’ve had measuring calipers with markings that are hard to read, micrometers that lose their accuracy, and so on. I’ve always been happy with the “name” brands like Starret, Brown & Sharpe, Mitutoyo, and so on.

This stuff is always more expensive, but good used measuring devices are available on eBay, and we have several second-hand shops that deal in tools in the area. I’d rather have a used Starret dial indicator, for example, than a new no-name. I always check newly acquired measuring devices against my “trusted” ones to make sure they’re accurate (or maybe they’re all off by the same amount?). The good stuff takes a lot more abuse without failing and generally is more satisfying to use. Machinists will tell you that you can’t make anything more accurate than you can measure – maybe rebuilding a transmission or setting up a rear end isn’t “making” something, but I think the statement applies.

[ I don’t mean to sound “preachy”, this is just a hot button. Plus the weather’s lousy and I’m stuck inside. ]

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

11-27-2002, 01:22 PM
I have to agree with John. If you buy the good stuff it will last you forever. Always buy the best tools you can afford, it works out cheaper in the long run.

11-28-2002, 10:48 AM
Absolutely buy the best you can afford....
My problem was that working in the car repair industry for over 30 years insured I couldn't afford to even buy the cars I was working on! Some stuff it matters, others not so much. A magnetic base for a dial indicator made offshore works EXACTLY the same as a 'spensive one. Splurge on the dial indicator if you must or a torque wrench. Wasn't all that long ago that people turned their nose up at the mention of Mitutoyo stuff. (Danged furrin' junk)I worked with "Snap On snobs" for a lot of my career, and the "cathedral of tools" sitting in the corner concept was always a source of amusement.
Rant over........ too much coffee I guess.
Happy Turkey Day