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Tool Surface plate height gauge recommendations

Tool

calgaryguy

Chris
Premium Member
So now that I have a non-scratched surface plate, I'm looking for a height gauge for it.

Missed out on a Mitutoyo 12" digital surface plate height gauge on Kijiji yesterday for $200 (!). ;(

Looking for suggestions on a 'decent' height gauge/stand. Budget is $100-200 unless this is one of those "dont go cheap" items in your collective minds. Many of the gauges I see forsale look like cheap slide calipers bolted to a cast base. I'm concerned about being able to attain and repeat 'B Grade' (same as my surface plate) accuracy with these - they look flimsy.

Just to be sure I have my terminology right, this is along the lines of what I am looking for:

71v33cNd9kL._AC_SY879_.jpg
 
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calgaryguy

Chris
Premium Member
Also looking for a indicator holder/base for a surface plate. These seem to be more pricey with the limited google-fu I've done.

For anyone who might respond with 'make your own' - I dont have a mill yet and no way to check anything I make for its accuracy hence why I bought the surface plate to get started in metrology.
 

YotaBota

Mike
Premium Member
I'm in the same boat but looking for dial not digital. KBC has a few but known brands are pricey and I don't know about the quality of the KBC branded ones.
 

calgaryguy

Chris
Premium Member
I'm in the same boat but looking for dial not digital. KBC has a few but known brands are pricey and I don't know about the quality of the KBC branded ones.
I could use a dial one as well, no issues there.

There seems to be two price ranges: under $100 for your typical Wixey/iGauging pieces (like pictured above) and over $250-300.
 

combustable herbage

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I recently purchased this one from BB happy so far stable on the plate sharp scribe, easy to set the height with a good size display.
 

whydontu

I Tried, It Broke
Premium Member
Just saw those, I (strangely) hadnt looked at KBC yet until you mentioned them. Thanks.

Any of you forum members purchased either the 6 or 12" kbc branded height gauges?
I’ve had the 12” KBC one for 20 years. Does what I need it to do. It’s useful to be able to change the scriber tip, I make up offset ones when I need to do oddball layouts.

I started with one of the cheap digital ones, but I don’t use it very often and inevitably when I went to use it the battery was dead.
 

eotrfish

Super User
Also looking for a indicator holder/base for a surface plate. These seem to be more pricey with the limited google-fu I've done.

For anyone who might respond with 'make your own' - I dont have a mill yet and no way to check anything I make for its accuracy hence why I bought the surface plate to get started in metrology.
Is this what you are looking for?

Starrett 56 57.jpg
Larger one is Starrett 57A, smaller is Starrett 56A

No scribe or scribe clamp for either one.

If these are what you need PM me with a reasonable offer.

Brent
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Moderator
Premium Member
I don't have one...... Yet. I've been looking for ages. No way in hell I'm buying a bargain one. If a bargain one is good enough then I don't really need a surface plate.

My advice is to buy a good one. Don't buy an inexpensive height gauge. If you can't afford a good one new, then resign yourself to waiting for a good used one or a good deal on a new one.

I don't want digital either. I want dial or vernier - preferably vernier. A little bird told me that one is headed my way some day soon. I can wait as long as that might take.

My opinion is that surface plates and height gauges are used to make precision measurements, do measurement comparisons, and calibrate measurement tools and measurement standards - not simple part measurements. They require a level of precision that isn't generally available with inexpensive tools.

The above is a personal opinion. Others are free to disagree.

Edit - I know that a very common use for a height gauge and surface plate is to scribe lines on a part for subsequent machining or layout. I'm not knocking that practice. But to be fair, neither a surface plate or a height gauge is needed to do that. You can even use your mill table, or a piece of flat plate, or even a counter top for that. I don't personally think that a scribed line can be described as a precision measurement. It's a perfectly fine way to measure and make most parts though.
 
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I found a deal on Kijiji earlier this year for a vernier height gauge. Cost me $75. Kanon brand made in japan. Formerly used by a professional machinist. Haven't used it much yet so can't vouch for quality though given the brand and origins of seller I imagine quality is professional grade. I'm a big fan of buying good condition used tools. But then I'm located in Ontario where these things are apparently relatively plentiful. It's been a great year this year for me in terms of acquiring new to me tools for my shop but not very good in any other way. No shop time, too many health issues, and big distracting home reno projects.

Picture shows the height gauge and other stuff that was part of a bigger package deal.

zasstd.JPG
 

VicHobbyGuy

Well-Known Member
I recently purchased this one from BB happy so far stable on the plate sharp scribe, easy to set the height with a good size display.
I have one of those iGaging models, and "I beg to differ"......without the 'knob' it's extremely difficult for me to set an accurate height (when using the gauge for layout and marking).
The kbc versions seem to also not have an adjusting knob.
All calipers have knobs, why omit them on the vertical version?
height gauge.jpg
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I have a Euro KBC surface gage. Very nicely made & it wasn't too expensive relative to other options. I'm not sure its this (screen grab) model, they may have started bringing in Asia models.

Anyways I'm pretty certain is metric so another consideration when purchasing. Its kind of a knock on effect of other things you likely may want to attach. For example my Mitutoyo DTI has metric post & slightly different dovetail than USA/Starrett. Same goes for some of the dial indicator stem diameter. I guess I'm suggesting have a gander at the catalogs & dimensions because a deal on one component may not do you much god trying to marry to another component if the holding do-dad is expensive or unobtanium. My friend got a box of vintage surface gages from Ebay, but some needed tune-ups n the surface grinder as the rocked on the granite plate.
 

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PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I'll be following along sooner or later with a surface plate & measuring accessories, but I seem to recall the anvils that go into this style of (dial) surface height gages are also metric/imperial dimension based. Not that one may be swapping them in & out but I've seen some models that have this kind of flexibility to add other do-dads.
 

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