How to use a dial indicator - Step by step guide


Introduction

When it comes to testing and measuring equipment for CNC machines there is no doubt that dial indicators are among one the most commonly used measuring tools. In this article, we will be covering the following topics:

  • What is a Dial Indicator?
  • What are the Different Types of Dial Indicators?
  • How do you use a Dial Indicator?
  • Where can you buy a Dial Indicator?
With that being said, lets first start off by understanding what exactly a dial indicator is.

 

What is a Dial Indicator

A dial indicator is simply a measuring tool that is most commonly found in CNC machining shops that is used to measure deviations of a mechanical component. These indicators are comprised of pinions, gears, and levers. As an operator utilizing a dial indicator, the purpose is to use it for comparative analysis. More specifically, to compare the deviation of the finished device with the value of the standard device in order to ensure that the final value of the finished device is within the appropriate tolerance value.

 

In terms of the mechanical parts that make up a dial indicator it really comes down to a few key components. These include the following:

 

Dial and Indicator (Needle)

○ These components are responsible for recording the minor increments that result out of the measurement procedure.

  • Plunger
  • ○ Is the moving part of the indicator that moves perpendicular to the object being tested

  • Locknut
  • ○ Holds the indicator in place and helps secure it from moving during the measurement process

  • Mini Dial
  • Magnification Mechanism
  •  

    What are the Different Types of Dial Indicators?

    Now that you know what a dial indicator is, let’s take a look at the different types to choose from:

     

  • Balanced Reading Dial Indicators
  • ○ Balanced Reading Dial Indicators have a display that showcases the numbers of the dial heading towards two different directions. The dial starts at zero and is positive on the right side, while negative on the left side.

  • Continuous Dial Indicators
  • ○ Unlike balanced reading dials, continuous dials are not split into right and left (positive and negative separation) instead, the numbers are continuous and start at zero and keep going.

  • Reversed Balanced Dial Indicators
  • ○ These dial indicators are exactly like balanced indicators in the sense that they have two sets of numbers (positive and negative on opposing sides) however, positive numbers on a reversed dial indicator are on the left side, while negative numbers are on the right.

  • Reversed Continuous Dial Indicators
  • ○ These dials are exactly like continuous dials, however instead of running clockwise, reverse continuous dials run counterclockwise.

  • Plunger Dial Indicators
  • ○ These dials are most commonly beneficial for measuring the work on injection moulding machines. Their unique design in the sense that plunger dials have a plunger mounted on one side of the clock face make it ideal tasks such as the one previously mentioned.

  • Lever Dial Indicators
  • ○ These dials have a level and scroll mechanism. As opposed to plunger dials, lever dials are used more often due to their compactness and overall ease of use.

     

    How Do You Use a Dial Indicator?

    In order to use a dial indicator let’s take a look at the most important steps to follow:

     

  • Step 1: Mount the Indicator
  • ○ Before using a dial indicator it is critical to rigidly mount it in order to ensure absolute stability. This is necessary because the slightest movement in the indicator can compromise the measurement. As a result, always be sure to attach the magnetic base in order to ensure your dial indicator is safely secured.

  • Step 2: Position your indicator in the appropriate spot
  • ○ After mounting your indicator the next step is to position it in an appropriate spot. Good positioning is when you place the indicator in a way where the stem is parallel to the direction of component motion.

  • Step 3: Reset and zero your indicator
  • ○ Prior to conducting your measurement make sure to rotate your outer dial until it reaches zero. This is necessary to ensure proper and accurate measurement.

  • Step 4: Take the measurement
  • ○ Once your dial indicator is mounted, positioned, and reset, take the measurement by moving the part in question. The end result on the indicator (balanced dial) will either be positive or negative.

     

    Where Can You Buy a Dial Indicator?

    Now that you understand what a dial indicator is and how it works, you might be wondering where can you go about buying one? Fortunately at Gizmo Machine Tools, we currently have a variety of options for many measurement tools and testing equipment if you are looking to buy a dial indicator. As a Canadian corporation we service internationally in buying, selling and trading of machinery. With over 18 years of experience in the manufacturing industry our company focuses on providing customers with an alternative to expensive new machinery, when tooling up for a job or replacing existing capital equipment. If you have any questions or require assistance feel free to contact us today and we would love to help!

     

    As a Canadian corporation we service internationally in buying, selling and trading of machinery. With over 18 years of experience in the manufacturing industry our company focuses on providing customers with an alternative to expensive new machinery, when tooling up for a job or replacing existing capital equipment. If you have any questions or require assistance feel free to contact us today and we would love to help!

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