Two new and inexpensive tools bring swift digital precision to setup tasks ( see video ). The tools handle common setups on standard machines. The Digital Height Gauge from Rockler measures tooling height. The Tilt Box digital inclinometer from the Beall Tool Company measures angles.
Digital Height Gauge
Rockler's Digital Height Gauge consists of a heavy metal base, a vertical scale, and a sliding arm with digital readout attached. It reads in metric or standard measurements with a range up to 5 inches.
You set the base on the machine top and then use the arm and digital readout to quickly determine tooling height. Obvious applications are to measure height of a table saw blade for precise joinery cuts or to measure the height of router or shaper tooling. The heavy metal base stays put without benefit of a magnetic base, so it's equally at home on laminate top router tables as it is on a cast iron table saw.
Tilt Box inclinometer
The Beall Tool Company's Tilt Box is a clever device that makes quick work of measuring blade angles. This puts common protractor devices to shame.
It's simply a small box with a magnet on one side and a digital readout on the face. First you set the box on the machine surface to zero it, then you use the magnet side to attach the device to the blade. The readout gives you the angle with plus or minus 0.1 degree accuracy.
It's great for checking that any saw table saw, band saw, miter saw, etc. is accurately adjusted in relation to its table. For special cuts at odd angles it is faster and more accurate than the analog gauge or scale on the machine.
Small price to pay for precision
Neither of these tools is very expensive. They take but a minute or two to learn how to use. And both could save a lot of time and frustration in setups over time in your shop.
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