Author Topic: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer  (Read 16869 times)

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Offline NERemodeling

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Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« on: July 01, 2013, 11:21 AM »
I look at these things every once and a while but never know if they are a gimmic or really accurate enough for saw setup

i don't build furniture but i do a decent amount of trim work and builtins so i care that its going to be pretty darn accurate

i would use it on my tablesaw and to return my SCMS back to 90* after a bevel  (its the makita ls1016, sucks trying to keep this thing square but im stuck with it for now)

iGaging Angle Cube

Wixey WR300

Tilt Box II

the first two run about $26 including shipping, cant find the Tilt Box II for much less than $36.50 w/free shipping
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Offline GregBradley

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 11:36 AM »
I have the iGaging Angle Cube.

It is certainly accurate enough for construction and some trim work. You will need to check if your blade has a large enough flat area that is parallel to the blade axis. I was able to find that on most 12" mitre saw blades but it gets tougher on 10" blades. Don't forget the blade will have to be spotlessly clean. Your saw will have to be level or you are dead before you start. Is that possible on mobile saws?

Yes, the Makita LS1016 and LS1216 suck. My LS1214 was much better - sold it for the same price as a new LS1216 to a fellow that was returning his LS1216 for the second time.

Do you have an electronic level? I use my Stabila electronic levels more for checking angles than checking level. Seeing the limitations of that technology and then putting it on a 2" base tells you a bunch about the limitations.

My opinion is they are worth the $26, just don't expect it to be a huge solution to the problem.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 11:38 AM by GregBradley »

Offline jmbfestool

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 11:42 AM »
Quote
the blade will have to be spotlessly clean. Your saw will have to be level or you are dead before you start. Is that possible on mobile saws?


Greg

Your saw does not have to be level.  


Well unless the one you have you can't Zero.

What your suppose to do is sit it on the table first hen Zero it and then stick it on the blade.   It doesn't mater if your table saw is miles out of level you zero the device to your table.

So your can use it on site if you wanted to on a chop saw or table saw.

Jmb
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 11:46 AM by jmbfestool »
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Offline GregBradley

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 11:51 AM »
JMB,

I understand that is the theory of zeroing the unit. I have just found it not to work as well in practice as it seems that it should.

I should have been more clear in my statement.


Offline Jim Kirkpatrick

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 11:57 AM »
+1 on what JMB said.  You don't need a level saw at all.  I have the wixey and find it indispensable for finding bevel angles on my table saw and squaring my jointer fence.  
First you stick it to your horizontal table surface of your saw or jointer and press "zero", then stick it to the blade or jointer fence and it will reference off the horizontal surface you "zeroed" in step one.  Super accurate.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 02:46 PM by Jim Kirkpatrick »

Offline NERemodeling

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2013, 12:44 PM »
Great info guys, Thanks

I feel it is safe to say that i might rule out the Tilt Box II because it seems to be an identical copy of the Angle Cube and costs $10 more

with your positive reviews of them, im sure ill be getting one.. now its just a matter of which one.


one vote Wixey

one vote iGaging

Ladies and gentleman, do we have a tie breaker.....
CT26  -  (2) Midi  - Planex - Kapex -  Domino 500  -  Carvex  -  TS55EQ -  Rails; 800, 1080, 1400(holy rail), 1900, 3000 -  OF1400 - OF1010  - LR 32 - RO 150 - RO90 - RAS115 - ETS125 - DTS400 - LS130 -  EHL65 - HL850 -  MFT1080 - (2) MFT800

Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2013, 12:51 PM »
I think the "trick" to using these is that when you move the gauge from your tabletop to the blade, it should be in the same plane as it was on the table.  If it leans forward or backward, for instance, it will be in a compound angle relationship to the position in which it was "zeroed".   Practice measuring the same setup several times until you can get consistent results.

I have a Wixey.  Its ok.  None of the device's fault, but my two beefs are: 1)battery is always dead just when I really need it and 2)I start being compulsive about the third digit to the right of the decimal point - which is a waste of time for most work. [embarassed]

Offline NERemodeling

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2013, 01:00 PM »
I think the "trick" to using these is that when you move the gauge from your tabletop to the blade, it should be in the same plane as it was on the table.  If it leans forward or backward, for instance, it will be in a compound angle relationship to the position in which it was "zeroed".   Practice measuring the same setup several times until you can get consistent results.

I have a Wixey.  Its ok.  None of the device's fault, but my two beefs are: 1)battery is always dead just when I really need it and 2)I start being compulsive about the third digit to the right of the decimal point - which is a waste of time for most work. [embarassed]

nice trick,   that makes a lot of sense   also i wonder if always referencing off the same face of the device would help. with the wixey you only have one set of magnets so you would have to but the angle cube has magnets on 3 sides   using the bottom as a reference on the table top, then the side as a reference on the blade could introduce some error is the case wasnt 100% square

batteries is a big complaint on amazon.. someone said they contacted the company and they were told that the electronics never really power down, just the lcd screen goes out so it is always using power.. could store it without the batteries but that is a pain

you mention several decimal places, online it only shows one decimal place.. is your different?    the igaging angle cube shows 2 decimal places online

John

CT26  -  (2) Midi  - Planex - Kapex -  Domino 500  -  Carvex  -  TS55EQ -  Rails; 800, 1080, 1400(holy rail), 1900, 3000 -  OF1400 - OF1010  - LR 32 - RO 150 - RO90 - RAS115 - ETS125 - DTS400 - LS130 -  EHL65 - HL850 -  MFT1080 - (2) MFT800

Offline rrmccabe

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2013, 01:03 PM »
I have a new Wixey and it works great. I think the dead battery deal from sitting inactive has been resolved.

I find it to be very accurate but as mentioned above you need to take into consideration both x and y  coords.

That said once you know that its going to be way more accurate than a pointer finger on the saw.
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Offline Alan m

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2013, 01:06 PM »
i have  a gem ready one.
its great. i often use it. even for working out what slope a wall, floor roof ,stairs ramp etc.
you will find loads of uses for it.
officially how acureate is i dont know but its more acurate than i need
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Offline Rick Christopherson

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2013, 01:34 PM »
If you are going to spend money for a gauge, I would recommend something like what is shown below. The reason is simply because it will have more uses than the inclinometer. One of my engineering customers bought this for me as a gift because I needed something like it for his projects frequently, and the lousy plastic ones from a drafting supply house just weren't cutting it.


Offline PaulMarcel

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2013, 04:15 PM »
The tool Rick suggests is also more accurate than those tilt boxes.  Don't be fooled by any of these gauge's number of displayed decimal digits.  Many have stated accuracies one digit less than shown (but great marketing!)  For example, I have an old tilt gauge (can't recall brand).  It shows degrees to hundredths.  It's stated accuracy is only ±0.2º, but you have had to keep the packaging to know as it isn't on the device.  ±0.2º adds up.

Actually, just looked up the digital protractors Rick put there.  They are also ±0.2º.

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Offline NERemodeling

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2013, 07:31 AM »
I have a new Wixey and it works great. I think the dead battery deal from sitting inactive has been resolved.

I find it to be very accurate but as mentioned above you need to take into consideration both x and y  coords.

That said once you know that its going to be way more accurate than a pointer finger on the saw.

what is the model # on your Wixey?   you say new, did they redesign it or you think they just updated it at some point with the same model/look

Thanks, John
CT26  -  (2) Midi  - Planex - Kapex -  Domino 500  -  Carvex  -  TS55EQ -  Rails; 800, 1080, 1400(holy rail), 1900, 3000 -  OF1400 - OF1010  - LR 32 - RO 150 - RO90 - RAS115 - ETS125 - DTS400 - LS130 -  EHL65 - HL850 -  MFT1080 - (2) MFT800

Offline NERemodeling

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2013, 07:47 AM »
If you are going to spend money for a gauge, I would recommend something like what is shown below. The reason is simply because it will have more uses than the inclinometer. One of my engineering customers bought this for me as a gift because I needed something like it for his projects frequently, and the lousy plastic ones from a drafting supply house just weren't cutting it.


Thats nice and certainly has a lot more uses than the angle box, but what i primarily see myself using it for is returning my miter saw to 90* bevel.. not sure if that could be accomplished with the protractor..

You sure are tempting me to upgrade my old plactic model....
CT26  -  (2) Midi  - Planex - Kapex -  Domino 500  -  Carvex  -  TS55EQ -  Rails; 800, 1080, 1400(holy rail), 1900, 3000 -  OF1400 - OF1010  - LR 32 - RO 150 - RO90 - RAS115 - ETS125 - DTS400 - LS130 -  EHL65 - HL850 -  MFT1080 - (2) MFT800

Offline NERemodeling

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2013, 10:44 AM »
alright, i think it is now narrowed down to these two models

Wixey WR365
  -  claims accuracy to .1*  -   includes level feature  -  seems to be newer wixey model which has no battery issues

or

iGagine Angle Cube
  -  claims accuracy to .2* repeatability to .1*(whatever that means)  -  includes level feature  -  machined aluminum case (accurate to .005 so ive read)  -  magnets on 3 sides  -  resolution to 2 decimal places  - 

as always, any user info on ether model would be appreciated!  thanks
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 10:52 AM by NERemodeling »
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Offline Rick Christopherson

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2013, 11:30 AM »

Thats nice and certainly has a lot more uses than the angle box, but what i primarily see myself using it for is returning my miter saw to 90* bevel.. not sure if that could be accomplished with the protractor..


Why would you think it wouldn't? The arms rotate a full 360 degrees (actually infinite). You can re-zero the display whenever you want, so you could even use it to find the difference between two angles, etc. I clicked on your amazon link above, and this was also shown. It's only $25.

Offline Jim Kirkpatrick

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2013, 11:37 AM »
If it's only $25, get both.  It's so easy to stick the inlinometer on the blade and have both hands to adjust the blade or fence angle.

Offline barnowl

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2013, 11:43 AM »
I bought a Tilt Box about 8 years ago, because it was recommended to me as being better than the Wixley.

At the time, Wixley was having issues with battery run down. (I guess they use a button battery.)

The Tilt Box uses a 9 volt battery.

Also, the Tilt Box has magnets on both sides, and is a pleasure to use.

Never sorry that I spent the extra $$ for it, but it looks like they haven't been marketted as succesfully.
best wishes,

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Offline rrmccabe

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2013, 08:23 PM »
I have a new Wixey and it works great. I think the dead battery deal from sitting inactive has been resolved.

I find it to be very accurate but as mentioned above you need to take into consideration both x and y  coords.

That said once you know that its going to be way more accurate than a pointer finger on the saw.

what is the model # on your Wixey?   you say new, did they redesign it or you think they just updated it at some point with the same model/look

Thanks, John

It's new. Has tilt display and level. Says two year battery life. As far as accuracy I have done all the checks by reversing it like you would a level and cutting 45 degree cuts to compare and it is perfect. I would be lost without it now.

One nice thing about it compare to angle gauge shown above is you don't have to worry about protruding teeth getting in way.
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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2013, 09:12 PM »
Years ago I bought the Wixey. Compared to nothing it's awesome.
But after getting used to it I wished it had a little higher resolution.
As far as accuracy goes .1 degrees isn't as fine as you think if the joint is long.
Also, short lived hard to find batteries was a real pain.

Then I found out about the Beal Tilt box. Even though the accuracy was said to be the same
the higher resolution would be a benefit and the readily available battery was a big plus.

Higher resolution? When your sneaking up on a very precise angle on something that allows fine adjustment like a table saw then the change from one tenth of a degree to the next seems interminable. You move the tilt wheel on the saw quite a bit an the digital readout remains the same until all of a sudden it's another tenth more. Having a half-tenth display is a benefit ,all other things being equal.

Trouble is all other things weren't equal. There is another specification that isn't shown and that is the how often the device checks the angle. On tools that have crude adjustment like the TS circular saws the device might not be able to keep up with how fast you change the tilt of the saw. You might have hit the right position but the device is still on the previous "look-see" and you continue moving the saw past the place you want.

The there is plain raw accuracy and how well the devise is made. Since I bought the Tilt Box Beal has added this disclaimer to it's description. " The original Tilt Box was advertised as having a resolution of .05 and an accuracy of .1. While this was (and remains) true of many of the units, it is not, we have discovered with time, true of all of them, and so, for the sake of accuracy, we are now downgrading our claims to the more realistic .2 of a degree." You have to applaud the candor.

Accuracy, is there a difference between Wixey's "+/- 0.1" and Beal's (and iGauges's) .2 degree accuracy? Does +1 and minus 1 add up to .2 somehow? That kind of stuff has always confused me. So, it's better for me to take the two devices and glom them side by side onto a 12" saw blade and see how they respond. (I did this test a while back because my neat high resolution Tilt box was behaving suspiciously.) The Wixey slowly ticked of the changes from one tenth to the next and the Beal display changed twice as fast as it displayed half tenths as well. Except when it didn't. Sometimes it stalled and then jumped whole degrees. I was shocked at how erratic the display was. I probably have a bad one but that was the last time I used the Tilt Box. Wherever it is the battery is probably still good.

I know where the Wixey is, I tried to use it yesterday and the battery was dead.

Bottom line, buy the new Wixey and when you use it figure out a way to change the angle in a slow and steady manner for best results. On a TS saw for example clamp the base to a table and rig up a fulcrum and lever so you can move the saw smoothly.

Offline jtwood

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2013, 11:34 PM »
I have an old Wixey I use on my Powermatic 10" saw, and it is very accurate.  I checked it against my Bridge City Anglemaster, and it was close enough for the furniture I build.

JMB was right about the saw itself not having to be level.  Zero out the tool on the saw table first, and you'll be fine.

Steve

Offline NERemodeling

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2013, 12:19 AM »

Why would you think it wouldn't? The arms rotate a full 360 degrees (actually infinite). You can re-zero the display whenever you want, so you could even use it to find the difference between two angles, etc. I clicked on your amazon link above, and this was also shown. It's only $25.

the problem i see with the protractor is with the length of the arms, this would be an issue when setting the bevel angle of my miter saw.  if you can imagine one arm of the protractor held horizontally to the miter saw table and the other arm extending vertically from the table, the blade guard/motor housing/arbor/etc.. will all be in the way of sliding the protractor up to the blade   maybe i am missing something, but it doesnt seem to work in my head

on the other hand the protractor would be able to calibrate the miter angle of a miter saw.. something the angle cube would not be able to do

also i can see no problems with setting the bevel of a table saw using the protractor

no doubt it is a handy tool and i am sure i will end up owning one

John
CT26  -  (2) Midi  - Planex - Kapex -  Domino 500  -  Carvex  -  TS55EQ -  Rails; 800, 1080, 1400(holy rail), 1900, 3000 -  OF1400 - OF1010  - LR 32 - RO 150 - RO90 - RAS115 - ETS125 - DTS400 - LS130 -  EHL65 - HL850 -  MFT1080 - (2) MFT800

Offline NERemodeling

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2013, 12:26 AM »
alot of good things being said about the Wixey, especially the new WR365 model..    i thought i liked the iGaging better (i think because of the .05 resolution)   Michael made me think that the .05 resolution would be nice to have?   is it really that big of a difference between one decimal place and two?   
CT26  -  (2) Midi  - Planex - Kapex -  Domino 500  -  Carvex  -  TS55EQ -  Rails; 800, 1080, 1400(holy rail), 1900, 3000 -  OF1400 - OF1010  - LR 32 - RO 150 - RO90 - RAS115 - ETS125 - DTS400 - LS130 -  EHL65 - HL850 -  MFT1080 - (2) MFT800

Offline GregBradley

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2013, 12:38 AM »
I have an old Wixey I use on my Powermatic 10" saw, and it is very accurate.  I checked it against my Bridge City Anglemaster, and it was close enough for the furniture I build.

JMB was right about the saw itself not having to be level.  Zero out the tool on the saw table first, and you'll be fine.

Steve
The saw doesn't have to be level if it is a table saw. The level issue in my original post was specifically related to the Makita LSxx16 saws that have three separate surfaces that have known issues being all in the same plane and staying consistent. Leveling the saw was a good work around for that issue. The LSxx14 don't have that problem either since it has one large table. The access to the blade is also blocked on one side on the LSxx16 saws.

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2013, 01:15 PM »
I really wish the Wixey had .05* resolution. At 18" out the difference between .1 and .2 is 1/32". That's a big gap in a joint.

On projects that require higher resolution you can rig up an external indicator. I've hot glued a two foot long maple stick to the side of the ATF 55 to sweep across a panel set up for the purpose. Marking the stick's position at one tenth and then again at another tenth followed by a few interpolated intermediate increments allowed setting the saw to the .03+ position required for the cut.

This is a project where I used the Wixey and the ATF 55.



All joints are compound miters except the very bottom.

The "zero-out" feature of digital inclinometers combined with the WYSIWYG splinter guard on the Festool guide rails allow you cut anything to the limit of your ability to lay it out.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 03:08 PM by Michael Kellough »

Offline rrmccabe

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2013, 10:23 PM »
I agree with your math.  I checked ;)

But I think expecting more resolution from something with a 2" base is not needed as there are a ton of other variables.

To me it's a great tool for table saws and miter saws and nothing else.
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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2013, 12:10 AM »
I agree with your math.  I checked ;)

But I think expecting more resolution from something with a 2" base is not needed as there are a ton of other variables.

To me it's a great tool for table saws and miter saws and nothing else.

A short base is a limitation only on analog levels/inclinometers.
The zero out function effectively makes the shortness of the base irrelevant.
It becomes as long as whatever you attach it too.

And you aren't limited by the magnets. Good old clamps, tape, hot glue work too.
The attachment method just has to be strong enough that you don't move the device
while pushing the button.


These lightweight adjustable spring clamps from Bessey are pretty good.

Offline NERemodeling

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2013, 12:24 AM »
I really wish the Wixey had .05* resolution. At 18" out the difference between .1 and .2 is 1/32". That's a big gap in a joint.

On projects that require higher resolution you can rig up an external indicator. I've hot glued a two foot long maple stick to the side of the ATF 55 to sweep across a panel set up for the purpose. Marking the stick's position at one tenth and then again at another tenth followed by a few interpolated intermediate increments allowed setting the saw to the .03+ position required for the cut.

This is a project where I used the Wixey and the ATF 55.



All joints are compound miters except the very bottom.

The "zero-out" feature of digital inclinometers combined with the WYSIWYG splinter guard on the Festool guide rails allow you cut anything to the limit of your ability to lay it out.

what are we looking at here?  is this a piece for something or just to showcase you mad skills!   cool looking whatever it is.       i too like the idea of .05*  not that it would probably ever be necessary for what i do..    but for this reason, what are your thoughts on the angle cube?

with amazons return policy.. sadily i might just get them both and do a shootout, return whichever one i find to be less accurate
CT26  -  (2) Midi  - Planex - Kapex -  Domino 500  -  Carvex  -  TS55EQ -  Rails; 800, 1080, 1400(holy rail), 1900, 3000 -  OF1400 - OF1010  - LR 32 - RO 150 - RO90 - RAS115 - ETS125 - DTS400 - LS130 -  EHL65 - HL850 -  MFT1080 - (2) MFT800

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2013, 10:42 AM »
That odd form was made for George Griffin. He is an animator and wanted to make a digital mutoscope.

Here is his description of the Digital Mutoscope Project.


Another view of the construction, testing the fit.

Added, I also depended on a vernier bevel protractor to test bevels and help lay out the cut lines.
A vernier protractor can be read directly (good old line matching) to 1/20*, same as .05*,
and there is still a little space between increments so you can interpolate to 1/40* or better.
A good description of how to use the vernier bevel protractor here.
And I double (or triple) checked the layout using end of line point coordinates from the CAD plans.


The small size of the digital inclinometers allows their use in places that do not allow verification of the setup.
Keep in mind the best verification is to test the actual cut, which you can also use the device for.
 
You need a device you can trust. It's a good plan to directly test and compare the devices to find one that is reliable.

Don't be confused by the extra flashing digit on the .05* units. Go slow and pay close attention to the .0 position.

I'd go with the one that updates the .0 position the fastest, unless it has some inconsistent behavior.
I'd rather have a device that was consistently inaccurate than one that was inconsistently accurate.
If one device is always off by -.1 I can work with that but if a device is sometimes + and sometimes -
I can't depend on it.

If you find a device that seems accurate and reliable and has .05* display resolution let us know.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 01:13 PM by Michael Kellough »

Offline rrmccabe

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Re: Does anyone use a Digital Inclinometer
« Reply #29 on: July 05, 2013, 08:53 AM »

A short base is a limitation only on analog levels/inclinometers.
The zero out function effectively makes the shortness of the base irrelevant.


Well I don't agree with you there but it really isn't about the actual possible accuracy of the gauge itself but its use in a woodshop environment.

Now I realize there are exceptions but with a 2" base it only takes 17 thousandths to make 1/2 degree.  So the slightest variation including a tiny piece of wood dust will change the results by 1/2 a degree. My miter saw top is far from perfect as with any material I work with.

But for the most part I agree with what you are saying.
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