Sunday, May 17, 2020

New Addition

I don't know whether to like Youtube or hate it.  I mean, I learn so much there.  And see things I didn't know existed.

Take this video for example.

Starts at 08:03 if goofed up the link.

I didn't even know those existed until this video.  So, of course, I have to go cruising through the boot sales on Ebay, aka the tool thief warehouse.  And sure enough, there is one for sale.  And it looks decent.  And I watched it till it ended, because, it was pricey.  Not as pricey as a cylinder square, but still, more than I wanted to spend.  And it got relisted at a lower price.  And he takes offers....  So I watched it again.  I mean, if I NEED a square I know where one is for the borrowing....  "But what if I need it at 0500 on a Sunday morning to help out an old lady with her Nash Metropolitan?  So she can make Sunday School on time?"  Wow, now that is compelling.  What to do?  Wait and watch.  Then, justify it, then avoid it, then.... for the love of pete, just buy it.  Buy once, cry once.  So, here it is....

I present the Unknown Square.

About 8 inches square on a side.

Has a non-conductive handle so hand heat doesn't influence your measurement.  That's a pro option right there.

Has 3 beveled sides and one flat edge.

Resolution is advertised at 10 Seconds = 0.0005" per 10 inch.  I assume each line in the vial then is 0.0005"   That is minuscule.

I have a mentor that loaned me his cylinder square to tram in the mill's spindle.  I know why Mr. Pete would take a beating over tramming in a mill.  It was a long process.

The nod angle between the spindle and the pivot point on a Bridgeport type mill is longer than on an Index mill.  That means the movement you are looking at is a tangent on a long radius, so the movement is not as easy to grok.


grok; 3rd person present: groks; past tense: grokked; past participle: grokked; gerund or present participle: grokking
understand (something) intuitively or by empathy.

At least it wasn't for me.  Lots of adjustments, and readjustments and frustration.  But very little ataraxy was evident.  a-ataraxy?  Or just taraxy?

  1. a state of serene calmness.
The lateral movement isn't as bad.  The axis is in line with the spindle.  Easy to see, easy-ish to adjust.

Keith Appleton said once that every part of a model steam engine should be treated as a model in and of itself.  Every Part...  So I've taken that into my shop as well.  Every project I'm doing for myself should be done to the best of my ability with a view to becoming better and better at what I do.  Every part of the process from setup to final assembly is part of my education.  So, do your best.  Gun for 100%.  Or even 110%.

I'm no precision machinist, but every effort should be to the best of my ability when I'm doing it for myself.  If it's a paying job, I put in the work required to meet the tolerance given.  Know your tolerances.

I also subscribe to the notion that a little pro bono work is good for the soul.  That kind of work usually finds me, instead of the other way round.

So, now I can adjust the head of my mill if I so desire, and have a tool that just may be capable of putting it back straight.  I'll need to ask for a thorough inspection.  I'll know more if my mentor agrees to check it out for me.

Thanks for stopping by the shop.


  1. Holy Cow that is INSANE accuracy out of something that small. You could chase tiny deviations for weeks.
    Nice score though, like you, I had never heard of one. They do have an old Starett machinists bubble level where I worked that is crazy accurate like that and I watched my buddy use it leveling a trashed out Bridgeport clone for a few days so I do know how this works. Best of luck, sounds like maybe finally you are starting to get back to normal?
    I hope?

    1. Every day is different. I got a clean bill 10 days ago. Then, boom, here we go again. It's not as bad as before, but dang. I am really ready to be done with it.

      I'm learning how to work on in spite of it. But it really sucks.

  2. Yeah, after you told me that you bought one, I went on eBone and found one. Trying to decide if i want to buy one. I talked myself out of buying it. Even though I just got my stimulus check in. I got enough tools and precision squares including a granite one. I figured if I really needed one I'll just borrow yours!!! Right? I hope.

  3. Replies
    1. you bet! You need it, you got it. I might be asking for you to take a peek and see if it's any where close to being usable. I'll bring it next time I'm out that way for an inspection.