How to Use Dial Indicator

Dial Indicator is one of the demanding instruments in precision technology. Typically we use them to find clearances, run-out, straightness, gear backslash, and so on. In this article, we will discuss how to use and read the dial indicator. We will further explain how to read the 0005 dial faces and calculate the values.

Dial indicators can be various in types. Such as balanced, continuous, digital, plunger, lever, etc. Their mounting process is different due to their structure and working principles.

But before that, we recommend having a glance on the basic terms of the dial indicator. before we go further to the operation, we must understand the basic major terms of the dial indicator. Because while measuring the relative positions we will need them.

5 Steps on How to Use A Dial Indicator

Once we understood the basic terms of the dial indicator, we can easily read them. While using the dial indicator, we have to be careful. Because one of our mistakes may cause damage to the internal parts. The following are the basic steps to use a dial indicator.

1. Rigid Mounting

Rigid mounting is very important for any smooth operation. We should carefully attach the dial indicator with the magnetic stand. We have to remember that, if our mounting is not rigid, our dial indicator may deflect while measuring the positions.

At this moment, we have to check our dial indicator. We must check whether the screw and the bezel are fixed or not.  We can quickly check our dial indicator by following these three steps: displacing the spindle, checking error at half revolution, and checking errors at the opposite half revolution.

Typically the checking can be done 1/10 of the main division. So, before we go for the operation, we can check our dial indicator in this way.

2. Setting the Position

After properly attaching the dial indicator with the stand, you could now set up a place to mount the magnetic base. In this case, we must choose a surface that is linear. Because the magnet can lock properly here.

Later, we must set our dial indicator direction carefully. We can do this by rotating the fixing screw. We put the contact point on the desired surface. And then we lock all of the fixing screws.

3. Checking Spindle and Reference Zero

Our dial indicator is now at the desired position. You have to set your reference zero. We can do this by rotating the bezel to the zero margin. When we fixed our bezel on the zero references, we have to tighten the bezel with the help of the top screw. So that it can not move. If the bezel moves, it may give us some error. This is the place we have to be careful too. Therefore, setting the zero reference and tighten the bezel are very important tasks to do before observation and calculation.

4. Tabulation and Calculation

This part is the most technical among the steps. So, we have categorized this section in several steps.

  • Observation on the dial indicator: First it is necessary to observe the dial indicator. Most Importantly, we have to observe if our zero reference deflects or not. If it deflects we must move the bezel and tighten the top screw. And then we can start our operation. We now then press the spindle against the surface to be measured. The pointer now can move on any of the marks on the inner dial face.
  • Identification of the measurement marks: The marks on the dial face depends on the types of the dial indicator. Besides, we must observe both the inner and outer dial. We have to observe them before we go for tabulation.
  • Measurement on the inner dial: Let’s say we are using a continuous multi revolution dial indicator. So, it has continuous readings on the dial face. And the outer dial has a range of 0-1″. Depending on the spindle position we can note down the position of the pointer.
  • Measurement on the outer dial: If we further our pointer crosses one complete rotation, then the outer dial will save 0.1″. So, we must count how many revolutions our pointer completed.  And also how much it moved on the inner dial.
  • Calculation: After the noting is done, we will proceed to calculation. If we are looking for tolerance, then we must get our original size and measured size on the same table. We take consecutive five values and make an average. We know the measured value is the tolerance we determine after the observation and calculation.

5. Preservation

After we completed the tabulation and calculation and all other desired tasks, we must decently keep our dial indicator. We must keep our extensions and pointer on the plastic case. It is not good to preserve the dial indicator into a random or open place. It’s safe in the provided plastic case from the company. It is important because the accident comes suddenly. So, to make sure our dial indicator is safe we must preserve it.