LumberJocks

Centering Microscope is a Winner!

  • Advertise with us
Review by darthford posted 08-02-2021 12:17 AM 1229 views 1 time favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Centering Microscope is a Winner! Centering Microscope is a Winner! Centering Microscope is a Winner! Click the pictures to enlarge them

I needed to drill a 4 hole pattern in a cast iron extension wing for a Incra LS Positioner I’m installing. My eyes just aren’t what they used to be even with reading glasses so I ordered this 45x centering microscope from MSC.

Price Alert – The price on the website is $396 ouch! Added to my cart anyway as I needed it. Then remembered I had an MSC account so I signed in and the priced dropped to $178 wow a 55% price drop nice!

Here’s the ’+’ in a fine pencil where I need the hole, the scope let me center in the center of the pencil line.

Worked like a charm. Shout out for my new Powermatic PM2828EVS drill press loving it! Also love the LLambrich keyless chuck I added on someone’s recommendation here.

Link to the scope on MSC https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/06539332?rItem=06539332




View darthford's profile

darthford

774 posts in 3140 days



33 comments so far

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#1 posted 08-02-2021 03:49 AM

You’ve won me over darth’... and thank you for the post (before I forget after the drooling).

I have the Veritas gizmo for menial operations, which I swear by (without the obligatory cuss words).

I have lasers attached to my DP, but all that really does is point to the target… not much for “honing in” on the spot.

Can I borrow your account? Much as I am not overly price conscious for what I think may be a worthwhile expense, the $478 price tag (including postage), would redirect my next unnecessary Fe$tool purchase onto the backburner.

I have made some high end pens in the past where centre drilling some blanks can waste an expensive $25 blank if I’m even 1mm out of centre.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View RCCinNC's profile

RCCinNC

512 posts in 1542 days


#2 posted 08-02-2021 03:09 PM

Pretty darned amazing. Is it fixed in alignment from the factory or does it have an alignment adjustment? The price I kind of get. I think QC and precision machining need be top notch for repeat accuracy. Not sure I’d want one though. I’d probably find I need a new drill press due to excessive run out… ; )

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5743 posts in 2438 days


#3 posted 08-02-2021 04:46 PM

I’ve been a fan of the MSC approach. Have a mild heart attack, then see the discount from signing in, plus any running deals such as more % off and free shipping (even for 6’ lengths of steel rod 8^) and it all gets better!

Generally I hate it when you have to hunt down the discounts, but when it is something unique or oversized, not so bad.

That centering device is pretty cool! Not having one, I typically will mark with a marking knife, then use a center punch which tends to fall into the marking knife grooves to make a drill guide divot. This usually gets me close enough but never “perfect”.

If I had a milling machine that could make use of that microscopes accuracy, I’d love to own one!

View darthford's profile

darthford

774 posts in 3140 days


#4 posted 08-02-2021 06:05 PM

RCCinNC the crosshair is adjustable for machine runout or machine misalignment.

splintergroup for metal I mark with a carbide scribe and use the trick you use letting the punch follow the line. Then its a coin toss whether my punch smushes off to one side when punched. So I do a light punch then if its off I’m tilting the punch to try to push it back on center. Then trying to center on that punch mark. The whole process is WAY more time consuming than just using the scope. No punch needed. I spot drilled those 4 holes with a 3/16 bit then drilled them 5/16.

littleBlackDuck I don’t always need microscope accuracy but when I do this thing is the best. Other times it’s just faster and easier to see. If I’m punching a hole in something with lots of slop I won’t bother with the scope.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5743 posts in 2438 days


#5 posted 08-02-2021 07:08 PM

Yep! My problem is as you describe, basically measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, then cut with an ax.

Usually my center punch mark is centered on the scribe marks within one diameter of the punch point 8^), Then the divot can pull (bend) the drill bit from its offset location into the divot. Aligning the drill axis to the mark in one accurate step would be a vast improvement for accuracy (if all my drill bits weren’t slightly bent 8^)

Maybe the Duckster could swap out his drill press laser pointer with something stronger and just burn the hole through?

View darthford's profile

darthford

774 posts in 3140 days


#6 posted 08-02-2021 07:52 PM

LOL my $2,000 Powermatic drill press laser was adjusted at the factory. Yeah, it’s at least 1 inch off center. (face palm)

View Sark's profile

Sark

426 posts in 1576 days


#7 posted 08-02-2021 08:01 PM

Here’s an interesting discussion of centering microscopes. The consensus seems to be that they are highly specialized pieces of equipment that get little use, except in some cases where they are the best tool for the job. Drilling out the center of a smaller broken screw is one of those areas when the microscope excels.

For the poor man’s version, see response #35. Here’s the text:

“Seeing the crazy low prices of USB Microscopes these days, I have made up a suitable holder which allows one to be mounted in the collect chuck of my Beaver Turret Mill. It plugs into my Android phone and gives a great image using OTG View app (free). It looks a bit “old school” since it is made up from scrap bits in the workshop. However it works really well.
It is self calibrating simply by rotating the milling shaft “to & fro” half a turn. The image rotates, but whatever stays still is in the centre! So its easy to line the quill up with centre of studs to be drilled out, or pop marks etc. See enclosed video showing it being centred over a pop mark.”

View darthford's profile

darthford

774 posts in 3140 days


#8 posted 08-02-2021 08:15 PM



The consensus seems to be that they are highly specialized pieces of equipment that get little use

- Sark

I have read that thread before, I disagree with the ‘consensus’ of a handful of people some of them knuckleheads. I have owned this scope before, used it frequently, sold it when I sold off my metalworking equipment. Regretted it. Glad to have it again.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#9 posted 08-02-2021 09:47 PM

All my centering problems were solved when I upgraded my set of 1mm through 13mm (Chinese made, $2 for the lot) for a set of straight drill bits with a reputable branding.

Just kidding… Thought I’d be ”clever” and create an account to see if can match your discount. Turns out that I already had an account, as I was reprimanded by that bloody computer for trying to steal an existing member’s identity.
Unfortunately logging on, only merited me a $20 discount. which would be doubly swallowed up by onforwarding fees from my “US address”.

Still think it would be a great addition for my Voyager... hmm, cry once!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5743 posts in 2438 days


#10 posted 08-02-2021 10:11 PM

I have an old set of these which work well enough if you don ye-olde reading glasses and do the alignment. Super simple if your whatever machine has an x/y table otherwise you end up tapping a part around with deftly placed mallet whacks.

Cheap option anyway!

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#11 posted 08-02-2021 11:27 PM



Cheap option anyway!


- splintergroup


Refuse to go cheap.. the last cheap set I got was this,

The only good punch was the one with the pointy tip they left out.

Maybe the Duckster could swap out his drill press laser pointer with something stronger and just burn the hole through?
- splintergroup

Ridiculous thought to consider mounting my laser on the DP….

A more practical solution was to put the DP in the laser box…. unfortunately the height of the box is 400mm and the DP is 1794mm high… laying it on it’s side (the DP) kinda defeated the purpose.

PS. You can’t fool the duck by editing your comment… it sees everything.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#12 posted 08-02-2021 11:37 PM

Moss doesn’t grow under a ducks feet,

My only regret is procrastination for all those one days! I now get to use it one day sooner than if I ordered it tomorrow… great opportunity cost savings!

Thanks, for the review darth.

PS. Thanks to the compliment of Rich... could fund this venture after I discovered the Fe$tool planer didn’t come in a cordless outfit.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#13 posted 08-03-2021 12:05 AM

Have had this cordless one for well over 20 years,

and will treasure it for a further 20 years even after receiving my Centering Microscope.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View darthford's profile

darthford

774 posts in 3140 days


#14 posted 08-03-2021 12:28 AM

Refuse to go cheap
- LittleBlackDuck

Every time I go cheap I get burned. For example, $58 for this ”These 36” Bevel Edge Straight Edges are made from hardened steel with satin chrome finish and are precision ground and lapped for straightness and parallelism.” Oh man, precision ground and lapped for straightness you say, for only $58? Arrived with severe bow along the edge and bowed along the flat it takes real talent to manufacture something that out of whack, RETURNED!

Gave up trying to save a buck and just bite the bullet now. On occasion though, THIS set of precision squares is the best value on the internet. You get exactly what is pictured here, the case, all 4 squares etched with the info. Do not be fooled by other sellers who use this photo but you only get 3 of the 4 squares, you don’t get the case, there’s no info etched on the squares lots of complaints from people about that. Northern Tool is the man!

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200667463_200667463?cm_mmc=Housefile-_-RECEIVED-_-707-_-CONF

LittleBlackDuck congrats on your scope order!

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#15 posted 08-03-2021 01:51 AM

I also have the go best attitude… or at least upper end and maybe work back a tad.
Sometimes I’ve got stung getting the most expensive, however, it’s not as bad buying something cheaper than buying crap and always having to spend much more.

This all stems back to when I was initially married. The missus of the time, didn’t object to me getting the best, but at first she insisted I buy the cheap one, to “try/evaluate”. Inevitably when that broke or proved inappropriate, there was no criticism of me buying the dear unit, in fact many time she went and bought it without the need for the bull prod... just kidding about the prod, I used a whip… but every time I had to waste money on the cheap one first.
At least when I got divorced, it cost me a fortune in settlement, but I save bucketloads of shekels in not having to buy a crap one first.

LittleBlackDuck congrats on your scope order!
- darthford

Thx… we’ll be able to share those close ups that others can only dreamed about.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

showing 1 through 15 of 33 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com