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Micrometer woes

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Clive Foster27/01/2019 23:22:24
2477 forum posts
82 photos

I know that some woods, oak for one, will promote rusting and corrosion. However I have Starrett, M&W, Benson, Mitutoyo and B&S micrometers and verniers in wooden cases with no evidence of case induced corrosion. Some I know for certain have been essentially unused and un-opened, save for a very occasional inspection, for 15 to 20 years as I've had them that long. Pretty sure that some were unused for many years previously.

So its clear that some woods or combination of woods and some felt linings are fine. Benson used leatherette covered wood with felt lining. The B&S cases I have appear to be plain boxwood with the typical, slightly unpleasant, feel that naked boxwood starts to develop after the first half century or so. The M&W instrument boxes all have the usual coated, not really a paint / varnish / stain, finish in both pure black and slightly grey forms. Starrett cases are the usual wood with a slightly reddish brown tint, nicely polished and probably varnished on the outside. Mitutoyo wood looks very much like Starrett. Weber gauge block cases are finished in a heavy, wood grain effect varnish. Other gauge block sets in various mixes of natural wood and plywood panelling.

Why so many? Around the turn of the century I hoovered up a decent set of micrometers, verniers and depth gauges from various sources at prices it would have been rude to turn down. Many on "take the boxful" terms. Micrometers from 1" to 12" and the metric equivalent thereof. Internal micrometers and gauges over a similar range. About 4 sets of vernier depth gauges too. Plus other oddments. Over half, maybe 3/4 , of them in wooden cases of some sort. Several duplicates of course which I've not bothered to winnow out. Do I really need five 2" micrometers in three frame variations! But frankly for the £100 or so the duplicates and overstocks owe me E-Bay isn't worth the effort.

Clive

Philip Rowe28/01/2019 16:38:37
183 forum posts
14 photos

Just out of idle curiosity I did a search on tinternet and I was quite suprised to see that my 40 year old imperial micrometer set is still available, albeit in the States with a metric equivalent available here in the UK. What suprised me even more was the prices that various suppliers are asking, including second hand prices. So I will definitely be putting a bit of effort into refurbishing the box and the nesting material, I haven't yet decided exactly what I will be using, a lot will depend on what I can find but in the meantime here's a shot of the box with the disintegrating foam.

Phil

20190128_141949.jpg

Neil Lickfold28/01/2019 17:58:55
641 forum posts
102 photos

Apple cider vinegar will help with the corrosion on the parts from the degregrading foam.

I have not found a foam that does not break down over time. The best I have found is wool felt for a liner.

Neil

Neil A30/01/2019 12:57:18
73 forum posts

I've had the same problem with the foam liners for large Custom Cases. It seemed to lose resilience and turned into a sticky mass over about 30 years of use. I also found that the residue did leave some slight unsightly corrosion on the metal surfaces which took some time to clean off.

I have replaced them with a similar foam from the manufacturer as I thought I was just unlucky with the way the cases were stored, but now see that I shall have to keep a close eye on the condition of the foam in future.

Thank you for the timely warning to check all my micrometers and other instruments that have foam in the cases.

Neil

John McNamara30/01/2019 22:39:18
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1313 forum posts
113 photos

Car headlinings are another victim of the foam gremlin, the foam backing fails and the lining falls down, two have done to me.... not easy to fix and expensive, you have to take the windscreen out for some in order to get the headliner out.

DMR30/01/2019 23:27:00
116 forum posts
14 photos

All fine commiserating responses but not really answering Phil's question. I too have suffered the powdered foam and replaced it with some women's materials. My wife tells me it is called Synthetic Wadding available in sheets of different thicknesses and mine is white. I just layered up what was donated to me. It cuts well enough, but would not replace felt lining as it is very open in texture and quite hardish.

Just done an Amazon for that name and it brings up some that may be far too soft. Suggest going into furniture restorers or women's materials shops. I cannot be more specific.

I have the stuff in a few places with some oil applied for good measure and it shows no signs of breaking down so far. About 5 years for some of it I would say. I also have applied some felt in places but also oiled that as well.

Dennis

Michael Gilligan30/01/2019 23:38:51
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16681 forum posts
727 photos
Posted by DMR on 30/01/2019 23:27:00:

All fine commiserating responses but not really answering Phil's question.

.

Sorry Dennis, but I must beg to differ

Philip's question was:

Need to source some hard foam to make some new nesting packs, suggestions anyone?

and .. my two consecutive posts on page_1 were quite explicit.

MichaelG.

DMR30/01/2019 23:59:52
116 forum posts
14 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 30/01/2019 23:38:51

Sorry Dennis, but I must beg to differ

Philip's question was:

Need to source some hard foam to make some new nesting packs, suggestions anyone?

and .. my two consecutive posts on page_1 were quite explicit.

MichaelG.

The very reason I don't respond to much on this site. You gave him a possible suppliers name, about which he may have to buy a lorry load to obtain what he needs. I don't know, but my solution may get him an offcut for nothing which is all he needs. I am gone.

Dennis

Peter Caswell31/01/2019 00:02:28
avatar
10 forum posts
Posted by peak4 on 27/01/2019 00:45:53:

It's an issue with many plastics as the plasticisers evaporate, or migrate to the surface.

N.B I'm not a chemist, just an observer.

Rigid plastics get brittle, foam disintegrates, which might actually be the same process.

I'm guessing its more obvious with foam due to its much higher surface area. I wonder of the longer term solution is the old fashioned one and to use felt as a box liner.

The other really obvious problem with disintegrating foam, is in the compliant pars of loudspeaker cones. Rubber lasts longer, but the foam falls apart after a few years, especially if you live near the sea.

Fortunately this one is curable as kits are readily available to repair the driver units.

Whilst on the subject of HiFi, anyone with an old collection of vinyl would be well advised to check the inner sleeves. Many of those used to have a plastic liner to the paper inner, and it's now getting to the age where it's starting to break down.

The same problem that Philip has with his micrometer can also affect LPs, but in this case the damage is audible rather than just in appearance, and is harder and more expensive to cure.

Bill

Edited By peak4 on 27/01/2019 00:48:11

Thanks for that tip on the vinyls Bill, have several cases from 60's and later stashed away, will have to have a check, no looking to forwarding to accessing them though..

Michael Gilligan31/01/2019 00:07:57
avatar
16681 forum posts
727 photos
Posted by DMR on 30/01/2019 23:59:52:
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 30/01/2019 23:38:51

Sorry Dennis, but I must beg to differ

Philip's question was:

Need to source some hard foam to make some new nesting packs, suggestions anyone?

and .. my two consecutive posts on page_1 were quite explicit.

MichaelG.

The very reason I don't respond to much on this site. You gave him a possible suppliers name, about which he may have to buy a lorry load to obtain what he needs. I don't know, but my solution may get him an offcut for nothing which is all he needs. I am gone.

Dennis

.

Both our suggestions were valid, Dennis ... My only objection was to you saying that previous responses were not really answering the question.

Plastazote is readily available in small quantities ... I gave the manufacturer's details because that's where the technical description can be found.

MichaelG.

Philip Rowe10/02/2019 16:34:16
183 forum posts
14 photos

Thanks to Michael G's information I have managed to source some Plastazote although I still had to buy far more than I needed and to make matters worse after I it had arrived, a "kind" friend told me that he had loads of scrap pieces that I could have!

Anyway the photo shows the micrometer set after the new nesting material has been cut and fitted.

20190210_123859.jpg

Now to make a new nesting pack for my Mitutoyo dial caliper, interestingly the foam in that is made up of two 5mm thick laminations using different foams as only the bottom layer has turned to dust, the top layer is still as good as when I bought it 40 odd years ago.

Phil

Michael Gilligan10/02/2019 17:09:24
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16681 forum posts
727 photos

Nice job, Phil yes

MichaelG.

Tim Taylor 210/02/2019 23:40:28
70 forum posts
8 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 10/02/2019 17:09:24:

Nice job, Phil yes

MichaelG.

I agree!

I have a number of 50+ year old internal & external mics that originally belonged to my Dad - all have felt lined wood cases........

Tim

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