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Back plunger indicators - does anyone use them?

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lfoggy20/01/2020 21:25:53
102 forum posts
9 photos

I have just aquired a rather nice Starrett #650 'back plunger' type indicator. I've never used one of these before as I have always used the more conventional dial indicators and lever type dial test indicators. The back plunger type seem more common in America maybe.

Any tips or comments on their use? Any advantages over the more usual types for general workshop indicating?


Howard Lewis20/01/2020 21:34:47
2731 forum posts
2 photos

Very occasionally, I use one.

They can save a lot of craning of the neck in some situations.


Mike Poole20/01/2020 21:38:27
2324 forum posts
52 photos

Can be handy for jobs like mill head tramming as the face is always in view.


Mick B120/01/2020 21:45:28
1355 forum posts
75 photos

I worked for Baty's for a couple of years in the '80s, and as far as I know there were none in their very extensive and practically unplannable dial gauge range then. I'd guess they'd probably have to use a helical worm rather than a rack and pinion to drive the hand in a different plane, and that might be more expensive to make and harder to maintain.

Clive Foster20/01/2020 21:55:30
1992 forum posts
73 photos

As Howard says the angle of view can be better than a conventional plunger type in many machine set up applications. Especially if you have the full set of Starrett (or other make) accessories. Ultimately the standard plunger style indicator is intended for quality control purposes when mounted in a stand rather than machine set up. Which doesn't stop it doing a perfectly good job when needed but I suspect folk who have properly learned to exploit the back plunger type may get along a little better.

Hafta say I grabbed my Starrett Last Word set with all the bits very cheaply (probably due to it being stuffd into a three layer pencil case rather than a proper box) maybe 30 years ago thinking "This will be very useful.". Yup so useful that I've literally never used it! That said my 5 standard stye ones average around 2 or 3 outings a year at most. The lever types and Blake Co-Ax knock off do all the heavy lifting.

One thing in the set that really out to be useful is the "extender seesaw" thingy which can be poked something approaching 2 1/2 inches down a bore.


Edited By Clive Foster on 20/01/2020 21:56:05

Edited By Clive Foster on 20/01/2020 21:56:22

Steviegtr20/01/2020 22:06:27
469 forum posts
126 photos

I wouldn't mind one in my workshop.

Ian Johnson 120/01/2020 22:35:19
222 forum posts
65 photos

I've got a nice Mercer which is only really used for tramming the mill tables, easy to see the dial face. Other than that particular job I can't see any advantage of using a back plunger dial gauge rather than the usual type or Verdict lever type.



mark costello 121/01/2020 17:48:53
560 forum posts
12 photos

Works well for tramming in a vise also. use one all the time.

Brian G21/01/2020 18:36:25
650 forum posts
25 photos

I nearly bought one at Christmas (Amazon had some seriously silly price reductions of 75% or more) thinking the "see-saw" deep hole attachment looked handy but in the end went for a vertical dial DTI which, like the back plunger indicator, can also be read in any position on the mill. I have to say though, US made Starrett kit always looks and feels lovely, especially in the padded jewellery boxes.

Brian G

Tony Pratt 121/01/2020 19:07:29
986 forum posts
3 photos

50 odd years machining & I can't recall ever having used one.


Sandgrounder21/01/2020 19:25:08
183 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by mark costello 1 on 21/01/2020 17:48:53:

Works well for tramming in a vise also. use one all the time.

I do as well and I know now what it's called.


thaiguzzi22/01/2020 15:20:54
619 forum posts
131 photos
Posted by mark costello 1 on 21/01/2020 17:48:53:

Works well for tramming in a vise also. use one all the time.


Use mine for tramming the mill and shaper vises in.

Dial face is staring straight at me.

Bob Unitt 122/01/2020 16:32:17
81 forum posts
8 photos

I use these all the time, never owned a lever-type. One is a Mercer in a fitted case with all the trimmings, and I have a couple of others from car-boot sales, permanently fitted to various bits of equipment.

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