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Adjusting an M&W level

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Robin King19/02/2020 14:52:03
103 forum posts
1 photos

I need to adjust a Moore and Wright ELS level which is noticeably out of calibration, and while familiar with the process for checking and adjusting I can't find any specific detailed instructions for the adjustment of this particular level. Like the ELM it appears to be provided with pairs of screws at both ends of the main vial tube, running vertically down into the base casting but it's not clear as to whether these are simply fixings or for adjustment. Before I dive in and do the wrong thing I thought for once I'd ask first

Has anyone any information on these levels, please?

Martin Kyte19/02/2020 15:24:08
1681 forum posts
25 photos

Is this any help.

I would have thought that the level adjuster(s) should be at 90 deg to the hold down screws and should act by inserting or withdrawing a tapered seating. You don't need a perfectly level surface to test it so long as it reads somewhere withing the scale. Just mark the initial position and rotate by 180 degrees for a second reading. They should be identical when perfectly adjusted.

regards Martin

Howard Lewis19/02/2020 15:40:07
2932 forum posts
2 photos

The technique that I used was (Admittedly using a surface table in the standards Room ) was to use one of the adjusting screws so that the reading was the same when the level had been rotated through 180 degrees.

i e. if the bubble just touches one of the graduation lines when facing North, rotate to face South and adjust by half the difference.

Return to face North, again and if there is any difference, move the same adjusting screw to halve the difference.

Keep repeating this sequence of operations until the reads the same which ever way the level is facing. Lock the adjuster, and repeat checks, to ensure that locking has had no effect. If it has affected the setting, return to start of sequence and repeat the process until there is no change in reading.


Robin King19/02/2020 16:01:59
103 forum posts
1 photos

Thank you both.

Martin, unfortunately not, as that level is an entirely different form of construction to the British made ELS/ELM types.

Howard, yes indeed, that's exactly the method that I use but my problem with the ELS is in identifying which of the screws do what on this type.

martin perman19/02/2020 16:25:40
1787 forum posts
75 photos

I've just had a look at a M&W els level and I can only see a vertical screw at one end and a horizontal screw at the other, am I correct.

Martin P

martin perman19/02/2020 16:26:23
1787 forum posts
75 photos


Edited By martin perman on 19/02/2020 16:27:03

Howard Lewis19/02/2020 16:28:12
2932 forum posts
2 photos

Since I don't know the M & W ELS level, so afraid that I cannot be much help.

FWIW I would scribe a mark on a vertical adjuster and then try adjusting that. If that doesn't work, at least you can return it to the original, scribed line, setting, before doing the same on one of the other adjusters.

Any chanced that you could post a picture of the adjusters at one end of the level?

Hopefully, someone will be able to give some better advice.


Howard Lewis19/02/2020 16:47:41
2932 forum posts
2 photos

Having just looked at the pictures of ELS level on the Cromwell Tool site, it looks as if there are two grub screws at each end of the vial. The outer one may lock the end fitting, whilst the inner one may be a clamp for the vial. Hopefully these are just nipped enough to prevent any movement. Would not overtighten any of them for fear of cracking the vial.

The large horizontal one at one end looks to act as a pivot, and the large vertical screw at the other end is the one that I would attack.

If the vial is loose, it needs to be rotated on its axis so that the bubble goes to the highest point, before nipping up the clamp screw.. The vial may either be a curved tube, or it could possibly even be straight externally but ground to a curve internally.

If the vial is loose and needs to be rotated, you may need to slacken the outer grubscrew at the end with the vertical adjuster. removing the vertical adjuster screw would probably allow the end "plug" to be unscrewed to give access to the end of the vial. Once you are happy with the vial orientation, the "plug" can be refitted, locked with the grubscrew, and the vertical adjuster refitted.

Once you are happy with that, adjusting the vertical screw should just be a matter of iteration. Hopefully it will not be so slack that it moves easily to upset things again.

Hope that this is the right way to go about things.


fat fingers and useless proof reader!

Edited By Howard Lewis on 19/02/2020 16:49:49

Robin King19/02/2020 17:02:13
103 forum posts
1 photos

Howard thanks. I'm fairly certain that the two screws at either end of the main vial are the ones needed for adjustment.

What appear to be larger slotted screw heads on top at one end and on the side at the other are repeated underneath and on the back, and as far as I can see are just end caps to the vertical vial and short cross vial, and not related to adjustment, hence my original query. I don't think I should fiddle with those.


martin perman19/02/2020 17:08:53
1787 forum posts
75 photos

It would appear to me that the two vertical screws top and bottom would be the ones to adjust, dependant on wether you raise or lower that end by releasing one and adjusting the other.

Martin P

Edited By martin perman on 19/02/2020 17:09:40

Graham Meek19/02/2020 17:19:35
167 forum posts
139 photos

There is an exploded drawing of these levels in the M&W Spare Parts list, page 17 that I think will help.



Robin King19/02/2020 17:44:06
103 forum posts
1 photos

Graham, thanks - that's a great help; pity it doesn't give any clues as to how or if that's what you use to adjust the main vial. I'm reluctant to experiment!


David Davies 820/02/2020 06:44:28
74 forum posts
8 photos


I was recently given an ELM level which is a 12" version of the ELS. It had a broken vial. I removed the old vial which was held in by a potting compound similar to Polyfilla and am about to rebuild it with a vial obtained at a very reasonable price from Cromwell tools (I have no connection). Each end of the vial holding tube has two vertical screws, one screwhead inside the end plug of the tube, the other beneath the end of the tube. both have access holes for an allen key.The lower of the two screws acts as a jack for calibration, the upper one is a securing screw. To calibrate, the securing screw is released and the jacking screw is adjusted as required. I haven't done this yet but my understanding is that the level is calibrated by obtaining the same deviation when the level is swapped end for end on a flat surface. Once done, possibly over many iterations, the securing screw is tightened and a final check is made.



Clive Hartland20/02/2020 07:28:28
2518 forum posts
40 photos

Yes, the term is, 'End for End. when adjusting it means that you need a stable base like a lathe bed, or a surface plate. determine the error, end for end and see result, bubble up, screw down and so forth. It is just a matter of adjusting the table your using as well. until bubble settles in both directions when end for ended.

Robin King20/02/2020 10:07:20
103 forum posts
1 photos

Dave, many thanks, that's just the info I was after and makes sense on looking at it again so I'll work on that basis.

Clive, thanks. The method I was shown years ago was to use a surface plate but to rotate the level until it centres correctly, which it must do at 90 degrees to the slope (if any), place an angle plate alongside it held in place to use as a lateral reference, then turn the level 180 degrees and place alongside the angle plate to check if still centred. Adjust the level as necessary; no need to adjust the surface plate.

Robin King20/02/2020 10:08:23
103 forum posts
1 photos

Obviously re-check and repeat the process until the error is corrected.

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