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Machinist level

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Steviegtr16/03/2022 19:37:03
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I have been given a machinists level. It is Rabone. Can the level bubble/ buble be still purchased. I did a quick search , but found nothing. Any help appreciated.

Pictures.

Steve.

20220316_191356.jpg

20220316_191410.jpg

Edited By Steviegtr on 16/03/2022 19:38:14

JasonB16/03/2022 19:50:09
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have a look for level vials, you need quite a slow bubble to get the sensitivity not a faster one that you may find on say a builders level. try here

Richard Millington16/03/2022 20:02:11
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Someone beat me to it!

https://www.leveldevelopments.com/products/vials/ground-vials/

also some sellers on EBay

 

Edited By Richard Millington on 16/03/2022 20:03:29

Steviegtr16/03/2022 20:02:46
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Thanks Jason. Had a quick look , but need to spend some time on there site. Not sure if the unit comes apart as the actual spirit level part is 9" long. I'm not sure that bit comes apart. I have removed from the cast frame but it looks like it's a complete unit.

Steve.

Richard Millington16/03/2022 20:05:49
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Yes it does come apart, ends unscrew, vial is usually held in with plaster of paris.

Steviegtr16/03/2022 20:06:40
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Posted by Richard Millington on 16/03/2022 20:02:11:

Someone beat me to it!

https://www.leveldevelopments.com/products/vials/ground-vials/

also some sellers on EBay

Edited By Richard Millington on 16/03/2022 20:03:29

Thanks Richard. I think that is the same site as the link posted by Jason.

Steve.

Steviegtr16/03/2022 20:08:55
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Posted by Richard Millington on 16/03/2022 20:05:49:

Yes it does come apart, ends unscrew, vial is usually held in with plaster of paris.

Ah, I did try to gently turn the end, I heard a crunching of glass so i stopped. Maybe i will just have to bite the bullet & unscrew & see what is left.

Steve.

Richard Millington16/03/2022 20:14:36
69 forum posts
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You will probably have to break the old vial to get it out.

This will show you how they come to bits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fs-AVB3fDg

Edited By Richard Millington on 16/03/2022 20:14:53

Steviegtr16/03/2022 20:30:58
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Just had a look at the youtube vid that Richard poited me to. So into the Den to see what i can do. Thanks for the help.

Steve.

peak416/03/2022 20:31:54
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A good few years ago now, I recall an article in either MEW or ME on someone who ground their own vial.
Might be worth a search through the various index.

Also I've used these folk in the past, but for button level vials.
It's not obvious that they sell different vials, but they were friendly and helpful when I dropped in one day.
They may have changed their business model of course, and no longer sell those sort of spares to the public.
https://www.laser-level.co.uk/company/information/about-us.html

Bill

Steviegtr16/03/2022 22:54:02
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Hello again . I have taken it apart. The ends do indeed come off. They were a very tight press fit. The Glass vial is 100mm long & the dia of the case is 16mm. So the search begins. It was full of plaster holding the glass in place. Now all cleaned out . Many thanks for all the help guys, as usual. I will post a pic once it's all cleaned up & back together.

Steve.

Mark Davison 117/03/2022 06:13:35
113 forum posts
38 photos

I think they are the same as the moore wright ones. Zoro sell the vial for s lot less than you would expect (£24 or something like that!). I think vintage machinery has a recent rebuild video on youtube

Mark Davison 117/03/2022 06:21:20
113 forum posts
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Keith Rucker video

Price seems to have gone up, I don't think I paid this much a year or two ago ELS-06 vial

 

Edited By Mark Davison 1 on 17/03/2022 06:21:58

JasonB17/03/2022 07:01:55
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Steve, this restore mentions a 15 x 96 vial, link is dead but its the top of this list, similar price to Zoro assuming vat included

Clive Foster17/03/2022 09:02:19
3135 forum posts
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Don't be tempted to get a really sensitive vial for "extra precision".

The thing will drive you nuts as it will seem that the bubble moves every time you breathe. A level built like that can't sensibly work as a master precision level for detail structural reasons.

Typically sensitivity will originally have been be around 1 or 2 minute of arc per division. Say 5 or 10 thou per foot, 0.3 to 0.6 mm / metre. Which can be quite frustrating enough on a bad day thank you.

Handy calculator here **LINK**

https://www.calculand.com/unit-converter/?gruppe=Angle&einheit=Millimetre+per+metre+%5Bmm%2Fm%5D

so you can see what the numbers mean in terms of real distance errors.

I still say my old fashioned 6 base, WW2 vintage, screw adjuster gunners clinometer is the least frustrating way of getting an accurate level.

Clive

Swarf, Mostly!17/03/2022 09:26:05
668 forum posts
73 photos

Hi there, Steve,

I contributed to a thread on this subject on this forum a few years ago. I just searched for the thread but couldn't find it.

I bought a vial from Level Developments, not cheap but then such a vial is a precision component. I seem to remember Level Developments saying that they only make batches of such vials for engineers' levels occasionally, those vials aren't a stock item.

In my contribution to that thread, I did include some photos of 're-plastering' the vial into the metal tube. They're probably still in one of my albums. I regret not absorbing all Clive's advice at the time, I didn't take enough care with ensuring that the background to the vial is sufficiently white and uniform! (White paint and/or appropriately folded paper. )

I've so far not summoned the courage to reassemble my level. (I do have other engineers' levels. )  The end caps are a tight push-fit and need to be carefully aligned so that their flat extensions are in the same plane and will sit properly on their positions on the cast iron body of the level.

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Edited By Swarf, Mostly! on 17/03/2022 09:27:47

Nicholas Farr17/03/2022 11:10:49
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Hi Swarf, Mostly!, maybe this is the thread you were thinking of; Engineers Level

Regards Nick.

Nicholas Farr17/03/2022 12:12:03
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Hi I still have a few of these vials which I bought several years ago, but they are only 60mm long plus the pips. Each mark represents 0.2mm per 1M apparently and when I took this photo the bubble had moved to the right from the middle, due to me leaning very slightly to get it into view, but I was not touching the table it was on.

level vial.jpg

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 17/03/2022 12:14:39

SillyOldDuffer17/03/2022 13:25:53
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Replacing a sensitive vial in an engineers level is one of the rare times I might want a surface plate.

It's hard to centre a sensitive vial without a true horizontal line. Surface plates are delightfully flat, but are unlikely to be accurately horizontal unless properly levelled in the horizontal plane themselves.

Fortunately it's not necessary for the whole surface plate to be horizontal when setting bubble-levels because there's always a true horizontal line running somewhere across the plate, however tilted. So plonk the surface table down on a reasonably horizontal workbench and use a working bubble-level to identify the horizontal line. (The angle across the plate at which the best level is found.) Then align the body of the broken level along that line, install the vial, and centre the bubble. Flip end to end to confirm or make fine adjustments.

Dave

JasonB17/03/2022 13:57:53
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You don't really need a horizontal surface, just turn the level 180deg and ensure the offset of the bubble is equal in either position.

Do it all the time with my Stabilas to check they have not got knocked out of true. Also avoids teh chicken and egg problem of needing a good level as well as the one being set.

Edited By JasonB on 17/03/2022 13:58:56

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