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Machinists dial and magnetic holding base

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Wow, it's not often you get to be the first to break in a brand new room in the forum! i feel like im making some history here :D Anyways, i posted over in Normite City how i just changed out the knives on my Ridgid 6" jointer. i couldn't have done it without the machinist's dial and the magnetic holding base that i got from harbor freight. i know, you just cringed....."harbor freight" can sound like nails on a chalkboard to some. but, every once in a while, you can find a diamond in the rough or a hidden gem at the Mega China tool store we know as HF. you just have to know what's legit and what's junk. this section of the forum is going to help us with exactly that.

so, the machinists actually seems reasonably well built. i found it to be quite accurate/consistent during my jointer knife setup. it reads in .000" increments (thousandths). the pin has a smooth travel and can be depressed 1". there is a secondary dial on the face that tells you how many rotations you've made around the main face. i know im not describing this well, but think of it like a chronograph style watch. it also has a couple moveable pointers that you can place anywhere around the face of the dial. i guess you can use these as reference marks if there is a range you'd like to stay between. probably the best feature of this dial is the protrusion off the back with a pre-drilled hole. this nub allows the dial to mate up perfectly with the magnetic holding base so you can get accurate, consistent, and repeatable measurements.

now, the magnetic base is next. it's quite heavy and robust. the magnet feature is consistent with the magswitch style. you can turn it on and off. this is nice, because when it's locked down onto a solid jointer table, you aren't going to easily move it. it advertises 45lbs of holding power. it has 2 vertical and one horizontal. the horizontal arm has a break in the middle with a micro adjustment screw that allows for very slight adjustments. as i stated above, the horizontal arm has a knurled screw on the end that mates perfectly with the machinists dial. the arms are chrome plated and of a substantial diameter.....they are probably 1/4" - 5/16" in diameter.

im quite pleased with this setup. for the price, you really can't beat it. for less than $25, you can have a versatile precision setup that can be adapted for dialing in many tools around the shop.

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