Edge Finder Review

Edge Finder Review

Joined: October 16th, 2005, 10:09 pm

March 15th, 2008, 3:41 pm #1

Review of Edge Finders and what I like.

When doing precision work it is necessary to know exactly where the edge of the material is in relation to the center of the cutting tool. Once you know this you can make your necessary measurements and drill holes and mill from this reference point.

There are several different types of edge finders and I am going to review a few of them I have used.

The Wiggler
First one is the wiggler. The wiggler is a funny type of edge finder in that when it finds the edge of your material it will then spin off its center axis and let you know you have just reached the edge of the material. It comes with several other tools and it very popular in many shops. Price runs $10-20

http://littlemachineshop.com/reference/wiggler.php
[/IMG]

In using the wiggler I found it easy to use but sometimes in a tight setup it the spinning probe can hit the vise or a clamp if things are tight for space. It works well but found the disc probe a couple of thousands smaller then it should be. So this has to be taken into account when finding the edge.


Laser Edge finder
I wanted to try the newest Laser edge finder. I used this for awhile and while it has some good applications edge finding is not one of them. The problem is you have to guesstamate the center of the laser dot when finding the edge. And while you can get close being consistently accurate is not that easy. It is not uncommon to be several thousandths off. There is a learning curve in using this and still is not as accurate as other methods. The company has made some improvements but the price has also increased to $84. There are better and more accurate ways of edge finding for much less. I still use my laser for tramming my vise. Making sure I am directly over a point for drilling. Using it to center my tailstock in the lathe etc. It is a funny handy tool but for the price it should be able to find the edge with no hassle accurately and frankly is a little bit of a hassle and takes to long to insure you are exactly on the edge.

[/IMG]

Electronic Edge finder
The last edge finder I bought was an electronic edge finder. I got it off EBay for $10 which was a steal. They normally run $20-40. This edge finder uses an AAA battery and LED to indicate when you are on the edge. When it makes contact with the metal surface you are working on the LED will light up and that is it. You then are able to adjust your mill exactly over the edge. I was able to repeat edge finding with this one multiple times and within .0005” repeatability. The electronic edge finder was much more consistent and accurate over the wiggler and laser models. And even at full retail price the ease of installation and operation and accuracy make it my choice over the other two styles.

[/IMG]

Adam in SoCal
www.talonairgun.com
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Joined: July 11th, 2001, 7:44 pm

March 17th, 2008, 4:16 pm #2

does a "normal fer real" milling machine have zero screw backlash when advancing and retacting the work? I've been puzzled about how wigglers work to find an edge, then mill slots etc in the work using the work piece edge.
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Joined: April 4th, 2005, 6:09 pm

March 17th, 2008, 5:27 pm #3

wved,
No, every machine has backlash, some more than others. Ballscrews help a lot, but they are not perfect. However, backlash under .001 is not usually an issue for most applications.

Mach3 software has the ability to correct backlash.

Most CNC machines don't actually know where the tool is. They tell the motion control to move the tool to x,y,z but don't have any way of knowing for sure if it got there. There are "closed-loop" CNC systems that use an encoder to tell the software if in fact the tool is where it's supposed to be, but there again, the encoder has to have some margin of error or the software and the encoder will fight constantly.

Regards,
MM

ps: I use a webcam in the spindle to do my edge-finding. Hooks up to usb port. I can get accuracy within .002 repeatably.
Last edited by Marmot_Militia on March 17th, 2008, 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 7th, 2007, 1:03 am

March 17th, 2008, 6:38 pm #4

Review of Edge Finders and what I like.

When doing precision work it is necessary to know exactly where the edge of the material is in relation to the center of the cutting tool. Once you know this you can make your necessary measurements and drill holes and mill from this reference point.

There are several different types of edge finders and I am going to review a few of them I have used.

The Wiggler
First one is the wiggler. The wiggler is a funny type of edge finder in that when it finds the edge of your material it will then spin off its center axis and let you know you have just reached the edge of the material. It comes with several other tools and it very popular in many shops. Price runs $10-20

http://littlemachineshop.com/reference/wiggler.php
[/IMG]

In using the wiggler I found it easy to use but sometimes in a tight setup it the spinning probe can hit the vise or a clamp if things are tight for space. It works well but found the disc probe a couple of thousands smaller then it should be. So this has to be taken into account when finding the edge.


Laser Edge finder
I wanted to try the newest Laser edge finder. I used this for awhile and while it has some good applications edge finding is not one of them. The problem is you have to guesstamate the center of the laser dot when finding the edge. And while you can get close being consistently accurate is not that easy. It is not uncommon to be several thousandths off. There is a learning curve in using this and still is not as accurate as other methods. The company has made some improvements but the price has also increased to $84. There are better and more accurate ways of edge finding for much less. I still use my laser for tramming my vise. Making sure I am directly over a point for drilling. Using it to center my tailstock in the lathe etc. It is a funny handy tool but for the price it should be able to find the edge with no hassle accurately and frankly is a little bit of a hassle and takes to long to insure you are exactly on the edge.

[/IMG]

Electronic Edge finder
The last edge finder I bought was an electronic edge finder. I got it off EBay for $10 which was a steal. They normally run $20-40. This edge finder uses an AAA battery and LED to indicate when you are on the edge. When it makes contact with the metal surface you are working on the LED will light up and that is it. You then are able to adjust your mill exactly over the edge. I was able to repeat edge finding with this one multiple times and within .0005” repeatability. The electronic edge finder was much more consistent and accurate over the wiggler and laser models. And even at full retail price the ease of installation and operation and accuracy make it my choice over the other two styles.

[/IMG]

Adam in SoCal
www.talonairgun.com
but I have been eying the indicator/edgefinder as well. I use a wiggler right now and it works well enough but electronic would be nice to have instead. Thanks for the review I could see where the laser might be an issue. Also saw the other microscope USB type but that one seems iffy as well. Probably as always it will depend on the application and requirements of the part to decide whats acceptable.

Dee
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Joined: October 16th, 2005, 10:09 pm

March 17th, 2008, 9:31 pm #5

does a "normal fer real" milling machine have zero screw backlash when advancing and retacting the work? I've been puzzled about how wigglers work to find an edge, then mill slots etc in the work using the work piece edge.
it cost bucks but I no longer have to worry about back lash. I just read the numbers.

Adam in SoCal
www.talonairgun.com
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Joined: July 11th, 2001, 7:44 pm

March 17th, 2008, 10:04 pm #6

Thanks for the common sense answer!
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Joined: May 12th, 2005, 1:57 am

March 17th, 2008, 10:12 pm #7

Review of Edge Finders and what I like.

When doing precision work it is necessary to know exactly where the edge of the material is in relation to the center of the cutting tool. Once you know this you can make your necessary measurements and drill holes and mill from this reference point.

There are several different types of edge finders and I am going to review a few of them I have used.

The Wiggler
First one is the wiggler. The wiggler is a funny type of edge finder in that when it finds the edge of your material it will then spin off its center axis and let you know you have just reached the edge of the material. It comes with several other tools and it very popular in many shops. Price runs $10-20

http://littlemachineshop.com/reference/wiggler.php
[/IMG]

In using the wiggler I found it easy to use but sometimes in a tight setup it the spinning probe can hit the vise or a clamp if things are tight for space. It works well but found the disc probe a couple of thousands smaller then it should be. So this has to be taken into account when finding the edge.


Laser Edge finder
I wanted to try the newest Laser edge finder. I used this for awhile and while it has some good applications edge finding is not one of them. The problem is you have to guesstamate the center of the laser dot when finding the edge. And while you can get close being consistently accurate is not that easy. It is not uncommon to be several thousandths off. There is a learning curve in using this and still is not as accurate as other methods. The company has made some improvements but the price has also increased to $84. There are better and more accurate ways of edge finding for much less. I still use my laser for tramming my vise. Making sure I am directly over a point for drilling. Using it to center my tailstock in the lathe etc. It is a funny handy tool but for the price it should be able to find the edge with no hassle accurately and frankly is a little bit of a hassle and takes to long to insure you are exactly on the edge.

[/IMG]

Electronic Edge finder
The last edge finder I bought was an electronic edge finder. I got it off EBay for $10 which was a steal. They normally run $20-40. This edge finder uses an AAA battery and LED to indicate when you are on the edge. When it makes contact with the metal surface you are working on the LED will light up and that is it. You then are able to adjust your mill exactly over the edge. I was able to repeat edge finding with this one multiple times and within .0005” repeatability. The electronic edge finder was much more consistent and accurate over the wiggler and laser models. And even at full retail price the ease of installation and operation and accuracy make it my choice over the other two styles.

[/IMG]

Adam in SoCal
www.talonairgun.com
It usually gets me within .001 easily. It is the old fashion kind that uses a three piece body with the point on one end and the flat round portion on the other end. Once you get the little deflection you just advance another .01 I think and you are on it. The pointed end is also useful for hitting a scribed mark or crossbar. Untimately it is still up to your eye with that end tho whereas the round end is pretty darn dead nuts. I do like the looks of the electronic ones with the light for edging tho. I guess there is a circuit for the resistance of the machine inside to keep from getting an eroneous reading from the electricity arcing a short bit across, either that or it is assumed and accounted for with the light somehow. Dunno but obviously it works... peace..



Pete Matos
865-363-9218
Matospeter@charter.net
Safe Journey Space Fans, Wherever you are....
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Joined: November 15th, 2004, 12:42 pm

March 18th, 2008, 1:59 pm #8

Review of Edge Finders and what I like.

When doing precision work it is necessary to know exactly where the edge of the material is in relation to the center of the cutting tool. Once you know this you can make your necessary measurements and drill holes and mill from this reference point.

There are several different types of edge finders and I am going to review a few of them I have used.

The Wiggler
First one is the wiggler. The wiggler is a funny type of edge finder in that when it finds the edge of your material it will then spin off its center axis and let you know you have just reached the edge of the material. It comes with several other tools and it very popular in many shops. Price runs $10-20

http://littlemachineshop.com/reference/wiggler.php
[/IMG]

In using the wiggler I found it easy to use but sometimes in a tight setup it the spinning probe can hit the vise or a clamp if things are tight for space. It works well but found the disc probe a couple of thousands smaller then it should be. So this has to be taken into account when finding the edge.


Laser Edge finder
I wanted to try the newest Laser edge finder. I used this for awhile and while it has some good applications edge finding is not one of them. The problem is you have to guesstamate the center of the laser dot when finding the edge. And while you can get close being consistently accurate is not that easy. It is not uncommon to be several thousandths off. There is a learning curve in using this and still is not as accurate as other methods. The company has made some improvements but the price has also increased to $84. There are better and more accurate ways of edge finding for much less. I still use my laser for tramming my vise. Making sure I am directly over a point for drilling. Using it to center my tailstock in the lathe etc. It is a funny handy tool but for the price it should be able to find the edge with no hassle accurately and frankly is a little bit of a hassle and takes to long to insure you are exactly on the edge.

[/IMG]

Electronic Edge finder
The last edge finder I bought was an electronic edge finder. I got it off EBay for $10 which was a steal. They normally run $20-40. This edge finder uses an AAA battery and LED to indicate when you are on the edge. When it makes contact with the metal surface you are working on the LED will light up and that is it. You then are able to adjust your mill exactly over the edge. I was able to repeat edge finding with this one multiple times and within .0005” repeatability. The electronic edge finder was much more consistent and accurate over the wiggler and laser models. And even at full retail price the ease of installation and operation and accuracy make it my choice over the other two styles.

[/IMG]

Adam in SoCal
www.talonairgun.com
I use it occasionally, and can usually get withing 2 or 3 thou...

Mike
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Joined: October 16th, 2005, 10:09 pm

March 18th, 2008, 3:11 pm #9

I think it is really nice but I find I have to go over the edge a few times until I think I have the center of he dot....LOL

It is nice though for locating scribed line or dots and help in lining up the tailstock on the lathe...stuff like that.

Adam in SoCal
www.talonairgun.com
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Joined: November 15th, 2004, 12:42 pm

March 19th, 2008, 10:46 am #10

I like it to quickly get real close on a 4 jaw..
Mike
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