Height gages play an important role in precision measurement and quality control across numerous industries. As their name suggests, these instruments are designed to measure the height of workpieces accurately. A height gage consists of a slider with a measuring stylus that moves along a single vertical axis, perpendicular to a reference plane on the instrument base. This instrument provides precise height measurements relative to a chosen plane.
Measuring on Granite Surface Plate
Height gages are often used on granite surface plates. Here, they are used to measure and scribe part features from a reference plane. The accuracy and reliability of height gages make them invaluable tools for quality control. These instruments are often paired with accessories like the following to locate and measure specific features of a workpiece:
- Touch probes
- Test indicators or CMM-style probes
Types of Height Gages
There are a number of height gages available. Each caters to different measurement needs and budget constraints. Two main categories are mechanical height gages and electronic height gages. They each have their subtypes.
Mechanical Height Gages
Mechanical height gages have been a staple in the industry for years. They come in three basic forms:
- Vernier Height Gages: These are available in a wide range of heights – from 6 inches to 6 feet. Their versatility and use of both inch and metric scales on the beam make them a popular choice.
- Dial Height Gages: Good for smaller measurements, dial height gages are generally available in sizes below 12 inches or 300 mm. They are easier to read than Vernier height gages. They’re also compact, so they’re convenient for personal use.
- Digital Counter Height Gages: Equipped with a dial and dual-digit counters, these gages simplify the measurement process. The digital display is more user-friendly than Vernier scales. The dual counters allow for easy reference datum setting.
Electronic Height Gages
Electronic height gages are divided into three groups according to their features and accuracy:
- Basic Electronic Height Gages: Comparable to mechanical gages where accuracy is concerned, these offer features like absolute zero, inch/metric conversion, floating zero, and data output.
- Advanced Electronic Height Gages: This group improves on the previous one with better accuracy. Additional features can include ID/OD measurement, max/min, tolerance settings, TIR measurement, and probe compensation.
- High-Accuracy Electronic Height Gages: This is the most advanced category. These gages boast the features of the previously stated groups but with even higher accuracy. Air bearings, motorized touch probes, part program generation, and computer interfaces for SPC are common in this class.
Taking Precise Measurements
Most height gages come with a scriber for locating the top of a workpiece. But, for better accuracy, a test indicator (or high-accuracy probe) can be used. Digital height gages provide the benefit of touch probes that help automate zero detection and distance measurements.
Using Digital Displays and Additional Features
Digital displays on height gages have a number of advantages.
- They are easier to read
- Allow quick unit and resolution switches
- Offer flexible zero-setting options
- Can interface with electronic data collectors
This digital interface improves the measurement process and minimizes human error.
Advanced Functionality for Distance Between Centers
Traditional height gages had trouble with measuring distances between centers. But advancements have introduced height gages with calculation capabilities. These gages can memorize peaks and valleys within a sweep. This greatly aids measurements like center-to-center distances.
Maintenance and Accuracy
Regular maintenance is important for accurate measurements. The base, granite surface, and column(s) of the height gage should be kept clean and free from burrs or scratches. Proper maintenance helps guarantee the longevity and precision of these tools.
Height gages are invaluable instruments for accurate height measurements and quality control. With so many types available – from mechanical to advanced electronic gages – industries can choose the right tool for their needs. Regular maintenance and proper use techniques are critical for assuring consistent and reliable measurements.
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