Discovering that an uncalibrated thread gauge can destroy your machinery by thousands of a millimetre is daunting by anyone's standards. And, although it is tempting to outsource calibration, you can do it yourself with some time, care, and a few simple steps.
If you're curious about how to calibrate thread gauge in mechanical machinery, look no further. This article guides you through the process in a step-by-step manner, making it easier to understand.
1. Clean Your Machine
You need first to ensure that all the machine parts are clean. Use an appropriate solvent to clean all the surfaces thoroughly. Keep the solvent bucket at a distance to avoid splattering.
2. Inspect for Contamination
Now, check your thread gauge for any dirt or debris on it with a microscope or magnifying assembly. You may also use a high-quality camera with a macro lens and zoom in on every single detail of your thread gauge measuring device for inspection. Clean any dirt and debris with an appropriate solvent and let it dry well before proceeding further.
3. Let It Dry
Wait for the parts of the measuring device to dry before proceeding further. It may seem like a strange step, but it's as essential as every other on this list. Failing to let the device dry will yield inaccurate results.
4. Prepare Internal Thread
Now, prepare an internal thread on your machine, on which you intend to calibrate your tool. You may carry out this process by hand or use a foot-operated lathe and lead screw, to do the job with ease.
Note that thread gauge calibration is unusual because manual calibration is more accurate than automatic. If you choose to use an automated machine, this process will be compromised, and your results will also not be what you expect. Remember, accuracy is of the utmost importance when it comes to the calibration process in any machinery.
5. Working Out Thread Size
You need first to determine what size your thread is. You may read the manufacturer's specifications from the user manual or contact the manufacturer for further details. This step is a crucial factor that needs to be determined accurately and precisely.
If you do not know what size it is, then you will have to measure it yourself. But you'll need access to a pre-calibrated thread gauge, and if you don't have that, you're stuck. Do note that these measurements should never exceed 10 microns, as anything larger might cause damage to your machinery or may even harm you in some extreme cases!
The best thing to do is to check for thread certification. That way, you know you'll be using the most accurate tools to calibrate the thread gauge.
6. Connect Gauge with Lead Screw
Now, fix your internal gauge onto the machine's central lead screw. You may use an automatic threading tool or a foot-operated lathe and lead screw for this task. Ensure that your internal thread gauge is firmly attached to the lead screw.
7. Set Pitch Diameter
Now, set the pitch diameter on your positioning device and make sure that it is aligned appropriately concerning other parts of your machine. A correct alignment will ensure that when you take measurements, they are precise and accurate in all respects. Ensure that the pitch diameter is parallel to the spindle and follows its circular motion correctly.
8. Connect Lead Screw to Pitch Diameter
Now, you will need to take the measurements for your thread gauge. First, you need to connect your lead screw to the pitch diameter. This process should be done by hand or using an electric drill or a lathe and lead screw combination.
9. Measure Gauge Size Multiple Times
You will need to measure the gauge size in a few spots on the thread emerging from your lead screw and continue doing this till you reach your original starting point. You may also use an automatic tool for this process if you wish so, but it is unnecessary as long as you took the measurements with precision and accuracy in mind.
You should perform these steps multiple times to improve the accuracy of measurement even further.
10. Compare and Analyse Measurements
Now, you need to compare your measurements with the pitch diameter and gauge size. If the two do not match in this step, you will have to either return to step 3 and try again or determine why this discrepancy exists. There might be an issue with your threads or internal thread gauge, and you may have to rectify it before proceeding further.
11. Check Bending Angles
When you have determined that all the measurements are accurate and correct, you should check your tool's bending angles. You can achieve this with a special protractor placed right above the spindle to ensure that it is perpendicular to its axis.
You need to check every part of your thread gauge with a protractor to ensure that it is perpendicular to the horizontal axis and the vertical axis. If you notice any difference in angles, then you may need to calibrate your thread gauge and repeat the entire process once more.
You may also use a dial indicator to do this task, but it will take longer than doing it manually or using an automated tool for calibration purposes. Make sure that the dial indicator is resting on a flat surface at all times for precision and accuracy in measurements.
12. Repeat Measurement Analysis
Once again, compare your measurements with the pitch diameter and perform any necessary adjustments before proceeding further, if required. Keep repeating these steps as necessary.
Finally, you can calibrate your thread gauge to the correct measurement using the techniques above by multiplying the pitch diameter and the gauge length.
Final Steps in Calibrating Thread Gauge
Repeat the processes until you get a satisfactory and accurate result that matches the pitch diameter, and gauge length. Remember, accuracy is required for machinery to function flawlessly and without any issues whatsoever in the future.
With these steps in mind and a bit of practice, you will be able to calibrate your internal thread gauge with ease and precision in a few moments rather than struggling with it for hours on end without any success at all.
If you need any more technical information for your thread gauges or other machinery, click here to view our extensive guides.