Mitutoyo two-column mechanical height gages with digital counters can be recommended. These are among the best quality of all mechanical height gages currently on the market.
Be wary of cheap Chinese imitations. Many other "brand" names offer height gages which are in fact made in China*.
Mitutoyo mechanical height gages are made in Japan and are usually in stock. Accessories and replacement parts are available. They should never need repair because your are going to be very, very careful with them.
The carbide tipped height gage scriber (60 mm overall length) can be replaced when damaged. The clamp fastens it to the height gage. The dimensions, in cross-section, are 6.35 mm wide by 12.7 mm high. These are made for Mitutoyou height gages. There is no guarantee that these would fit other manufacturers' models.
- Carbide tipped scriber #900258 ... see page 187
- Scriber clamp (for inch models) #901385 ... see page 187
To use a test indicator with your height gage, you will want to remove the L-shaped scribe and replace it with a test indicator holding bar to which you will fasten a swivel clamp. This can then be used to hold your test indicator either by its stem or dovetail.
- Indicator holding bar (2" length) #953639 ... see page 187
- Swivel clamp (for inch models) #900322 ... see page 187
Amazon will be your best bet in getting rock-bottom pricing on these height gages. By all means click on "check" price below to see for yourself. By buying from an authorized Mitutoyo distributor or directly from Amazon, you will be assured to get the real Mitutoyo height gage, not a Chinese rip-off. Stay clear of anything with unusually low pricing.
up to 25%
up to 30%
up to 25%
Some hints on using the height gage
- Height gages function like enormous calipers.
- Always approach your measured surface from above to get consistent readings.
- Check your height gage against a stack of gage blocks. Don't use test indicators to try and calibrate your height gage. You'll only introduce a new element of inaccuracy.
- You can expect an accuracy of .001" on height gages up to 12"
- When coming down on a test piece don't force it. You can actually lift the base of the gage off the surface without realizing it.
- You may encounter backlash on the main "drive" gear. This is normal even on new gages and may become exaggerated with wear and with age. It has no effect on the accuracy since the sole purpose of this gear is to move the measuring head up and down.
- For heaven's sake don't pick up your height gage by its ears! Carry it by the base and keep the columns steady. The gage is only accurate if the columns remains absolutely perpendicular.
- Always use your height gage on a flat surface. We don't mean a flat table top. It has to be on a granite or metal surface plate.
- The bottom surface of the height gage should be treated like a very large gage block. It has to remain damage free and flat.
- When you're not using it, slip a plastic bag or pillow case over the height gage. Besides the user, dirt is the height gage's major enemy, especially when it gets in the gears and under the base.
- If you have to transport it, or send it for servicing, pack it in its original shipping container. In other words, don't throw out that box it came in!
What if it's made in China?
Many of today's height gages, mechanical or digital, which are featured in on-line catalogs are made in China. ProCheck and Etalon are among them.
The one good thing about these gages is the price. You won't be able to find anything cheaper. In appearance they're similar to the Japanese gages, which they have blatantly imitated since the Chinese, under repressive communist leadership, do not respect international patent laws. The drawback will be the fact that repair parts are not available. No one has access to these. When something goes wrong, you'll have no recourse but to scrap the tool. On the other hand, you can probably buy a new Chinese height gage for the same price it would cost to repair a Japanese height gage.
We find that they function accurately, at least when new. The materials may be a bit under-par and the gage won't last as long as higher priced brands. The workmanship, especially "under the hood", is also inferior in comparison, but that's to be expected for the price.
If you plan to put your height gage to heavy, constant or particularly critical use, then we'd suggest - as always - invest in a brand name such as Mitutoyo or Tesa and be sure they're not Chinese imports in disguise. The price will always give it away.
Mitutoyo Height Gage repair and spare parts
Repairs are almost always possible on the Mitutoyo mechanical height gages with digital counters. (Do not send Chinese made height gages, regardless of their "brand" name.) Typically, the teeth can be damaged on the gears, the two columns can be knocked out of shape, or the digital counter fails to read correctly. You can shop around for repair shops that might be willing to take the challenge, but your best bet is probably to return them to Mitutoyo. If you are lucky, and the gage is beyond repair, they may offer you a fantastic trade-in price.
Going High Tech with a Digital height gage
Mitutoyo's digital height gages have their advantages: easy to read, convertible from inch to metric, easier repairs (often times all you need to do is replace the digital assembly) and they have SPC output. However, models changed frequently as more and more sophisticated electronic innovations were introduced. Your older digital height gage is probably obsolete by now and parts may be obsolete as well.
Note: Current Mitutoyo DIGIMATIC digital (electronic) height gages are in fact made in China. We can not attest to their worthiness. Fortunately, spare parts appear to be available for current models.)
The High Tech approach to height measurement is really cool and you can do it via the digital Tesa-Hite or Brown & Sharpe Micro-Hite made in Switzerland. They have an accuracy of .0003" They're not for beginners and are available in 16" and 28" heights. Ask us for details if you'd like to know more.
- For Tesa-Hite and Micro-Hite contact points, see page 21.
- For Tesa-Hite and Micro-Hite USB cables and accessories see page 227.