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Will lasers make wigglers obsolete? There’s a case to be made that you can set up your mill faster and with less fuss with a tool like the pictured laser edge/center finder. Move the laser beam to the edge of the workpiece and zero your scale. You can just as easily locate the mill over scribed lines or center-punch divots by aligning the laser dot over them.

The finder is accurate to 0.001″ and the dot size is adjustable with a polarizing attachment. The finder uses SR44 batteries that last for over three hours of continuous operation; of course you’ll probably only turn on the finder for short sessions, so the batteries should last a while.

The laser edge/center finder is available with 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 6 mm, and 10 mm shanks to fit in commonly-sized collets and mill holders, or you can chuck it into a drill press or lathe to aligning operations on these machines too. The down side is it’ll run you $85.

Center/Edge Finder [Corporate Site]
Center/Edge Finder [Little Machine Shop]

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10 Responses to Laser Edge/Center Finder

  1. bigalexe says:

    After smashing a contact probe in school (Disclaimer: The batteries were dying and so I didn’t see the LED come on), I highly recommend all academic institutions purchase these immediately. It will definitely cut down on the number of stuff that students wreck before they even start cutting.

  2. Nick Carter says:

    Wrecked edgefinders…Fisher Machine Shop, who makes edgefinders for many labels, used to repair broken ones for $1.00 until the advent of CNC…now it’s so much easier to destroy an edge finder through a moment of inattention or a heavy hand on the jog button that they had to stop offering that service!

  3. Chris says:

    How is this any better than just chucking a small laser pointer (which is close to 1/2″ diameter) into a drill press, mill, etc.? I can buy laser pointers for $3. Paying an extra $82 for someone to weld a drill shank on the back seems a little ridiculous, especially if your tool is capable of holding the laser pointer.

    Granted, if you’re running a shop and can write these off as a business expense, or you need to guarantee .001″ precision (not sure you couldn’t do that with a laser pointer anyway if you had a standard to compare to), maybe they’re worth it, but for the hobbyist, these things are overpriced.


  4. Dave P says:

    Faster, maybe, but not more accurate than an Starrett 827 edgefinder, which costs about 20 bucks. Those are repeatable to .0005–not +-.0005, but TIR.

    Plus–when you drop this doohickey into the sump, does it float? Pisash it.

  5. Dave P says:

    plus on the video, they show a guy dialing in a vise using this thing…BS. And aligning his lathe center, ha ha ha! Looks like a real pain in the ass. Plus it can get knocked out of alignment, and you have to fiddle with a little allen wrench to get it back on center.

    The tag line should be, “Of course it’s better…..see the LASER?”

  6. Dave P says:

    I have noticed that I use the word “plus” a lot. Weird.

  7. tj says:

    to Dave P: So what? It’s not a minus…

  8. John B says:

    I have one of these and its worth its weight in titanium. big time saver for one off CNC jobs, tracing pencil lines, dialing in pin pricks, simulating a cnc job on an odd shape… but still expensive….
    for really accurate jobs I still like the touch-off .

    If you did want to rig up your own laser pointer here are some tips… I’d try to cut up some broken polarized sunglasses or something to filter the dot size down as the real one if very tiny and accurate.. and when using it spin it very slowly (<60rpm/by hand) to compensate for any alignment issues.

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