How to Use an Edge Finder

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Edge finders are used in the metal machining process to accurately locate the edges or surfaces of the workpiece. The devices can be used to locate the surface of any shape of workpiece including round items. Once the edge or surface of the piece is located, the milling machine can be adjusted for the proper shaping of the metal piece.

Things You'll Need

  • Metalwork
  • Milling machine
  • Secure the edge finder in the chuck of the horizontal milling machine or drill press. The worktable of the mill is moved to allow contact between the workpiece and the rotating edge finder. The shaft of the edge finder will begin to wobble if it contacts the work piece. This is referred to as the “kick,” according to the Metal Web News website.

  • Record the settings of the axis. At the time of the kick, the axis of the spindle of the milling machine and the workpiece are apart in an amount that is 1/2 the diameter of the edge finder.

  • Make adjustments to the spindle and other controls of the mill to reflect the actual surface position of the work piece.

Tips & Warnings

  • Operate the edge finder at about 1,000 rpms during the process. Extend the spindle of the mill to a point where the edge finder can be seen and monitored during the positioning of the work surface. View the edge finder from a 90-degree angle to get a better view of the kick.
  • Edge finders work best on smooth workpieces. Burrs or other abnormalities on the surface may be interpreted as a false edge or surface to the piece. Excessive oil on the work piece can also give an abnormally high edge to the workpiece.

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