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What is this tool?

I recently purchased an Atlas metal lathe along with an assortment of machinist's tools. This mounted dial indicator was among them, but I can't figure out what this is intended to measure. It is marked "Federal" and the model number is 57B-3-R1The dial rests on a very thin needle and is operated with a small lever that can be seen on the left side of the dial. The base is very heavy cast iron and it seems like a very precise tool. It measures in increments of .0005 inches. I would appreciate any help on this, thanks.

Re: What is this tool?

Hi, this is for measuring thickness of parts for which you are making. worked in toolroom for many years. All these measuring instruments and their are many, are for the same thing.used to work in millions and water temp and of course humidity played a big factor in what your trying to accomplish. Have fun. Bruce

Re: What is this tool?

One of the many uses of a "dial indicator" is to measure runout -- the difference between the high and low spots on a part. For example, you may want to know how round a part is. Place the dial indicator in contact with the part, zero it out, and then spin the part. The movement of the needle will show you the variation.

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