Digital protractor query - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-29-2016, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Digital protractor query

I came across this digital angle measurement protractor. It has accuracy of 1/3 degree and an 8" steel scale. I need accurate angle measurement for a glass cabinet I am making. The price seems reasonable, so I wonder whether I should go for it. Thanks!
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-29-2016, 10:00 PM
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I have one i really like it.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-29-2016, 10:50 PM
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I have one, a Wixey 3" model, coming from Amazon.

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post #4 of 17 Old 04-29-2016, 11:29 PM
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My local HD has some of these digital protractors in-store, I forget if they are the Husky or General brand. I have one, and they work well.

Sometimes, a smaller protractor can be advantageous, for example in setting up a compound miter saw. This is a case where bigger isn't necessarily better.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-30-2016, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pweller View Post
My local HD has some of these digital protractors in-store, I forget if they are the Husky or General brand. I have one, and they work well.

Sometimes, a smaller protractor can be advantageous, for example in setting up a compound miter saw. This is a case where bigger isn't necessarily better.
I agree. I was going to buy an 8" size, but then read a vendor description where it described the 8" size as being for "large" machine setup! I ordered the 3"!

Jim G
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-30-2016, 08:41 AM
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Most digital devices for woodworking have a large margin of error. Hard to see the pic but it looks like 0.3". You do know how much 0.3" is? I found the same with digital levels, blade gauges, etc. Personally, I try to be a bit more accurate than 0.3". If you can move the device and the number doesn't change until the gauge is no longer making contact, that's an unacceptably large margin of error.
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-30-2016, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer1 View Post
Most digital devices for woodworking have a large margin of error. Hard to see the pic but it looks like 0.3". You do know how much 0.3" is? I found the same with digital levels, blade gauges, etc. Personally, I try to be a bit more accurate than 0.3". If you can move the device and the number doesn't change until the gauge is no longer making contact, that's an unacceptably large margin of error.
That may not be correct... 3/10"?
My digital gauge measures to 1/10 of a degree. I don't know how you measure angles in 1/10ths of inches regardless.... They measure angles not lengths.



The Wixey Digital Protractors can be used in any plane.
  • 0.1 degree resolution, accuracy, and repeatability
  • Sets both miter and bevel angles on almost any machine
  • Strong magnets on all blade edges for ease of use
  • Blades can be tightened for holding measurements
  • 2" wide X 7/8" thick X 9" long
  • Long legs for added versatility
  • Measure work-piece or construction angles
  • Use for marking and layout
Range:
+/- 180 degrees
Resolution:
0.1 degrees
Accuracy:
+/- 0.1 degrees
Repeatability :
+/- 0.1degrees
Battery:
type 3.0V CR2032
Function:
Auto shutoff f

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-30-2016, 10:42 AM
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Everything I've ever used electronic has malfunctioned for me at some time or another. Some items more than others. I say no thankyou on my woodworking tools.
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-30-2016, 11:17 AM
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That looks like a useful tool! I'd go for it. If being precise takes just as much effort as doing it the old way, why not at least give it a shot?
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-30-2016, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses! It says 0.1 deg. resolution and 0.3 deg. accuracy. Now this one is a real head scratcher! Can the tolerance be greater than the resolution? For this reason alone I have a doubt. Maybe I should wait until I find a protractor with both resolution and accuracy of 0.1 deg. (like the one shown by Woodnthings).

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post #11 of 17 Old 04-30-2016, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jig_saw View Post
Thanks for all the responses! It says 0.1 deg. resolution and 0.3 deg. accuracy. Now this one is a real head scratcher! Can the tolerance be greater than the resolution? For this reason alone I have a doubt. Maybe I should wait until I find a protractor with both resolution and accuracy of 0.1 deg. (like the one shown by Woodnthings).
0.1 degree resolution means the display reads down to 0.1 degree.

0.3 degree accuracy means the reading is accurate within 0.3 degree.

Two different things. And normal.

Jim G
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post #12 of 17 Old 04-30-2016, 04:58 PM
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I think my digital protractor is about 5-6" - that seemed to be size that was biggest but would still allow me to adjust the miter saw.

You can do a simple test on these for accuracy, if you're curious. Just put the 'closed' protractor on a piece of glass (or something else known flat), turn it on and make sure it reads '0.0' degrees. Then, open it fully to 180 degrees, again check it on the glass that it is perfectly flat, and see what the readout indicates. Mine is usually within .2 degrees.

In most cases, .2 degrees is going to be plenty accurate for woodworking. No tool is perfectly accurate, and I really like the convenience of a digital readout, as I do work with odd angles sometimes.

On accuracy vs. resolution: Keep in mind, that probably the accuracy of the tool at smaller angles is within .1 degree. Probably, the more you open/move the protractor, the less accurate it becomes. Really, they should quantify the accuracy better (as in, .2 degrees per 360 degrees movement, or .2 degrees per 180 movement.)

Last edited by pweller; 04-30-2016 at 05:02 PM.
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post #13 of 17 Old 05-02-2016, 10:53 AM
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All the digital tools I have owned are not accurate enough for cabinetry or furniture work. You can lift them off the reference surface, see daylight through the crack and the numbers don't change. Might not be a problem for those that only make a couple of cuts that aren't critical. Different story when you have to make hundreds that must be accurate. Your eyes are the best set up tool, you just have to learn how to use them. It often means kneeling down or holding work up to the light so you can see the contact or light shining through when a square or protractor is correctly positioned. You can't get anymore accurate than seeing no light but you have to sight things in as carefully as a sniper.
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post #14 of 17 Old 05-02-2016, 11:25 AM
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Digital tools are getting a lot better. I have wixey indicators on my table saw and planer, both are accurate to the point I can't measure any inaccuracies with a micrometer.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #15 of 17 Old 05-04-2016, 12:00 AM
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I got this on ebay....uses a 9 volt battery....accuracy to .2 degrees. Has magnet on L, R, and bottom and you can set it to read from zero even if your table saw or whatever tool isn't perfectly level. Cost less than $30 shipped. Works great for me :)
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post #16 of 17 Old 05-05-2016, 05:07 PM
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I have one and use it infrequently but when I need to I'm glad to have it. Use it mostly for getting angles for trim etc.
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post #17 of 17 Old 05-06-2016, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the help guys! I got it today, and it works fine:
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