Mastercraft Digital Angle Gauge

A reliable, easy-to-use device that has a myriad of applications around the shop and home

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Mastercraft Digital Angle Gauge



Digital angle gauges have been on the market for some time. In a lot of shops they are replacing conventional bubble (spirit) levels. When it comes to aligning machinery digital angle gauges are more convenient and versatile to use, and give more accurate results than bubble levels. Homeowners are also tuning in to these easy-to-use gauges.
 
In the shop, an angle gauge excels at setting table saw and mitre saw blades square to the table, or setting the blades to any angle for bevel cuts. Use it to set the jointer fence square to the in-feed table, and the band saw blade and drill press spindle square to the table. In the home use it to ensure that your appliances are level to the floor and as a quick way to ensure pictures and curtain rods are level. Strong magnets in the base of the gauge enable it to attach securely to any metal surface. Of course you can still use it on non-metal surfaces.
 
The Mastercraft Digital Angle Gauge is a small (1-3/16" x 2-3/8" x 2-3/8") self-contained unit with a built-in LCD display that measures, to an accuracy of +/- 0.1° the angle of the surface on which it's placed. The gauge is made of ABS plastic, with a 5/8" by 1-3/8" screen. There are two dust and moisture sealed buttons below the screen. One button turns the unit on and off, while the 'Zero' button enables you to calibrate the gauge to the surface it's currently resting on (basically you are setting the gauge to 0°). The gauge automatically turns itself off after about 5 minutes of inactivity to conserve battery power. The screen is bright, with large easy-to-read numbers. The only issue I had is that the screen isn't readable unless you're looking at it almost straight on - somewhat of a inconvenience.
 

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Mastercraft claims a +/- 0.1° level of accuracy for this gauge. 1/10th of a degree out of square is quite acceptable for just about any machinery set-up task in my shop. Using the gauge is beyond simple. For example, to set a table saw blade to an exact 45°, place the gauge on the table saw top, and then press the ZERO button to provide a reference point. Next, place the gauge on the saw blade, and then rotate the bevel adjustment wheel on the saw until the LCD display shows 45°. You'll find it goes very quickly, and the results will be more accurate than depending on the bevel scale of your table saw.
 
In just about every use of the angle gauge you'll begin by placing the gauge on a horizontal surface and then calibrating it (setting it to 0° by pressing the ZERO button). You'll then move the gauge to the vertical surface for which you want to establish a given angle. I did notice that when lightly tap the top of the gauge it readout shifts a tenth of a degree or so. Tapping it again usually brings it back to its original reading. This could be due to a slight unevenness on the bottom of the gauge or the surface on which it's resting. Either way, I can live with this. Just remember to wipe any dust off surfaces before using the gauge.
 
Mastercraft provides a soft vinyl case for the gauge; I found it difficult to insert the gauge into the case. Besides, the case has a belt loop on the back rather than a slip-on clip (meaning you have to take off your belt every time you want to attach or remove the gauge case). Pretty inconvenient.
 
My few quibbles aside, the Mastercraft Digital Angle Gauge is a reliable, easy-to-use device that has a myriad of applications around the shop and home.


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KEY FEATURES:


  • 1-3/16" x 2-3/8" x 2-3/8"
  • +/- 0.1° accuracy
  • Zero reset
  • Battery power level indicator
  • 5 minute shut-off
  • 2 year exchange warranty
  • Includes: Vinyl case with belt loop, AAA battery

MANUFACTURER:Mastercraft
AVAILABLE FROM:Canadian Tire
RETAIL PRICE:$39.99
MODEL #:54-1090-0
MADE IN:China
NOTE: This product is no longer available

Carl Duguay, September 2010
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