Let’s talk about precision maintenance tools. “Precision” is the key word because it is required from the technician, their tools, and the work that they do. There are a ton of tools out there but these are the most common and important needed for the daily needs of a maintenance person, including but not limited to shaft alignment and condition monitoring:

6″ Steel Ruler or Straightedge
Most think that a straightedge ruler measures length, but it measures much more. It measures depth, flatness & helps perform rough alignment. You can lay a straightedge ruler on top of the coupling and see if it rocks or if they line up. 

Dial Indicator with Magnetic Base, or with Fixtures for Shaft Alignment
One of the first steps when performing alignment is to measure runout on shafts and coupling hubs. The contact point of a dial indicator is pressed against the rotating component while it is turned to measure runout. Dial indicators can also be used for lift checks, pipe strain, and shaft alignment. Dial indicators are far less expensive than most alignment tools on the market.

Feeler Gauges or Taper Gauge
You’ll recognize these as the foldout fan looking design of strips of metal shim stocks. Their primary purpose is to measure soft foot gap clearances, shaft end distances, coupling gaps, and measuring bearing and gear clearances.

Vernier or Digital Caliper
This is an instrument that measures linear dimensions. They are especially helpful when measuring a straight line between round objects like cylinders. This is because the jaws used for measuring can be secured on either side of the cylinder. Besides measuring inside and outside diameters, they can also check shims and check coupling gap differences.

This tool used on incredibly small objects for precise measurements, think a piece of paper or thin wire. A micrometer can measure the depth, length, and thickness of whatever object fits between its anvil and spindle. It’s most commonly used for checking shims and bearing sizes and clearances.

Belt and Sheave Wear Gauges
This small plastic tool can be used to determine if belt and sheaves are worn excessively. You can use a flashlight behind the template to see if there is any clearance between the groove.

Belt Tensioning Gauge
Used for checking and setting proper belt tension. We covered this last email, but in case you missed it, here is our video showing how to use a belt tensioning gauge. 

Photo Tachometer or Strobe Light
This tool measures accurate rotating speeds of centrifuges, engines, ventilators, and many more machines. A strobe light can also be a valuable inspection tool, allowing the user to visually “stop” the machine, while a photo tachometer requires reflective tape to measure RPM.

Torque Wrench
This tool is used to apply a specific amount of torque to a fastener such as a nut or a bolt. A torque wrench is used where the tightness of screws and bolts is crucial. 

Belt Hog, or Other Sheave Alignment Tool
Our VibrAlign Belt Hog uses the pulley groove as the reference, allowing precise belt alignment. It can also be used to align sprockets. When using the belt hog it is not necessary to remove the belts. Purchase that here

Laser Shaft Alignment Tools (Fixturlaser EVO)
This helps perform quick and easy precision alignment of two or more rotating shafts. Request a demo or quote today.

Vibration Measuring Tools (Fixturlaser SMC)
It helps measure vibration levels on machinery, as well as balance rotating machinery and tells you what repairs are needed. Request a demo or quote today.

Download our free “What’s In Your Toolbox” poster for a visual guide.  

Don’t own some of these tools? Our Precision Maintenance Tool Kit has you covered.  You receive a free precision maintenance tool kit from our Reliable Precision Maintenance Course! Or you can check it out in our store

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