Alignment Tool Comparisons

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Stan Pope
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Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by Stan Pope » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:16 am

gpraceman wrote:This tool is just another option. Now there is getting to be a variety of axle alignment tools out there (Pro Body tool, PinePro Axle Alignment Jig, The Block, and this adjustable angle block), in a variety of price ranges, so people now have more choices. Some will appeal to those that have drill presses, while others appeal to those that do not. Some manage without such tools and use a drill press, a fence and different size drill bits as shims to achieve different cambers. Anyways, I don't think any of them are the "ultimate" for alignment. I see pros and cons with each one.
This saves me the effort of composing a similar post. I'd like to identify some +'s and -'s of the several alternatives.

Adjustable Angle Block:
+ Versatile and applicable to other shop activities.
+ With vernier calibration, capable of relatively precise setting.
- Narrow (approx. 1") support width risks introducing toe angle errors. The narrowness makes the tool more prone to error from small variations is straightness of the car body.
- Susceptible to toe angle error from nonparallel body sides.
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.

"The Block":
+ Eliminates the "nonparallel sides" issue (which is a pretty small isses, I think, since the squareness of the drill press table on which the tool rests is usually more of an issue than the parallelness of the wood's sides.)
- Single application, relatively expensive tool.
- Not easily adjustable from the two camber angles built in (0 degrees and 2.5 degrees).
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.

ProBody Tool:
+ Eliminates the "nonparallel sides" issue.
+ Hole trueness much less dependent on "good drilling technique."
+ Requires NO drill press.
- Single application tool, but priced so that the single app is much less of an issue.
- Subject to much more "wear degradation" than other tools in the list.
- Capable of "positive camber" only in special situations (thin body so the work piece can be inserted upside down).

"Fence and Spacers"
+ No single use tools.
+ Easily adjustable to a wide variety of camber angles
- Susceptible to toe angle error from nonparallel body sides.
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.

(If you think I missed some important comparisons, please Copy and Change the list to your preference.)

Given these comparisons, I'd opt for the "ProBody Tool" or "Fence and Spacers". If I had a need for curiously angled holes in narrow, rectangular items like chair legs, I would add the "Adjustable Angle Block." I might get one anyway, just because it is a "really neat tool". :)


Stan
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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by gpraceman » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:26 am

Stan Pope wrote:This saves me the effort of composing a similar post. I'd like to identify some +'s and -'s of the several alternatives.
I just hope this doesn't turn into some argument over pros and cons. There are some people very passionate about what tools they like to use, so it becomes less about an honest discussion of pros and cons and more about other things.

So as not to muddle up the discussion on the adjustable angle block, I made this comparison specific thread.


Randy Lisano
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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by Stan Pope » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:30 am

gpraceman wrote:There are some people very passionate about what tools they like to use, so it becomes less about an honest discussion of pros and cons and more about other things.
Well, I tried to be impeccably honest in the list and I'm sure you will slap me down (gently, please) if I get emotional about my favorites. :)


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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by gpraceman » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:37 am

Stan Pope wrote:Adjustable Angle Block:
...
- Narrow (approx. 1") support width risks introducing toe angle errors. The narrowness makes the tool more prone to error from small variations is straightness of the car body.
...
I have seen these in varying widths (1", 1-3/16" and 1-3/4"). Prices can vary on width, but some sellers of wider angle blocks sell for less that some others with skinnier ones. Of course, the wider the angle block, the easier to clamp to and better support for the block of wood.


Randy Lisano
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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by gpraceman » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:39 am

Also, you left out the PinePro Axle Alignment Jig from your comparison list.


Randy Lisano
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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by Stan Pope » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:47 am

gpraceman wrote:Also, you left out the PinePro Axle Alignment Jig from your comparison list.
I'm not adequately acquainted with the device to risk comment. Someone, please step in and fill the gap!


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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by gpraceman » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:23 pm

I've added in a summary of the PinePro Axle Alignment Jig, based on my perceptions of the product.

I will also qualify this list in that I have not used all of these tools, so some of this is based on feedback of others and some based on my perceptions. I also want to add that I am not looking to dis any tool or promote one over the others. I think they all fill a niche and each is likely to have its set of fans.



Adjustable Angle Block:
+ Versatile and applicable to other shop activities.
+ With vernier calibration, capable of relatively precise setting.
+ Supports holes for various axle diameters.
+ Supports any wheelbase.
~ Moderate price.
- Doesn't physically support the full length of the block. Risks introducing toe angle errors.
- Susceptible to toe angle error from nonparallel body sides.
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.

"The Block":
+ Eliminates the "nonparallel sides" issue.
+ Supports holes for various axle diameters.
+ Supports any wheelbase.
~ Adjustable camber (0 and 2.5 deg). (I'm not sure if can use with other degrees of camber).
- Single application tool.
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.
- Relatively expensive.

Pro-Body II Tool:
+ Eliminates the "nonparallel sides" issue.
+ Hole trueness much less dependent on "good drilling technique."
+ Requires no drill press.
+ Inexpensive and widely available.
+ Supports any wheelbase.
~ Pro-Body Jig version is moderate in price.
- Single application tool.
- Subject to "wear degradation" (drill bit being harder than the aluminum of the tool).
- Capable of "positive camber" only in special situations (thin body so the work piece can be inserted upside down).
- Possibly subject to hole misalignment when unclamped and moved to drill other set of holes (not an issue with Pro-Body Jig version).
- Only for use with intended axle diameter.

PinePro Axle Alignment Jig
+ Hole trueness much less dependent on "good drilling technique."
+ Requires no drill press.
+ Adjustable camber
+ Inexpensive.
- Susceptible to toe angle error from nonparallel body sides.
- Subject to "wear degradation" (drill bit likely being harder than the aluminum of the tool).
- Single application tool.
- Only for use with intended axle diameter.
- Extra positioning required to drill for extended wheelbase.

"Fence and Spacers"
+ No single use tools.
+ Easily adjustable to a wide variety of camber angles.
+ Supports holes for various axle diameters.
+ Supports any wheelbase.
- Susceptible to toe angle error from nonparallel body sides.
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.

Edit: From Darin's feedback

Machinist 1-2-3 Blocks
+ Eliminates the "nonparallel sides" issue.
+ Supports holes for various axle diameters.
+ Supports any wheelbase.
+ No single use tools.
+ Inexpensive.
- Non-adjustable camber (unless you're creative with shims?)
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.


Randy Lisano
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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by Stan Pope » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:15 pm

Good update, Randy! You added some really worthwhile aspect to compare, too.


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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by Darin McGrew » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:20 pm

Would it be worth including standard 1x2x3 blocks in the list? It's sufficiently different from "Fence and Spacers", and unlike "The Block", they're a standard tool.



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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by gpraceman » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:26 pm

Darin McGrew wrote:Would it be worth including standard 1x2x3 blocks in the list? It's sufficiently different from "Fence and Spacers", and unlike "The Block", they're a standard tool.
You can add that in, if you wish. Just summarize the pros and cons for it.


Randy Lisano
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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by Stan Pope » Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:00 pm

gpraceman wrote:
Darin McGrew wrote:Would it be worth including standard 1x2x3 blocks in the list? It's sufficiently different from "Fence and Spacers", and unlike "The Block", they're a standard tool.
You can add that in, if you wish. Just summarize the pros and cons for it.
And maybe a parenthetic linking to how they would be used???


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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by Darin McGrew » Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:46 pm

I haven't actually used 1x2x3 blocks. (I use only the drill presses we make available at our workshops: no fence, no jig, no clamp, etc.)

I didn't even know 1x2x3 blocks existed until they were mentioned in one of the heated threads here. I would expect them to be used the same way that The Block is used: clamp the wood to the 1x2x3 block(s), and use the parallel faces of the 1x2x3 block(s) to eliminate problems with non-parallel faces on the wood. As a rough guess:

+ Eliminates the "nonparallel sides" issue.
+ Supports holes for various axle diameters.
+ Supports any wheelbase.
+ No single use tools.
~ Moderately expensive.
- Non-adjustable camber (unless you're creative with shims?)
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.



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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by gpraceman » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:04 pm

Darin McGrew wrote: Machinist 1-2-3 Blocks
+ Eliminates the "nonparallel sides" issue.
+ Supports holes for various axle diameters.
+ Supports any wheelbase.
+ No single use tools.
~ Moderately expensive.
- Non-adjustable camber (unless you're creative with shims?)
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.
Actually, I would rate them as inexpensive. I've seen pairs of these for under $10 on eBay, which is less than I paid for the set that I have for my milling machine.

They are also not quite half as long as the wood block, which would make clamping a bit more of a challenge. You could bolt two of them together, end to end, with some long skinny bolts. It then it would be easier to clamp the wood block to.

There are 2-4-6 blocks, but they are much more expensive. A pair of these is about $45 on eBay. Of course, you only need one. Sell the other to another pine head.

On adjusting for camber, you might be able to make use of the threaded holes in the 2-4-6 blocks and get some large set screws. They make these so you can bolt jigs and clamps to. Not ideal, but may be workable. No luck with trying to do that with 1-2-3 blocks.


Randy Lisano
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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by Humvderby » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:20 pm

Darin McGrew wrote:I haven't actually used 1x2x3 blocks. (I use only the drill presses we make available at our workshops: no fence, no jig, no clamp, etc.)

I didn't even know 1x2x3 blocks existed until they were mentioned in one of the heated threads here. I would expect them to be used the same way that The Block is used: clamp the wood to the 1x2x3 block(s), and use the parallel faces of the 1x2x3 block(s) to eliminate problems with non-parallel faces on the wood. As a rough guess:

+ Eliminates the "nonparallel sides" issue.
+ Supports holes for various axle diameters.
+ Supports any wheelbase.
+ No single use tools.
~ Moderately expensive.
- Non-adjustable camber (unless you're creative with shims?)
- Hole trueness dependent on "good drilling technique".
- Requires a drill press.
Darin,

Is this what you mean when you say "Blocks" http://www.subtool.com/st/TWP.shtml

The Plates on the above link are called Parallels. If they are not the same as the "Blocks" you are referring to then maybe we should add them? The Parallels work along the same principle as the Block Tool in Stan's comparison chart.

Humv


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Re: Alignment Tool Comparisons

Post by gpraceman » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:21 pm

Humvderby wrote:Is this what you mean when you say "Blocks" http://www.subtool.com/st/TWP.shtml
Here's a pair of 1-2-3 blocks. The 1-2-3 means 1" x 2" x 3" sides. These are used by machinists. They are hardened steel and ground to provide very parallel and perpendicular sides.

Image
Humvderby wrote:The Plates on the above link are called Parallels. If they are not the same as the "Blocks" you are referring to then maybe we should add them? The Parallels work along the same principle as the Block Tool in Stan's comparison chart.
I think it would be harder to use parallels for axle hole drilling. I have a set of parallels and they are only 1/4" thick.


Randy Lisano
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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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