Author Topic: Edge Pro Tram  (Read 3482 times)

Online Kim

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Edge Pro Tram
« on: August 11, 2021, 11:45:04 PM »
Over the last weekend (plus a few days) I was out camping with my extended family.  We have done this every year for the past 30+ years with the exception of last year, due to Covid.

This year while we were camping, my family surprised me with a little retirement party!  I guess this is the first time weíve all been together since I retired a few months back.  It was very thoughtful of them.  They gave me a cute little paper train with a bunch of dollar bills rolled up in the tender (I guess this train burns money for fuel?  ;D)

Anyway, the long and the short of it (besides that I have a sweet family :)) is that I used that money to purchase a tramming tool Ė the Edge Pro Tram.

Iíve seen these around and always thought ďWho needs that Ė I can do it with the DI Iíve got!"

But it takes me a long time to tram, so I seldom do it.  Iíve been meaning to re-tram the mill because Iím getting such a bad surface finish when I thin down stock.  And itís such a pain to do I never want to spend the time doing it.

I was reading up on how best to do tramming and came across several good videos.  And in one of them, the person said something to the effect that while you donít need a tramming fixture, it sure helps take the pain out of tramming.  So, when I got my retirement train money, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to get.  :)

And here it is:

It comes with a very good case to keep it nice.  It has a great little set of instructions on how to calibrate the device and then how to use it.  Very simple.  Even I could follow it.

So after calibrating, I went about tramming the forward/backward Ďnodí on my machine.  THAT has never been trammed before because thereís really no way to do it other than using a shim.  I ended up putting a 0.0015Ē shim along the back of the place where the head bolts onto the column.  Before tramming, it was about 2-3 thou out (across 5Ē).  Now itís only out about a half a thou over the same.


Turning it 90 degrees, I was able to tram the left/right rotation of the head VERY quickly.  Iíve done this before, but NEVER quickly!  And whatís super cool, I could see it changing as I tightened the bolts.


From the videos I also picked up that I should be locking my Z-axis when I tram Ė that made a pretty big difference too!  Iíll be locking that down from now on when Iím making any precise cuts.  It changes the tram (left/right Ė is that called Yaw?) by almost 0.002Ē!  I never realized that before!

It was super easy to do with this setup.  I think it took maybe 5 minutes to tram both directions.  I canít believe how easy it was.

No more fussing with trying to read the indicator backward Ė trying to make it read Ďthe sameí when you turn it from one side to the other.  It was amazingly simple.  It really did take the pain out of tramming.

I know I sound like a commercial for them, but wow, it made such a difference.  I canít believe Iíve put off buying one for so many years.

Yes, you can tram without one.  But I canít tell you how much simpler the whole process was with this gizmo.  If youíve been thinking about getting one, I can heartily recommend it. Or if you want to make one, go for it.  I just decided that Iíd buy one.  (I would have had to purchase two dial indicators anyway, so thatís about half the cost right there).

Anyway, just wanted to share my new retirement tool with you all, and let you know it has made my retirement easier already!

Kim

Offline crueby

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2021, 11:53:49 PM »
Nice!
Is there any calibration of the tramming tool itself needed, or is that all set from the factory?

Offline propforward

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2021, 12:20:22 AM »
Very nice acquisition! I have one - really makes tramming so much easier!

What a thoughtful gift.
Stuart

Forging ahead regardless.

Online Kim

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2021, 12:44:05 AM »
Nice!
Is there any calibration of the tramming tool itself needed, or is that all set from the factory?
Hi Chris,
Yes, you need to calibrate the tool before using it.  It's quite easy to do (even I could do it).  You set one dial to a specific height, then without changing anything, you rotate the Pro-Tram 180 degrees and set the other dial to the same height.   It might sound complicated based on my poor explanation, but it's really not.  They tell you how to do it and it really is quite easy and makes perfect sense.

Kim

Online Kim

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2021, 12:45:50 AM »
Very nice acquisition! I have one - really makes tramming so much easier!

What a thoughtful gift.

Thanks Stuart!
Yes, very thoughtful.  You're probably one of the people on this forum that I've seen use it and always thought "why spend good money on something when I can already tram with what I've got".  Now I know!

Thanks :)
Kim

Offline crueby

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2021, 12:53:22 AM »
Thanks Kim!  I just found their website, and looks like they make a smaller version perfect for the smaller machines like Sherline, smaller width and shank.  Hmmm, birthday coming up, maybe the shop elves will chip into their beer bottle deposit refund stash and get me one.... Nope, have to buy it myself!   :Lol:

Offline propforward

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2021, 01:39:33 AM »
Very nice acquisition! I have one - really makes tramming so much easier!

What a thoughtful gift.

Thanks Stuart!
Yes, very thoughtful.  You're probably one of the people on this forum that I've seen use it and always thought "why spend good money on something when I can already tram with what I've got".  Now I know!

Thanks :)
Kim

It's always a tough call on when to spend and buy a tool rather than make do. Also as a model engineer I always have this feeling that I should be attempting to make do, or make the tool - but with limited time if the tool is available at the right price, and I am unlikely to be able to make one as good, factoring in the time it takes, I sometimes justify a purchase that way, so that I can keep on with the actual engine or project. The Edge Pro stuff is a remarkably good combo of price and quality. Like you, once I got my edge pro a huge advantage was making it that much easier to tram the nod of the mill. Which I need to check again actually.

I plan to make two adjustment blocks for the X axis tram - basically bolt on blocks with adjuster bolts to tweak the head from side to side, rather than tapping the head into place. I think that with those in combination with this tool, making use of the pivoting head feature becomes a reality. Before I didn't want to have anything to do with that because tramming the head was such a chore.

There I go waffling again!
Stuart

Forging ahead regardless.

Offline RReid

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2021, 02:17:23 AM »
Curses - You've made me want to commit a blatant act of consumerism!!! (just kidding)
Actually that looks so nice, and so convenient, I do now want the mini version.

Stuart - I made something like what you're talking about for my Taig mill. They do help a lot.


Regards,
Ron

Online Kim

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2021, 05:17:04 AM »
That's a cool upgrade for the Taig, Ron.  I always just did the 'loosen it a little and bop it from one side or the other' method.  It mostly worked, but this looks much more controlled for sure!

Kim

Online Jo

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2021, 07:25:29 AM »
I love all the Edge Technology tools. The tramming one is particularly useful.  ;)

This year while we were camping, my family surprised me with a little retirement party!  I guess this is the first time weíve all been together since I retired a few months back.  It was very thoughtful of them. ..... Anyway, just wanted to share my new retirement tool with you all, and let you know it has made my retirement easier already!

I missed this  :embarassed:  :old: Congratulations Kim on your retirement 

Jo
Enjoyment is more important than achievement.

Online Jasonb

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2021, 07:42:31 AM »
John Bogs did a good write up on making your own for those that don't like cerise ;)

https://www.modelenginemaker.com/index.php?topic=416.0

Offline paul gough

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2021, 10:57:44 AM »
Jason, Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It is really great to have someone who has a 'deep' memory of things presented in the past and who can bring them to the attention of those of us that don't have such a long connection to MEM. Regards, Paul Gough.

Offline propforward

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2021, 01:27:04 PM »
Curses - You've made me want to commit a blatant act of consumerism!!! (just kidding)
Actually that looks so nice, and so convenient, I do now want the mini version.

Stuart - I made something like what you're talking about for my Taig mill. They do help a lot.




Yes - exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of.  :ThumbsUp: :ThumbsUp: :ThumbsUp:
Stuart

Forging ahead regardless.

Offline rick41

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2021, 02:58:02 PM »
Nice!
Is there any calibration of the tramming tool itself needed, or is that all set from the factory?
Hi Chris,
Yes, you need to calibrate the tool before using it.  It's quite easy to do (even I could do it).  You set one dial to a specific height, then without changing anything, you rotate the Pro-Tram 180 degrees and set the other dial to the same height.   It might sound complicated based on my poor explanation, but it's really not.  They tell you how to do it and it really is quite easy and makes perfect sense.

Kim

I don't understand the need to calibrate the tool.  I made a copy of this tool several years back and I use it as follows.  I put he tool into a collet lock it and snug it up.  I then lower the head until the indicators are both firmly touching the mill table.  I then set the dial on each indicator to zero.  I carefully rotate the indicator 180 deg and note the readings.  If both are reading zero, the mill tram is OK.  To adjust the tram if it is out, I note the readings and adjust by 1/2 the difference in readings.  May takes me couple iterations to get it spot on.  Basically the same procedure as adjusting a surveying level.  Rick

Online Kim

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2021, 06:34:04 PM »
Rick, that's interesting!  The procedure you describe is calibrating at the same time as you're using it.  Adjusting the zeros and rotating by 180 IS basically calibrating the unit.  The only slight disadvantage with this is that for one of your readings the dials are facing backwards.

The instructions that come with it have you calibrate the dials at a single fixed point.  You put one side on the fixed point and zero the indicator, then you rotate 180 and do the other side.  If you set your single point in the right place, you can adjust your indicators from the left and right sides and don't have to look at the dials backwards.

Once both dial indicators are zeroed to exactly the same height you can set the unit in the direction you want to tram and adjust the head till both dials read exactly the same number.

It's six to one, half a dozen to the other.  The method you describe removes the need for the calibration step by requiring two tramming steps and you're essentially calibrating the tool each time.

The method that I described requires a two-step calibration process, then you can tram in a single step. This requires 3 steps if you calibrate each time you tram, but allows you to avoid having to read a dial facing backwards.

Wonder if there are other methods for using the same too?

Kim



Offline rick41

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2021, 07:55:36 PM »
Hi Kim,  Not wanting to beat a dead horse to death.  The problem I have with tramming my mini-mill is that it is difficult for me to move the column the exact amount needed as indicated by the first tram.  I usually end up loosening the bolt securing the column and tapping it with a rubber hammer until the readings are the same and then when all is tightened it may be off by a couple thou or so and repeating the exercise.  I agree that  when I built my tramming device, I made it so that both indicators were facing forward.  Agreed, that is a pain in the ass to try and read the indicators when turned 180 deg.  I solved that problem by rotating each indicator by 90 deg.  I have attached a picture of my tramming tool.  Not pretty, but it works.  I usual tram my min-mill when starting a new project.  Someone mentioned that the pattern left when fly cutting is a good indicator.  I agree.  Rick

Offline Mike Bondarczuk

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2021, 08:50:56 PM »
Rick,

Good ides to have the two gauges back to back so to speak and a move I had not thought of.  :old:

Certainly saves a crick in the neck trying to read the backwards facing one.

Mike
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Offline Hugh Currin

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2021, 09:55:44 PM »
Rick:

I have a home made tramming tool with only  one indicator. I use it as you describe. Zero the indicator, rotate 180 degrees, then set the indicator half way back to zero. This is essentially a calibration. Then adjust the tram to zero the indicator. Finally rotate back 180 degrees and check that it's still reading zero. The tram is OK if both positions read the same, but zero is an easy reading to aim for. This requires some gymnastics (or a mirror) to see the indicators from both sides.

Kim calibrates both indicators at one point, the same point for both. He can then use the tramming tool without further rotating the spindle. It would speed tramming as I need to go back and forth several times.

I think John Bogs' is slightly different. In his the tramming tool bracket bottoms out before the indicators do. To calibrate he just presses the tool against a flat surface, like a surface plate, and zeros both indicators. Now, as long as the bottom of the tramming tool is perpendicular to the shaft of the tool, it's calibrated. You did machine the bottom to be perpendicular to the shaft didn't you? Just put in the spindle, align perpendicular to the axis being trammed, and adjust tram fill both indicators read the same, may not be zero.

Anyway that's my two cents worth. I have to build me one one of these days.

I don't understand the need to calibrate the tool.  I made a copy of this tool several years back and I use it as follows.  I put he tool into a collet lock it and snug it up.  I then lower the head until the indicators are both firmly touching the mill table.  I then set the dial on each indicator to zero.  I carefully rotate the indicator 180 deg and note the readings.  If both are reading zero, the mill tram is OK.  To adjust the tram if it is out, I note the readings and adjust by 1/2 the difference in readings.  May takes me couple iterations to get it spot on.  Basically the same procedure as adjusting a surveying level.  Rick
Hugh

Online Kim

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2021, 10:15:03 PM »
Rick,
Nice tramming tool!  And I see what you mean about turning the indicators like that so you don't have to read one of them backward.  I guess the only time one would be backwards now is if you were tramming for head nod, right?  Or do you turn the indicators around for that?

I wouldn't worry about beating a dead horse to death!  That's a great way for people (like me) to understand a slightly different point of view.  I have one way I've been looking at things and to understand the subtle difference between two methods it takes belabouring the details.  And in the process, I (hopefully) learn something new, or about some assumption I've been making without even realizing it.  So to me, these kinds of discussions are good for learning.

Jason,
I meant to say thanks for posting that link to Bog's post.  I remember that now but clearly had forgotten about it.  I know many people have used this kind of tool before and I think there have been several posts about it. But I didn't really understand how they worked till I got one in my hands and started using it.  And then it all made sense.

Hugh,
Some very insightful remarks.  Thank you.  The tramming you describe is exactly what I've done up till now, using a single indicator.  But with this very rigid bracket and two indicators, it really is a treat to tram the mill now :)  Much less frustrating than the old single-dial method I used before.

I also didn't remember about Bog's calibration method.  As you said though, that method depends on having the bottom of the tramming tool perfectly perpendicular to the rod that is held in the collet. But unless you recalibrate the Pro-Tram every time you put it in the collet, I think you're still depending on that same perpendicularity.  Interesting thought experiments here...

Thanks,
Kim

Offline tvoght

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2021, 01:21:32 PM »
As long as we're discussing options I'll mention my approach which I learned from an online video (sorry, too long ago to remember video details).
Essentially, it boils down to the same as Hugh's home made single indicator version, but using a "back plunger" indicator. The indicator's plunger extends from the back of the case so that the dial faces up. Not as much gymnastics are required to read the dial in any position.
--Tim

Online Jasonb

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2021, 01:39:48 PM »
In much the same way I just use a lever type indicator set with the dial facing upwards.

And once you have the spindle trammed to the table don't forget to chuck that the head and quill also move in the same plane you may have to make a small compromise somewhere.


Online Jasonb

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2021, 08:22:08 PM »
As all my mills are fixed head machines and it only needs doing once its not really worth bothering with a plate or glass, may be different for those with rotating heads of adjustable tables.

I assume same applies if using these tram tools as you need to rotate them too though I've only ever seen them being used direct on the table?

Offline crueby

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2021, 12:53:49 AM »
This afternoon the 'mini' version of the Edge Pro Tram that I had ordered arrived. The mini version has a 3" span rather than the 6" of the larger one, and has a 1/4" shank vs 1/2", so it fits better on the Sherline mill.


Very interesting - turns out the tram was out by 10 thou over 3" the way I had the headstock mounted. By loosening the headstock holding bolt (which allows removal or rotation of the headstock) and lifting it to one side to retighten, I could get rid of over half of it. Since I have the mill riser block in, which gives more reach over the table, doing the same on the riser block let me get rid of the rest of the error. The Sherline has a square key in a slot under the headstock and under the riser, which gets the position very close, but there is still just a little qiggle room to the fit on it. The tram in the other direction, in line with the column, was good.

The check and fix of the tram took maybe a minute overall - quite quick and easy. I've noticed in the past that sometimes I was not getting it square, easiest to tell with things like the fly cutter and larger end mills, when seeing the pattern it would leave as it went across a surface, but never had a good way to measure or correct it. On the lathe, where I rarely move the headstock, I would check the alignment before boring pistons/cylinders to make sure I would not get a tapered cut.

Quite happy with the purchase! Given how often I add/remove the riser, it will be well worth it. Thanks for posting about it Kim! I also looked through their catalog, and saw the mill end stops they sell, those would be very easy to make to fit my t-slots on the table, I had been bolting down the 1-2-3 blocks as stops for long items, the style they make would be an easy, um, imitation, to make for myself. This tram is something I could have made, but it would have taken a bunch of time, and also the cost of some bar stock plus two good inidicators which is not that much savings. If I rarely changed the headstock setup, it would be less worth it and could make do with other methods.
Chris

Offline steamer

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2021, 01:00:36 AM »
Pictures please!!!     something like that would be nice on the Aciera F1

Dave
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Offline crueby

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2021, 01:06:12 AM »
Pictures please!!!     something like that would be nice on the Aciera F1

Dave
Here ya go!

Given that my mill table has some obvious scratches in it (it does get just a wee bit of use) I tried it with and without a piece of flat plate - got same readings both ways, and with the plate it didn't dropt the tips into the slots when turning it to measure the lean in the column (none). It comes with a little magnetic post for calibrating as mentioned in earlier posts here, since my mill table is aluminum it just stuck itself to the indicator tip rather than the table! Other than that it worked great. Checked it rotated around the axis to make sure that the drill chuck was not introducing any error, it was not. Holding it in a collet would be better, but I dont have one for the headstock.

Offline crueby

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2021, 01:08:33 AM »
Oh, and I ordered it online, Edge Pro themselves sell it on Amazon, shipping from the factory, for a few bucks less for shipping cost than ordering it direct from the factory website. Price for the unit itself was the same, but total was a little less. Go figure!

Online Kim

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2021, 05:27:16 AM »
Oh, and I ordered it online, Edge Pro themselves sell it on Amazon, shipping from the factory, for a few bucks less for shipping cost than ordering it direct from the factory website. Price for the unit itself was the same, but total was a little less. Go figure!

That's interesting...  I ordered mine via Amazon too (through the Edge store of course).  I'm betting that through the Amazon site, Amazon takes care of fulfilling and shipping the order so it comes with "Amazon shipping rates" which are probably lower than anyone else can get. due to their distribution networks.

Glad you like it Chris!  I sure do :)

Kim

Online Jasonb

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2021, 07:08:42 AM »
Despite suggestions earlier in the thread do be careful if using Gauge plate or Ground Flat Stock to run the tool against as despite it's name the FLAT only differentiates it from round stock. Tolerance is something like 1mm over 1m length so a 150mm square which I what I would need could be 0.15mm out.  ::)

The material is "flat" while it is being ground on the bed of the grinder but can bow or get accidentally bent if poorly stored or handled.

Offline Zephyrin

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2021, 09:44:43 AM »
in the small Unimat SL1 I had ages ago, the tramming of the mill drill was quickly made  :

I screwed the face plate on the broach and pushed and hold it dead flat against the table of the machine while locking the head on its support on the column, it was fast and very effective.
I agree the it cannot be done on a large mill with an heavy head...

Offline propforward

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2021, 07:09:01 PM »
I've not been in the shoppe or on the forum so much of late owing to various (all positive) personal happenings, but I thought I'd add a bit more to this, just a couple of comments / suggestions, mainly aimed at anyone totally new to the hobby who might be looking at this. I trammed my mill again yesterday, as it was clearly out - nearly a 2 thou sawtooth in the Y direction. Not nearly as bad in the X.

I have to tram my Y axis by shimming under the column, there is no fine adjustment. I got it all done about as well as can be expected on an import hobbyist mill I think. I cannot feel the ridge between cut paths with my thumbnail, and perhaps more importantly can't see a sawtooth under a straight edge any more.

Anyway, I did get caught out briefly during the process, by troublesome and errant swarf / fine metal chips. These got under the spacer block i was using for calibrating the dual dial indicators, under the indicators themselves and also under the column. Once I realized what was going on I got that taken care of quickly, and luckily it didn't take long to firgure out. A good blast of compressed air under the column seems to have cleared it - before that I was not getting consistent behaviour as I changed shim thicknesses, but afterwards the direction of tram went with the change in shim thickness each time and I soon had it dialled in.

So, that's my observation, when tramming, be very careful about dirt, dust, debris, burrs and chips getting under your measurement faces etc (a practice we should all be following all the time anyway), and not only that but be aware of any dings or raised spots on your table, and stone off if need be.

Also when I checked tram, I performed it on both my milling vise and my table to look for differences, and was very pleased to find none.

I followed up by lightly skimming a tooling plate I acquired to get it flat, and was pleased with the result. Review on that elsewhere.
Stuart

Forging ahead regardless.

Offline MJM460

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2021, 08:30:29 AM »
Hi Stuart, well done on getting that mill spot on.  A great success with the new device.

MJM460

The more I learn, the more I find that I still have to learn!

Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2021, 09:28:14 AM »
It's a great-looking bit of kit.

Tempting...!

Offline kvom

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Re: Edge Pro Tram
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2021, 11:01:19 AM »
I just saw this thread, and dropped in to say I also have the Edge tool.  Much faster than with a DTI.  Both my mills have rotating heads, and I've used it a good bit.  On the CNC mill, there's always a chance I'll ram the head into something and knock it off tram.