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Thread: Installed a Wixey digital height gauge on planer (w/pics)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    London, Ontario

    Installed a Wixey digital height gauge on planer (w/pics)

    Hello everyone,

    The previous upgrade I did to my planer was to install a Byrd cutterhead in it.

    The latest upgrade was to install a Wixey digital height gauge onto my Canadian made General model 130 14" planer.

    Here is a shot of the guage fresh out of the box,

    It didn't come with much, just a random bag of screws and things that didn't look too helpful to me.

    I checked the Wixey web site to see if anyone had posted pics of an install on a 130. No one had, so it looked like I was on my own.

    I held the gauge in various places on the planer until I found the place I wanted to mount it,

    Once I figured out where to place the gauge, I took it apart and made cardboard templates of the brackets I would have to make,

    I bought some 2" wide by 1/8" thick aluminum stock to make the brackets out of. I traced my cardboard patterns onto the aluminum and cut the parts out on a 14" bandsaw. A little work with both a round and a flat file and things looked pretty good. I also had to drill some holes in the brackets for where the screws would attach the Wixey to the bracket, and the brackets to the planer,

    I then marked for those hole on my planer before drilling and tapping the cast iron to accept the pan head machine screws that would hold the brackets in place,

    Next I mounted the Wixey to the main bracket,

    I put the Wixey back together and installed in on my planer,

    You can see the screws that are holding on the brackets I made.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    London, Ontario
    Now that the Wixey is installed, it is time to calibrate it.

    Here is a gratuitous shot of me planing a board,

    I now take this board and use the onboard calibration function of the Wixey to set zero,

    I lift up the spring loaded scale of the Wixey and place the board on the reference tab and press "Calibrate" for 3 seconds. This sets the gauge to zero.

    I raise the head up to 0.435" or 7/16" (trust me, that is what it says, bad photo)

    and run a board through.

    I then measure the board with my trusty dial caliper,

    Looks like I am off 0.003" or less than 1/300". Pretty good.

    Lets raise the cutterhead to 0.405" or 13/32",

    Make a cut and measure the result,

    Looks like I am out almost 1/1000". <grin>

    I am very happy with the upgrade, but I do not suggest it for the mechanically challenged. For some planers, you are going to have to figure out the entire install yourself.

    I didn't install this so I can mill my boards to exactly 0.750", but rather for repeatability. When I mill boards, I often go for "maximum thickness" that I can get from a board, be it, 13/16", 7/8" or 27/32". I don't work from set plans and I usually make everything up as I go along, so my only real goal was repeatability, and I now think I have that.

    For those of you with bench top planers, you might not know this, but cast iron planers have a minimum thickness they must remove per pass. Because of the highly sprung serrated infeed roller is set lower than the cutterhead, you must take off around 1/64" minimum per pass, or the infeed roller leaves marks on the board. On a bench top planer, you can pass the same board through twice without adjusting the cutterhead and not have a problem due to the rubber infeed and outfeed rollers.

    I used to have difficulty sneaking up specific thicknesses, but this gauge should allow me to just set cutterhead and get the job done.

    Thanks for looking,


    Every Neighbourhood has one, in Mine I'm Him.

  3. #3

    "Thank You!!!" no make that "THANK YOU!!!

    Very, very nicely presented. I really hadn't been thinking about one of these Wixey gauges for my Delta, but you opened my eyes to the concept. I like the idea of setting the planer with a caliper as opposed to setting it by guessing how much of turn to make on the handle based on the "test" boards thickness....

    Thank You!!!
    Life is just a series of projects.........

  4. #4
    Thanks for the pictorial. I've been thinking about one of those for my lunchbox DeWalt. The price isn't bad and like you I build to fit as opposed to follow plans more often than not so the ease of repeatability would be a benefit.
    Happy family, pale applause, each to his revolving doors.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Sterling CT
    thanks dave
    I have been thinking about adding this to my planer and my widebelt. they look pretty simple
    thanks for taking the time to post

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Very nice David. Especially the action shot. Love to see those chips flying!

    Wixey should give you a commission as I'm sure you helped their sales with that one. I've been thinking about getting one for my DW735 & I've heard nothing but good things about it. Maybe after Christmas.

    Thanks David.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Lockport IL.


    I just ordered 2 of them yesterday. one for my planer and one for my sander.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Grand Marais, MN. A transplant from Minneapolis
    Man of many talents.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Live Like You Mean It.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003

    Great Pictorial...

    Dave thanks for the pictorial of the installation.. I was thinking about one for my Parks Model 97. With that being said, I have only read about them, never picked one up. Now, I don't generally consider myself a mechanical idiot, but what I don't see is how that gauge works in relation to the bed of the planer. I see that you mounted part of you bracket to the bed of the planner, but how does the digital gauge read the height. For right now I will just accept that it is magic. I will study the pics a little more.....

  10. #10
    You guys just had to mention the sander too....... now you got me thinking besides adding one to my Delta about adding one on my 38" Woodmaster drum sander AND my Williams & Hussey!!!!! Next thing you'll have me thinking about adding one to each of my wood chisels

    Life is just a series of projects.........

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Bel Air Maryland
    For all you guys installing these on larger planers Wixey has a great gallery of these installed on larger machines. I just bought one for my 20” and couldn’t figure out how I was going to mount it until I checked out their website.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Just outside of Spring Green, Wisconsin
    Well done, David! And, you may also consider offering up your install process to Barry to put on his site, (if you haven't already done so) along with the other installs there. I'd bet there are other General owners out there who would be very interested. Good job, sir!
    John K. Miliunas

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Hudson, NH
    I ordered 2 also. 1 for my delta and one for my general drum sander. as far as 1 for the WH plainer, it already has an easy to read guage.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Hudson, NH
    I got 2 yesterday and installed them both in about 20 minutes. 1 on my delta 735 and 1 on my general 25" drum sander. no special brackets needed for either one. Dead on the money accurate. Hummmm... maybe I will install one on my WH moulder

  15. #15
    Thanks David,

    I just may get one for my DW 735.

    bob m

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