Categories: Shaft Alignment

The Tools of the Precision Shaft Alignment Trade

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By on July 11, 2013

Efficiency is a critical element in today’s maintenance environment. In every aspect of maintenance, the right tools are necessary to complete a job quickly and efficiently.

When performing precision shaft alignments in the field, there are tools that are typical to almost every job. Aside from the tools that are included in the case with the Fixturlaser Alignment Systems, it is a “best practice” to build a tool kit that contains the basics for every alignment large or small. The items in this tool kit could be determined by the extent of preparation that you desire or are willing to tote to the job with you. As I said, this could be a big list if you satisfy every possible scenario.

The following is an “essentials list” that will cover most general alignments:

·         Small micrometer or caliper to measure shims that aren’t marked and/or verify the thickness of shims .050” and thicker.

·         Pre-cut Stainless Steel Shims of the proper size with sufficient quantities of each thickness.

·         Tin snips or good quality scissors for cutting shims when solving for angled soft foot. It is best to have non-serrated blades.

·         Machinists scale(6” straight edge) – to assist in rough alignment

·         Flashlight – It’s always good to be able to see into those dark recesses.

·         Needle nose pliers – to safely remove shims from under the machine feet. Needle nose Vice Grips are a good choice.

·         A feeler gauge set – to help identify angular and parallel soft foot

·         1 or 2 magnetic base adjustable steady rests – for machines that are free turning – these can be used to rest the sensors on when taking measurements and making the live horizontal correction.

·         A stiff 1” scraper- to clean the machine base

·         A steel wedge – It’s a wedge…you wedge things with it.

·         A bundle of rags and brake cleaner or equivalent cleaner – Dirt and rust are compressible and will make the alignment more difficult to manage.

·         A measuring device – IE. Tape measure or carpenters rule. I personally prefer the latter, although it only extends 6’.

·         A pen and some paper – It may be necessary to record your measurements on paper (when using dial indicators) or take some notes.

All of these tools will fit in a big fanny pack or small backpack. It could be left with the Fixturlaser Alignment System to benefit all of the aligners privileged enough to have been trained in the use of our wonderful lasers.

Is there anything that you think would be a good addition to this list? We would like to hear from you.

About the Author

Tom comes to us as the result of a positive customer experience with VibrAlign. After 16 years with Wausau Paper in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, he was transferred to a greenfield project in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. One of this tasks was to research alignment tools. As Tom tells it, “I was amazed at the ease of use the VibrAlign tools offered. Then to understand the values of VibrAlign… I wanted to be part of this team.”

Tom is a Journeyman Millwright/Pipefitter with 16 years in the paper industry and customer service training provided by Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

4 responses to “The Tools of the Precision Shaft Alignment Trade”

  1. Andrew Martin says:

    great short list….if only everyone would bring this with them, it would SIGNIFICANTLY cut down on “mess around” time.

  2. test bed says:

    The tools required for precision shaft alignment trade are very well listed here..Precision shaft alignment is necessary as misaligned machines result in vibrations and premature wear of bearings, seals and couplings.

  3. Many employees believe that it is because of better measuring tools that they can deliver and enjoy their work because they rely heavily on such instruments to offer better precision in every parts that they manufacture.

  4. paddyoio says:

    I have a taper gauge that I seem to use more and more. But hardly ever see anyone else use ( never). It’s great to determine soft foot and angularity.