Are the good old-fashioned tape measure, protractor and try square on their way out? Probably not just yet, but new, frighteningly accurate digital alternatives are rolling in all the time. Just this week we’ve added a couple of new electronic marvels from Wixey, one of the top names in digital measuring. The 3” Digital Protractor and 8” Digital Protractor offer the same dead-on accuracy as the popular Wixey Digital Angle Gauge (a dedicated tool set up device), and expand on it, to cover a range of angle measuring tasks.
The Wixey Protractors work by electronically comparing a reference angle of zero degrees with any other angle over the tool’s 180 degree range. But instead of using the fixed plane of a tool surface as a reference – as is the case with the Digital Angle Gauge - the digital protractors take their reading based on the location of a positionable blade. This, of course, adds tremendous versatility: you can take angle readings with an accuracy of +/- .1 degrees in any plane, in any orientation – anywhere. Both models have a blade lock-down mechanism for holding angle settings. And both have strong magnetic strips on all blade edges, making them perfect for setting table saw bevels, band saw table angles, jointer fences and any other set up task on tools with ferrous metal surfaces.
The 3” protractor is small enough to fit in your shirt pocket, and works great for quick, accurate tool set ups, marking angles on small parts, and reading angles in tight spaces. The longer blades of the 8” model give you the added reference surface length required for larger projects, like reading the true angle of wall intersections for trim work, laying out cabinet parts, etc. Either one will give you something all woodworkers need – precise angle measurements.
We think they're both very useful additions to a wave of woodworking-oriented electronic measuring devices that already includes decimal digital calipers, fractional digital calipers, Rockler's own highly rated digital height gauge, digital planer readouts, and moisture meters. And since the Wixey protractors simply haven’t been on the shelves long enough to accrue the customer accolades they deserve, we’ll leave you with a sample of the more than 50 reviews of another favorite, and their nearest relative: the afore-mentioned and extremely well-received Digital Angle Gauge:
"Wow! This is one of those products that you just gotta have. Form table saw blade angles to jointer fence settings, it's really improved setup accuracy."
Ted Prinz, from Webberville, MI
"A must-have for the shop. Consider it a must for the table saw and jointer. Worth every penny."
Matt R, from Lake City, AR
"VERY HANDY!!! This little guy gives great confidence to set ups up real fast. It is so quick and easy you don't mind checking angles frequently - resulting in better looking projects."
John, from NEW YORK
"Constructing a gazebo. Hexagonal. 10 feet per side. Used the gauge on the table saw to make the outside wall foundation pillar posts. When the outside wall forms, 22 inches high, were secured, the hexagon was 1/8" off fit. Pretty darn good for 60 feet of wall. Great tool and darn accurate. Thanks."
John Marks, from Pine Grove, CA
"From the moment I unpacked this product, it has proved it's worth time and time again. It has made precise setup effortless. I recently needed to cut some dovetail splines for a shadow box project I was making. The splines needed to be cut at a precise 14 degree angle to match the dovetail slots. With the Digital Angle Gauge, it was effortless to set my table saw blade to a precise 76 degrees and rip my splines. They were 100% accurate. I would recommend this product to anyone who needs precise angles; and let's face it, who doesn't?"
Mark Andrews, from Kokomo, IN