Knife Angle Finder
Electronic knife angle finder and its use
With electronic level sensors and angle finders you can measure angles, inclinations and slopes quickly and precisely, save and sometimes transmit measurement values even wirelessly. The electronic display shows the measured values to a decimal or hundredth digit accuracy. Some instruments are equipped with an audible signal, and for measurements overhead or in hard-to-reach places, the values on the screen flip automatically.
Digital angle finders and level sensors can be extremely useful when setting up and leveling almost all types of equipment, such as platforms for leveling machines, foundations, various building slabs, etc.
They can also be used to check the straightness of surfaces, flatness and matching for parallelism.
The ability to check the parallel alignment is very important in the process of sharpening knives using a state of the art electronic device, which many people call an electronic angle finder.
1. How the electronic angle finder works and how accurate it is
The way a level sensor or angle finder works is based on a special electro-mechanical sensor that measures the deviation from the center position. With this method it is possible to determine dynamic acceleration as well as static acceleration - that is, inclination or rotation.
In fact, some of the devices are purely angle finders, while others are also level sensors. Besides, there are devices of various level of complexity and accuracy. There are devices that are called inclinometers, but they are the same as level sensors.
Most commonly used devices are bi-axial angle finders, with an accuracy of 0.050. If the device is capable of measuring in three dimensions and the error is about 0.010 or even 0.0010 , then the measurement accuracy and thus the price can be significantly different. As an addition, some of the advanced models have a calibration option, and the more expensive professional devices come calibrated from the manufacturer's factory.
Quite often a higher priced tool may actually be of higher quality. When in doubt, it is worthwhile reading the specifications of the tool or contacting the seller and/or manufacturer to clarify the specifications.
2. Sharpening with a level sensor/ anglefinder
Scientifically, all angles are determined by comparison with reference measures, which can be angle ruler squares, cone gauges and angle gauges.
With a digital angle finder you can measure absolute and relative angles. Absolute angles are determined by first measuring on one fixed plane, e.g. the surface of the workbench, and then another plane in relation to the first. Relative angles in sharpening are seen as a measuring process, which has a number of fluctuating variables. All parameters depend on the particular design of each sharpener individually.
The most important advantage of using an electronic angle finder for knife sharpening is that you can quickly solve two basic tasks, such as setting the required sharpening angle, as well as controlling the angle when changing abrasives.
The first step in sharpening a blade is to position the blade properly on the base of the sharpener or in the clamps, so that the center of the blade is centered in relation to the axis of the abrasive holder guide. In turn, the guide must be as strictly perpendicular as possible to the line of the cutting edge of the knife blade.
The second step is to choose and set the angle which you want for your knife. To do this, you have to find a flat surface on your sharpener, relative to which you will determine the desired angle.
For various sharpening tools, this can be any flat area on which the angle gauge can be placed. The correct way to place the angle gauge is to have the center of the body coincide with, or at least parallel to, the perpendicular line of the abrasive holder. This is the point where the value is reset.
The third step is to put the angle finder on a flat surface on the abrasive holder. You will see the actual position relative to the horizon line of the blade on the display. Then, use the vertical adjustment of the abrasive holder guide until you get the desired value on the angle finder display.
While the sharpening of blades with a blade flat is simple, you may find it difficult to sharpen blades with bevels from the spine. You can find different technical solutions on different devices. However, if you are using an Apex type sharpening system that has no clamps, only a working surface, this is not a problem at all.
You need, as before in step 2, to find a flat plane and re-zero the gauge on the surface of the sharpener. Then you need to fix the knife on the same working surface and measure the angle on the plane of the knife's bevel.
Then you have to divide the measured data by two and sum up with the required angle per side.
There is another little trick. In order to get the best possible result on the blade secondary bevel, it is best to put the middle of the abrasive surface on the cutting edge. If you do that, you are more likely to get the same result with both the top and the bottom end of the abrasive touching the bevel of the blade.
General Instructions. Whether using a mechanical or a digital angle finder, the fact about the sum of the angles of a right triangle, which is practically what all relatively professional sharpener designs are designed upon, is fundamental.
If we take as an example some design of a sharpener with specifications close to the practical dimensions, we get the following:
Angle α degrees
Angle β degrees
Measurements taken from the same tool indicate that as soon as the position of the abrasive holder guide shifts from the central axis of the sharpener, the so-called orthogonal plane, the angular value changes at the point of contact of the abrasive with the cutting edge. In practice, the further the contact point is from the center of the sharpener, the smaller the angle will be.
3. Pros and cons of using an electronic knife angle finder for knife sharpening
Despite the fact that digital angle finders are groundbreaking solutions in the field of knife sharpening and have a number of advantages compared to mechanical ones, they also have a number of technical drawbacks, which should be considered separately.
At the moment we can distinguish two groups of devices by size and weight:
- The usual building angle cubes and level sensors with body size of about 50 - 70 mm in length and height and width of about 20-30 mm and weight of about 100 grams or more
- Advanced angle finders from TSPROF significantly and distinguished by their small size and weight
3.1. Features of building angle finders
Some manufacturers produce inclinometers, like TSPROF, but they are much larger and sometimes more expensive. Some compete with each other in terms of measurement accuracy.
If you think about the building angle finders, because of their size the manufacturers of sharpeners need to come up with a design and location of the reference platform and a special platform on the abrasive holder.
Some also consider it inconvenient to try to view the readings from large devices, because the reading is only possible from the side. However, almost all angle finders have a "HOLD" button, which solves this issue.
The main problem with using the building angle finders is that they can only give correct values in an orthogonal plane. When used properly, these angle finders do exactly that, because that is what they are designed to do. Level sensors, may show the angular value of the plane deviation, but this has nothing to do with the sharpening. This is due to the design of the sharpener and the geometry laws.
The advantage of classic devices, as mentioned above, is that you can fit a powerful and accurate sensor into a large body. On top of that, you can integrate a large built-in battery into such a body or make a model with removable batteries.
3.2. Features of the TSPROF inclinometers
At the moment, TSPROF offers two models of self-made, unique angle finders. One of them is designed for use on the abrasive holder of their top of the line sharpening system K03 Pro. The other is designed for other sharpeners of the company.
The Axicube-I has an integrated bottom dovetail abrasive stop and works with the K03 sharpener. If you need it, you can remove it from the holder and use it for other purposes, but with limited convenience, because it has no magnets.
If you will need to use water abrasives, however, the possible water contact could affect the performance of this device. This angle finder can be purchased with the new rod (for older model - K03), without the rod (for K03 Lite) and it comes included with the K03 Pro kit.
Being within the field of view of the user, the Axicube-I angle finder shows the current angle of the cutting edge during the sharpening process when it is on. When the angle measurement is not required, the angle finder can be switched off.
TSPROF Axicube One has an inclinometer mode. The concept comes from geology and is associated with drilling technology. In short, inclinometry, in this case, is the process of determining the angle of the abrasive holder guide and its deviation from the absolute vertical line relative to the cutting edge of the blade.
As for the MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) sensor, these systems are used to create more accurate angle and inclination sensors. MEMS sensors consist of mechanical elements as well as special mechanisms and electronics on a common silicon substrate, which make the tool more accurate than ordinary biaxial devices.
The advantage of this model, in addition to everything else, is the presence of 4 modes and with it the possibility to use the tool with all TSPROF sharpeners, as well as an ordinary household angle cube.
Due to the fact that the body of Axicube One is larger, the device has a lithium-polymer battery of higher capacity.
In terms of performance, accuracy and size, this model can be used with all of TSPROF's newest models. Since this knife angle finder can be used with any other household sharpeners and you are probably thinking about buying your first angle finder, the Axicube One is definitely one of the best options if you are looking for the best angle finder for knife sharpening.
4. General rules for use
When using a device of any class or size, you should follow these rules to ensure that you get the right readings and that the device serves for a long period of time:
- Avoid dropping the device on a table or the floor
- Prevent the possibility of any shocks and keep in the original box or padded case after use
- Avoid exposing the unit to excessive humidity
- The recommended ambient temperature for use is from + 5°C degrees to + 35°C degrees. If the unit has been exposed to low temperatures for any reason, it should be left at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
If you as a sharpener or advanced user miss the mechanical angle finder (that is present in many advanced sharpeners), or you simply do not have this part on your device, then a digital knife angle finder is a must have.
A quality device can range in price from $100 - $130 and it is definitely worth the money. When you buy a quality device, you get high quality assembly, warranty service and a device that exceeds the technical capabilities of different cheap solutions. What is most important is that you can be sure that it will work properly and you will get accurate readings.