DIY Digital Camber Gauge

Discussion in 'Workshop Forum' started by Dr.Nightowl, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Dr.Nightowl

    Dr.Nightowl Just Cruisin'

    Since putting the camber bolts on my X, I’ve needed a way to be able to measure what the camber actually is so that I can set it to an optimal degree. I read the previous posts on the subject of camber gauges and was surprised at the price of some of them. I didn’t really want to spend several hundred dollars on a tool that I might only use once a year. So, after studying the pictures of the commercially built gauges, I decided that they looked pretty simple and I would try to build my own.
    The main component of the expensive gauges is a digital level and that is what drives the price up. Their accuracy spec of ±0.1° is impressive. I started looking for digital levels and found that most of them were rather expensive. And then I found a digital torpedo level sold by Sears that just happened to be on sale right now for $24.99, so I bought it. It does everything the expensive levels do, it has the same ±0.1° accuracy, and the price was right. Plus, I can use it for other constructions projects around the house.
    [​IMG]
    I got a four foot piece of ¾” square aluminum tubing from one of the big-box home improvement stores, measured my wheel and cut three pieces, one for the vertical component, one for the horizontal component, and one to hold the digital level.
    [​IMG]
    I then welded the vertical and horizontal pieces together in a “T”.
    [​IMG]
    I drilled holes in the ends of the “T” and put some bolts and nuts to space the frame out away from the tire. I drilled the holes at the dimensions that would contact a flat area on the outer edge of the wheel. Remember to set the bolt length exactly the same on all three to insure an accurate reading.
    [​IMG]
    Then I welded the piece that would hold the digital level to the “T”. Keeping everything square and true was the most difficult part of the job but even that wasn’t too hard.
    [​IMG]
    So, now I have a digital camber gauge as good as the expensive commercial models for less than $35.00 and it works great.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And it even works on an unlevel floor just like the expensive models since you can zero-reference the level to the floor.
    [​IMG]
    I don’t know how long Sears will have these little digital torpedo levels on sale, but if you want to build your own digital camber gauge for cheap you should get one before the price goes back up.
    I used square aluminum tubing but you could use steel, plastic, or even wood as long as it was rigid and wouldn’t bend or warp. You’re only limited by your imagination.
    Good luck building your own digital camber gauge. It’s a fun little project. :hammer:
     
  2. bbrown

    bbrown Bob Brown Moderator

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Excellent write-up!

    I did this same thing about a month ago, but I ended up finding one of those digital levels on eBay for $100.

    ... and I thought I did it cheap. Your's rocks! :headbang:

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  3. Pete Whitstone

    Pete Whitstone True Classic

    Location:
    McKinney, TX
    Excellent work! Thanks for the write-up

    I believe I will try to duplicate your work, the price can't be beat.

    Thanks again!

    Pete
     
  4. ///Mike

    ///Mike '76 & '85

    Location:
    Sunny Southwest
    Great job Don

    Nicely done and the price is certainly right.

    I figure I'll eventually take the car in to be aligned on a machine but to get the camber in the ballpark I've been planning to use the free level app for the iPhone combined with a piece of angle aluminum cut to span the wheel face. Might pick up one of the Sears levels while they're on sale though.

    Thanks for posting.

    ///Mike
     

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