Probe of the Month Archives

November 2017

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Custom M5 Stylus


November's Probe of the Month is a custom M5 stylus with a 11.9 mm diameter solid carbide ball, 2.0 mm diameter carbide stem, and 11.0 mm diameter x 10.0 mm long stainless steel M5 threaded base. The overall length is 25.0 mm. It weighs 19.23 grams. Our client is a ball bearing manufacturer in Michigan. They ordered two.

October 2017

Custom Calibration Sphere


This is a custom calibration sphere. It features a 15.0 mm diameter ceramic sphere and stainless steel base. What’s unusual is its relatively short 55.0 mm length, and its ¼-20 UNC thread. The base has a 12.0  mm major diameter and 7.0 minor diameter.  The entire assembly weighs 28.73 grams. A traceable laboratory calibration certificate was supplied with the sphere.

Our client is a New England-based aerospace manufacturer.  They ordered one.

March 2017

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This month’s Probe of the Month was designed for use on a Faro CMM. It features a solid stainless steel body with M6 threads on one end with a 6.0 mm zirconia ball on the other. The zirconia ball is mounted on a short carbide stem protruding from the stylus body. Overall stylus length was 240.0 mm before bending. This beauty tipped the scales at just over 115 grams.

Our client is a Florida-based pump manufacturer. They ordered one. What can we make for you?

February 2017

February 2017’s Probe of the Month ™ is an M4 disk stylus for use with a Blum machine tool probe head.  The solid carbide disk is 8.0 mm diameter by 5.0 mm thick.  The ceramic shaft is 4.0 mm diameter, bonded into a stainless steel base 9.5 mm diameter.  The overall stylus length is 69.0 mm and weighs in at 13.48 grams.

Our Midwestern-based client is an engineering firm specializing in manufacturing process optimization.  They ordered two.

December 2016

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This is a 45 mm diameter silicon nitride ball mounted on a 6 mm carbide shaft and titanium base with M5 thread. The stylus is 100 mm long overall, tipping the scales at 178 grams.  Our client is a packaging machinery manufacturer based in the western USA.  They ordered two.

August 2016

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July's Probe of the Month is a 1.500" diameter hard chrome steel ball fitted with a titanium stem.  The stem has an M8 internal thread for mounting to the client's Romer arm CMM.  The entire assembly weighs 220 grams.  Our client is an aerospace manufacturer in Southern California.

March 2016

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Our first 3D printed part!  It's an M5 extension with fittings in both ends.  It's shown with a 2.5 mm ruby stylus attached.  The extension is 50 mm long and 11 mm square.  We printed it using a proprietary blend of carbon fiber and nylon for ultimate rigidity.  As shown, it weighs 12.08 grams.  The extension itself weighs just 4.76 grams.  That's about 35% of the weight of a standard 50 mm long aluminum extension.  We expect big things from this technology!  Stay tuned.

February 2016

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February's Probe of the Month is a custom titanium disk probe. The solid titanium disk is 4.050" in diameter and 0.200" thick. It's shown mounted on our VM5-18.150-A aluminum extension with our stainless steel disk screw DS-300. By itself, the titanium disk weighs 110.4 grams. The full assembly, including disk, disk screw, and extension, weighs 185.5 grams.


Our client is an aircraft engine manufacturer. They ordered two.

January 2016

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January's Probe of the Month is an unusual right-angle double disk probe.  The disks are made from solid carbide.  They are 15.0 mm in diameter and 10.0 mm thick.  The carbide stems are 7.0 mm diameter.  The stems are fitted with M4 threads made from stainless steel.  At the top of the photo is a Q-Mark ProFit 360 degree rotary adapter, allowing the stylus to be positioned at any rotational angle.  With all that steel and carbide, the full assembly weighs in at 109.2 grams.


Our client is a prime contractor to the US Defense Department.  They ordered six.  

December 2015

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Our Probe of the Month for December 2015 is a custom M3 threaded silicon nitride stylus.  The silicon nitride ball is 15 mm diameter.  It has a 4 mm diameter stainless steel M3 threaded stem bonded into a hole we drilled in the ultra-hard ceramic. The working length, from the tip of the ball to the base of the threads, is 19 mm.  The stylus weighs 6.38 grams.


Our client is a precision instrument manufacturer based in the Midwest. They ordered four.

November 2015

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Our Probe of the Month for November 2015 is a custom bent stylus.  The shaft is 11 mm diameter stainless steel with a 20.0 mm ceramic ball mounted at the tip. The shaft is fastened to a CMM adapter plate.  The entire assembly weighs 320 grams, including the adapter plate.


Our client is a precision instrument manufacturer based in the Midwest.

October 2015

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Our Probe of the Month for October 2015 is a custom rotating hook probe.  The shaft is stainless steel with a conical PF rotating connection near the M4 thread at left in the picture.  The two-piece brazed carbide shaft is 1.5 mm diameter with a 3.0 mm ruby ball mounted at the tip.  The stylus is designed to reach interior airfoil surfaces.  It weighs 27.5 grams.


Our client is an aerospace component manufacturer based in New England.  They ordered two.

Sept 2015

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Our Probe of the Month for September is a custom one-piece disk probe.  Made from stainless steel, it features a 13 mm diameter disk that is 1.0 mm thick.  The disk has a full radiused edge, meaning the radius is equal to half the thickness of the disk.  In this case, it's 0.5 mm.  The stylus is 75 mm long overall and uses an M3 thread for mounting to a probe head.  It weighs 8.30 grams.



Our client is an aerospace component manufacturer based right here in Southern California.  They ordered two.

June 2015

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Our Probe of the Month photo for June doesn't contain a probe.  It shows two custom probe holders, for use with M5 styli.  The probe holders feature compound angles at the ends (see black circles).  Each angle is engraved with the XZ and YZ angle of the stylus.  The ends are changeable, too.  They're modular, allowing the angled portion to be changed without needing a different frame.  Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, the interchangeable ends are held in place with stainless steel cap screws.


Our Midwestern-based client serves the transportation industry.  They ordered several different configurations of these probe holders, each with different compound angles.

May 2015

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May's Probe of the Month is a couple of custom M2 disk styli. The disks are 18 mm diameter and 0.8 mm thick. They're made of hardened tool steel and have five through holes for lightness. They're attached to a 3 mm carbon fiber stem with a titanium base. They're 51 mm long overall. Each weighs just 1.82 grams. That's less than the weight of one dime.

Our client is a manufacturer in Singapore, Malaysia.

April 2015

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April 2015's Probe of the Month is a custom M5 disk stylus. It's 30 mm diameter and 1.5 mm thick. The overall length is 35 mm.  The carbide stem is 5 mm diameter. The disk is made from hardened tool steel.  The stylus weighs 21.85 grams.  Our client is an automotive parts manufacturer in South Carolina.

January 2015

January 2015's Probe of the Month is a custom M5 T-stylus with two 0.8 mm ruby balls and a 6 mm solid carbide shaft.  Length overall is 75 mm.  It weighs 34.70 grams.  Our client is a manufacturer of linear actuators.  They ordered 10.

November 2014

November 2014's Probe of the Month is a right-angle stylus with a 1.5 mm ruby ball.  The ruby ball is mounted on a carbide stem that is mounted to a custom hard anodized aluminum extension.  A standard M3 rotary adapter (Q-Mark part number RAP-0513-M3) is mounted between the custom extension and the M3/M5 thread adapter to provide axial adjustment.  


The ruby ball and stem are a separate assembly, allowing fast and easy exchange in case of wear or collision.


Our client is a New England-based manufacturer of machined castings. They ordered four.  

September 2014

September 2014's Probe of the Month is an M5 threaded stylus with a one-piece stainless steel body and 6.0 mm diameter ceramic ball.  The stylus is 8.0" long from the base to the ball tip.  The body tapers from 11.0 mm to 7.5 mm to 3.5 mm diameter.  The entire stylus weighs 56 grams.


Our client is a Midwestern-based aerospace component manufacturer. They ordered three.

August 2014

August 2014's Probe of the Month is a 5 mm diameter carbide disk probe with a 1 mm diameter carbide stem and M2 threaded stainless steel base.  The 5 mm diameter disk is ground to 0.6 mm thickness.  It is 25 mm from the thread seat to the disk.  The fully assembled stylus weighs just 0.92 gram.


Our client is a Michigan-based medical device manufacturer.  They ordered two.

June 2014

June's Probe of the Month is comprised of a 580 mm long carbon fiber shaft with a 12 mm diameter ceramic ball at one end, and M5 titanium thread fitting at the other.  It weighs just 42.45 grams.  We're told that it's used to measure an oilfield component.


We manufactured 4 of these in 2013, and two more in June this year.

April 2014

This is a double-ended stylus with 0.3 mm carbide balls at both ends. Our client, a CMM manufacturer, asked if we could make ten. To see how we did it, click here.

January 2014

January's Probe of the Month is an M5 stylus, 56.5 mm long, with a 2.0 mm ruby ball at the tip and a 1.5 mm carbide stem.  The base is stainless steel.  It weighs 7.01 grams.  


It's unusual to see a stylus with so little clearance between the ball and the stem. All pieces must be concentric during assembly to prevent "shanking" during use.  Our client, a Texas-based manufacturer, ordered six.  The styli were shipped the following day.