The Applications and Benefits of Optical Alignment

Wed, 12 September 2012

If you are boring holes that are far apart, say, 25 feet (7620 mm) and they need to be precisely aligned, you don’t have very many options. You could use an extra long boring bar, but you would need to compensate for deflection over the unsupported span. Another alternative is to use an optical alignment tool that can precisely align bearings over long distances. This is exactly what Climax Portable Machine Tools and Brunson Instrument Co. partnered to develop. This optical alignment tool is designed to align bearings on the Climax BB5000 Boring Machine on distances of up to 50 feet (15,240 mm).
The tool is a simple design composed of an alignment scope, an alignment fixture and two or more wire targets pictured below. The setup is relatively simple. First, the alignment fixture is mounted into the BB5000 bearing. Next, the alignment scope if placed in the fixture and secured with a safety strap. The wire targets have been designed with a 2-1/4 (57.2 mm) inch outside diameter with the intention that they will be the same size as a standard boring bar on the BB5000 Boring Machine.

This was done so that the wire targets will fit right into the standard BB5000 bearings. Once the scope and wire targets are in place, the alignment can be adjusted using the four adjustment screws on the fixture. This easy set up can save significant amounts of time on the job while also increasing the precision with which the job is completed. This optical alignment kit has been successfully utilized in many in-the-field applications in various industries. When a mine needed to re-bore mounting holes on a bucket that were 25 feet (7620 mm) apart, they used a Climax BB5000 with the optical alignment tool, making quick work of a tricky alignment challenge. And when a 21 foot stern tube needed to be very precisely bored by a large ship builder, the BB5000 and optical alignment kit put the solution in plain sight.

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