Winter 2013/14

Designing a Precision Height Gauge for More Accurate Results

UW-Milwaukee Research

Dr. Carol Mitchell is the Director of the Diagnostic Imaging Laboratory and Diagnostic Imaging Programs at UW Milwaukee.  Some of the research that she is involved with requires taking a measurement with an ultrasonic sensor in each of the cells of six-cell culture plates.  In order to get consistent results the operator must lower the sensor to the same depth, within a few thousandths of an inch, into each cell. She asked if PSL could help design some equipment to assist with this job. Engineer Lee Greenler worked on the project along with Machinist Mike Hughes who did much of the actual design of the device.

At the heart of the device that we produced is a precision height gauge - an instrument for making very accurate measurements of part dimensions above a flat surface. The device was mounted to a granite surface plate and a sensor holder was in place of the height measuring probe that is normally part of the device.

When the sensor is at the desired height the device is zeroed.  The sensor is then lowered down in each cell so that the readout comes back to zero and a reading taken. An adjustable stop was added so that the sensor could just be lowered to the stop (the readout is then used just as a check on the sensor height). This is a faster way of reaching a consistent height.


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