Edward J. Bennett Company
   

Comparison between TS-Aligner Jr. and A-Line-It

   
Introduced in 1995, TS-Aligner Jr. was specifically designed for homeshop woodworking machinery. To this day it remains the premiere alignment tool for the homeshop woodworker.

Industrial machinery alignment

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TS-Aligner Jr.

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TS-Aligner Jr. Lite

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Pricing

  A-Line-It   TS-Aligner Jr.
Base Model $139.95   $133.46
Case with Foam Insert Not available   Optional ($40.35)
Offset Bar Not available   Included
Angle Attachment Gage Not available   Included

Dial Indicator

Included   $13.60 - $169.38
Total: $139.95   $146.66 - 302.84

I did find a web site for In-Line Industries (maker of A-Line-It) but be advised, I was inundated with a boatload of pop-ups and banner ads. It's been many years since I purchased my A-Line-It. I originally paid $99.95. The above price is currently listed on the In-Line Industries web site but the product is listed for $129.99 on the Peachtree Woodworking web site. There is also an abbreviated version called the "Basic A-Line-It Kit" for $79.99 on the Woodcraft site.  The accessories that I've listed provide feature and functionality parity between the two products.

What is included

I own the A-Line-It and will use my own photos for this review.

A-Line-It consists of two pieces of red anodized aluminum bar stock connected at right angles. A standard dial indicator is mounted on the longer bar which is called the "Mounting Bar". The shorter bar is called the "Smart Bar" and is available in one size: 3/4". It connects to the Mounting Bar using a 1/4-20 socket head cap screw in any one of the several holes available. It is used for miter slot guidance.

The Smart Bar "automatically" adjusts itself to specific miter slot widths with the help of two spring loaded ball plungers. There are also two thumbscrews (called "Levelers") which help prevent A-Line-It from rocking side to side. They are adjusted to contact the bottom of the miter slot.

My A-Line-It originally came with a single photocopied instruction sheet (both sides) with very crude hand drawn illustrations. It was stapled to a parts list, Warranty sheet, and flier for other products. Soon afterward I received the official "manual" in the mail. It consists of 6 pages stapled in one corner. It is illustrated with hand drawn diagrams.  There is also an "on-line manual" on the In-Line Industries web site which includes photos and more detailed information.

This is the box that my A-Line-It came in. It contains a die cut foam insert for the A-Line-It and all of it's parts.

A-Line-It includes a Spindle Rod which can be used to take measurements and align machines with spindles. It is attached to the Mounting Bar using a 1/4-20 socket head cap screw in one of the many holes.

A 22-piece "Made in China" indicator point set is included. The instructions mention uses for just a few of these tips.

Shown above is the "Spring and Nut Assembly". It is used in making blade flatness and arbor/flange runout measurements.

The stylus tip on A-Line-It ends up being about 1.1" from the table surface. The manual recommends tilting the dial indicator downward to make measurements closer to the table surface.

A-Line-It can be configured as a height gage by mounting the Smart Bar on the end of the Mounting Bar. If the Levelers are removed, there are five positions that can be used for mounting the dial indicator.

 

Comparison of standard features:

This section compares the features and functionality of A-Line-It with the TS-Aligner Jr.

Miter slot guidance and Base
TS-Aligner Jr. uses a unique three bearing system for miter slot guidance. It can be adjusted to fit any slot from 5/8" to 7/8", providing a play free fit that is extremely accurate and smooth. The Smart Bar on A-Line-It is designed to fit only one size of miter slot (3/4"). The soft aluminum bar and tips of the ball plungers wear easily against the cast iron side of the miter slot .

The base on TS-Aligner Jr. provides a great deal of stability. A-Line-It's Alignment Bar is only 3/4" wide and requires the Levelers to prevent rocking.

Cross Bar
The Cross Bar on TS-Aligner Jr. is eight inches long. It can be adjusted horizontally into any position and locked in place securely. This allows you to adjust the position of the dial indicator for a variety of needs. The Mounting Bar that holds the dial indicator on A-Line-It adjusts horizontally in one inch increments using individual holes. In order to change the horizontal position of the dial indicator, the screw must be removed from it's current hole and placed in another hole.

 

Height gage functions
Using the Upright Bar, TS-Aligner Jr. can be easily configured as a height gage. The dial indicator can easily positioned anywhere along it's five inch length. This allows the dial indicator to be used to measure objects with a height of more than one inch (full travel of the dial indicator). A-Line-It allows the dial indicator to be mounted in only five different positions - each one inch apart.

User's Manual
TS-Aligner Jr. comes with an extensive
44 page printed manual full of photos and illustrations. My A-Line-It came with 6 photocopied pages (double sided) illustrated with hand drawn graphics.

Video
The video helps to give you a quick understanding of TS-Aligner Jr. and how it is used to align machinery. There is also a video included with A-Line-It. It demonstrates a few simple A-Line-It operations but spends most of the time discussing tables saw renovation including the installation of grease fittings.

Features included with TS-Aligner Jr. but not available for A-Line-It

Offset Bar
This feature allows measurements to be made very close to the table surface (about 1/4"), enhancing the accuracy of blade alignment and making precise adjustments to the miter gauge much easier. In order to make measurements close to the table surface, the dial indicator on A-Line-It must be tilted down, introducing significant error in measurements. An offset bar is not available.

Angle Attachment Gage
The Angle Attachment Gage utilizes basic one inch trigonometry to measure angles with remarkable accuracy. It's a unique feature only found on TS-Aligner Jr (both Deluxe and Lite versions).  No such angle measurement device is available for A-Line-It.

 

Angle measurement
TS-Aligner uses the dial indicator in conjunction with the
Angle Attachment Gage in two methods for measuring angles. It takes advantage of basic trigonometry to achieve remarkable accuracy. A tangent table is included to translate dial indicator readings to angular measurements. Optional angle blocks and can be used to further increase accuracy and ease of use. This degree of accuracy is necessary for cutting precise, tight fitting miter joints without the need for test cuts. A-Line-It has no means to measure angles.

Custom Storage Case
This polystyrene storage case with a custom die cut foam interior is an optional accessory ($40.35) for TS-Aligner Jr. A storage case is not available for A-Line-It.

Summary

While very well made, the A-Line-It seems rather pricey for a product that does nothing more than the dial indicator on a stick. I ran across the following web site describing how to make your own wooden dial indicator jig, which has a striking resemblance to A-Line-It.  Instructions on its use are included.  If all you need is table saw blade and fence alignment, this just might be your best solution!

A-Line-It is a Trademark of In-Line Industries.

Last revised: February 05, 2009.

    Copyright 2008 Edward J. Bennett Company All rights reserved.

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