Woodworker Tests iPhone Angle Finder

... it seems to work surprisingly well. June 18, 2010

This is too fun: I upgraded to an iPhone 3G last week and have been checking out the applications available in the iTunes App store. Several inclinometer apps are there for downloading. I tried out Plaincode's Clinometer. It seems quite accurate according to my Starret combination square. On Tuesday I'll be able to check it against the digital readout on an Altendorf slider, and I'll let you all know how it comes out.

Forum Responses
(WOODnetWORK Forum)
From contributor K:
Well, what did you expect? There must already be a pendulum in there which is part of the clock mechanism that keeps time.

From contributor G:
Contributor K, you made me snort beer out my nose.

From the original questioner:
Well, got the chance to check the phone Clinometer against an Altendorf sliding table saw with digital controls today. The Altendorf was recently serviced and checked, so it is as accurate as any woodworking tool needs to be. The results were surprisingly good. I zeroed the Clinometer on the phone sitting on the table at 90 degrees, and it matched the readout on the saw at any angle I set the saw to.

From contributor K:
You know, if you already have an Altendorf sliding table saw with digital controls, you really don't need that phone. You need to send it to somebody with one of those Sears saws that has a pair of vice-grip pliers where the hand-wheel belongs.

From the original questioner:
Have anyone in particular in mind? Actually, I do have a standard Unisaw in my home shop, and the digital slider is not something that many of my customers have.

From contributor K:
I don't need it for any of my saws, but I do have a serious lust for one of those. I am doing a job for a young fellow who has one, and he seems to have a lot of photos and other information stored in it. I would imagine that if I had one like yours, I would find other ways to use that function. If I wanted to determine the height of a big tree, I would bet you could step off a distance, then just sight down the long side at the top and base to find an angle, then use the tan function to find the height. Probably in a year or so, surveyors and builders won't need their transits to lay out a foundation.

From the original questioner:
You got that right! There is a tape measure program available that uses the GPS to mark one spot, and then mark another spot you have walked to. No idea how accurate that is, but for surveying, might be useful.

From contributor A:
For setting 90 and 45 degree bevels, a $0.49 triangle from Wal-Mart works pretty nice. Anything more complex than that, and I get out my Wixey.

From the original questioner:
I'm hardly advocating buying an iPhone just for the angle gauge! I just thought it was a fun application, and it has proven surprisingly accurate. I travel a lot to various locations and my phone goes with me everywhere. Being able to leave one more item behind as I travel is always a good thing.