Cheap alternative - now with URL

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Cheap alternative - now with URL

Post by Harold » Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:08 am

Has anyone used this type of DRO? I realize that it is only one axis but for 100 bucks, why not? I just don't know if it will mount on the machine.
Measure it with a mic, mark it with chalk, cut it with an axe!

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Poor Man's DRO

Post by Matt_Isserstedt » Tue Jan 07, 2003 11:58 am

Harold, I bought one of these to use as a poor man's DRO for my Atlas lathe.

I never actually made the installation, as I got sidetracked in a couple "new" machines. I was going to clamp both ends of the slide to the bedway, then make a bracket to attach the lathe's carriage to the sliding part of the readout.

So, it's really just a matter of 3 brackets in my mind. The ergonomics are a little screwy, but I felt that I could live with it for the price paid.

One thing. I was trying to design the bracket between the carriage and the measurement slider to be stiff in the direction parallel to the carriage travel, and then compliant in the direction of the cross-slide. My idea here was that I didn't want to wipe out the sliding measuring head if the scale wasn't perfectly parallel with the lathe bedways. So this was going to be a piece of spring steel or sheetmetal which would have a little "flex" across the bed but then be stiff parallel to the bed.

I'm interested in your setup if you get it worked out. With luck I'd actually *get* to this project this year! [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/shocked.gif"%20alt="[/img] Although I am now in better position to be making the brackets.
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Re: Cheap alternative - now with URL

Post by JimGlass » Tue Jan 07, 2003 12:21 pm

Hi Harold and Happy New Year;

I have heard of guys using those DRO's. What happens when the travel is exceeded. Probably not resistant to hot chips either. They are available and much cheaper at
"Wholesale Tool". They got em of about $65.
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Re: Poor Man's DRO

Post by jpfalt » Tue Jan 07, 2003 1:23 pm

I've been considering using an inexpensive digital caliper as a basis on a lathe. there's no reason not to mount the scale portion to the carriage, but what I'm considering is attaching a rod to the slider and run it to the headstock end of the lathe with a quick release between the slider and the rod.

The idea would be to release the quick release, position the slider in an appropriate place on the slide of the caliper, lock it to the rod and zero it. Then as the carriage moves, the slider will display the position from the zero point.

I'm thinking that using an 8" caliper as the basis, I would rarely have to unlock and relock the slider from the rod. I suppose that a piece of aircraft cable strung the length of the lathe would also work.

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Re: Cheap alternative I've Used

Post by Mosey » Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:05 pm

Yes, I have this mounted on my Clausing Mill in both the X and Y axis, with a digital display connected for the Y axis, as it is hidden under the table. It works great most of the time, but thgere are problems. The display box has 2 AAA batteries, and if you leave it on too long the display goes crazy. Also, sometimes the display freezes and won't reset or change as you move the table. Then you have to remove the battery in the slider and wait for the indicator to go out.
I will try to post pictures of this installation if someone can tell me how to upload the pics. I don't have a website.
You can buy these from Shars also, but they are not exactly identical. There are minute differences and it makes a difference. [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/grin.gif"%20alt="[/img]

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Re: Poor Man's DRO

Post by Dick_Payne » Wed Jan 08, 2003 1:59 pm

If you attach the ends with brackets and attach the
slider with a tube sliding over a ridged rod the scale
does not have to be perfectly spaced for the whole length.
If you carry this concept further, if you use a slotted block
on your slider, precisely cut to snugly fit the rod then you have free
movement in 2 directions and a tight fit in the third direction
which is what you want to maintain your zero backlash connection.

I mounted a low cost 6" DRO on my mill/drill quill and used sheet
metal brackets that will flex a little to solve the allignment problem
but still remain ridged in the direction I need stability.

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Re: Poor Man's DRO

Post by Orrin » Wed Jan 08, 2003 3:06 pm

A friend of mine put a poor man's DRO on his tailstock ram. He used a 6" digital caliper, the kind that Harbor Freight now has on special for $19.95. It works great! I have half a notion to do the same; and, to put one on the quill of my drill press.
So many projects, so little time.

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quill DRO

Post by gypsywheeler » Wed Jan 08, 2003 4:13 pm


here is my use of an inexpensive DRO....I cut about three inches from the unused end of the scale....

first pic shows hole drilled in quill lip prior to tapping....

important to keep everything parrallel on both axises...


hope this helps....Jack

P.S. here is an example on ebay

ebay DRO

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Re: Cheap alternative I've Used

Post by generic » Thu Jan 09, 2003 12:40 am

After typeing your msg in the box provided, scroll down the page and notice there is a box that is checkmarked saying 'I want to preview my msg and/or attach a file'.
Leave it chek'ed.
Then after picking this 'continue' button, there will be a box with a button to the right of it saying 'browse'.
When you pick this button you will be browsing on 'your' machine. Go to the dir containing the file you wish to add and 'pick' it.
You can simply scroll down and pick that 'lower' 'continue button' once more to see if your pic was attached properly.
If so, then at this point 'do not' scroll down till you see the block that offers the 'preview', since imediatly below the 'previewed msg' will be a first 'continue' button. Selecting this one supercedes the 'lower' one. Upon picking this one the file will be uploaded from your machine to the board and attached to your msg.

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Re: Poor Man's DRO

Post by generic » Thu Jan 09, 2003 12:43 am

When I did that it was a dial caliper and it was very useful.
Long time ago when the cost of the digital caliper (even used value) worried me [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/smile.gif"%20alt="[/img]

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Re: Cheap alternative - now with URL

Post by Roy » Thu Jan 09, 2003 8:59 am

I think the introduction of the cheap digital calipers have been a godsend. They come in handy for all sorts of uses, other than their intnded purpose. I have a friend who has them mounted on all kinds of machines. The mounting of one on the tail stock is a particularly good idea. They sure beat the hell out of the graduated nut / rod n a drill press. Have some to mount on the quill of my BP, and my tailstock and the drill press but have not got around to it yet. Might just use the one from the tailstock and use it on the cross slide for now, as it would see more use.

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Re: Test Post (My mill with cheapo DRO)

Post by Mosey » Thu Jan 09, 2003 12:29 pm

Here is my mill with el cheapo DRO

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