Lathe DRO recommendation

All discussion about lathes including but not limited to: South Bend, Hardinge, Logan, Monarch, Clausing and other HSM lathes, including imports

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Glenn Brooks
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Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:49 pm

Hello all,

Starting to look for a decent DRO for my South Bend Fourteen. Can anybody recommend a good unit and vendor? Are magnetic scales the way to go these days??

Thanks

Glenn
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RSG
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by RSG » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:59 pm

I have two DRO PRO units with the magnetic scales. So easy to cut to size and never a worry about contamination. Their a bit expensive but you know what they say....you get what you pay for. I've not had any experience with glass scales so I can't comment on them other than to say my friend that owns a machine shop is seriously looking into changing over.
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NP317
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by NP317 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:15 am

Glenn:
I would recommend the DRO PROS magnetic scales.

I installed a Grizzly glass-scale set on my 14-40 lathe, which works just fine. However, the size of the glass scales causes installation challenges on the X-axis (cross slide.) The DRO PROS 4-axis system I installed on my milling machine seem a better solution in tight installations.

Having installed and used both types of scales, I'd go with the DRO PROS mag scales. They have good sets ready to ship, and I found the company first rate to deal with.
~RN

rrnut-2
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by rrnut-2 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:43 am

I would recommend DRO PROS as well. The magnetic scales are easy to cut for a specific application. I have done a large Bullard line boring mill
and my 13" lathe from the left over parts. At the time, we had to buy 2 units to do the Bullard. The guys there were very helpful.

Jim B

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by SteveHGraham » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:36 pm

JJ from Ebay gave me good deals on Sino. Stood behind what he sold.
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Glenn Brooks
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by Glenn Brooks » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:16 pm

Thanks all, right now still in the due diligence phase - learning and sorting out options. Also cost is something of a constraint. I just looked at DRO Pro web site. Looks good. Trying to sort out their options and models.

For comparasion purposes, anybody have experience with the Yuriy's Toys - TouchDRO project. This uses the Android Arduino app for wireless connections to a smart phone or tablet. Apparently they have updated to use mag scales.

Woops, more questions arise. Are there any issues with electromagnetic interference using blue tooth or other wireless connections with DRO's??

Thanks again,
Glenn
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Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

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pete
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by pete » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:11 pm

I'm certainly no expert about DRO's and there scales so am repeating what I've gathered over the years Glenn. The information could be a little out of date for the latest models. Glass scales are still supposed to be a bit more accurate than the magnetic type all else being equal but are a lot larger in cross section than the magnetic. I chose a newall for my mill so will use that as an example since I'm unsure about what other manufacturers offer. Newall sell 2 types of scales, a Sphereosyn and Microsyn. The Spereoysn has a guaranteed accuracy of + - .0004" and selectable resolutions on the head unit of .0005" and .0002" I'd be willing to bet there repeatable to a lot better than the guaranteed accuracy but that's the specification for the maximum allowable inaccuracy. The Microsyn can be ordered in 2 different types +- .0004" or +- .0002" with selectable resolutions of multiple resolutions from .0005" all the way down to .00005". Plus the Microsyn scales are I think just about the smallest scales made today. If it were me both for the size and accuracy I'd want something like the .0002" Microsyn type on the cross slide and the standard Spereosyn scales should be good enough on the rest. You do want a lathe specific or switchable dro so you can switch between radius or diameter if that's important to you. And if you've got a real good repeatable quick change tool holder then having the ability to number and record various tool types can help a lot while doing multiple parts of the same type since the dro will switch and keep track of those various tool offsets for you. Glass scales can if not well guarded scratch and even dust or cutting fluids can affect them if there not well sealed from any of that gathering on the scales exterior read face. The magnetic type are mostly immune to any of those issues. Depending of the lathe design you have fitting the cross slides scale while still keeping the carriage lock accessible can be a head scratcher sometimes. Because of the danger of part and chuck jaw extensions or even a crash I'd not want any scale mounted on the headstock side of the cross slide, and on the tailstock side you may lose just a bit on how close you can get the tailstock to the carriage since you usually need a hard stop of some kind to keep the tailstock from hitting the scale or guarding. That's why I'd want the smallest scale possible in that position.

choprboy
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by choprboy » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:43 am

I have a replacement Sino DRO head on my lathe, I think the original scales are glass. Picked it up from SRA Measurement, good prices, fast shipping, packaged deals or individual parts for different setups.

John Evans
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by John Evans » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:04 pm

If you can stand the price go with the Newall. Their mounting system is the best I've seen ,and on the cross slide with the Microsyn scale you can get away with mounting by one end only if needed. Newall is the only brand my machine tool dealer friend will sell/install. But DROPRO are great to deal with should issues arise or just to purchase from.
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BadDog
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by BadDog » Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:34 pm

I have a Newall on my lathe and I really like it. But I didn't strictly have to pay for it since I got it with my lathe. I would like to put one on my mill, but the cost is so high I'll probably just keep the antiquated DRO and glass scales until/unless they fail.
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Glenn Brooks
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by Glenn Brooks » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:32 am

Looked at my lathe bed last night. It's a SB Fourteen, with an eye to mounting the scales for a DRO. the casting has sloped side walls, and not a lot of room to reach in and drill and tap. Also, the lip under the ways is about 1/2" wide - not much room to tuck the scale up underneath and out of the way.

What is the preferred mounting position for the scale along the ways - on the sidewall of the casting, or underneath the lip of the ways? Does it matter if it mounts at an angle, due to the slope of the casting?

Thanks
Glenn
Moderator - Grand Scale Forum

Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

pete
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Re: Lathe DRO recommendation

Post by pete » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:26 am

It will be the scales reader heads that dictate your final position Glenn. The scales need to be shimmed out a bit from the castings so the reader head has a bit of clearance. The draft on the bed casting should have no effect since the scales just need to be mounted so there parrallel to the ways both verticaly and horizontaly to usually less than .001" plus whatever room the scales guards take up. Brad Jacobs on Youtube and the moderator of the Practical Machinist South Bend forum did a dro install on a South Bend around the size of yours that might be worth checking out. His user name on Youtube is BasementShopGuy

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