Considering a DRO

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AllenH59
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Considering a DRO

Post by AllenH59 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:06 pm

Hi guys.. I watch on youtube with envy as guys machine with direct read outs, and am considering putting one one on my lathe. I am a bit pressed for space for the cross slide, as my tailstock butts right up to the side of the cross slide, and anything I put in there that added to the gap would mean extending the tailstock farther when machining close to it. So my question... Are scales all about the same size? If not which scales and the reading head are physically smaller? I cannot put one on the other side of the cross slide, as there is no doubt it would meet my 12 inch chuck some day... Ideas are appreciated.
Allen

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NP317
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by NP317 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:06 pm

Something from this list would work:
https://www.dropros.com/Electronica_Lat ... Lathe_Kits:
Those are magnetic scales, much thinner and more robust that glass scales.

I have such scales on my mill, and wish I had installed them on my lathe instead of the glass scales on there now.
Both work well, but the magnetic scales would have been better for my 14-40 lathe.
RussN

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Bill Shields
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by Bill Shields » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:54 pm

i have their systems on both my lathe and mill.

very reliable.

the 'thin' magnetic scales are quite good for lathes (south bend 10") with short quill travels...
dro on cross slide - small.jpg
dro view small.jpg
mounting along with the taper attachment was a bit of a challenge but has worked out well.
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

pete
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by pete » Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:10 pm

Generally the magnetic scales and reader heads are quite a bit more compact than the optical glass scale types. Some dro manufacturers that produce the magnetic type also have more than one size. This link http://www.newall.com/products/?name=Sp ... =1&prid=17 and the first picture at the top clearly shows the size difference between the Sperosyn 2G and the Microsyn 5 or 10. And to use the Newalls as an example. Because of the part reduction when cutting with the cross slide you'd want the highest accuracy and resolution scale on that axis, so I'd want the better microsyn 5 scale and reader head both for it's much smaller size and the higher accuracy since the part reduction is twice what the movement of the cross slide is. So whatever model of dro you chose I'd be checking to see if they do offer the higher accuracy scales for that axis if that's going to be important to you.

Depending on how large your lathe is some magnetic types are now offering as an option very thin tape and tiny reader heads that can be inserted inside the cross slide casting with a bit of light machining to fit it all in. https://www.machine-dro.co.uk/ is one company that offers it as an option.

Paulc
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by Paulc » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:09 pm

Seem rather pricey and probably cost more than my minilathe.
Any lower cost options for the mini lathes and mini mills out there?

Harold_V
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by Harold_V » Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:00 pm

I question the need. I was trained on manual machines and have never used a DRO. Seems to me like a lot of money to spend with not such a great return, but then I have the utmost confidence in my ability. That didn't come fast, or easy.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

John Evans
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by John Evans » Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:49 pm

Most DRO's can be set to show both depth of cut or radius cut depth ie diameter reduction. I have Travel Dial on one lathe for saddle travel and a long travel dial indicator for the cross side. Newall is the best if you can stand the cost,their mounting brackets are the best for ease of installing.And on the cross slide with the Microsyn only one end mount is requited.
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Bill Shields
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by Bill Shields » Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:49 pm

Harold_V wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:00 pm
I question the need. I was trained on manual machines and have never used a DRO. Seems to me like a lot of money to spend with not such a great return, but then I have the utmost confidence in my ability. That didn't come fast, or easy.

H
but then you also grew up in a generation where you did math in your head (like many of us dinosaurs.)...and IIRC you do have a Fadal or is it a Haas sitting there...???

No..I don't NEED a DRO on my mill...but when I drilled 800 rivet holes in my latest tender project, I was sure happy to have it

it is also interesting to note FWIW:

that most 'more than entry level' CNC machines today 'count pulses' on the ball screw but also verify with a glass scale that is independent of the ball screw...and as long as the glass scale is functioning will position from there...but if the scale fails...fall back to the ball screw position since encoders tend to be a bit more robust than scales (all things considered it is very tough to mechanically damage an encoder built into the motor housing...)

Sure..I still have my slide rule and abacus in the drawer where I can get at them....but darned if I want to... :shock:
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

pete
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by pete » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:04 pm

Paulc wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:09 pm
Seem rather pricey and probably cost more than my minilathe.
Any lower cost options for the mini lathes and mini mills out there?
Well the thread didn't start out about adding a dro to a mini lathe. Check here https://littlemachineshop.com/ for some options of adding the cheaper bar scales as a sort of dro. Many forum threads have mentioned durability issues and there repeatable accuracy is about 10 times less than what a decent dro will do. But you generally get what your willing to pay for. Slower to use of course, but machining a few adjustable mounts and adding a couple of off shore 1" travel analog dial indicators with the addition of some micrometer setting rods in 1" increments gets you about the same thing for less money. How fast, easy and well it works is pretty much up to the person designing and making the required parts to adapt it to whatever machine it's going on. But it worked more than well on the Moore, P&W, B&S etc jig borers at one time using far more accurate indicators and distance rods. How rigid, well aligned and adjusted or worn the machine is dictates how repeatably it follows what any measurement system says each slide has moved and how much material was removed.

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Bill Shields
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by Bill Shields » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:17 pm

have seen folks clamp a set of digital calipers to a lathe to get readings...some can even be had with remote readouts.
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

Patio
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by Patio » Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:23 pm

The other nice thing about DRO's is that they are accurate, even on worn out machines. They measure movement not turns of a screw.
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Harold_V
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Re: Considering a DRO

Post by Harold_V » Fri Dec 13, 2019 2:52 am

Bill Shields wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:49 pm
Harold_V wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:00 pm
I question the need. I was trained on manual machines and have never used a DRO. Seems to me like a lot of money to spend with not such a great return, but then I have the utmost confidence in my ability. That didn't come fast, or easy.

H
but then you also grew up in a generation where you did math in your head (like many of us dinosaurs.)...and IIRC you do have a Fadal or is it a Haas sitting there...???
Correct. A Haas.
Totally different kettle of fish, although that may not be apparent to some folks. It isn't intended to be operated manually.

My point is, a manual machine can be operated with exceptional reliability, although I am quick to admit that the point I made plays a huge role in doing so. It's no different than playing a musical instrument. If you hope to become proficient, you must practice. Moving to a DRO will limit that practice, and can also lead to some bad habits that can result in confusing results (like keeping backlash the wrong direction). Backlash, with a DRO, isn't important. Not until you take the cut. Then it is.

If a guy has more than enough money and thinks a DRO will help, sure, go for it. However, if a guy is on a limited budget, there are far better places to spend meager resources---on things that provide for more machining opportunities.

I read, with interest, your comments about the multiple holes and the DRO. The same thing is done with screws. Did it for years, and on difficult projects with tight tolerances. Often on multiple parts. Again, I was (and am) comfortable with my ability. I paid dues.

WW II was fought and won with machine tools without DRO's.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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