TouchDRO - the Android DRO project

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TouchDRO - the Android DRO project

Post by atunguyd » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:07 am

I have been asked by another member here to detail my building of the Touch DRO Android Project on my mill.

As an electronic engineer myself this I somewhere where I think I can give back to the helpful people here.

There is much detail on Yuriy's website here - so I am not sure if repeating it on this forum is all that worthwhile.

Instead I will reserved two posts below this to add extra later - I will update this post and the reserved ones with information as I collate it and answers as people who are interested in building one themselves.

Since everything that is needed to be known is already on Yuri's site I will rather concentrate on listing what I did to get mine onto my mill and provide any resources that I came up with in the process.

Yuri suggests for people to make these using an Arduino Duo board and that is fine but the engineer in me said dedicating an entire Duo board to this was overkill. I instead designed my own PCB that I populated with the chip that I programmed in the Duo board, I can make the graphic files for the PCB available to anyone who wants to make their own.

I can also post links to where I purchased most of the parts I used (mostly on Ebay since there are few decently priced stuff here in South Africa).

So for now I will leave it at this, check out Yuriy's website above and if this is something you want to try please ask questions. When I get the time I will collate what I have and add this to this thread.

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Re: TouchDRO - the Android DRO project

Post by ken572 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:31 am

Good Morning :!: atunguyd :D

Thank You, :!: for sharing this Information. :idea: 8)

Ken. :)
One must remember.
The best learning experiences come
from working with the older Masters.

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Re: TouchDRO - the Android DRO project

Post by atunguyd » Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:46 pm

OK So as promised here is a rundown on what I did to get the TouchDRO up and running.

Firstly let me go through why this is such a great project:

1. Accuracy is excellent for hobby grade - the software adds to the accuracy of the iGauge sensors. I find the sensitivity is within 0.01 to 0.02mm and repeatability also to within 0.01mm
2. Great feature set and features are being added by Yuiry all the time - already he has added support for hole pattern, tool offset, rectangular pattern and many more.
3. Expandable - currently there is support for 4 axis with now added support for Tacho input. I am myself working to try to get the electronics in mine to recognize the 2 igauging sensors I have as well as the quill sensor that came with the mill. No off the shelf DRO would allow for this.
4. Affordable - the most expensive part so far for me was a android tablet which cost about $80

Some of the better features of the TouchDRO at the moment:
1. Unlimited point memory (or at least limited by the Android devices memory so lets say 1 million points).
2. Hole + Rectangular Pattern
3. Tool library with tool offsets
4. Ability to either manually enter RPM or use RPM sensor plus tool dimensions to show feed rate in real time.

I have only used it for about a month now so there are probably more features I have not yet come across.


Firstly I already had the iGauge DRO's installed on my mill for a while now they worked fine for me but since each axis was it's own system all I really had was a digital readout. I wanted more but could not justify the price of a commercial DRO system.
I will not go into mounting the iGauge DRO's I am sure everyone here would be way better than me at doing this.

The instructions on Yuriy's site are very easy to follow if you are going to use a Arduino board, I bought mine from eBay but I know people who have bought from so here's a link to that: ... ack-215600
As well as the Aurdino you will need the bluetooth module, again has them: ... Eq24RZ4Tz4

You really don't need to be an electronics wiz to hook this all up and program the UNO board it is very simple.

The only other thing you will need is about $1 worth of electronic components listed on Yuriy's site and finally a Android device, as long as it has bluetooth it will work. I initially started out with an old Samsung S2 phone but the 5" screen was too small - I suggest just get a cheap 7" or larger tablet.

The iGauge sensors are disconnected from their head units and I stripped the cables and connected them to the Ardunio kit.

Program the aurdino kit and power it up, then load the TouchDRO onto your tablet and it should all fall into place - it is really that simple.

For me I took it to the next level and actually made a PCB dedicated to the TouchDRO, I am cheap that way - if anyone wants to go down this road give me a shout and I will provide info on how to make the PCB - I am working on a new one though that will incorporate Tacho support.

Unfortunately when I set this up I did not take any photos or detail my progress, I just did it so am much as I would love to post a detailed step by step here it would happen in a hurry - but anyone attempting this just post here and I will happily help.

For me the longest item on the list was getting the tablet mounted onto the Mill - for this I ended up buying a generic tablet mount that is used by bands to clamp onto sya a drum kit - I then mounted a 20mm aluminum bar to the mill and clamped this onto that.
TouchDRO Mounted
20141024_182121.jpg (59.72 KiB) Viewed 12344 times

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Re: TouchDRO - the Android DRO project

Post by BadDog » Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:31 pm

Thanks for the posts. Last thing I need is another project on my list, but my mill as an antique SSD DRO head on Accurite(sp?) glass scales. A quick look at Yuri's site indicates that quadrature scales are indeed supported. And I can easily get my hands on an older generation Android tablet. Since it works as is for now, it probably won't make it into the project rotation very soon, but I'm saving the link for future reference.
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Re: TouchDRO - the Android DRO project

Post by hammermill » Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:47 am

App looks good. Arduenos are pretty common . So this looks like fun. Thanks for sharing

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Re: TouchDRO - the Android DRO project

Post by WJH » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:35 am

Excellent post, I discovered his page a few days ago. I need to come up with a DRO for my small 8" Lathe... Glass scale could be used on the carriage, but for the cross slide... I am not sure what the best bang for the buck is with good enough accuracy...

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