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Machine Shop and Tool Talk Shop Equipment, fabrication, repairs, how to fix it, which tool to use for the job. Machinist shop talk, straight to the point.

Machine Shop and Tool Talk

Speaking of DROs...

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Old 11-08-2017, 01:27:06 PM
ChrisinEstes ChrisinEstes is offline
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Default Speaking of DROs...

Speaking of DROs... I'm 99% sure I'll go with DRO Pro's EL400 magnetic scale kit for my lathe. The carriage scale resolution is 5 micron (.0002") And then they have 2 scale options for the cross slide... a 5 micron (.0002"), and for $130 more, a 1 micron (.00004"). $855 Vs. $985.

Link to DRO Pro's Lathe kits:

So, for what reasons might I want to go with a 1 micron cross slide scale res. rather than a 5 micron? That $130 more is not a small amount for me. I'd rather put that $130 towards boring bars or some other tooling.

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Old 11-08-2017, 02:58:58 PM
TWKundrat TWKundrat is offline
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Default Re: Speaking of DROs...

I would recommend looking at Newall readouts. They are top quality, easy to install, and the scales are much more robust than most other brands. Their products are made in England, and they are a great company to deal with. No, I don't work for them. I've just been very happy with them over the years. With the discounts that MSC always offers, the DP500 series is close to the same price as what you are looking at. Just my $.02

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Old 11-08-2017, 04:35:17 PM
dalmatiangirl61 dalmatiangirl61 is offline
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Default Re: Speaking of DROs...

If you are on a budget, and this is just for home/hobby use, take a look at the igage units (no affiliation)

I picked up some of these last year, need to put at least one on my Atlas and Logan
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:17:06 PM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Speaking of DROs...

Without knowing MUCH more no one can make a good recommendation re: the readouts' resolution.

1. What sort of work are you anticipating doing that might require such a degree of resolution?

2. What sort of lathe do you have? What brand is it? What condition is it in?

3. What is your skill level?

4. What sort of support tooling do you have (micrometers, etc)?

Filling in the blanks on a best guess basis, if you are making repair/replacement parts for old engines and lawn mowers, if you own some offshore 10 x 20 lathe with a name that is often mistaken for some serious disease or else a clapped out old South Bend, Logan or Atlas with a swayback worn into the ways, and if you are, like most of us, largely self taught occasional hobbyists using garage sale measurement devices, I'd strongly recommend you save your money.
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Old 11-09-2017, 12:16:39 PM
Pete Spaco Pete Spaco is offline
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Default Re: Speaking of DROs...

I guess I'd echo S100 on this.
Can your machine work to a tenth of a thousandth? Or even to two tenths?

However, I do have a Shooting Star DRO on my old milling machine. They were the cheapest thing around 10 or 20 years ago. I got it primarily because there is so much slop in the dials. It only has .001" resolution, but that's plenty good for me.
With the milling machine, whatever I dial in is pretty much what I get. But with my old Atlas lathes, I have to work my way down to final dimensions anyway, because they aren't all the stiff. Not that a DRO wouldn't be nice, but I'd rather spend my "lathe money" on tooling.

Pete Stanaitis
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Old 11-09-2017, 02:17:59 PM
ChrisinEstes ChrisinEstes is offline
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Default Re: Speaking of DROs...

Thanks for all the input.

It's an ENCO 110-1340 made in 1993. It's got 6.625" of X travel, and 36.5" of Z travel, and it's in good shape. On a skill scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, I'm a solid 1...... Maybe at 2 due to other work I do.

I've got some decent measuring tools... Micrometers, dial indicators, calipers... Starrett & Mitutoyo... Maybe a couple Harbor Freight things that snuck in there

5 microns it is... I'm pretty sure neither my machine nor I are capable of getting there anyway. I figure buying mid level stuff will save money over buying cheap stuff, then having to replace it with mid level stuff.

I've looked a Newall DROs, and know they're good stuff, but the way their stock sizes, the carriage scale would stick out the front & back quite a bit further than I'd like. I can easily cut DRO Pro's magnetic scales to fit just right.

I've also looked into iGaging, and even if it worked to their stated .003" accuracy on their higher quality line is far from what I'd like.

I'm not in a big hurry for this... by the end of this year would be fine. Maybe DRO Pro's will have some kind of Black Friday deals.

I'll keep you updated.

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Old 11-09-2017, 02:26:13 PM
Bill D Bill D is offline
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Default Re: Speaking of DROs...

I have a Hardinge, HLV-H lathe that the dials on the feed wheels are marked in .000. But I also use Starrett dial indicators that read in .0000. I have good support tooling like starrett micrometers that read down to tenth's I also have a fair amount of Mitutoyo and Brown & Sharp measuring tools for support. So would I be better off buying a DRO for this lathe or would it be a waste of money?
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:25:42 PM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Speaking of DROs...

Bill D, that's a tuff one. If you are doing a lot of lathe work and think the DRO will improve your throughput, then a strong objective case can be made for the DRO's. Other than that the only reasons I can think of would involve personal preference. Your lathe will have great accuracy and generous sized, easily readable dials. Certainly that will make the lathe capable of excellent accuracy and repeatability. Will the same jobs be easier done with the DRO's? I think so, but others may disagree. As I say, it's a opinion thing.
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:06:15 AM
Bubbles Bubbles is offline
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Default Re: Speaking of DROs...

The Hardinge HLV-H is a fantastic dovetailed bed lathe! I would put a DRO on it in a heart beat. After you do you will wonder how you did without it!!!

At our shop at work I have always purchased Mitutoyo DRO's, the quality is excellent. Like most things quality comes with a price.
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