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 Post subject: New DRO!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
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Location: Missouri
Well, I know this doesn't really have much to do with pipe making unless your using one of my sets of jaws of course.

I've been using a grizzly mini-mill for bout 3 years now to make my jaws, among other things. I had a custom made DRO on it that uses scales made from calipers that were then wired into the head unit.

It has worked well for most of the time but about 6-8 months ago, the Z axis (The one that measures head cutting depth) quit on me. So I have been nursing the process along by just using a caliper to measure the cutting depth. I have to have it pretty accurate for cutting the teeth in the jaws.

Well, in the last couple months the X axis has been acting up and I've had the caliper apart 4-5 times to get it working again. So, I've been saving for a factory made DRO for the mill. I can't make the jaws without one, at least not very easily.

I finally got the money around and found a good deal on ebay for the one I wanted. A 3 axis unit with glass scales that I could order the length I needed. To save about $450-$500 I purchased from a company out of China. It's the same unit (Or pretty much the same unit) that I can buy local or in the U.S. but at quite a savings. So, I found one that shipped fast and got it sent. I got it in 6 days.

The scales are much bigger than what I had on the mill already so I had to make changes and fit them just right so that they didn't interfere with any movement of the table or head. I also found that while I could use some of the brackets for mounting the scales, I had to modify every one in some way to make them work and also had too make a bunch of my own mounting hardware to get it all on and aligned properly. I'm sure glad I had the mill to make those brackets. :wink:

But, I have too say, it looks good and seems to work great. So now I'm back in business. I'll also be able to use the mill much more for other things as well and am actually working on some tooling I already had for it that needed improvements, such as my HF rotary table which was lacking, but is looking better with some work.

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 Post subject: Re: New DRO!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:18 pm 
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Posts: 506
Sweet.
DocAitch

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 Post subject: Re: New DRO!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:26 pm 
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Nice. I love my DRO on my lathe but my Y axis has been acting up recently due to oil getting on the slides, have to try and clean it out. Luckily I rarely use that axis, x axis covers 99.9% of the work I do.

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 Post subject: Re: New DRO!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:23 pm 
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Location: Missouri
I plan too move the old one to my lathe....... I'll just mount the scales using earth magnets so that I can easily remove them if I don't need them. I'll use it until the scales no longer work.

Chris, what type DRO do you have on your lathe? does it use the glass scales or some other type. That's what I worry about is something getting in my scales and giving me problems. But, I don't use any type of flood coolant and use oil sparingly on the mill.

Doc, it is sweet. I've already begun too learn how to use the many functions that it has. The half function works great for making my jaws as well.

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 Post subject: Re: New DRO!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:23 am 
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Mine is a very simply magnetic scale based system, essentially like a digital caliper except that it has remote display and a few extra functions.

THe x axis has a little cover I made and stays pretty clean, the y axis though can't easily be covered and so oil and dirt have got in. I successfully cleaned it in the past, hopefully can do it again.

Being an older lathe it was designed long before DRO's existed so it is very difficult to fit good waterproof scales and custom setups are very expensive. For what I do though I just don't need that kind of accuracy, I use the DRO to get me close to size quickly and then fine tune things checking with a caliper.

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 Post subject: Re: New DRO!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:21 pm 
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Location: Missouri
If it works that's all that matters. I do it for some accuracy and repeatability. I really like it on the mill.

For the lathe I've seen a simple Read Out made with dial indicators used and simply held on with earth magnets. Works well for some things.

I used the mill with the DRO for the first time yesterday and I have to say, I'm liking it. I did block the X axis lock with the scale on the front so need to figure out a new lock for that axis. The table moves a bit when cutting. Can't have that with the new accuracy.

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 Post subject: Re: New DRO!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:29 am 
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I think a mill benefits far more from a DRO than a lathe.

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 Post subject: Re: New DRO!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:29 pm 
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Your correct Chris. But, I'm sure since I use the lathe for a lot more than pipe making things I'll find a 2 axis DRO very handy on the lathe as well. But, I do need to do a bit of adjusting on the tail stock on it though.

I have been working on a couple projects using the mill with the new DRO............... much better. I made a small round pallet for the rotary table and also drilled and tapped holes an inch apart in the table itself for use as a pallet as well.

Drilling the 4 bolt pattern in the round table for the rotary table was easy as can be.

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 Post subject: Re: New DRO!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:04 am 
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Sounds awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: New DRO!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:41 pm 
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It is Chris......... I learned quite a bit with the little project of the rotary table and the pallet/top that I made for it. I drilled and tapped holes on the top of it and next I'm going to make some miniature clamps for holding material down on it. I used the same size allen head screws on that as I drilled on the main mill table.

I also made a new shift linkage for my golf cart. The original was plastic and broke. So now it's made from aluminum and much stronger.

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