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DRO for BP Which One? 2Axis

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Kroll

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Morning guys I know this subject has been beaten to death but I need to ask.I'm not a pro,not every day user,but just a plain jane just starting out beginner doing this for fun kinda guy.I have little money in the kitty so while I have my mill apart I want to research and purchase a DRO.Guys I would love to purchase a top of the line DRO if my pockets were deep but they are not,like the song says"If devil could dance in empty pockets he have a ball in mine w/10 piece band etc"You get the point ,so my budget is around 500.00 mark but could go up little more maybe to 600. I have been looking at DRO pros and would love to get the EL400 with mag scales but I just can't drop that kind of money so I am looking at their cheaper models with glass scales w/3yr warranty for 600.00 again thats at top of my budget.Some guys here have purchase DRO's off ebay for as cheap as 300.00.Guys if your budget was very limited what did you go with,any regrets,are you happy and if possible could you point me to what you purchase?With my budget,I just don't want to make a mistake cause there's no going back.If you have some picks or links please post.
Guys my mill is a BP series#1 2hp w/42" table I believe is from the early 70's
 
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Technical Ted

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You can get a TPACtools 2 axis for $365 free shipping. The Z axis is by far the most difficult to install on a Bridgeport. I don't know what type of mill you have. I have actually used my 3 axis (with Z) more than I had thought though and am glad I got that additional axis.

If fact, I'm planning on picking up a simple one for my quill as well. TPACtools has one of these for $39. If I had know when I bought my DRO, I would have added one of these to the order as well for the free shipping.

I'm very happy with my unit and for my use don't see a need to pay more money for one.

Ted
 

ttabbal

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I love my 3 axis glass Chinese DRO on the Bridgeport. The Z was annoying, but there are some ways around it and I wouldn't want to be without it now.

If you can live without vendor support, and frankly we're more useful around here than most vendors, it's a good option.
 

projectnut

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I think the EL400 with mag scales is an excellent choice. I've had the same system on my Bridgeport for over 6 years and have had absolutely no problems. It's easy to install and believe it or not you will "grow" into many of the functions that now might seem frivolous. When I purchased mine I had no intention of using the circle interpolation functions or even the metric scale. My machine has both imperial and metric dials so I thought it was a bit of unneeded redundancy.

It didn't take long to start using features I never had in the past. I'm glad I held out for it, and didn't cheap out on something I would have kicked myself for later. Personally I would hold off until I could afford the EL400.

I had my machine over 12 years before I finally sprung for a DRO. It was just before the 2012 elections. I had a big job to complete and the phone was ringing off the wall with political adds and monetary requests. Every time the phone rang I didn't know if it was a customer, vendor, or just another politician. When I would stop the machine I had to write down the coordinates so I could continue when I returned. Too often I forgot to write them down and had to retrace my steps.

Enough was enough so I finally called DRO Pros and ordered the system. The best part was they guaranteed that if it was installed one day after the current election cycle it would minimize the political phone calls for at least 2 years. I made the purchase and held them to their guarantee. It must still be working because since then the political calls have the political calls have diminished by 90%. Best purchase I've made in years.
 

Dynahoe Dave

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I NH other lucky. A friend who knew I just got the mill also knows a guy who restores and repairs machines. We took a ride to his shop. He had a used Heidenhhain 2 axis DRO. I got it for $400. I just finished cutting the X axis scal, as it was 10" too long. Works great.
 

mksj

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I have had and installed a number of DRO's on various machines, from very inexpensive to very expensive. These days there is not much difference in accuracy between ones that sells for $300 vs. $3000. My last installations were the EL700 from DROPros, nice but expensive. At you budget level, I would stick with glass scales, merely because they are 1/2 the price of a DRO with magnetic scales. The better glass scales have double lip seals and will last a long time, there is more risk of contamination if using flood coolant. I have seen reports by others that some of the very inexpensive generic glass scales failing because of poor seals.
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/sino-and-sinpo-glass-scales.57572/

Most DRO's either work up front or fail soon thereafter because of a component failure. I have also seen people report that the generic Chinese displays getting buggy when the temperature is very cold. Service and warranty are considerations, but in that respect you get what you pay for. Aliexpress is the least expensive, there are also a few eBay vendors to consider (but often this is the same model at almost 2X the price). I always factor in the reviews and recommended vendors that others have used, see previous postings.
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/free-shipping-complete-set-milling-lathe-drill-machine-dro-digital-readout-with-3-pcs-linear-scales/1021179_1524501216.html?spm=2114.12010108.0.0.11df52f5ZywvsJ
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3-Axies-Dro-LCD-digital-Counter-with-3pcs-50-1000mm-linear-scale-for-lathe-milling-grinding/32865869856.html
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3-Axis-Digital-Readout-3-pcs-Linear-Glass-Scale-50-1000mm-Optical-Linear-scale-5-micron/32870164714.html
https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Axis-Milling-Machine-Digital-ReadOut-DRO-kit-for-Bridgeport-Mill-NEW/163163966584
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Easson-ES-8A-complete-set-lathe-or-mill-3-axis-DRO-digital-readout-including-3-pcs/1021179_32269307525.html
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/New-Easson-ES-12B-3-axis-digital-readout-mill-lathe-3-axis-DRO-system-and-3/1021179_32789719488.html

If you are just looking at the numbers then you might consider the first two above, if you want a bit more than than consider Ditron (D60, D80) and Easson ES-8A, ES-12B/C) are very good mid priced brands. TPAC is also very well regarded as an inexpensive well built DRO. I went with an EL700 and 4 axis magnetic scales on my mill because I had fitment issues, and also wanted some additional functions of the EL700. But I would have been just as happy with the Easson and used a separate quill DRO at 1/3rd the price.

Based on your budget
 

projectnut

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As mksj mentioned the magnetic scales can be cut for fitment purposes. I am not aware of any glass scales that the manufacturer says can be modified.
 

pacifica

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I have had and installed a number of DRO's on various machines, from very inexpensive to very expensive. These days there is not much difference in accuracy between ones that sells for $300 vs. $3000. My last installations were the EL700 from DROPros, nice but expensive. At you budget level, I would stick with glass scales, merely because they are 1/2 the price of a DRO with magnetic scales. The better glass scales have double lip seals and will last a long time, there is more risk of contamination if using flood coolant. I have seen reports by others that some of the very inexpensive generic glass scales failing because of poor seals.
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/sino-and-sinpo-glass-scales.57572/

Most DRO's either work up front or fail soon thereafter because of a component failure. I have also seen people report that the generic Chinese displays getting buggy when the temperature is very cold. Service and warranty are considerations, but in that respect you get what you pay for. Aliexpress is the least expensive, there are also a few eBay vendors to consider (but often this is the same model at almost 2X the price). I always factor in the reviews and recommended vendors that others have used, see previous postings.
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/free-shipping-complete-set-milling-lathe-drill-machine-dro-digital-readout-with-3-pcs-linear-scales/1021179_1524501216.html?spm=2114.12010108.0.0.11df52f5ZywvsJ
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3-Axies-Dro-LCD-digital-Counter-with-3pcs-50-1000mm-linear-scale-for-lathe-milling-grinding/32865869856.html
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3-Axis-Digital-Readout-3-pcs-Linear-Glass-Scale-50-1000mm-Optical-Linear-scale-5-micron/32870164714.html
https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Axis-Milling-Machine-Digital-ReadOut-DRO-kit-for-Bridgeport-Mill-NEW/163163966584
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Easson-ES-8A-complete-set-lathe-or-mill-3-axis-DRO-digital-readout-including-3-pcs/1021179_32269307525.html
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/New-Easson-ES-12B-3-axis-digital-readout-mill-lathe-3-axis-DRO-system-and-3/1021179_32789719488.html

If you are just looking at the numbers then you might consider the first two above, if you want a bit more than than consider Ditron (D60, D80) and Easson ES-8A, ES-12B/C) are very good mid priced brands. TPAC is also very well regarded as an inexpensive well built DRO. I went with an EL700 and 4 axis magnetic scales on my mill because I had fitment issues, and also wanted some additional functions of the EL700. But I would have been just as happy with the Easson and used a separate quill DRO at 1/3rd the price.

Based on your budget
If you like the lcd screen which shows a picture of the operation you are doing than the least expensive is the ditron d80 and for about $100 more there is the easson es-12b.I use a d80 and it includes a help feature so you don't have to get out the manual, instructions and procedures are in the unit : faster.
 

Dynahoe Dave

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I doubt that a manufacturer would support modifying a glass scale. It's not for the faint of heart. Once I investigated how it was made, Put tissue and a cover over the thing to keep particles out. I used the mill to cut away enough of one side to get at the scale with a diamond cutting wheel. Made that rough cut. Then used the mill to finish cutting the other 2 sides, making the end square, etc. Did a final trim on the glass. Used the end block with a spacer sleeve to guid the drill bit to drill new holes into the end of the extrusion, tapped the holes. Cleaned it out, trimmed the lip seals to length, drilled and tapped new holes for the clamp screws that keep them in place. Put it all back together.
 

Richard White (richardsrelics)

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This is the one I bought, installed myself in an hour or so... :

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Axis-Digital-Readout-TTL-Linear-Scale-9x42DRO-Kit-for-Mill-Bridgeport-EMD/391571917497?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

ONE BIG NOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The X scale LITERALLY IS 42 inches long !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the housing is longer....

It is not needed to be that long, so I recommend sending a question to the seller asking for a shorter X scale. 36 inches should do just fine.

I started a conversation with them once I realized just how long this scale is, they stated I could return the old scale and they could have one made to whatever length I needed..

The readout has many bells and whistles, will do bolt circles and other fancy stuff.

One other note, the brackets they ship with were interesting to say the least, if the scale were shorter they may have worked, but I had the mill running and was trained on how to use the dials so making my own brackets was an easy task...

Reading the manual to figure out all the bells and whistles will come at a later time.

Only $230 shipping included and was quite prompt.

Cheers

Richard
 

Kroll

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Guys I have the 9x42 BP when I do order DRO what information will I need to know?I’m not a mm person so will I need to know the length of each axis travel or can I just type in 9x42 rest be auto fill in?Oh yea going to go ahead with 3 axis,like one posters said it’s not that much more and don’t have to install it so that’s a good ideal
 
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ttabbal

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You want to size the scales based on the travel of the machine, not the size. That way you have enough travel without having a length of scale sticking out that is useless.

There's a thread around here about it that might be useful, but the basic idea is to move the machine to one end of travel, mark a line across both parts, move to the other extreme and measure between the lines. If you tell the vendor this size they will add a little to give you space for mounting etc.. Most of the vendors also publish a list of standard sizes in mm. Just go to the next size up from your measurement. The exception would be if a longer scale gives you easier mounting options.
 

Technical Ted

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When I ordered my TPACtools DRO I emailed Tom and he said to just pick the 9x42 option for my Bridgeport. So, if you have the same size table and ordering from him, you can do that. Scales seem to fit my table fine. If you have a different size table or questions about yours I suggest you email him. He's very quick at responding.

Good luck,
Ted
 

Kroll

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Thanks Ted that’s who I be ordering from,for reasons you gave being local seller
 

Kroll

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Afternoon guys,well my DRO showed up yesterday so first thing was to check things out see if anything was broken or not.There were two holes punch in the box which went through one of the other boxes that had scale in it.But nothing broken,wiping my forehead now.The table is off the mill so I started on the Y axis first,which that has taken me all day long but thats OK.There were couple pre drill holes which I started to use it but that did not work out for me so I had to flip the aluminum bar over then drill for the two 3/8 holes thats in the knee.I had some SS washers that was very close to same thickness that I use to move the bar out away from the knee acting as a shim but still off.I do have a Shim Kit that with the washers I had to install .012 shims in the front but just the washer in the back which all this got me .002 .Which getting to that point I must have crank the saddle seems like 100 times back/forth.But glad I did so going to mount the scale itself then check it out making sure all is good then drill for the cover.So next will start thinking about the Z axis but going back and reading Technical Ted post I see that is going to be a project in itself.I don't have any think laying around that is thick like what Ted use so will need to pick something up.But going to come up with a plan tomorrow for that.It be nice if I had a working mill to make some brackets or stand off for the scale bar but will have to come up with something.Anyway just a warning,lots of questions will follow and any advice greatly appreciatedIMG_0694.jpgIMG_0695.jpg
 

Kroll

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Well hit a snag already,not major maybe I'm wrong.I mounted the bar then installed the scale all good so far.Next going to mount the guard but it will not fit over the scale and the aluminum bar together,so either I need to cut a filler or make another guard that will fit.Which means that the end caps will not completely cover the ends.Guess the covers were made without using the aluminum bars,oh well:(
 

Technical Ted

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I put pieces of wood between the knee casting and the cover. Then I painted the wood the same color as the rest of my mill. This worked great. You can probably see this in the pictures in my install post. If you need more let me know and I can post them here.

Ted
 

Technical Ted

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This is what I did. I also made wood end caps as well that fit and fully enclosed the ends.

Ted

IMG_20181120_210202.jpg
 

Kroll

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Fantastic T Ted I just wanted to make sure I doing it right,your solution is much better and looks good.Back on track now:)
 

Kroll

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Guys I been off this past week spending most of the time working on installing the axis on the mill.As easy as it sounds for me its a big job especially not having a mill to use to help make some of the brackets and just drilling holes that line up.I tried to do this using a drill press which did work but I had to drill out the holes in brackets bigger just to give me little adjustments.Anyway yesterday I roughly mounted the Z axis and shim it out just to see if it could be done using a single point attachment since no mill.I wanted to do like T Ted but had to go with this just to see if it could be done.I took 1" dia aluminum rod cut to 1/2 length drill a 1/4 hole in middle for the bolt then mounted to see how it would line up and be square with the ways on the column which it was not.So I put some quadrant marks on the rod went to sanding at an angle to match the casting(which this is not the correct way to do this but its what I have for now)after a sanding session on top spacer at a angle I would mount it and the bar for the axes and check for squareness with the column ways then sand some more,more,more.After I finally got it square with ways then started on the bottom sanding till I got the correct angle.OK after that then check again for squareness with the ways one more time.Next was getting it space correctly with the knee which that took time in itself which I ended up putting a .002 shim at the top.Up/down,up/down etc with the knee which I ended up only .002 out,which when I do the finally install I will use another shim to try to get it better(arms tired).Right now in the pic I am using just hex head 1/4 bolts which I will order some flat head bolts that have an 80* angle to match my 80* counter sink bit.After all this I still will have go through this again for the finally time cause going to order some shim washers to help get this spot on.IMG_0708.jpg
 
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