[4]

Leaning towards getting a DRO for my Bridgeport mill

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#1
I've been a dial counter for years and am pretty comfortable doing so, but recently have been thinking about installing a DRO on my Bridgeport mill. Two axis is the path I'm taking. I don't think I would use one on my knee and I don't really want the clutter of one on my quill. For my work and projects, depth isn't typically all that critical. I've got an adjustable depth stop and that suits me just fine.

It started when I saw H&W has the Mitutoyo on sale for a bit over $1000. But, after doing some research, for my hobby use, I see that a lot of people are very happy with much less expensive units. I've been doing quite a bit of searching and it has pretty much come down to TPAtools and DROpros. These two seem to be neck and neck with popularity and endorsements from this discussion group and other sources.

I'm pretty sure I'm going the TPAtools ($365 free shipping) two axis route. They are over $100 cheaper than DROpros and users/owners are very happy with them. They have a 5 year warranty.

I'm posting this to get any feedback on my decision before pulling the trigger.

Thanks!
Ted
 

randyjaco

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
807
Likes
317
#2
Stop leaning and just buy one. I would go with a 3 axis one if you can swing it. You will be amazed at what your old Briggie can do. You will also find that you enjoy machining more than you ever did before. I now use DROPros exclusively. When you do the installation, that extra 100 bucks will be money well spent.

Randy
 

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#3

Karl_T

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Oct 14, 2014
Messages
1,027
Likes
433
#4
My google foo is not working... pretty common for me.

I am interested in using magnetic encoder strips like Jim Dawson did on a DRO build. I'll keep looking. I suggest you at least consider this route.

<EDIT>
Jim sent me the link:

https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/lathe-dro.58063/
 
Last edited:

jdedmon91

Active Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 29, 2017
Messages
304
Likes
610
#5
Go get one. I use mine constantly. Besides the positioning the features like finding center and hole positioning is worth the money


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ronboult

Active User
Registered
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
201
Likes
78
#6
Hi Technical Ted.
I am sure you will really appreciate a DRO once you get to use it. Most who install one would never consider going back.
Where you purchase from is up to you but I will leave you with two suggestions .
1 At least buy a readout with three axis. You don't have to install a Z axis scale at first but if you buy a 2axis readout you can't upgrade and I am fairly sure you will want too after using the DRO for awhile.
2 Secondly the most important issue with what DRO you choose is the Readout. Some Brands use multiple menus to get to the operations and are a pain to use while others make using the readout easy.

My lathe came with a generic DELOS readout ( One of many Chinese variations) which was a pain to use whereas my Mill has an EASON ES12 which is easy to use and as consequenceI have just upgraded my lathe to a new ES12B.
Before you choose may I suggest you find someone with what you plan to buy and try it out. There maybe someone local on the forums that can assist
Cheers Ron
 

killswitch505

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
268
Likes
260
#7
Thankfully my new to me mill came with a DRO. I couldn’t imagine milling without one. I went with a tpactools on my lathe money well spent they also were a bit cheaper than dro pros. I kinda felt bad about not ordering a dro pros as I’ve heard good things about those guys. The guy at tpac seemed nice on the phone. I only spoke with him the once and have had no issues with the DRO.
 

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#8
Well, I pulled the trigger this morning and made a compromise based on suggestions here and others. I settled on the TPACtools 3-axis. Total price was $455 with free shipping, no tax. The cheapest 3-axis version they had at DROpros would have cost $287 more ($699 + $43 shipping). The units are rated at the same resolution and accuracy, but the TPACtools has a 5 years warranty and the DROpros only 1 year (unless you upgrade, pay more and get their better units). Sounds like the DROpros has a better manual, but I don't think a better manual is worth $287! Not to me anyways...

I've seen nothing bad by any users for either brand so they both seem to be very solidly built.

So, now I've got another project lined up! :)

Thanks for the input!
Ted
 

gwade

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 15, 2014
Messages
61
Likes
20
#9
Ted - Let us know how it goes. I plan on getting one for my Bridgeport and install as a "cold weather" project this Winter. I'm also considering getting from TPAC so your review would be greatly appreciated.
 

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#10
Ted - Let us know how it goes. I plan on getting one for my Bridgeport and install as a "cold weather" project this Winter. I'm also considering getting from TPAC so your review would be greatly appreciated.
Will do. I won't post a play by play, but I'll take some pictures along the way. I just got a shipping notice from TPACtools so that was fast! I would imagine I'll have it by the end of the week.

Ted
 

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#11
For those who might be interested in buying from TPACtools: I've received 4 shipping emails this afternoon. The first from TPACtools, second, third and fourth from FedEx. The last one said my package was in transit and I would be receiving it between 9:05-1:35 on this Wednesday.

So, ordered on a Monday and receive within 2 days on Wednesday! Pretty sweet turn around time! So far, so good....

Ted
 

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#12
WOW! Just got another email from FedEx and they now say I'll be getting the DRO tomorrow! One day from Illinois to NY with free shipping!

I've got a few other irons in the fire, including my SB 15" lathe being partially torn apart replacing the fiber washer with a needle thrust bearing, so the DRO install will be worked in between other things.

I'll start a new thread when I receive it.

Ted
 

RobertHaas

Active Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
81
Likes
99
#13
Let us know when you quit looking at the dials and only at the DRO.

FYI I just ordered a 4th readout for my mill. (Quill) A friend runs one on his and it sure makes for a fast way to do swap outs and resets.
 

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#14
Oh man... old habits die hard! :) Hopefully, an old dog can learn a new trick!

On another humorous note, got yet another update from FedEx and it's back to being scheduled for tomorrow again. I guess the previous one they were just kidding about it being here today! No problem, I'm very happy with a two day total turn around and I'm getting my thrust bearing from McMaster today so I'll be working on my lathe anyways.

Ted
 

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#16

Dabbler

Administrator Trainee
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
568
Likes
416
#17
Technical Ted, Some of the guys here would really appreciate some photos of your unit and your install. Seeing multiple projects helps to demystify the process, and helps us all see new insights into solving issues with installation... It also helps us to compare brands!
 

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#18
Sure, I'll take some pictures along the way and post my thoughts and opinions about the install and the quality of the equipment I get. When done, I'll also share anything that I would do differently if I was to do it again.

There are as many different ways to tackle a project like this as there are people who do it! I'll share my approach and I'm sure there will be better ways or different ways of skinning the same cat. A lot of the reasons I do things the way I do is based around the material I have on hand. I hate having to go out and buy new raw materials at the prices they get now days when I have stock on hand that will get the job done, even though it might not do so as elegantly. ;) I like things to look nice, but I'm definitely a function over form guy.

Ted
 

randyjaco

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
807
Likes
317
#19
Please elaborate... why?

Ted
First, they have a website with excellent documentation. Second the adapters they supply require little to no modification. Third, if you get to the point that you have to call someone, you will find a technically knowledgeable individual on the line that speaks English as a first language
Randy
 

Larry42

Active Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 22, 2016
Messages
46
Likes
24
#20
I bought a 3 axis EASON from DROpros for my JET 9 x 49. The manual was pretty good. Took me longer than it should have to install and then calibrate. Now that I've had it for awhile, I really like using it. I switch between " & mm all the time, (I prefer to use metric) I use the 1/2 function lots, the bolt hole circle function is handy and the trig functions are great. Being able to zero instantly, nice. I occasionally will use the multiple memory function. A 2 axis EASON came on my PM1440 HD when I bought it. Has worked fine.
I bought a Z-axis power feed for the mill. Saves a lot of cranking when going from end mill to drill chuck. It came with a shaft that had the wrong thread for my mill. I couldn't find one online so turned one on the lathe.
 

warrjon

Active Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
43
Likes
17
#22
I have an Easson 3 axis on my King Rich and very happy with it, mostly use the centre feature. I think a DRO on the mill is way more useful than the lathe as long as the dials are good, I still count dials on my Lathe.

The DRO on the mill removes the need to take into account backlash in the feeds.
 

Kroll

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Dec 23, 2012
Messages
1,019
Likes
234
#23
Ted I see this thread is from month ago any updates.Can your axis be zero out as others have comment about?Any pics of the updates?I like reading that you are happy have you been able to put it through couple test runs?
 

Technical Ted

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
637
Likes
614
#24
See my other recent posts about the actual install and learning how to use it. I'll be happy to answer any specific questions.

Ted
 
[6]
[5] [7]
Top