Anyone have any great secret DRO options for a 9"x48" lathe?
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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone have any great secret DRO options for a 9"x48" lathe?

    I'm wondering if anyone has a great, inexpensive option for a 2 axis dro for my 15x48 Colchester? It has 9" x 48" travels. I have Acu Rite on my mill and love it, but can't afford the cost of a new one for the lathe. It seems like people are pretty happy with the Sino models, but I don't see any options for scales longer than 40" with them.

    Other than the usual suspects for a good deal on a used or surplus one, does anyone know of any options I should be considering?

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    Dro-Pros has always worked well for me on my Bridgeport and I wouldn't hesitate to use them on a lathe if I were in the market.

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    +1 on DRO-PRO. Have one on my JET lathe for a couple of years. 6 year warranty. Easy to install on X and Z. no problems since. They were very helpful for questions on installation.

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    These guys in SoCal sell Korean Jenix units very cheap. They are way better build quality than other cheap units. Steel clad cables, cast aluminum housings, glass scales, those professional screw on connectors, mounting hardware kits. I have bought four sets and covered them in swarf and generally treated them poorly and they are still running great after years of use. Oh, yeah 6 year warranty.

    Welcome to Linear Measuring Systems. Experts in the sales and service of digital readouts- dro's for metalworking and woodworking industries

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxian View Post
    These guys in SoCal sell Korean Jenix units very cheap. They are way better build quality than other cheap units. Steel clad cables, cast aluminum housings, glass scales, those professional screw on connectors, mounting hardware kits. I have bought four sets and covered them in swarf and generally treated them poorly and they are still running great after years of use. Oh, yeah 6 year warranty.

    Welcome to Linear Measuring Systems. Experts in the sales and service of digital readouts- dro's for metalworking and woodworking industries
    Thanks! Their website isn't terribly clear and the links lead in circles, but I emailed them for a quote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cole2534 View Post
    Dro-Pros has always worked well for me on my Bridgeport and I wouldn't hesitate to use them on a lathe if I were in the market.
    Are you guys liking the 1 yr glass, 2 yr glass, or 6 yr magnetics?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonPAtkins View Post
    Are you guys liking the 1 yr glass, 2 yr glass, or 6 yr magnetics?
    I've had the magnetics on my mill since about 11, no issues with them or the reader head.

    Only issue I've ever had was related to a power outage releasing some magic smoke from the display. They fixed it for free, well after warranty expired.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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    I would go with Newall, I have one on my lathe. They are immune to contamination and are great for cross slides where you need the extra precision.

    Tom

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    The cheapest secret is mounting a couple $19.95 2" Chinese dial indicators on a sliding bar. I have gotten by that way for 25 years. Of course I don't use the manual lathes for high precision work.

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    I'm pretty well in the same boat. I've got a Sony LH51 readout for my 14" x 40" lathe but no scales for it. Will have to check out some of these.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    The cheapest secret is mounting a couple $19.95 2" Chinese dial indicators on a sliding bar. I have gotten by that way for 25 years. Of course I don't use the manual lathes for high precision work.
    I used a 2" dial indicator with a magnet mount for the Z axis...until I got a DRO.

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    I bought an Easson setup from these people on AliExpress Shenzhen Siton Technology Co., Ltd

    Ask them about a longer scale - I know they had at least 50" scales. My cost was $400 for three 1 um scales plus display. I would have loved to go with one from DRO Pro but it was more than I could afford.

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    I do not like the Electronica DROs sold by the ironically named Dro"pros". I imported a higher end version directly from India and still don't love it. I would also not suggest Newall as while they are great systems on a mill they don't have the resolution for a cross side on a lathe and are expensive. If you want to save money over a high end system, Mitutoyo dro's are not too expensive and the quality etc is going to be massively better then the junk from China or India.
    Luke

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    I remember seeing somewhere that cheap hobby level products are BANNED from discussing on this forum. All those DROs by Electronica, Easson, etc fall into this category. That is something you can find in someones garage, but not in a professional shop, where machine needs to be available when needed, and machinists need to be making chips, instead of constantly replacing poor quality scales.

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    Yup. Major suggestion: pick a DRO whose cross slide scale can be gutted and buried in the cross slide between the nut and the saddle casting clearance wall. Some midification/surgery may be required but there wille be several benefits. The scale will be immue to chips and collision. You keep full travel of the carriage back to the tailstock.

    Ingenuity and innovation required. Especiallly routing the signal wire.

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    I have a Newall on my lathe with no issues. After I mounted the slide I made a very simple aluminum cover that prevents anything from getting on it. No big deal.

    "They don't have the resolution"? huh?

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    I have a DRO Pro's magnetic on my Webb mill and it is great. I liked it so much that I bought one for my Feeler lathe. The nice thing about the magnetic scales is that you can cut them to the length needed. On my Feeler lathe I was able to mount it on the front of the lathe out of the way under the carriage which lets me use the back side for the taper attachment.

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    Stuck a Newall on my Clausing Colcester and never looked back

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    I'm a die-hard Acu-rite guy. If cost is an issue, keep an eye on Ebay. I purchased the components separately, all open package, lightly used, ect., and ended up getting our Delta Rockwell lathe set up for somewhere between $500-$750. It has a 200S display with SENC150 scales (6"x42" travel). There of course isn't any warranty and you never know what kind of junk someone might sell you, but in general I've had very good luck with newer Acu-rite components. It's the ones that are 30-40 years old that have displays and reader heads die, seals go bad, etc. (at least for me).

    The other advantage to buying the individual components as opposed to a kit, is that you can get just the right size of scales for your machine. Most of the kits I've seen you have to round up 12" or more on scale lengths and end up with lengths of scale that will never be used. You of course want to round up to keep the reader head from crashing into the end caps, but if you lay it out right, it doesn't take much safety room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaybuilder View Post
    I have a DRO Pro's magnetic on my Webb mill and it is great. I liked it so much that I bought one for my Feeler lathe. The nice thing about the magnetic scales is that you can cut them to the length needed. On my Feeler lathe I was able to mount it on the front of the lathe out of the way under the carriage which lets me use the back side for the taper attachment.
    Me too. For me magnetoresistive technology is the only technology I care to use.


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