DRO purchase questions your opinions on different brands
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  1. #1
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    Default DRO purchase questions your opinions on different brands

    I am going to add a 3 axis DRO to my Victor 1640 engine lathe.
    I realize there have some posts on this already however I was hoping to get some up to date opinions from folks who have done their own installs.
    I have an Accurite two axis on my Bridgeport and like it no problems with it at all, till I posted this.
    Any recommendations on brand and type of scales. I am really just looking for something basic and fairly priced.

    Thanks.

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    I always vote Sony when this question is asked. No change.

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    I always vote Acurite. Only DRO I will buy.

    had one for ten years and it hiccupped. They repaired it free of charge.

    Just needed part numbers for special brackets for a new Acurite DRO. Customer service gave me the correct info right away.

    Ya gets what ya pays for. yep, cheaper ones are out there.

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    My only manual DRO is a Heidenhain, but new they are just, wooo, outa sight

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    I have a 2-axis SONY Magnascale on a BP clone. Kinda pricey, but never a problem.

    Previously I've used many BPs with Accurite DROs for years.
    Occasionally, the glass scales would get some oil or cutting fluid on them which caused it to malfunction. Takes a while to clean with acetone and Q-tip, but they always worked good after.

    Another brand is Newall. We had one on a Nardini lathe. Great for harsh environments.
    They don't use a glass scale; but measure the inductance of precision balls.
    Newall Electronics - Digital Readout (DRO) and Linear Encoders

    BTW, sure you need 3 axis? doesn't the Victor lathe have a good dial for movement of the tailstock quill?
    Last edited by gatz; 05-10-2021 at 10:41 AM.

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    I vote for Newall.

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    Here's another vote for Magnescale.

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    Have https://www.dropros.com EL-400 units on two lathes, one mill and surface grinder. Three plus years and no problems.

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    I have the earlier, black and white version of this: DRO 203 - Most Popular Digital Readout System | ACU-RITE
    I've run it almost daily for many years, and if it ever quits, I'll get the one linked or whatever is current. Mine was made by heidenhain and it was expensive, but I held out and got it on sale for about $1000 less than listed price.

    One thing that sold me on it is the use of large, 'real' buttons that 'click'. I absolutely HATE membrane keypads, they inevitably get sluggish and then punctured or deformed by jabbing 'cause they don't work. The other thing I like is plain english for routines and setups. No screwy arcane codes or hard-to read alpha-numeric displays. It also has a graphic depiction of what's going on. It was worth the wait. (the scales are SENC-150)

    It also has a lot of convenience features, like the slider that lets you crank handles fast until approaching the target, then it lets you know when you're getting close so you can slow down. It also has non-volatile memory so if there's a power outage it can come right back where you left off (all you have to do is move each axis any direction about 2" and it 'finds' itself).

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    I would buy a cheaper one like a chinese Easson Or a korean Jenix
    Half the price or less as Acurite.Heidenhein or Sony and they function perfectly

    Peter

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    I prefer Acu-Rite. Accurate, good quality, easy to install.

    If you are worried about contamination, I would go with a Magnascale or Mitutoyo next. With Newall's move to Mexico, they have had some serious lead time and quality issues. Plus, you are at best getting a 5um scale with a Microsyn 5 when the other brands will go way more accurate of a resolution on the cross slide (I know Acu-Rite's typically come with 1um on the cross slide).

    Jon

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    If it’s going on to a small centre lathe I’d go with “ Newall “ also.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Newall for bullet proof.

    If fitting several machines mid range import plus a shared spare head is significantly less costly. My Sino set is over 10 years old now and still going strong. For around 1/4 the price of a Newall back then I've had my moneys worth.

    I like the look of the magnetic "tape" scales for lathe fitment as they are said to the compact enough to fit under the cross slide out of the way of chips and safe from knocking with the tailstock. So far as I'm aware all the TTL quadrature reading displays normally used with glass scales work fine with the magnetics.

    No idea if any makes have this feature but I've always thought that an electrical output on zero would be handy to use as a sort of electronic bed stop. Basically tool it up to a magic box controlling the feed or spindle clutch, set one of the zero offset memories to the appropriate distance and have at it. Much easier than setting a a mechanical stop.

    Clive
    Last edited by Clive603; 05-11-2021 at 05:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clive603 View Post
    Newall for bullet proof.

    If fitting several machines mid range import plus a shared spare head is significantly less costly. My Sino set is over 10 years old now and still going strong. For around 1/4 the price of a Newall back then I've had my moneys worth.

    I like the look of the magnetic "tape" scales for lathe fitment as they are said to the compact enough to fit under the cross slide out of the way of chips and safe from knocking with the tailstock. So far as I'm away all the TTL quadrature reading displays normally used with glass scales work fine with the magnetics.

    No idea if any makes have this feature but I've always thought that an electrical output on zero would be handy to use as a sort of electronic bed stop. Basically tool it up to a magic box controlling the feed or spindle clutch, set one of the zero offset memories to the appropriate distance and have at it. Much easier than setting a a mechanical stop.

    Clive

    A DRO for EDM has that function
    I use that on a slotting machine that you can switch off the powerfeed electricaly
    I set the switchpoint at 0 Then toutch the side of the hole with the tool
    Preset the depth of the keyway And as it reaches the preset depth powerfeeds kicks off
    Works great on a slotting machine Accuracy is about the depth of one cut

    Peter

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    Thanks for all the suggestions so far, most appreciated.
    I do believe I am going go with Newall and mag/inductance scales, same type that are on my BP. After listening to several blokes I have decided to forget the 3rd axis (KISS).
    Next question is does anyone have a particular dealer that has competitive prices? Not asking you to do my home work for me, but just of the top of your head. Better phrasing would be who should I avoid? Or don't cheap out and buy from the OEM, and be assured of good support.
    Once again all opinions / suggestions thank you.

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    H&W in Ft. Wayne, IN is a great seller, so is Quality Machine Tools in Pittsburgh, PA.

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    I ^$T#$% hate installing DRO's more than anything else in the shop, even cleaning the coolant sump. There just something about that is so figidity and frustrating. I've done offshores, Mitutoyo and Newall....like the Newall the best as the install is easiest

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    I have Sony Magnascale on my Bridgeport, no problems in 30 years of use. On my Victor 1640 lathe I have a DRO Pros, five years of no problems and it costs a lot less!

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    We've stuck with Acu-rite for all of our new installs and never had any issues. The only ones I've had problems with were 30-40 year old systems that were purchased second hand. Usually, the problems started with the rubber seals breaking down and letting junk get inside the scales, or the button pads breaking down. Like all electronics, if you keep them clean, they last longer.

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    I liked having the 3rd axis, but in our case we used the compound a lot because it was still really smooth compared to the not so smooth carriage and cross slide on that particular lathe. Most other lathes I don't use the compound much at all and am perfectly happy with a 2 axis system.

    Our machinery repair guy of choice when I worked in Dallas would only install Newall systems because they had all the right brackets for the specific machine. Being picky and nearing retirement he just didn't feel like messing with other stuff. Boss didn't want to pay for the Newall system so we ended up with a DRO-Pros because it was half the price. Didn't come with machine specific brackets, and we had to drill the cross slide a couple places to mount it, not at all a big deal in hindsight. Being nervous about doing that we hired our then second favorite machinery repair guy who made sure to work slow enough that the total bill matched that of the Newall to teach us a lesson, didn't hire him again for anything. On the other hand, once we put the sensors the right distance from the read head (something else he didn't do) it worked just as well as any other.


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