Author Topic: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill  (Read 2080 times)

Offline Brian Rupnow

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Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« on: July 05, 2018, 12:16:16 AM »
When I bought the DRO kit for my milling machine, I only bought scales for the X and Y axis, as the mill came with its own "built in" Z axis DRO. I have found out since that although the small Z axis digital scale on the front of my mill works very well, it is almost impossible to see clearly. Partly because of the adjacent window and partly because of my shop lighting.  Since I have finished all of my project work for the moment, I decided now would be a good time to address this issue. I need a very small, easy to mount light that can shine light onto the dro and not in my eyes. I found an add for 12 volt lighted license plate bolts during a google search, and these seemed to be about perfect in size and mounting capability. My lighted license plate bolts arrived today. Aren't they cute little devils. I haven't tried them on a battery yet to see how bright they are, but the size is perfect for what I want to do. Tomorrow I will go over to Sayal Electronics and chase down a 12 volt dc output wall-wart and a small switch.

Offline Brian Rupnow

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 12:23:14 AM »
I'm kind of getting the cart ahead of the horse here, but that's what happens when you post on multiple forums.  Picture is worth a thousand words. This is a picture of my mill with the built in Z  axis dro. You can see a small aluminum "ledge" that I have attached to the front of the mill, which was intended to reflect a bit of light up to the readout directly above it. (Didn't work.) I wanted a small 12 volt automotive bulb with one side shielded, mounted right in the middle of that aluminum ledge. I don't want it to shine in my eyes--only towards the readout.

Offline b.lindsey

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 12:27:00 AM »
Ain't Google grand!! Hope it works as you expect Brian.

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 01:10:20 AM »
Yeah I'll be interested in how that goes.
I have the same problem.

The 2nd issue I have is that DRO is on battery and I keep forgetting to turn it off.
And...I haven't confirmed it yet...but I think it's like a caliper and turns on when you move the quill. I don't like that.
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Offline Brian Rupnow

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 04:18:03 PM »
I went across town to Sayal Electronics this morning and bought a 12 volt output wall-wart, a single pole single throw toggle switch, four foot of heat-shrink tubing and some cable ties and stick on cable tie mounts for $22. I have tried the light on the wall wart and it lights up with no problem. The picture shows an aluminum mounting box for the light and switch, which bolts onto the existing "shelf" with four #40 shcs. The bottom portion of the light (pink) is flexible and will bend to fit into the containment box.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 04:28:07 PM by Brian Rupnow »

Offline Brian Rupnow

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2018, 08:02:01 PM »
My parts range in size from small to real damned small. I have to cut some holes in that shelf bracket attached to the front of my mill and then we'll try for an assembly shot.--Brian

Offline Brian Rupnow

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2018, 08:59:05 PM »
Well, so far/so good. Everything fits together the way I wanted it to, the light is centered on the shelf in front of the read-out, and both light and switch fit into the housing I carved out. I have a bit of wiring to do and then we'll power up the light and see what happens.

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2018, 09:01:27 PM »
Any thought to sticking a regulator in and removing that battery?
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Offline Brian Rupnow

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 10:29:00 PM »
No Zee, not going to do that. Now I have a reminder to shut the digital read-out off.  I can't see it without the light I'm adding. The light will be easy to remember to shut off---and that will remind me to shut the digital readout off. :Lol: :Lol:

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2018, 12:13:00 AM »
No Zee, not going to do that. Now I have a reminder to shut the digital read-out off.  I can't see it without the light I'm adding. The light will be easy to remember to shut off---and that will remind me to shut the digital readout off. :Lol: :Lol:

Ah. I like that too.
Still...one switch to turn them on and one switch to control them.  :ROFL:
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
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Offline Brian Rupnow

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2018, 02:20:12 AM »
I think this is going to work just fine. The light makes a tremendous difference in the visibility of the digital read out scale. This isn't really a fair test because I didn't have all my shop lighting turned on and it's 9:15 in the evening here so it's darker than it would normally be in full daylight. I just couldn't wait, so everything is more or less jerry-rigged with an extension cord running to the wall wart. I think I will plug the hole in the end of the housing and put the hole out thru the side closest to the mill. I don't really want to see any wires when I finish hooking everything up.

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2018, 02:22:44 AM »
Very nice result. It certainly looks readable.

But yes...I'll be interested in seeing how it works in daylight and with shop lights on.

Reflections can be a problem. Any thought to a shade above the DRO?
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Offline Brian Rupnow

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2018, 02:30:19 AM »
No again Zee. When I stand in front of the mill, my eyes are pretty well level with the "CX601" (or higher, depending on what height I have the head at). Any kind of shade above the dro will prevent me from seeing what I am milling. If I find that there is any glare under normal daytime use, I may put a bit of colored transparent plastic in front of the light. This is very much a "figure it out as I go along" sort of thing, so what I do will be determined by further testing.

Online crueby

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2018, 02:43:24 AM »
Looks good.


If you do need to diffuse it a bit, either a bit of colored plastic like you mention, or just a layer of tan masking tape or a postit note can do the trick.

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Auxiliary lighting for Z axis DRO on mill
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2018, 03:19:51 AM »
When I stand in front of the mill, my eyes are pretty well level with the "CX601" (or higher, depending on what height I have the head at). Any kind of shade above the dro will prevent me from seeing what I am milling.

Ah. When I'm in front of the mill, my eyes are a good 18" above the DRO and that's when the cutter is a few inches away from the work-piece.
Any kind of shade would effectively hide the DRO.
I would consider a mirror but reading upside down would result in many errors.  ;D
For me, it may not be a matter of a shade above the DRO...but something to shade sunlight, ambient light, from dimming the DRO.
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.