Author Topic: Advice on milling machine DRO please  (Read 1409 times)

Offline Trevorc

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Advice on milling machine DRO please
« on: October 23, 2018, 08:48:08 PM »
Hello
My mill is a Warco milldrill purchased 15 plus years ago. It has given good service and about 10 years ago i fitted those capacitive DRO slide rulers which were popular then. These have worked ok except the one workng on the Y axis which seems to suffer from swarf and oil contamination. The connection of this one to the remote readout has also given numerous problems  :headscratch:. The other two have worked perfectly being in a protected positions away from contamination. The Y axis played up again today in the middle of work  :rant:so i have decided that i will upgrade to something that is immune to swarf and oil and has a reliable remote readout. What should i look for? Can you reccomend a  supplier?
Thank you Trevorc

Offline Mike Bondarczuk

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2018, 09:05:52 PM »
Hi Trevor,

I have a 4 axis Ortec system on my mill and it is now a discontinued item but, touch wood, still working perfectly well, albeit only as a number generator, which is fine as it gives perfectly acceptable readings for the X, Y and Z axis as well as the quill.

However, for a new mill I am looking at I am going to go with the new magnetic decoders from M-DRO via the Allendale group who are the suppliers.

They have a 3 axis system with a fully functional LED display and complete with all brackets suitable for a mill up to a full sized Bridgeport, so depending on the size of your mill the costs may come down relative to the lengths of the decoders.

I am not connected to the company in any way but they do have a good reputation for service as well as supply and I had a long chat with them at the Midlands show last week.

Mike
"Everything I can't find is in a totally secure place"

Offline Pthunberg

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2018, 10:05:20 PM »
I have one of the generic import 2 axis DROs from Grizzly with optical scales on my mill. Not inexpensive but when compared to other manufacturers DROs not too bad. It works very well with rock steady, accurate, and repeatable readings. The instruction book is a direct translation from another language and is sometime amusing but not very helpful.  I do wish I had all three axis though.

Offline toolznthings

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2018, 12:59:17 AM »
Thanks for the visit !
Brian

Offline MJM460

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2018, 03:23:43 AM »
I purchased two of the low cost battery operated ones for the lathe, one on the long travel and one on the tail stock quill.  I would like one on the cross slide and even one on the top slide, but I use the collet chuck a lot for small parts and it requires the saddle and tail stock to be very close to the head.  I have not been able to figure out a good way to fit one on the cross slide without it getting in the way.

Anyway, when I purchased them, I must have asked about coolant because I was advised that none are sufficiently proof against coolant or chips, and it is therefore essential to put a protective housing over them to keep them clean and dry.  I did that, and despite being relatively cheap units, they have worked well for several years now.  If they failed I would definitely replace them, though possibly with something more up market for additional features.  I made the housing like an inverted U from two angles for easy installation.  One is screwed to the lathe frame with the toe on top, the other overlaps that one to complete the cover and so is easily removed if necessary.

I also found out that for measuring instruments it is better to use the silver oxide cells instead of the cheaper zinc ones as they maintain a more stable voltage.  Now, when any issues of repeatability appear, I replace the battery, and no further issues.

I am sure the same would apply to installing similar items on a mill, certainly I am trying to work that one further up the list.  I only have a digital scale on the quill so far.

MJM460
The more I learn, the more I find that I still have to learn!

Online Jo

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2018, 08:34:08 AM »
Hi Trevor,

How much do you want to spend? The capacitive ones you mention are very cheap in comparison with other scales. Next in cost is glass (I have those very good no problems except on one read head in 10 years), the latest thing are the flat magnetic scales which are a little dearer and then you have the very nice Newall Spheroysn and Microsyn scales/encoders which have drastically dropped in price the last few years  :) .

Displays: Again choices - some of the LED scales became "Dim" a few years back (was told it was due to a new filter over the display  :noidea: ) I have not seen the latest to find out if they corrected it. Then there are graphical displays which help if you get confused with some of the fancy capabilities of the display (like helping drill holes in a circle) and there are some very nice LCD displays around.

M-DRO are a reputable dealer (not the cheapest). I brought mine from CBR Electronics who will both supply and fit a set for about the same price as M-DRO supply them for. I have been told Colin makes fitting them look so easy but I like spending a couple of days fitting them rather than have him fit them in a couple of hours (that was before I heard how little he charges to fit them)

In 10 years of owning various DROs I have only had the wiring to one read head fail but thinking back I suspect it was faulty from new and at the time most of the suppliers where supplying that type of scales so I was just unlucky. I brought a new read head, it slid straight in and I was up and running again in 10 mins.

Jo
Usus est optimum magister

Online Jim Nic

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2018, 10:26:43 AM »
Hi Trevor
I have had magnetic scales fitted to my Warco WM16 mill for about 7 years. They were supplied by Machine DRO (Allendale) and fitted by me without difficulty and have been faultless in that time.  I often use coolant when milling steel and the downside of it of course is that the stuff goes everywhere; it has never caused a problem to the DRO. 
I have the X axis scale covered with a strip of aluminium angle to stop swarf interfering with the read head and the Y axis is for the large part sheltered under the table which avoids any swarf issues there.
I have a plain 2 axis numerical display mounted well off the machine and find it perfectly acceptable, possibly because it is what I have become used to. 
Jim


The person who never made a mistake never made anything.

Offline Trevorc

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2018, 05:51:18 PM »
Thanks everyone for your advice. Much food for thought! Will have to speak to Santa!!
Regards
Trevorc

Offline Firebird

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2018, 08:08:11 PM »
Hi Trevor

This is the way I did it

http://www.modelenginemaker.com/index.php/topic,2865.0.html

Cheers

Rich

Offline gerritv

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2018, 01:26:51 AM »
Hi Trevor

This is the way I did it

http://www.modelenginemaker.com/index.php/topic,2865.0.html

Cheers

Rich

I recently did the TouchDRO install to my lathe and (horizontal) mill. I used igaging scales, good enough for me. What a joy to use TouchDRO, turning to diameter or boring to depth is no big deal anymore.

gerrit
Don't confuse activity with progress

Offline Trevorc

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Re: Advice on milling machine DRO please
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2019, 05:02:18 PM »
Thank you for your advice and comments. I hope that i am not tempting fate by saying that i think i have solved the problem- no problem experienced during 3 or 4 hours on the mill. :ROFL:
The solution was to simply electrically isolate the bars and reading head from the structure of the mill.
A packet of nylon nuts and bolts did the job.
Just to be on tne safe sidei will implement another piece of advice to suppress the sparks from the on off switch relay by adding a capacitor across the terminals.
Trevorc