DRO System Mill/Drill

Over a year ago I started hunting for a DRO system for my Mill/Drill! I
looked at everything offered for a system. What I found were 2 key problems
system price was one and other DRO installation.
A Mill/Drill has no built in mounting points for DRO addition unlike many
knee mills. I quickly found that no DRO system seller had any support or
installation design for a Mill/Drill! Scale accuracy of a DRO system is
absolutely dependent on its mounting system. Most reasonably priced system
matched purchase cost my mill/drill and the rest were much higher!
Problems aside I still wanted the major benefits of an instrument based
positioning system, repeatable accuracy and reduced layout time!
Frustration is a great motivator; I ended up hunting the world for a
solution. I eventually located scales that supplied needed quality and
repeatable accuracy. Also now have manufactured an easy to read and use
3-axis LCD display system.
I decided to form these components into a Kit! Put in the time needed to
engineer a rigid mounting system and write an easy to follow installation
guide. My secondary goal for a mounting system was too use existing
fastening points. Complete installation requires only 2 new fastening
Over the past 4 months I have been selling system in limited numbers
primarily on EBay. User input has been very helpful for continued
development! Comments have been enthusiastic on both accuracy and value of
this DRO system. Systems have been installed on machines from RF15 to RF45
and clones. One major need did become apparent in testing many users needed
brackets to be supplied. Those are now included with kit purchase along with
1 year USA Warrantee and installation support. System cost is under $400.00
and can be viewed on EBay Item #3857220019 or
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Kenneth A. Emmert
SMW Precision
Reply to
Kenneth A. Emmert
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I'm not in your target marketplace, but if I were, I'd not bid on your auction because the pictures don't show me what I'd need to know. You might consider doing a little more work on your auction posting -- it might return you a lot more money.
Kenneth A. Emmert wrote:
Reply to
Grant Erwin
That looks like the Chinese made unite from SD ZIMA- uses the scales from digital calipers which can be ordered in either horizontal or vertical display or with the remote display. Wholesale Tool offers this system as well. Problems with batteries in scales and poor cabling connections have plagued these units as well as low resolution- the scales are highly sensitive to liquids, so are not good on the tables where flood coolants are used. Mounting is pretty simple as the scales have a bracket on each end and they can be cut with a high speed abrasive wheel. The unit I had experience with used LCD display which was not bright.
Reply to
That looks like the Chinese made unite from SD ZIMA- uses the scales from digital calipers which can be ordered in either horizontal or vertical display or with the remote display-
Measurement system used in these scales and digital calipers are the same! Display bodies and travel beams are different in design and manufactured exactly for this product. X-axis scale beam is about an 11/8" wide and a 1/4" thick Z-axis beam is 7/8th" wide and 3/16" thick both hardened Stainless Steel. I am not familiar with SD ZIMA!
Wholesale Tool offers this system as well- They do not sell a similar unit! They do sell scales manufactured in China Wholesale Tool price for 3 similar appearing and length scales $363.00. They do not list a 20" scale only a 24" horizontal I charge $25.00 extra for the increased length. They do sell a 3-axis display unit which will only work with Mitutoyo's Digimatic Scales and none that work with a 4 prong SPC port.
Problems with batteries in scales and poor cabling connections have plagued these units! One of the upgrades added to my system is Lithium batteries they have a 3 year plus life span with continuous operation, Cabling connections have not proved to be a problem with these units. Installation guide covers cable running and tying there have been no reported problems!
As well as low resolution- One of the areas I am fanatical on is scale resolution. DRO system is of little value without consistent accuracy. Part of the guarantee/warrantee is scale accuracy! It took samples from several manufactures before I found one who supplied what I demanded for repeatable accuracy. Where problems occur is these instruments all appear the same with many sellers of factory seconds. I only buy or sell Factory first quality and check a percentage of each shipment for accuracy and repeatable accuracy.
Scales are highly sensitive to liquids, so are not good on the tables where flood coolants are used- Scales have integrated wipers and use of flood coolant is not recommended with out covering display body. System works well with misting systems no problems reported!
LCD display was not bright- Which is true, they do have great contrast and are easier on the eyes in long term use. I would not recommend a LCD display for use in a poorly lighted shop.
Point of this product is to provide an option for homeshop and small shop users. DRO systems in general are priced out of practical reach for many users. Or if they do spend the money they quickly find a mill/drilll problematic to install a DRO system on! Installations times of 30 to 40 hours are not unusual and many have been unable to ever get a correctly working Z-axis.
This system provides excellent accuracy along with installation design and support. If you read my EBay feedback you will find buyers agree with that statement!
Kenneth A. Emmert
SMW Precision
Reply to
Kenneth A. Emmert
After more research I found the CBX system from Canada to have better accuracy, more functions and easier mounting for near the same price- 549.00 2 axis, 749.99 for 3 axis
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I managed to mount a Sargon 2 axis DRO on my Jet mill drill by drilling a few holes and screwing it down.
You get what you pay for. Glass scales are not cheap.
Reply to
Charles A. Sherwood
CBX is the next system up in price at $750.00 for a 3-axis DRO system. Cost is exactly twice the price! Resolution of 0.0005 are the same on both system fuctions are the same except CBX has a reversible count direction function. User reviews of the CBX product have been positive! Installation instructions consist of some user installation pictures and there is no support or design for installation. Pictured installations show about 8 new fastening points needing to be added. No picture of a Z-axis installation is shown and that is where buyers have run into problems. It was after reviewing the CBX system installations and focus group installation problems with my system that it became clear a designed installation system was required. A mill/drill in not a user friendly machine for an unplanned DRO installation!
Appreciate your comments and interest!
Ken Kenneth A. Emmert SMW Precision
Reply to
Kenneth A. Emmert
I bought some Acu-rite scales that were in a pile of "miscellaneous" and had an Analam Wizard dual readout display given to me months later. The scales just plugged in and worked perfectly.
I mounted the scales to 1"x1/4" aluminum bar stock and attached those assemblies to the mill. I just had to jig around a little with standoff spacing but the assembly has been in use for about 5 years.
The vertical scale is from a salvaged printer feeding into a Red Lion counter. It doesn't have enough resolution, only giving me .01" resolution, but better than nothing. For precise vertical adjustment, I use a seperate Mitutoyo sensor and readout. Cumbersome and slow, but "hey, what's time to an amateur".
Earle Rich Mont Vernon, NH
Reply to
How does your product differ from what ShumaTech offers in terms of functionality and capabilities? I understand that ShumaTech's product is a kit, but I'm wondering what the differences are once both are up and running.
Reply to
Peter Grey
Shumatech is a hobby group for building a DRO display system I am a member! Shumatech display is a total you build it project if you have some electronics experience and time it can be an excellent display. Lots of advanced features with that system I would not discourage anyone from building one. Parts costs are between a $100 to $150 and build time about 10 hours by the time you order parts and assemble. I have sold scales and connecting cables for Shumatech systems and continue to do so! It is another available option though not a commercial product.
Reply to
Kenneth A. Emmert
Could you use a few less exclamation marks?
Kenneth A. Emmert wrote:
Reply to
Steve Smith
I just finished installing Ken's DRO on my DM45 from Penn Tools. Being new to milling machines and wanting to play with the machine NOW was one of the big reasons I went with the spokane metal works setup. I looked at the shumatech and it does have some nice bells and whistles. It is always an option to replace the readout I have now with the shumatech. I've been an electronics tech for over 30 years so putting together a kit would not be a problem ... but if I wanted to play with electronics I wouldn't have a milling machine :) The 2 main glitches I ran into were the head on my machine is a bit different than most in that the faceplate mounting screws are all the way to the top. The T bracket was too short for my mill and I had to make a longer one. I am sure Ken has taken care of that now. The other problem was the quill stop on my mill was pretty sloppy and let the scale jump as you moved it. We worked that out in short order and it is working great now. Ken's tech support was great (he even offered to send me a replacement T bracket made up longer but I didn't want to wait for the mail) You do have to know how big your tool bit is byt once you get that sorted and the zeros dialed in you can put your cut where you want it with confidence. That was a big pluss on my mill as the stupid dials are calibrated in 1/8" per turn (.125") instead of 1/10". Of course the add for the mill only stated the dials were calibrated in .001" .. it didn't say there were 125 marks instead of 100 :) From what I could find you would end up spending a bit more on the shumatech kit by the time you bought all the parts for it and bought the scales and cables. If you are a bit rusty on your circut board technique you could easily end up with no display with the shumatech. The Spokane metalworks display uses LCD display and in my opinion could use some backlighting. The shumatech uses and LED display with variable brightness. With the Spokane metalworks kit you have to figure bolt circles on your own. With shumatech you have to figure out how to figure bolt circles on their display. At any rate for my money and use I am quite happy with it. Glenn Neff Medford, OR
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