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View Full Version : DRO question? Top Ten vs Newall etc.



torker
12-07-2005, 06:53 AM
Hey guys!
I want to get a proper three axis DRO for my mill and have been doing a little research.
There are the "Top Ten and Sino" models from some guy in Asia.
Anyone who owns one is very happy with it and they do seem to have a lot of features.
This has me thinking....why are these things still so expensive?
The Top Ten is half the price of most compareable Mititoyo or Newall systems.
Right now KBC Canada has a "sale" on Newall 3 axis DRO's (C80) for the paltry sum of $2368 CND. After tax and shipping it's over $2500.
They also have a 2 axis Mititoyo on sale for $1385(over $1500 with tax etc).
I can't find a link for the Top Ten but the guy sells on Fleabay.
I don't really like the idea of sending $500 US to Singapore or wherever this guy is but damn!
So why are the others so much? Seems funny that you can buy a complete PC for $500 but a DRO is $1500 to $2500 or more. Or is this a simple supply and demand situation?
I have a couple of links (somewhere) for build your own type DRO's but just don't have time to do this.
I have the simple digital caliper deal mounted on the quill on my mill and use it so much that I'm spoiled now. I want a three axis DRO. Would be a great time saver and unlike some things I've bought....would pay for itself some day.
Thanks!
Russ



[This message has been edited by torker (edited 12-07-2005).]

SGW
12-07-2005, 07:54 AM
Have you checked with www.candomachinery.com (http://www.candomachinery.com) ? (Usual disclaimers)

Mike gave me an excellent price on an Acu-Rite DRO package, and he carries other brands too. I take it you're in Canada, so that may complicate things, but it may be worth an inquiry.

I suspect that at least some of the price difference is quality control. Also support and service. Maybe precision. With an Acu-Rite or other known brand, you know that the precision is guaranteed. A Flung Dung DRO may claim the table has moved 1.4845", but who knows if that's really true.

glenj
12-07-2005, 08:22 AM
I just purchased and received a 3 Axis Jenix (glass scale) system from the website below. They don't list the 3 Axis on the site but they are available (US$800).

I've just installed the X and Y axis so far, the 16" Z axis on the knee will go on this weekend. So far in my limited use the system is excellent. Look around the website, you can download the manual for the display unit and see if it has the features you're looking for.

The guy was good to deal with...give him a call.

Glen

http://www.digitalreadoutsystem.com/Jenix/jenix_dro.htm

ammcoman2
12-07-2005, 09:17 AM
I have just completed the installation of a Shooting Star (made in Vancouver) 3-axis system on my newly aquired three year old KBC VM-22 mill. It came with the mill but had never been installed.

This model is about 3 years old and I understand the current one has more features. (I still have to learn to walk!)Apparently I can upgrade the display unit for about $400.

I don't know how reliable they are - works on a rack and pinion system, but my initial impression of its functionality is good. On the other hand I'm a newby to DRO's so have nothing to compare it with. One tends to go with with what one has used before so that may influence your decision.

It sure was a fiddly job to install but I suspect all systems would be. I wanted to maintain the power feed stop switch so that complicated matters.

Regards,

Geoff

torker
12-07-2005, 05:18 PM
Thanks guys! I better check all these out.
SGW...Good point. Hmmm....wonder how long it would take to get parts for a DRO from Slingapore? Or to have to send it in for warrantee work?
Glen...this is something I've always wondered...what exactly is a "glass scale"?
Geoff...These guys are only 600 miles from me and in the same province...imagine that!
http://www.star-techno.com/info.htm
Sounds like a decent system...it has all the functions I want (I think) and the scales are easy to shorten.
Thanks again.
Russ

mochinist
12-07-2005, 05:46 PM
A glass scale is basically a long glass bar that has marks etched inside it, the scale encoder reads these marks and that is how it knows where it is. If you scratch or break your glass scale you are screwed, and will need to get a new one, if they are just dirty you can clean them with some alcohol. They work fine you just need to be extra careful with them, make sure you dont let chips build up around them...

The reason Newall's are expensive is they are the Starret of DRO's. They don't use glass scales, they use a tube that has ball bearings in it, and is alittle hard for me to explain how they work, but you can see here http://www.newall.com/DROs/dro_encoders.htm.

At my job are company is split, we have the machining side, and the machine repair scraping and alignment side. The only DRO's we will put on customer's machines are Newall's, if they don't like it we tell them politely to go find someone else or install one they buy themselves. Newall's are also what we have on the majority of our machines. They require zero maintanence and we have never had a glitch with our's or any of the 100's we have installed for customers(thats a lie one customer hit his scale with a forktruck and newall's waranty replaced it for free.)

Just remember you get what you pay for.

beckley23
12-07-2005, 06:12 PM
I have to agree with "mochinist". The first DRO I had was a MTI on a Bridgeport Had a few problems with dirty glass spar, sent it back to MTI for repair and got a hefty bill.
I next tried a Newall on a K&T vertical, easiest DRO I ever installed, next mill was a Gorton and so on. I've had some minor problems with Newall, 2 bad boards in the displays, 1, a Sapphire, I had to pay for about 4 years out of warranty, the next one, a Topaz, got covered by warranty although it was about year past. Overall I'm sold on Newall. I recently repainted 2 mills and had to remove the DRO's. They were absolutely filthy with dried coolant and other crap, but I never had a misread or any other problems, the same can't be said about glass scales.
I've looked at the other DRO's, and tried a cheapie several years ago, it would not repeat, nor did the display agree with with the dials on a 1/4" change. It was returned to the mfg for a refund. I've not considered any other brand since.
Harry

wierdscience
12-07-2005, 07:07 PM
Top three in no order-
Newall
Accurite
Mitutoyo

Shuswap Pat
12-07-2005, 07:38 PM
I agree - Newall is tops. At work I have 2 on lathes, and a 3 axis on one mill. They are simple to install, and well worth the price. Mitutoyo has a similar system out, and the guys at 'Technicut' in Vancouver, have them on sale.

Pat

SGW
12-07-2005, 07:59 PM
One thing about Newall DROs: the overall length of the scales (Topaz) exceeds the measuring length by 10". So, check to be sure you have enough table length, beyond the travel distance, to accommodate that 10" if you decide you want a Newall.

MikeHenry
12-07-2005, 09:13 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I don't know how reliable they are - works on a rack and pinion system, but my initial impression of its functionality is good. On the other hand I'm a newby to DRO's so have nothing to compare it with. One tends to go with with what one has used before so that may influence your decision.
</font>

aamcoman2,

I've had a Shooting Star 3-axis DRO on my Clausing 8520 mill for about 3 years now. I'm not at all diligent about cleaning up, but have had no problems at all with the DRO. I checked the accuracy a few months back with some gage blocks and got right around their stated accuracy (+/-0.002" per foot of travel).

I've got the X-axis installed on the front of the table to avoid losing 1/2" or so of travel on the Y-axis, which is only 5" on this mill. No problems with that at all and I was able to install it so that the limit switch on my power feed was still operable.

I'll probably upgrade to the new CBX display as a Christmas present to myself.

Mike

Mike

[This message has been edited by MikeHenry (edited 12-07-2005).]

ammcoman2
12-08-2005, 08:59 AM
Mike, Thanks for your update/info.

Since my last post, I have completed the installation and am busy learning how to benefit from it - the benefits sure beat out not having one. My mill has 8 tpi lead screws so I think I would have gone nuts trying to keep track of the number of turns.

One interesting thing: when I was installing the y-axis, the rod turned 180 degrees in the pickup head and I thought "that's the end of that one". I turned it back and it has worked perfectly since. So I think they are more robust than the instructions would lead one to believe.

I, too, mounted the x-axis parts in the front and put a 1 1/2 x 1 1/2" " piece of angle aluminum (slit appropriately) just under the table front surface as a guard.

Best regards,

Geoff

MikeHenry
12-08-2005, 11:35 PM
Geoff,

I'm living dangerously, with nothing to protect the X-axis but the accordian-style plastic sheathing. I also got a bit of a shock a few months ago when I accidently bumped against the RH support on the X-axis while looking at the display and noticed it briefly deviate by 0.010" or so. The RH support sticks out quite a bit and is apparently thin enough to allow a significant deflection. Gotta fix that one of these days.

Mike

torker
12-09-2005, 01:39 PM
Hey guys! Thanks for all the time you took to explain the DRO "magic".
Now it all makes more sense.
I have to say that for this little mill, it won't be seeing a Newall bolted to it.
When (Gawd how long is it going to take?) I get a bigger mill I'm going to probably take a hard look at a top of the line DRO but the Shooting Star looks to be the ticket for this mill.
I'd much rather support a business from my own province than the guy in Slingapore.
Once again...Thanks for your time! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif
Russ

quasi
12-09-2005, 04:42 PM
If I remember correctly (and I could be wrong) the accuracy (repeatability) on the shooting star system is not any where as good as on the optical-capacitive systems.

PHiers
12-10-2005, 07:35 PM
For what it is worth, I have had the shooting star on both my mill and lathe for almost a year now. No problems yet! I find the accuracy fine for my use.(small steam engines) My only gripe? The upgrade display should be cheaper for us that bought before!
Torker, I am sure you would rather spend your money with a canadian company! I did find them great to do business with. a human answers the phone!! Can you believe it?



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Paul in NE Ohio

MikeHenry
12-11-2005, 11:13 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If I remember correctly (and I could be wrong) the accuracy (repeatability) on the shooting star system is not any where as good as on the optical-capacitive systems.</font>

Shooting Star specs their DRO accuracy at 0.002" per foot of travel. That will probably be affected by the quality of the installation. I've checked the one on my mill with gage blocks and found it to meet or beat those specs and that was a year or two after installation. Perhaps more importantly parts come out as designed, unless I make a mistake.

For the work I do this level of accuracy is good enough on the mill. It would also be fine for longitudinal travel on the lathe, but for cross feed I'd want something better as the resolution there is only 0.001".

Mike

liftedzj
12-11-2005, 12:57 PM
Russ,

I got my Newall C80 from Bauer in Burnaby and paid a lot less than I would have from KBC. I can't remember who I talked to right now but I'll check when I'm at the shop later. www.bauerltd.ca (http://www.bauerltd.ca)

flatlander
12-14-2005, 11:17 PM
I also just got a Newall C80 3-axis from Bauer for my B'port clone mill, and paid around $1300 US for it. I'd like to install the the X-axis on the front of the table, but with the power feed stops & gib screws in the way, I'm probably going to put it on the backside. The ram should make up for the lost Y-axis travel.

torker
12-15-2005, 07:27 AM
Hey guys....thanks for the link and info for Bauers. I didn't even know they existed.
Whew...do they have some nice milling machines.
I'd give my right...for that H/V 5hp job they have. Probably worth a whole lot more than a nut though.
Russ

Rick Kruger
12-18-2005, 02:23 AM
Have you looked into the Shumatech DRO readout units. It works with the Chinese digital scales as well as Jenix. The Shumatech is nomimally a "build it yourself" unit, but it can be had fully assemble, tested and ready to plug in the scales, generally for around $250 (I've bought 2 this way, never having built one form components). 3-axis scales can be had for $200 - $300 , making the combo lots cheaper than those I've seen mentioned here. I used the Chinese scales on a minimill for the last 4 years with great results, the last 2 or more with a Shumatech DRO readout, which really improved usability.

Shumatech DROs are not a typical commercial product.
http://www.shumatech.com/products/index.html

There is a Yahoo group dedicated to their construction and use.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ShumaTech/

There are numerous sources for Chinese digital scales but the best I've seen is Spokane Metal Works
http://www.spokanemetalworks.com/Contact_Us/contact_us.html

Rick

Rob
12-20-2005, 07:41 PM
I too am looking at DRO for my Rockwell 21-100. I was thinking of putting a Z axis scale on the knee movement and use a Mitutoyo Digimatic quill kit on the quill. That way I would have readings on the table movement up and down. I only have a couple inches of quill movement anyway. That way when I use a longer tool in the quill I can take the extra length of the longer tool and take my knee down that much and not have to rezero my Z axis. Does this make sense to anyone else to do this?

mochinist
12-20-2005, 07:47 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Rob:
I too am looking at DRO for my Rockwell 21-100. I was thinking of putting a Z axis scale on the knee movement and use a Mitutoyo Digimatic quill kit on the quill. That way I would have readings on the table movement up and down. I only have a couple inches of quill movement anyway. That way when I use a longer tool in the quill I can take the extra length of the longer tool and take my knee down that much and not have to rezero my Z axis. Does this make sense to anyone else to do this? </font>
If it makes life easier for you, it makes sense. Having both a Z axis DRO and the MIT quill kit would be handy. I have the MIT quill kit on three of the bridgeports at work and I love those damn things, they are suprisingly accurate to, no z axis DRO's though unless you count the CNC.

Doug Smith
12-21-2005, 06:25 AM
Where does the Sony system fit in in this poll?

jcurrell
12-21-2005, 07:30 AM
I have an old sony ( 20 years ) never been any trouble, but I have 5 Newal and the are much easier to install .

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