View Full Version : AutoCAD users HELP!! Sino SDS6-3VF DRO (RS232 port version) question.

Gary Heath
03-07-2011, 03:45 PM
Since I have my 3 axis Sino SDS6-3VF DROs installed on my mill/drill and my lathe, I want to use the RS232 port feature and software that came with these Sino RS232 featured DROs.
This feature along with the software provided, basically sends the Sino display's data to a PC in a file format that AutoCAD can use.

According to the instructions that came with the Sino software, I need to:

Create a directory named "Sino" on a drive, and copy two files from the Sino software disk (SINOCAD.LSP, and SINOCOM.EXE) into this directory.

Start up the SINOCOM.EXE program and press the square root button to start the data flow from the display to it.

Select and save the data as a SL.TXT file via the SINOCOM program (now running on the PC).

Then start AutoCAD and "in it's command prompt type 'load (disk designation I put the above files into) :/sino/sinocad' and hit enter".

This supposedly will load SINOCAD.LSP, and then I am to use the "Sino" command (now) in AutoCAD to load the data in an SL.TXT file and display in AutoCAD.
Evidently "this point in AutoCAD is displayed very small" so I am to "change the [AutoCAD] point style parameter, and then 'REGEN' "

This all 'reads' fairly straightforward, but since I've never used AutoCAD, I'm hoping that this makes enough sense to somebody that 'is' familiar enough with AutoCAD that they might be able (and would so kind enough as) to explain if this makes sense or not, and hopefully can point me to a compatible version of AutoCAD that's in the well under $100 range.
Like possibly and an older version of AutoCAD that will allow me to do this, or a "light and/or trial version" of AutoCAD, or possibly even a freeware AutoCAD clone that has the needed functions to work as AutoCAD would in the above scenario (will accept the files sent by the SINOCOM program, and has the command prompt, 'point adjustment' and 'regen' functions).

Thanks guys and best regards,


03-07-2011, 08:49 PM
I have no idea if it would do what you're talking about, but ProgeCAD Smart! 2009 is a free AutoCAD LT look-very-similar program that might work. I *think* ProgeCAD accepts Lisp programming, but I'm not sure.

Gary Heath
03-07-2011, 08:54 PM
thanks for the tip!
I'll look into ProgeCAD Smart.

Thanks again and best regards,


03-07-2011, 09:18 PM
It makes sense to me that it may work with the lisp routine.
Do you have Autocad right now?

Gary Heath
03-07-2011, 10:19 PM
No, and worse ....... I have no experience with 'any' CAD program (hence the questions) and when I look at the prices and all the different AutoCAD programs that are available .... I find myself stumbling about the internet trying to get my head around all the different versions/levels/purposes and .......... flavors!!
It's certainly more then just a bit daunting to a CAD rookie like me ....... :(

But I have asked this question here and on other forums, and am starting to get some really good leads/links for some programs that I can try before I plunk down a lot of money, and I am 'very' grateful for that!! :)

Thanks and best regards,


03-07-2011, 10:37 PM
Hey Gary,
You can try and open the .txt file and see if there are just points in it. Like 1.3687,2.3265. if that is the case then it would really open up your options on a cad system. At the very least you could open the file and manually input the points into any cad system.
Just a thought as I know Autocad is an expensive cad system.


Gary Heath
03-07-2011, 11:59 PM
I'll do that.
And that information provides some valuable insight to me, as to how this works with a CAD program.
I think I'm beginning to see some light!!
Once again, I really appreciate the input!! :)

Best regards,


03-08-2011, 12:11 AM
Best guess is the script parses the data file and creates a dwg file from it.

You dont want to know how much autocad costs. Probably more than your machines put together.

Best bet is to look at the data, my guess it will be something like a list of coordinates as mentioned earlier in the thread. You could write a script and then have something like inkscape create the file.

Gary Heath
03-08-2011, 02:59 AM
The Mill/Drill is a gear head Grizzly G1126 with power table, and the lathe is a PM1440BV (a 14X40 gear head, gap bed with a VFD) so with the pair Sino 3 axis DROs for each, a bit more than AutoCAD ...... but your point is certainly taken, and is the complete reason I don't want to buy the current full blown AutoCAD just to see if/how it'll all work out.

I do see older versions like release 14, and the 2011 student version for under $50 on the internet, and as others have pointed out .... some clones in the same price range , as well as some freeware.
I just need to play with them to see if I can simply use the saved text files (that it's starting to appear is how the Sino software actually saves the points).

Getting acquainted with all this is a learning curve that has been greatly enhanced for me by the replies I've received from you guys.
As I've used the information you've provided to go out and search the internet for the different vintage/versions of AutoCAD and went to the links to the clones, it is starting to become a 'lot' more clear to me than it was this morning, when I first posted the question.
Gotta hand it to you guys for helping to get a fellow to go from nothing to better then just a rudimentary understanding of what's what .... in less than a day!! :)
It really helps.

Thanks, and best regards,


Gary Heath
03-08-2011, 06:55 PM
FWIW: I took a picture of the Sinocom.exe screen shot in the addendum for the RS232 version of the Sino SDS6-3V DRO's manual.

http://images3a.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp733%3B7%3Enu%3D32%3C%3A%3E7%3B7%3E%3 A%3A4%3EWSNRCG%3D363%3B5%3B5554336nu0mrj

It appears to be a stand alone program that allows you to select and save the points with it alone as a text file (to be called up at a later date to make the part again) and/or a go between to use the AutoCAD format file saving function of the Sino software, but is used to pre-select which data is passed.
The addendum is very brief and appears to assume you have a working knowledge of CAD.

I have been told that the .LSP function is AutoCad exclusive (in this case ....allows AutoCAD to work in the Sino environment) and requires AutoCAD 2000 or newer, so it appears I will need to get a version of AutoCAD, as clones won't apparently work.
I found AutoCAD mechanical 2010 for sale here for $39 or offer: http://www.ioffer.com/i/autocad-mechanical-2010-for-32-64-bit-full-131526921

I need to decide which of my PCs I'm going to devote to this project and that will dictate which version I get (32 or 64 bit).

So with this and a copy of AutoCAD for dummies ....... I 'think' I'm on my way to doing what I want with this.

I'll post again once I have it all up an running ......

Best regards,


03-08-2011, 08:12 PM
That site is not legit.


What you will get is a burned, cracked copy.

Add: Autocad 2010 sells for at least $979 depending on the add ons you want.

03-08-2011, 08:56 PM
Hi Gary,

Auto lisp is a computer language that AutoCAD uses. It is a great way to create short cuts, and repetetive actions, etc. I am assuming, but basically Sinocom has programed a translation to convert your data to data useable in AutoCAD. When i took my AutoCad certification course, i had over 20 hours of Lisp programming. There is alot of stuff to know there. We had only scratched the surface. Even now programmers are using basic instead of Lisp and i heard a rumor that Lisp was going to be dropped as newer versions of AutoCad come out.

Learning autocad is big. It is expensive, almost 4000.00 for a licenced version (that includes 3-D). Go to Youtube and look at the Autodesk (the makers of autocad) youtube channel. Lot's of news there, there is also Autodesk.com . The discussion groups there are great.

You can get a copy of Autocad for WAY LESS. You found one of the sites, but it is buyer beware. Also don't think that you will upload Autocad and all your problems will be solved. Now you will have to learn autocad! I am not discouraging you. I just don't want you to think that having a version of autocad will be the end of the learning curve. If you need help let me know.

Rob :)

03-08-2011, 09:03 PM
Gary, you can press 'Prnt Scrn' on your keyboard, and then open Paint and Paste into it.

Gary Heath
03-08-2011, 10:14 PM
Well ...... I found that if you are a student you can download different student versions of AutoCAD 2011 (either 32 0r 64 bit) for free.
This is from the AutoCAD site at:


You need to register, and from what I understand there will be a watermark on your drawings. It also takes a loooooong time to download, but it's free and includes a 3 year license.
It is the same as the free 30 day trial versions but they provide a student with a 3 year license.
I'm D/L'ing the free 30 day trial and if it works out ...... well, I'm retired and have been thinking about taking some Community College courses anyway. :)

I'm hoping that the use that I will have (just saving my Sino data in AutoCAD files) will be relatively easy. But I may play around with actually trying to learn some CAD operations and will buy a copy of AutoCAD 2011 for dummies.

I apreciate all the help guys!

Thanks and Best regards,


03-08-2011, 11:14 PM
Not to offend or deter you from your project Gary, but can I ask if theres a reason youre trying to do this? It seems like an interesting idea to try, but I cant imagine a practical reason you would want to plot points off a DRO.

Good luck with AutoCAD and hope you find it an enjoyable experience. I find creating the drawing is half the fun of the entire design process.

Gary Heath
03-09-2011, 12:07 AM
That's a good question, and I thought I had mentioned it on this forum, but see I must have missed that here.

I am into a few different hobbies for which I make parts on my machines. I get requests to make them for others, but it just eats up too much of my time doing it one at a time, so I would like to be able to send (AutoCAD format) files of these parts to different job shops that can hopefully make the parts form these files, at less than what I can buy the materials for, so I can sell them on the various hobby sites' classifieds.
Having files that will facilitate doing this would make it very easy ... just email the file and get a quote for X quantity from stateside and off shore shops.
But since I don't have any experience with CAD, I don't want to spend a lot of money just to find out its a bust, or requires a lot more manipulation of the files/AutoCAD work, and/or just doesn't work out like it appears it might, etc.

The feature is touted as being used for "prototyping parts on manual machines, and then using the files saved in AutoCAD, to make them up on CNC machines" and/or just saving the files for historical purposses. (???)

Best regards,


03-09-2011, 01:18 AM
So, you are a student?

The shops will probably not use the files. You will have to turn them into full cad files (From autocad, a dxf or dwg) and depending on the shop dimensioned as well. At that point is just comes down to drawing the part in cad anyway.

My dro has a similar feature. Doubt if I will ever use it though.

Gary Heath
03-09-2011, 02:13 AM
You don't need to be a student to download the free trial version.
What type (make and model) DROs do you have?
I looked at few different models but settled on the Sino because of the price and features.

Best regards,


03-09-2011, 02:35 AM
Anilam Superwizard. Pretty old but top of the line in its time.

03-09-2011, 08:31 AM
The file it outputs is going to be damn near worthless unless you move your mills X-Y coordinates cnc perfect. You would be better off, to just find a cheap cad program and draw the part and make a print to send to machine shops, it would also be a good idea to get a book on how to do a proper blueprint and learn about tolerances and how to apply them to your print.

Gary Heath
03-09-2011, 01:17 PM
I contacted 3 shops, two here in the US and one in the UK, last evening before retiring for the night, and when I got up this AM I found two replies from the US shops.

The indications are positive, but for the folks that seem to thrive on "can't be done, keep in mind that these shops also do prototyping and advertise as willing/capable of making parts from nothing more then an amateur's description of a part.

For example, it you tell them I need a 1/8'th inch thick aluminum tube that is 2" in diameter and 3" long, that has 1" of 32 NF threads on oneend, with the last 1/4" of the threads (towards the non-threaded end) cut so their depth is tapered off to no threads, and is anodized blue, they will make it up for you.

So although they indicate they know what I want, the sending of the files (I can provide via my DROs) is only part of the equation, but appears to be good enough for the hobby parts I want ....... things like CNC's items to replace existing plastic parts (like servo and intermediate bell cranks for radio control models, various plastic caps and ornamental doo-dads for hot rods and motorcycles) in metal, but also some non-existing items like the above tube description, that is used on a telescope to allow the addition of a certain type of CCD camera accessory to be mounted where the declining threads can not only couple the adapter to a fixed 2" receiver, it will allow the rotational positioning of the camera without the need to lock a clamp that might tweak the camera and cause the CCD chip inside to have a focus shift across it's face, resulting in an image with stars both in and out of focus.
Point being with some forethought 'accuracy' can be a function of design, not always dependant on equipment capability ...... you know .... like a simple tapered shim.
And the camera adapter above is a super easy part to have a job shop make from only a simple description.

The real questions becomes how much less will the costs be by providing the data from the Sino, and how much additional "description" will be needed,
NAYSAYER ALERT!! Here is a huge opportunity for you to jump in and say something negative ...... JK ;)

So .... to answer that, one of the shops (SDS Engineering CNC Precision Machining) has asked me to send them a file.
I'll be doing that as soon as I can figure out how to save the files in the free AutoCAD I downloaded last night (it took over 4 hours to download it in 3 parts).
And to get my feet wet ..... and remove a variable, I will not actually make the first parts, but instead just use already made parts and trace them with my machines as if I was actually cutting it.

More later ........ but once again, I really want to thank 'all' you folks.
Both those that helped me and gave me the incentive to stay on task and peruse this.
Even the links to the programs that won't work helped encourage me, and defining what Lisp is and why AutoCAD was needed, were very helpful.
As well as the folks that seemed to have a penchant to throw obstacles were a help. Sometimes that can be good a positive inspiration, too! ;)

I don't know if I will end up doing this but I have learned a lot in the past few days, and they say ....... when a fellow gets to my age that learning just might stave off dementia!

Best regards,


03-09-2011, 02:41 PM
I own a job shop and I am just trying to help you, not be a naysayer. Yes most job shops can work from minimal instructions and that is fine.

Lets use your example

For example, it you tell them I need a 1/8'th inch thick aluminum tube that is 2" in diameter and 3" long that has 1" of 32 NF threads on one end the last 1/4" of threads (towards the non-threaded end) cut so they are tapered off to no threads, and is anodized blue, they will make it up for you.
1.You didn't call out an aluminum type:

no biggie, you'll just get whatever they can buy the cheapest of, or whatever they have in the remnant bin.

2. You don't have a surface finish call out for any of your surfaces:

Depending on the shop, you'll either get back parts that have been anodized right over the stock aluminum finish, or if you're lucky they may clean up the surface with some light sanding and scotch-brite.
Also what color blue? The anodize shop I use, has a couple different blue colors available.

3. No tolerances:

2" dia stock x 3"

the dia is pretty straight forward and most stock is pretty close, the 3" length as written, in a machine shop means a nice loose tolerance, anywhere from .030" to .060"

4. The threaded ends:

Do you care if there is thread reliefs? Do you care what class fit they are? Do you care what class fit they are after being anodized?

Some shops will ask some of these questions, some wont, some may ask more. If the job isnt worth much, they may not care, etc.

Maybe you don't care, but if you are getting parts made as your products you are going to sell, I would think you would want some standards for them, so that when you get more parts made six months down the line, they look the same as your last batch.

Gary Heath
03-09-2011, 04:14 PM
Thanks for the input.
This is something I can definitely work with, and exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for as answers (and information) to my questions.

I agree ..... you are certainly not a naysayer.

Thank you for your help mochinist, and very best regards,


03-09-2011, 09:54 PM
Thanks for the clarification Gary, and good luck with marketing your products. I think it might be kind of interesting if someone like you could get some of the home shop guys on various forums to make parts for you, for making tooling to sell, to them, but thats quite possibly wishful thinking and too big of a dream on my part.

I was simply curious about this because I couldnt see too much use in individual points being measured (unless there are a lot of them), and most operations have a ton of wasted movement to them, which, if you record movement and not fixed points, doesnt really do you much good in a drawing either. The other reason I asked is because I have in the past spent quite a bit of time with measuring tools in hand creating drawings after the fact, for prototypes which were created by need and not by drawing. Seems to me you would have to balance what you can measure by hand quickly with what the machine can do for you. If you get the system working well please let me know as I am always looking for better ways/techniques of doing things.

03-09-2011, 11:40 PM
I downloaded DraftSight the other day but have not used it yet. It claims to be AutoCAD compatible but I don't think it includes Lisp usage. The price is right (free) and the publisher (Dassault) is familiar with CAD. Their main product is Catia. It might accept the files from the AutoCAD student version and allow you to remove the watermark.

Gary Heath
03-10-2011, 02:04 PM
Hi justaengineer,

I think the SinoCom program is use to allow you to select the data that you convert to an AutoCAD file so you don't end up with just a lot of garbage data.

If you look at the post where I go through the Sino addendum steps to run the programs, you should see it just starts sending data once you enter the square root button (one version of the Sino RS232 models start sending the data as soon as the com ports are operating, and you accomplish a 3D edge find).

Then ........ if you look at the screen shot of the Sino com screen that I posted, it appears to allow you to select which data you want to dump and which you want to save for each axis (and hopefully convert to AutoCAD files).

I tried to download the trial version of AutoCad, but had unpacking problems so I will try again but this time with a Ethernet cable as opposed to trying using a wifi connection (doh!). It took all night and I just need to set it up for another overnight attempt.

Once again ....... I'm not trying to promote this as a "done deal" but instead looking for answers that (over the course of this thread) have evolved to to the particulars of AutoCAD LSP, and I'm very grateful for the support folks have provided, not only to the AutoCAD question, but also to the other 'defined' descriptors that will need to accompany a file in order for a job shop to make up these parts. This is all good stuff!!

I certainly will follow up once I have it up and running ....... heck, I think I should be able to attach a file to a post here, for further comment from the people here that are willing to help me get this dialed in (assuming it can be dialed in) ..... and of course the always funny, and certainly entertaining (give them a hand, they're all you can stand) semi-non supportive, never been done before, that'll costs more than the entire national debt, and yo momma raised a nut job, comments!! ;)

Best regards,

Gary "quasi-thick skinned" Heath

Gary Heath
03-10-2011, 02:07 PM
I downloaded DraftSight the other day but have not used it yet. It claims to be AutoCAD compatible but I don't think it includes Lisp usage. The price is right (free) and the publisher (Dassault) is familiar with CAD. Their main product is Catia. It might accept the files from the AutoCAD student version and allow you to remove the watermark.

If I can't get a good download for the trial version of AutoCad, I'll try that.
It does need to have Lisp, but at free ....... it's worth a shot! :)

Thanks again and best regards,