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DRO Gloat

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  • DRO Gloat

    A couple weeks ago a guy over on PM offered up broken Anilam SuperWizardDRO head unit for free, just pay shipping. Turned out he was not too far away so I got it from him.

    Got it home and plugged it in. Power supply shot. Happened to have another, exact same configuration, so I stuck it in. The main board came up but nothing on the CRT. Only ~3v on B+ where I should have had 10.8v. Looks like a bad flyback at about $60.

    First problem was the video output to the 9" monitor. It was TTL level (2.5v p-p) NTSC with separate horizontal and vertical sync signals. Playing around with some resistors and the scope I managed to get a normal 1v p-p composite signal out.

    So to replace the display. First I tried a small, 5.6" NTSC lcd panel that I had. Worked but the resolution was way too low and the image was offset to the bottom and the left. Next I tried a composite to VGA converter. Worked good, high resolution but image was clipped to the right and bottom this time. I did find I had a 9" monitor, with ttl in even, but the CRT was just a touch too big and wouldnt fit in the existing mounts. Plus it had some pretty awful burn in.

    I ended up going to my friends surplus shop ( and found a 9" panasonic monochrome video monitor. Brought it home and hooked it up through the new voltage divider board that I made to combine all the signals. It worked perfect. A little adjustment of the controls got a real nice, sharp, bright image. I pulled it to pieces, again the crt was a hair bigger than the original but I managed to get it in there by trimming a little sheet metal.

    The circuit board was the next problem. The original board ran off 12v, the new one was 120 so it had a transformer and a heat sink on the power supply section which was getting in the way. Plus the board was just too big. Looking at the board I soon realized that the monitor actually ran on 12v. I marked out the power supply circuitry with a sharpie, removed the components, and hacked the power supply section of the board off with the vertical bandsaw. This shaved about 2" off the board and no more heat sink or transformer. I also cut the plastic base that the board was mounted to to act as a carrier. I then removed the BNC video connectors and installed my little sync converter board in its place with power to the board. Plugged it in and it all worked!

    Its a real nice unit. Top of the line in its day, has two serial ports. One for a printer or PC and the other so you can connect a Tandy floppy drive to it to store programs. The unit allows you to store programs in it too. It was available in up to 4 axis. The only difference was the front panel has only two of the axis marked and there are only two connectors in the back. Turns out everything else is the same. On the board where the scale connectors connect to they drilled out the spots where the other axis connectors would go so no one could upgrade their unit. Didnt stop me! The traces were still there, ordered a couple connectors from Newark and installed them. Enabled the axis in the setting and it seems to work just fine.

    The best thing is this unit is the same brand and vintage of the Anilam Miniwizard on my monarch so the scales plug right in. I am getting a micro scale that looks like it will be just the right size to mount on my compound. This will allow me to use the vector mode where you set it the compound to 29.5 or 29 degrees and the unit will calculate the new position of X and Z based on the compound movement. Pretty neat!

    Still need to build a stand to hold it in place of the old one.

    Some pics of the process:

    TTL Video on the scope.

    Video signal by macona, on Flickr

    Video on the big screen, verifying the composite signal worked.

    Big screen dro by macona, on Flickr

    Hacked parts installed

    Anilam Superwizard by macona, on Flickr

    Its Alive!

    Anilam Superwizard by macona, on Flickr

  • #2
    Well my electrical skills and understanding is zero, But with the little I did understand that was a great score. We won't even discuss what a Newall DP 900 4 axis cost me. Gawd, some day I gotta get electrical edumicated.



    • #3
      I looked up the DP900. Wow...

      Amazing that mine has almost all the same features with a couple added including speed/feed calculator, advanced math calc, job clock.

      But the main feature I wanted was tool offsets. Doing multi tool parts gets annoying. The probing feature may be interesting if I can figure out how to use it on a lathe.

      One cool feature is it has an output card that allows me to control things when specific dimensions hit zero. Could be interesting for threading!
      Last edited by macona; 03-10-2011, 02:12 AM.


      • #4
        Yeah it is a pretty good unit, I still have to get it mounted. I could have gone dirt cheap when I was looking at DRO's but knew I'd always say "I should have....." So I squezzed the wallet a little harder. Newalls probe is pretty pricy compared to say Mitutoyos, Apparently there's a number of probes that will work with this unit but I'm not sure if I'll even buy one.
        It's also amazing that yours has almost the same funtions. The sad thing? What you paid for yours verses what I did.

        Last edited by uncle pete; 03-10-2011, 09:31 AM.


        • #5
          Todays little project. Blake in Spokane on PM had a Accu-rite Microscale which I got from him. Had the same plug even. Looking at the drawings I was able to determine it wouid just fit on the compound.

          Got the scale today, cut it down in length and made a mount. Fits perfectly! I still can access the nut for the compound too.

          Cutting the scale down was interesting. Not as easy as the larger, older KC scales. I had to cut through it with the bandsaw, glass and everything (Glass cuts pretty OK, really.) Then I went in with a diamond cone bit on the dremel and cut the glass back for the end cap and then chewed away the extra aluminum so the end cap would fit back on. I drew up the oval screw hole and popped it in the cnc mill and cut the holes.

          The DRO unit has a vectoring option where you set the angle of the compound to 29 or 29.5 degrees and it will show you the distance moved in relation to the X axis. Very handy!

          Anilam Superwizard on Monarch 10ee compound by macona, on Flickr

          Anilam Superwizard on Monarch 10ee by macona, on Flickr


          • #6
            That's awesome, A rebuilt Monarch EE, Collet chuck, One of those euorpean type quick change tool post, What appears to be a Albrecht and you have a hell of a set up. That 4 axis DRO was an even better score than I'll bet you thought it was.



            • #7
              OOoo, I can gloat some more then. I also have a 6" Buck 6 jaw, 8" Cushman 4 and 3 jaws, face plate, dog driver, steady and follow rests, taper attach, two albrechts, one large and one small jacobs ball bearing chucks, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I also have a KDK 100 set for the lathe that pops right on with a heck of a lot more tool holders for it.

              Even the chinese knock off tool holders for the multifix are expensive, over $60 each.


              • #8
                Dam! I was fully impressed with that EE. LOL, I'll swap you for a chinese lathe if you kick in a few bucks.