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2" stroke dial indicator on tailstock

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  • 2" stroke dial indicator on tailstock

    A few months ago, I started a thread about using a long stroke dial indicator to indicate carriage travel on my lathe. I bought a 2" stroke dial indicator, but as I got deeper and deeper into it, I came to realize that nothing actually beats a DRO set-up. So, I spent some of the Rupnow fortune on a nice DRO set-up and installed it on my lathe. It's wonderful!!! If you have the money to do so, then by all means buy one. They are worth whatever you have to pay.--However, that left me with a 2" stroke dial indicator and still no way to accurately monitor the travel of my tailstock quill. Today was one of those rare days when I had absolutely nothing else to do, so I made up a bracket and installed the dial indicator on my tailstock. I even got real fancy, and made a video of it working. It wasn't until I replayed the video that I realized I had said "2" DRO" instead of "2" dial indicator". Ah well, bad on me. I'm not going to make a new video just to get the wording right.

    Last edited by brian Rupnow; 03-20-2017, 03:31 PM.
    Brian Rupnow

  • #2
    And yes, here is my fumble mouthed video.
    Last edited by brian Rupnow; 03-20-2017, 03:33 PM.
    Brian Rupnow


    • #3
      I have been drooling over DRO setup also but for some reason I haven't bought one yet.
      They are not even expensive, whole kit 200 usd directly from china, including postage


      • #4
        I've been using a similar setup for years, but use a magnetic base on the indicator so that I can zero it for the tool being used. It's saved me some expensive whoopsies!
        David Kaiser
        “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
        ― Robert A. Heinlein


        • #5
          Hi Brian, Your original posts on this subject prompted me to purchase a digital indicator 50mm/2 inch, and adapt it
          for the South Bend 9A.
          I have made a multi-function plate to hold the indicators. The plate is mounted on the tool post.
          I have been using this over the past weeks, and i think it has improved my accuracy,
          with less time to set up and turn features.
          I still have some improvements to do, but here are some photos that should explain what I have here so far.

          The indicator plate clamping detail.

          Centreing in a 4 Jaw

          The reference for radial depth of cut
          This was the most difficult part, as I don't want to drill the vintage lathe.
          The reference is a weldment attached to a single existing threaded hole on the saddle.

          The reference for axial position of the cut:

          Tailstock Drilling depth:


          • #6
            Very nice, Wombat. It certainly beats counting lines on the crank dials.---Brian
            Last edited by brian Rupnow; 03-20-2017, 08:05 PM.
            Brian Rupnow


            • #7
              I like the simplicity of your original design, Brian.

              But, as my powers of concentration fade into the sunset with age, I can see the drawbacks of rev-counting...


              • #8
                Brian, I have a similar setup on my lathe. But, I made several mounting holes so I can use the 2" travel over the travel of the tailstock.



                • #9
                  It would be nice to have a Newall type scale that runs parallel inside a tunnel bored in the TS, a pocket in the casting to house the reader head.
                  I've had real good experiences with three Newall DRO's on lathes. But it's true I've never had trouble with any DRO, Mitutoyo, Newall, DRO Pro (Which though installed I've never used yet) or Sony.

                  The Newall is a natural for this as one end can be unsupported, a real DRO scale would be far preferable if a way to stick on on in a way that doesn't hang out could be found.
                  Thinking about this the best position would probably be at the lower front edge off the ram hole 1/4" or so, running parallel all the way back through the casting. A pocket milled near the working end seems like a good spot for the reader head, and the rod should be anchored as Mr. Rupnow has his but at the lower front, and very short cantilever bracket. The back isn't good because the ram's clamp goes vertically through. That way all but the worst wild crashes and chip storms wouldn't effect it. I suppose a couple carefully drilled holes would serve to route the cable to somewhere on the chip backstop high at the back.


                  • #10
                    I like it! One thing that is quite nice about newer lathes is the lack of odd-shaped round pieces, IE the tailstock, headstock, etc.. Makes attaching stuff much easier. My little Atlas hardly has a flat surface on it, not counting the ways. Sort of! Very nice, Brian.