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Inexpensive DROs with Remote Readouts

Many home machinists with limited budgets have made a poor man’s DRO by mounting inexpensive digital calipers or scales on their mini-mills.  They seem to work pretty well, but their displays are small and they tend to get mounted where they will be hard to read and their buttons hard to push.

Now there’s another affordable option.  You can buy inexpensive scales with remote readouts and controls.  The scales are available in different lengths and come with mounting hardware and a large easy-to-read display at the end of a 50-inch cord.  I think if you shop around for the best price you’ll probably be able to add them to all three-axes of a mini-mill for about $125 or less.

I haven’t had a chance to play with one of these things yet and I’d like to know your opinion of them if you have.  One concern I have is that they are still battery powered, although there’s probably a solution for that.  They also only have a resolution of one-thousandths (.001).  In most cases that’s probably enough, but I sometimes wish the DRO I made for my mini-lathe had a resolution of at least one-ten-thousandths (.0001).

Here are some places where you can buy them.  (Thank you John W. and John Z. on the Mini-Mills group)


2 comments to Inexpensive DROs with Remote Readouts

  • John bryan
    March 4, 2014 at 11:25 PM | Reply

    I installed these on my LMS X2 minimill, works great. Faster setup, return to position , repeatability is great. Took my time mounting out of the way of chips making lower profile brackets. Batteries seem to last long time but no auto off, so cant forget to turn them off. Would recommend.

  • DavidT
    January 26, 2015 at 4:48 PM | Reply

    If you want the scales to be even more useable visit Yuriy’s Toys http://www.yuriystoys.com/ . He’s come up with a true DRO interface that uses about $30-40 worth of hardware and an Android tablet. It allows for bolt patterns, both linear and circular, multiple machines on the one tablet and the scales are powered by the interface so no more batteries (and you don’t lose zero if you don’t turn them off)

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