• Spring 2024 meetup in Calgary - date Saturday, April 20/2024. discussion Please RSVP Here to confirm and get your invitation and the location details. RSVP NOW so organizers can plan to get sufficient food etc. It's Tomorrow Saturday! you can still RSVP until I stop checking my phone tomorrow More info and agenda
  • We are having email/registration problems again. Diagnosis is underway. New users sorry if you are having trouble getting registered. We are exploring different options to get registered. Contact the forum via another member or on facebook if you're stuck. Update -> we think it is fixed. Let us know if not.
  • Spring meet up in Ontario, April 6/2024. NEW LOCATION See Post #31 Discussion AND THE NEW LOCATION

Shop DRO taking away my fun?

Shop
Okay, maybe a philosophical question but lately I've been thinking about getting a couple DRO's for my mill and lathe. But then I decide I don't want them because I enjoy using my dials and setting up dial indicators when needed. But then I start thinking it would be so easy and faster and maybe more accurate, but then I start thinking the DRO's are just going to take the magic out of the process and turn it more into work... I go around and around.

I know I may be crazy, but am curious if anyone else is crazy with me and or if I can wrap my head around this nonsense thinking.

I suppose I could always get them and keep them switched off unless I really really need them?

Idunno,

 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I know I may be crazy, but am curious if anyone else is crazy with me and or if I can wrap my head around this nonsense thinking.

You are not alone. In essence, that's why I have no interest in CNC. I am not a factory. I am an old man who likes making stuff with my own two hands. I love cranking handles, feeling the pressure of the cutting process through the machine and tuning what I do to what I feel.

I went through the exact same thinking process before I got the DRO for my mill. I can handle reading dials on instruments and on the leadscrews as well as accommodating the backlash. I've been doing it for decades.

What pushed me over the edge was the new features of the latest DROs. Machining bolt circles, arrays, etc with a DRO saves me from all the paper work - which I don't enjoy anymore. I find a center, zero the DRO, plug in the geometry (radius, # of holes, etc) and go. I can even use the DRO to do layouts, just like on paper but on the work itself.

Secondly, you don't have to worry about bumping an indicator or a crank scale. Ya, a DRO can be bumped, but it knows how much it was bumped. So it's super easy to fix. In fact, I've learned to bump my DRO intentionally to hit a finer target.

Third, there is all the voodoo magic of adding axis, tool libraries, on board math, zeroing, etc etc etc.

Last but not least. You cannot possibly overestimate how much you will love it once you have one. I absolutely totally love it. I had no idea I would feel that way till I got one. You can get a sense of how my emotions changed as I got each axis working by reading my install thread.

Thread 'Installing a DRO on a Hartford Bridgeport Clone.' https://canadianhobbymetalworkers.com/threads/installing-a-dro-on-a-hartford-bridgeport-clone.4852/

Pro Tip - get a digital edge finder too.......

PS - do your mill first.
 
....

What pushed me over the edge was the new features of the latest DROs. Machining bolt circles, arrays, etc with a DRO saves me from all the paper work - which I don't enjoy anymore. I find a center, zero the DRO, plug in the geometry (radius, # of holes, etc) and go. I can even use the DRO to do layouts, just like on paper but on the work itself.

....

Pro Tip - get a digital edge finder too.......

PS - do your mill first.

Yes!! Those are the very exact reasons why I think a DRO would be cool. I already have an edge finder and use it with the dials which is weird but it works. My calculator gets a lot of use.
 

Upnorth

Well-Known Member
I put a DRO on my manual lathe a couple of years ago. I will never have another manual lathe in my shop that does not have a DRO. They take away a lot of issues. Like it was said earlier they never forget where they are. If you can use the type with glass scales the setup will probably cost about the same as a couple of good quality dial indicators.
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
Vancouver area, bit of a drive I'm afraid, appreciate the offer though!

There are others there that have one. Maybe someone in the Vancouver area will see this thread and invite you over.

I closed my eyes for a few minutes and thought of a few other loveable features of a nice DRO.

Instant metric imperial conversion. Work in either system of units or both at the same time.

Assign multiple zero references (or calculate them) and switch between them with the press of a few buttons.

Corrections and multiple offsets.

Many DROs can display RPM on the same screen.

Many can measure angles and calculate angular offsets and projections and vectors to the precision of the DRO.

Ya, you need a DRO even if you conclude you don't!
 

slow-poke

Ultra Member
The post by Susquatch about sums up my DRO experience. Once you have it you will likely never look at your dials again. I also feel the same way about having CNC capability. You always have the option to do things manually if you feel the urge.

When making something I do enjoy the journey but I prefer to focus on the end result, If I need to build a shed, I'm going to get my lumber at H.D. not harvest pine trees from the forest.

8D1F6E9E-CD10-43F9-9B12-347DFBDDD603.jpeg
 

historicalarms

Ultra Member
I felt the same way as the OP when I first got my mill. I was just over the moon to have a mill and turning wheels was heaven....i dont need no "stinkin power feed"...then i started doing a lot of milling and one of those add on power feeds became part of the program....and I now consider it the best expenditure of funds i've ever made....you'll be the same with a DRO I'm betting!!.
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I felt the same way as the OP when I first got my mill. I was just over the moon to have a mill and turning wheels was heaven....i dont need no "stinkin power feed"...then i started doing a lot of milling and one of those add on power feeds became part of the program....and I now consider it the best expenditure of funds i've ever made....you'll be the same with a DRO I'm betting!!.

I am contemplating this one but I'm not there yet. I use a drill with a castle nut adapter to raise and lower the knee but I fine tune manually.

I could see adding a power X-axis if for no other reason than to move long distances fast. I might also find the right feedrate manually and then set a power feed to do the same. But I can't see walking away from it with a job in process.

Anyway, I am looking....
 

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
I wish I had a DRO for my lathe. Dials are fine and workable, but IMO a readout is much better. I'm not out there for the "fun" of running the machines, I'm out there to build stuff in the limited fragments of free time I have, and do it in an accurate and efficient manner. I don't get enjoyment out of cranking handles, they are for me, a means to an end. Doing this for a living no doubt takes the shine off of it and makes me a bit jaded no doubt, but I just want to get from idea/print to finished product in the quickest, most accurate way possible. Which is somewhat strange, because in almost all other aspects of my life I am very much a "journey" person, rather than a "destination" person. Just not when it comes to building stuff.

I get that some people are in it for different reasons though, and my post above was not to offensive to any of those people, so I hope it's not interpreted that way.
 

whydontu

I Tried, It Broke
Premium Member
I have DROs on my lathe and mill, but no power feeds (except I have @jcdammeyer 's ELS on my lathe because I hate swapping change gears).

Go for it. The DRO can be just a more accurate dial. Easier to read than the hand wheel scale, and takes care of backlash. As @Susquatch says, it can do a lot more but you're not obligated to use the extra functions.

Repeat after me - it's the machinist that has the skill and does the work, not the machine.

I'm in Stevenson Village, you're welcome to come and see my hacked setup any time.
 
Top