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Filco
04-10-2020, 08:30 AM
Hi,
I have restored a Colchester Bantam Mk1 and now want to add a DRO. After a quick search I can see the prices vary greatly from 100 to 800.
Could anyone recommend a suitable make & model, my initial budget was around 400 and would prefer easy installation with minimum drilling.

Thanks in advance

m_c
04-10-2020, 11:04 AM
Unless you find somebody who can supply suitable custom brackets, you're going to have to drill holes.
Personally I went for Machine DROs own system, but that was only because I needed it quickly.

For lathe use, I don't think there is all that much difference between the lathe systems, once you move beyond the very basic DROs. All you really need is diameter/radius mode, and the ability to have different tool offsets if you're using a QCTP.

I opted for 5 micron scales, as the 1 micron aren't actually more accurate. They use the same grating as the 5, but interpolate the extra microns in the reader head. Plus you might find yourself continually chasing that micron precision on the DRO, when in reality it makes no difference to whatever you're turning.

I'd strongly suggest you get the proper covers/extrusion, as they make protecting the DROs far simpler, and avoid the need to hunt down suitable extrusion that will might or might not work. They are generally pretty expensive for what they are, but they do make installation far easier.

Muzzer
04-10-2020, 12:04 PM
I have a Bantam too and bought a set of full sized Chinesium glass scales for mine. However, I haven't had the heart to get round to fitting them, as they feel rather oversized. IIRC, there are miniature scales that can be hidden inside the cross slide and also magnetic tapes that are thin and require little height.

You won't like the approach John Stevenson took with the DRO installation he did on his (partner's) Bantam. There, he milled a massive slot across the saddle to house the scale without reducing the swing over the saddle. A man after my own heart! You may find pictures on the MEW forum if you don't mind running the gauntlet of handbag swingers, ex-spurts and armchair engineers lurking there.

Filco
04-10-2020, 12:09 PM
Unless you find somebody who can supply suitable custom brackets, you're going to have to drill holes.
Personally I went for Machine DROs own system, but that was only because I needed it quickly.

For lathe use, I don't think there is all that much difference between the lathe systems, once you move beyond the very basic DROs. All you really need is diameter/radius mode, and the ability to have different tool offsets if you're using a QCTP.

I opted for 5 micron scales, as the 1 micron aren't actually more accurate. They use the same grating as the 5, but interpolate the extra microns in the reader head. Plus you might find yourself continually chasing that micron precision on the DRO, when in reality it makes no difference to whatever you're turning.

I'd strongly suggest you get the proper covers/extrusion, as they make protecting the DROs far simpler, and avoid the need to hunt down suitable extrusion that will might or might not work. They are generally pretty expensive for what they are, but they do make installation far easier.

Very useful information, thanks for your time. Just had a quick look at the Machine DRO's and they look good and reasonably priced.
Many thanks again.

Filco
04-10-2020, 12:12 PM
I have a Bantam too and bought a set of full sized Chinesium glass scales for mine. However, I haven't had the heart to get round to fitting them, as they feel rather oversized. IIRC, there are miniature scales that can be hidden inside the cross slide and also magnetic tapes that are thin and require little height.

You won't like the approach John Stevenson took with the DRO installation he did on his (partner's) Bantam. There, he milled a massive slot across the saddle to house the scale without reducing the swing over the saddle. A man after my own heart! You may find pictures on the MEW forum if you don't mind running the gauntlet of handbag swingers, ex-spurts and armchair engineers lurking there.

Thanks Muzzer!
I don't mind drilling and tapping a few holes but slotting the saddle is not an option for me, I will have a look at the MEW forum, could be interesting....

Filco
04-10-2020, 12:24 PM
Just thought I'd share this:

28944

I have a few more jobs to do including wiring the suds pump (also hoping for some help with that) ,fitting an emergency stop and connecting the foot brake. Not sure I can do that with the VFD though...

Filco
04-10-2020, 12:40 PM
Hi Muzzer,
I have a dial on the back of the machine as below, do you know what it indicates. I think its the hours it has been running but not sure ?
28945

Neale
04-10-2020, 02:49 PM
I bought a system from Machine DRO to replace an elderly Anilam DRO on my Smart and Brown. One of the scales had failed but I decided to pay a bit more and replace the lot. That was a general-purpose kit which came with a whole heap of different mounting brackets but I see that they sell a few dedicated kits for the Bantam (see here (https://www.machine-dro.co.uk/2-axis-colchester-bantam-lathe-digital-readout-dro-kit-magnetic-encoders-lathe-not-included)). They have something that's about your budget.

I also use 5 micron scales; that's certainly good enough for my fairly elderly and well-worn machine but when I translate that back into units I understand, that's still only two-tenths of a thou. OK, that's four-tenths on diameter but that's at least as good if not better than the handwheel scales. Chasing to the nearest micron is a bit more than my machine justifies and I guess the same is true of the Bantam (great machines though they are - I did a lot of my early work on one of these).

Based on my dealings with Machine DRO, they are probably good for making something up if you wanted a different make of DRO or whatever - they seem pretty reasonable to deal with. They are also UK-based with a real address and everything - can't say that about a lot of eBay deals! But you pays your money and you takes your choice.

Filco
04-10-2020, 02:56 PM
Thanks Neale,
That's good to know regarding Machine DRO, I think I'm going to go with the 5 micron scales kit specific for the Bantam (as per your link) price is about right too.
I've never used a lathe with a DRO, are they a worthwhile add-on for small batch work?

routercnc
04-10-2020, 03:02 PM
I bought my DROs from Warco at the same time as buying the lathe. I know they are rebranded from someone else but the quality has been great and I’ve had no issues with over the years. I would not want to use a lathe without them now.
I had a thread on my lathe arrival and DRO fitting a few years ago with some pictures and notes. I’ll see if I can find it

Filco
04-10-2020, 03:05 PM
I bought my DROs from Warco at the same time as buying the lathe. I know they are rebranded from someone else but the quality has been great and I’ve had no issues with over the years. I would not want to use a lathe without them now.
I had a thread on my lathe arrival and DRO fitting a few years ago with some pictures and notes. I’ll see if I can find it

Just been looking at the Warco ones, they look good for the money. Would be interested to see those photos.
Thanks!

routercnc
04-10-2020, 03:10 PM
Right got it


http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/9141-Lathe-suggestions

Neale
04-10-2020, 03:12 PM
I used a Myford for years before buying this Smart and Brown. Never thought a DRO would be that useful on a lathe. Then I started using one. Wouldn't want to use a lathe without, now. Can't remember the time I last looked at the handwheel dials. Instant switch metric/imperial - if I'm working in metric units, but only have the imperial micrometer to hand, I'll take a cut, check dimensions and set the DRO in imperial units, then switch back to metric for DoC, finish dimension, etc. Until you've been in a position to cut, measure, set workpiece dia on the DRO, then just used the readout to get to dimension, then you haven't lived! Beats scruffy bits of paper with calculations, etc, and no way are you ever going to wonder how many turns you put on the feedscrew even if the figures after the decimal point are correct.

Filco
04-10-2020, 03:15 PM
I used a Myford for years before buying this Smart and Brown. Never thought a DRO would be that useful on a lathe. Then I started using one. Wouldn't want to use a lathe without, now. Can't remember the time I last looked at the handwheel dials. Instant switch metric/imperial - if I'm working in metric units, but only have the imperial micrometer to hand, I'll take a cut, check dimensions and set the DRO in imperial units, then switch back to metric for DoC, finish dimension, etc. Until you've been in a position to cut, measure, set workpiece dia on the DRO, then just used the readout to get to dimension, then you haven't lived! Beats scruffy bits of paper with calculations, etc, and no way are you ever going to wonder how many turns you put on the feedscrew even if the figures after the decimal point are correct.

SOLD !
Much appreciated, thanks.

Muzzer
04-10-2020, 03:31 PM
JS used to have a website with all his photos on it, including his Bantam mods. I was looking at it only a month or 2 ago but can't recall how to get there. Anyone know?

JAZZCNC
04-10-2020, 04:16 PM
You won't like the approach John Stevenson took with the DRO installation he did on his (partner's) Bantam.

John was and still is to me a Legend, top man, Rough as a bears arse with a heart of Gold who called spade a spade. A funny bloke with a dry sarcastic sense of humor that would have you pissing your knickers.:angel:

JAZZCNC
04-10-2020, 04:21 PM
JS used to have a website with all his photos on it, including his Bantam mods. I was looking at it only a month or 2 ago but can't recall how to get there. Anyone know?

I think Johns son used to handle the website so it's probably been taken down by now but I'll see if I've still got the link somewhere.

Muzzer
04-10-2020, 06:10 PM
Yes it was Adam who linked to it from the HWS website (he runs it). https://www.homeworkshop.org.uk/

I think it was in an ad for the last remaining workshop manual CDs. Can't see it now, so he must have taken it down. It was within the last 1-2 months.

The OP could always email him via the website to ask for the link.

Filco
05-10-2020, 12:52 PM
Thanks Kered, very interesting. I'm sold on the benefits of a DRO.
I ordered the Machines DRO model specific for the Bantam yesterday. Sounds like you got a bargain with yours.
Looking forward to getting it set-up.