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  1. #1
    Filco's Avatar
    Lives in Clitheroe, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 32. Received thanks 4 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    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

  2. #2
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 5 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 2,907. Received thanks 360 times, giving thanks to others 8 times.
    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.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

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  4. #3
    Muzzer's Avatar
    Lives in Lytham St. Annes, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 13 Hours Ago Has been a member for 6-7 years. Has a total post count of 410. Received thanks 59 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    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.

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  6. #4
    Filco's Avatar
    Lives in Clitheroe, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 32. Received thanks 4 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by m_c View Post
    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.

  7. #5
    Filco's Avatar
    Lives in Clitheroe, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 32. Received thanks 4 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Muzzer View Post
    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....

  8. #6
    Filco's Avatar
    Lives in Clitheroe, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 32. Received thanks 4 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    Just thought I'd share this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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...

  9. #7
    Filco's Avatar
    Lives in Clitheroe, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 32. Received thanks 4 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    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 ?
    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #8
    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). 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.

  11. #9
    Filco's Avatar
    Lives in Clitheroe, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 32. Received thanks 4 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    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?

  12. #10
    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
    Building a CNC machine to make a better one since 2010 . . .
    MK1 (1st photo), MK2, MK3, MK4

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