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Advice on DRO for Bridgeport

EnderMill13

Plastic
Joined
Jul 27, 2022
I did a decent amount of research to find a reasonably priced DRO, landed on DROPROS 3 axis DRO kit and unfortunately they're sold out until the end of the year. I have been looking for an alternative in the $1000 range and they are all either sold out, way out of my price range, or Chinese cheap stuff that I don't really trust. Does anyone have any recommendations for 3 axis DRO kits, even if they're cheaper (that you can vouch for). Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks,
Adam

PS: the mill is a 1967 Bridgeport Series 1 J-Head w/ 9x42 table.
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
marysville ohio
Sometimes you need to ignore the incendiary bomb and all his bird port BS. Is a Bridgeport a machine that will make a 5" wide 1" deep cut in steel? No chance. I have been using a 2J for 40 years and a V2xT 3 axis cnc for about 15 years. Used as intended they are fine machines. The AcuRite 2 axis on the 2J has .0005 resolution, I have no problem holding .001 anytime I need to. I make disc brake bells mostly for Alfa's, guys seem to want to put giant A P rotors and Brembo's on them, whatever. When I cut the slots for 12 drive dogs .0004 over the dog size and it all drops right together that tells me that the old Bridgeport is just FINE.
 

dana gear

Hot Rolled
Joined
Feb 27, 2013
Location
Northern califorina, usa
First the disclaimer, I am not a fan of the Chinese, that said there making most of our T.V,s and Cell phones, and a bunch of other electronic equipment we purchase here in the states. Most but not all of my DRO's are Fagor. I purchased a new 1660 lathe last year and it came with a Sino DRO, The DRO is made in China. At first my thought was to pull it all off and install something like Fagor, however we tested the DRO across its entire travel range and found it to be very accurate in both X and Y, repeatability was excellent. I am not sure of this but I think the company DROPROS uses Sino systems.
Anyway, Sino DRO's are inexpensive and after a one year of daily use it's working fine.
 

car2

Stainless
Joined
Sep 19, 2009
Location
Apex, NC
One of my pet peeves with DRO readouts is the CHEAP-ass, junk-toy, unreliable, difficult to use silicone kepads with carbon actuators they use, even on expensive Accurite readouts. They have no tactile feedback, and you have to be very careful to punch them (hard) in the center, while watching the display to make sure your "entry" is correct. The silicone is prone to wear and attack by oils and such, gets grimy easily (I keep mine covered with a layer of plastic), the cheap-ass topical pad/screen printing wears off. They should at least use a hard-top snap-dome type pad (and this is nothing expensive, it's done on cheap consumer stuff all the time, like my cheapo portable phones). You should be able to tap those keypads with a reasonable force, and get some tactile feedback on the entry. I won't buy another control with those sorry silicone kepads, don't care who makes it or what price it is. I think Heidenhain uses a hard-top keypad (with 2-shot or diffusion-printed letters that don't wear). ..rant over.
 
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car2

Stainless
Joined
Sep 19, 2009
Location
Apex, NC
Love or hate, 'em "keypads" are an example of how "supply chain" goes pear-shaped over even a single component out brazillions.

One of the major GERMAN automakers was in deep do-do over lack of WIRING HARNESSES to keep producition lines rolling.

Why so?

Lowest bidder had not been China. Ukrainian factory, rather.
Russia's primary targets? Ukraine's workforce, their factories, energy, and agriculture.

Oh, s**t. Now waddawedo?
I used to work for a cellular company. None of those products, even the cheapest cellphones (back when all phones had a keypad before all touchscreen), had only soft-top silicone keypads (like junk-toys and remote-controls etc); they at least had a hard-top silicone keypad, usually with plastic or metal snap-domes to provide tactile feedback. There were lots of people that made those keypads, and they're cheap. Not to mention, there is no space/thickness constraint on a DRO head that precludes the use of and even more ergonomic, higher-travel keypad. If the DRO manufacturer can't spend 50 cents more on a decent keypad on a $2000+ DRO system, I ain't buying it. This sounds like bean-counter scrimping run amuck, and/or very poor design engineering.
 

guythatbrews

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 14, 2017
Location
MO, USA
Quick amazon search for dro shows delivery on Sunday. That is without looking for a particular size of course.

I am kinda ashamed to get stuff from amazon (walmart too), but it's become almost an "if you can't beat them join them" thing.
 

Terry Keeley

Stainless
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
Toronto, Canada eh!
 

jackalope

Titanium
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Location
St. Peters, MO
I recently purchased a ToAuto 3 axis DRO for under $250. I put it on my Series II. Everything checks out accurately but I have not put the machine through its paces yet to determine durability of components. I have been told that this is the brand that actual Bridgeport rebuilder(s) are using on their machines. That is firsthand information about rebuilder using them and not just anecdotal bullshit.
 

tylersteez

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
The cheap chinese DRO on my bridgeport that came on my bridgeport just failed. At first I couldn't use the Y axis because the scale/ reader head stopped reading correctly. Kept wondering why my parts weren't accurate and it ended up being that while moving the Y axis, the reader head/scale would randomly not read for a second causing the value to not increase while turning. No amount of reader head adjusting or cleaning would get rid of it. Then the DRO screen itself started flickering and now wont turn on at all.

Tempted to buy another cheap one to replace it but I can't stand going through all the effort of installing everything perfectly just for the cheapo scale and reader head to fail in 3 months. I emailed DROPROS this morning for a quote but they didn't get back to me yet and probably wont since they told you they're out of stock. I put one of their magnetic scale sets on my lathe two years ago and have loved it, would like to have my bridgeport match it.

If a $1000 DRO set up saves me from worrying about accuracy, scrapping parts, or having to randomly count the knob turns for a week because the screen shit the bed then I'm fine with that.
 

Laverda

Cast Iron
Joined
Mar 24, 2014
Location
Riverside County, CA
I have both DRO Pros and Sony Magnescale. The Sony is made in Japan and the DRO Pro is made in India. They both work fine. The Sony has been running since 1982 with zero problems. The DRO Pro about 3 years with zero problems and it cost a lot less than the Sony.
 

jackalope

Titanium
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Location
St. Peters, MO
I should have added the ToAuto was replacing an older Mitutoyo that kept skipping on X. Simple old DRO but couldn’t find replacement scale for it so a new foreign unit it was. Supposedly they are quality and have good customer service if needed.
 
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EnderMill13

Plastic
Joined
Jul 27, 2022
I recently purchased a ToAuto 3 axis DRO for under $250. I put it on my Series II. Everything checks out accurately but I have not put the machine through its paces yet to determine durability of components. I have been told that this is the brand that actual Bridgeport rebuilder(s) are using on their machines. That is firsthand information about rebuilder using them and not just anecdotal bullshit.
Good to hear, this is the one I was planning on going with so that's good news. Thank you everyone for your responses, I really appreciate it.
 








 
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