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Installed DRO vs DIY DRO

wileel

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#1
Hello all,
I've been lurking for a bit and finally joined up. LOTS of really good info on here and it seems like good forum where people are actually passing on help and info instead berating so thanks to everyone for that!

Now for the question..
I've been playing with some basic machining for a few years now on a little HF 7x10 lathe and now that I have bought a house with a shop I am in the market for a proper hobby mil to expand to. I'm still back and forth between the PM-25 and PM-30 but leaning towards the -30. I see the installed DRO adds about $700 installed to the price and that got be wondering... Basically, why is it more costly than a DIY DRO kit? Is it higher quality, more accurate, etc. or is it for the convince of already being installed?
 

darkzero

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#2
Welcome!

It's the installation that is adding to the cost. They're not hard to install but it is pretty time consuming having to locate, drill/tap, indicate, & configure the bracketry. It can take a full day or even onto the next if you aren't familar with installing them.
 

RJSakowski

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#3
Markup and somebody's got to pay for the labor.

For my money, I would rather do it myself. I don't have a lot of faith in other peoples work but that's me. Of the three DRO's that I have installed, I don't believe that I would have achieved as good results had they been done by the vendor. All my mounting components were custom made rather than using the hardware which came with the DRO's.

You can save some money by putting in sweat equity but you shouldn't do if you don't have the confidence in your abilities or the tools to do the job right.
 

ch2co

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#4
Welcome aboard wileel!
The main difference as I see it, is that one way it allready installed on someone else's time and the other way is for you to do it yourself and save enough cash to be able to buy a lot of extra needed items like vices, cutters, etc. the little extras add up quickly and. An cost more than the mill itself. Some of us enjoy installing, modifying and having fun doing it, and others that prefer to have a totally turnkey setup.

CHuck the grumpy old guy ( and cheapskate
 

wileel

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#6
Wow! Now that was a quick reply.

Alright, so pretty much as I figured...in that case I'll tackle it myself and save a few hundred bucks. I should have all the tools I need but I see kits all over the place from fleebay to DRO store and several in between others. To me (the layman) most of them look the same, is it me or am I missing something? Obviously I don't want to buy junk but want so save $$ also...any guidance?

One more question. I've done some moderate searching but haven't seen any install walk trough's on the forums do any of ya have a link to one so I can get a basic idea?

Thanks
 

RJSakowski

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#7
I don't recall anyone complaining about buying directly from China. I would go to DRO Pros if I had any concerns about needing customer service. They seem to have a very competent staff. FWIW, I have had the Grizzly DRO on my mill/drill for 13 years and not had any problems with it. As far as I can see, it is essentially the same glass scale system that DRO Pros offers except they don't offer as many options for scale length and they don't offer the hi resolution scales or the slim scales.
 

mksj

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#8
I would look at either the PM-727V or the PM-30MV. Both have variable speed, the PM-727V is a 6 speed gearbox with a 1 Hp motor 120V, and the PM-30MV is a two speed belt with a 2 Hp motor so 240V only. With twice the Hp you can stretch the RPM range a bit more, but the PM-727V has a bit higher top end because of the extra gears. Both very nice starter mills if you do not have anything big to throw on the table.

As others hae mentioned, the DRO is fairly easy to install but time consuming. You might also check the price (~$400) of the DRO at QMT without the install, and if the brackets are generic or tailored to these mills. There are a number of installs posted online of similar sized machines. Since the machine comes with a quill DRO (Z), you can easily get by with a 2 axis (X, Y). I had a benchtop mill for years with a similar setup, never found the need for a column scale (but the cost difference is not so big). One issue with benchtop mills is that when moving the head up and down you can get a little head sag (tilt) until the gibs are locked. One reason why I used the quill for drilling and depth as opposed to moving the head up and down when milling. As far as DROs on this size machine, something simple and not too big. Glass scales work just fine if installed properly, magnetic scales are a bit easier and more forgiving but you will be paying a lot more for them. Because the machine is smaller, you might ask about slim line scales which are smaller.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-AXIS-DRO-...NE-SHIPS-FROM-USA-14-x31-Scales-/332300890288
 

BGHansen

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#9
I installed a 3-axis on my Jet mill and a 2-axis on my Grizzly G0709 lathe without too many issues. Mill was my first experience installing a DRO. As mentioned above, took a good day to do each of them. So the decision is if you want to save some bucks doing your own plumbing or hiring a plumber and writing a check.

Bruce
 

gradient

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#10
I did both on our South Bend Lathe and Mill. Bought the 3 axis package for the mill and 2 axis package for the lathe from DRO PROS. A little more expensive than some vendors but the quality is good and the help is really good. Chose the magnetic system because the slides could be cut to custom lengths, especially good for old or odd machines. It was my first DRO installation so it took a couple of days for each machine and I was making custom brackets for both machines. Don't know what took me so long to make the decision to install DROs. Really a time saver and my old eyes don't like reading dials anymore.
 

RandyWilson

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#11
Designing and making your own DRO bracketry is a required rite of passage. Usually it follows the "make your own Tee nut) merit badge.
 

wileel

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#12
I'm in for the install, should be a fun project and saving the bucks is a huge bonus. Searching around and stumbled upon the Bluetooth scale set-up on the LMS site and sparked my interest. Anyone using this set-up?
 

atunguyd

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#13
Also consider touch dro, grab a cheap android tablet and mount it on your mill. You will end up with a solution that gives you features normally found in very high end DROs (like nearly unlimited point memory, visualisation, tool library and much more). You also get a DRO with regular software updates that get done at the touch of a button.
I also find having a full blown tablet right there on my mill a big advantage. Need a unit converter? Download an app. How about a machining calculator? Tick! Even music or streaming radio if that's what you want. Not to mention double checking that instructional YouTube video without needing to walk from the shop to the house.

Sent from my SM-N920C using Tapatalk
 

19E60

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#14
Hey guys, first post, longtime lurker, with an observation.

Just received my PM30MV 3 weeks ago. As far as spindle speeds go mine tops out at 3012 rpm, not 2250 as stated in PM's specs. Don't know if this is an anomaly or if they all are the higher top speed, the label on the machine does read 3000 max in high range. I went with the 30 over the 727; its belt drive, larger table, and a little more weight suited me better and I already had 220 wired in for my PM1236.

In terms of DRO install I took a chance and ordered a Chinese one on ali...took about 10 days to arrive from Hong Kong but was fully intact and tested out fine on the bench. It came with 3 generic brackets that I will need to augment. Hope to begin the install shortly...the warden is demanding much of my time be devoted to her list of requirements...the nerve of some people.

I would like to add that this site has been of immeasurable help to this relatively newbie hobby machinist. Profound thanks and kudos to the many members here for providing much insight to all, and helping me spend my money.

Thanks again,

Kurt
 

T Bredehoft

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#15
If you stick with the Precision Matthews product, the qulil comes with a DRO, I opted on my PM25 for X and Y already installed. Saved some bucks. The Z DRO works on the head, but becasue of loosening and tightening the head, that DRO can't be used for machining.
 

wileel

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#16
19E60 (Kurt); do you have a link of the set-up you bought? I've been back and forth on the -25 or the -30. I'm a true hobby guy on machining and only run a mill a few times, so that and the fact I probably wont use it as much as I think makes me wonder if the extra $500 is worth it for the bigger machine...on the other hand after using my little 7x10 lathe I have learned that bigger would be better (except when you move)

atunguyd; those are the details that caught my eye about the touchDRO, all of the convince of different apps right there on the unit and access the ole interwebs. This tablet can be the shop computer and keep the nice stuff out of the shop. I'm not seeing many down sides to this set-up...
 

atunguyd

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#17
Wileel I am loving touchDRO as o product. I can't think of any real machining dro that I have Sen that is so configurable. Start of with just two axis and display just two. Add another two and you don't need to get a whole new display unit. It also has RPM now so it will give you your true sfm and feed rate.
Font too small? Just tell the app to increase it, or if change it or its color.
It is honestly better than any "real" dro on the the market. And since it can work with any scales it is just as accurate as all off the real ones too.

Sent from my SM-N920C using Tapatalk
 

19E60

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#18
wileel, this DRO is the one I bought. Splurged for the 3 axis, at this price I figured why not...https://www.aliexpress.com/item/fre.../1524501216.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.ZZxSZl .

I was debating between the 25 and the 30, was much in the same situation as you. Started with a HF 7x12 mini lathe last fall, decided I was going to really get into machining and started looking at lathes in the 10 and 11 inch range, decided to go bigger with the 12x36 and haven't regretted it for a second. The 25 is a great machine but again I figured bigger would be better for my needs. A knee mill and larger lathe are what I really want now but we are likely going to relocate to AZ in a year or two. I probably will sell the machines here and upgrade after the move.
 
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