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Anyone fitted a DRO to Sieg SC4?

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jimmy b08/12/2018 07:18:05
638 forum posts
38 photos

I'm giving some thought to fitting a DRO to my SC4.

I have been using a modified tyre tread depth gauge for the cross slide and a modified digital caliper on the carriage. This is fine for single tool use, but starts to get a bit involved if you are using more than one tool and a rear toolpost.

I have looked at the Chinese ones on Ebay, but they are a bit on the bulky side.

Has anyone fitted anything else or had thoughts on this?

Thank you, Jim

Phil Francis 108/12/2018 21:39:56
20 forum posts
2 photos

I’ve successfully fitted the EMS-I one to a SC3. They clame to have the smallest magnetic reading head. **LINK**t Not cheap though. Phil

Martin M26/12/2018 19:36:18
3 forum posts

Jim, are you aware of the Sieg handwheel DROs? Just found a retrofit kit from Toolarena:

I had those on my SC2 and found them to be quite OK. I don't have an SC4 yet, I just sold my SC2 and think about getting one... a bit afraid of the thing being to noisy. Maybe you can give me an advice - is the main noise coming from the power feed gear (which I can modify if all else fails) or the spindle reverse gear (where mods are difficult)?

- Martin

Yngvar F27/12/2018 10:17:22
66 forum posts
52 photos

I mounted a chineese dro to the sc4 but soon removed it. As you said, just too bulky and got in the way.

Wouldn’t be without dro on the mill, but on the lathe I do not miss it.

Nick Hulme31/12/2018 01:47:20
743 forum posts
37 photos

If you want a DRO on a machine you should use linear scales, anything else fails to eliminate backlash.
If a DRO gets in the way on your lathe you have fitted it incorrectly or bought the wrong DRO, or both.
If you've tried a functional DRO (as opposed to semi-functional scales) on a lathe and can do without it then you have more time than projects to fit in before you die. :D

Martin M31/12/2018 10:25:22
3 forum posts

I guess there is no doubt linear scales are superior.

However, I truly had no idea how to mount any of those on my tiny SC2. So given that restriction, the question might be: Is it preferable to have no DRO at all or have the handwheel DROs, with all limitations.

I had the original Sieg handweel DROs on my SC2 and the main problems of those were not that they ignore the backlash (if you are aware of that, you use them accordingly). What I disliked much more was that the plastic housings are built flimsily and break quickly and that they shut off after some time, forgetting the current measure.

I agree the handwheel DROs are kind of a last resort, but if nothing else fits on the SC4, I am not sure I would stick with counting revolutions on the 1mm/turn handwheels.

- Martin

Ady131/12/2018 19:09:16
3687 forum posts
514 photos

A laser DRO surely can't be far away now

Line up an emitter/receiver sensor at each end and a wire from each to the DRO output

Neil could probably do an Arduino version for us

Terry Howlett 111/01/2019 19:39:01
13 forum posts

Hi Jim,

Did you get any further with this? I'm considering buying an SC4 (my first proper lathe) but would really want to fit proper linear scaled DRO's.



jimmy b12/01/2019 04:33:37
638 forum posts
38 photos

I've still not progressed with this project!

I'm using a modded tyre tread depth gauge on the cross slide and a modded caliper on the saddle.

Every time I revisit this, its the cross slide that stops it!


mgnbuk12/01/2019 10:30:35
766 forum posts
60 photos

A laser DRO surely can't be far away now

Laser measuring systems suitable for machine tools have been available for years - Renishaw make them (and probably others). You could comprehensively outfit a complete ME workshop for less then the cost of a single axis installation (without counter / console) though. Probably don't need nanometer resolution in the home workshop either.

While I dare say that lower resolution electronics could be made at a lower cost, chances are that the main expense lies with the optics required (beam splitter & reflector).

Nigel B

JasonB12/01/2019 12:31:26
18105 forum posts
1994 photos
1 articles

Jimmy have you looked at EMSi's offerings that can be buried within the cross slide and even the top slide. Not sure if there is enough meat in the SC4 but worth a thought

Jason Cundall20/01/2019 11:15:34
14 forum posts
6 photos

I have added a 2 axis DRO to my SC4. I'm using TouchDRO on a repurposed Amazon Kindle Fire 7" tablet, and a bluetooth interface unit built as per the instructions on the TouchDRO website:

You can buy ready made interface boards from the guy who developed TouchDRO as well - there are links on the website to his web store.

The scales are from arc eurotrade:

You just loose the remote displays and attach them to the bluetooth interface. I also added a tachometer to display the RPM of the spindle on the tablet as well.

Lots of pics here:

Cheers, Jason

Terry Howlett 121/01/2019 14:02:33
13 forum posts

Thanks Jason, the setup looks good. I spoke with EMSi at Alexandra Palace over the weekend, and given there was an Axminster SC4 there also, we looked at fitting their solution, which did seem to work. The cross slide is the challenge but I can see it could be done. It looked like more of a challenge with M-DRO's kit, but they were equally helpful. I also like the look of your solution.

This is a challenging area for me as I have never owned a proper lathe (just a Unimat ML for a few years), and the biggest area of concern I have is drilling into it for bracket fixing!

I did notice that M-DRO and EMSi each do kits for the Myford ML7 which involve no drilling as all holes are already there! But given budget constraints I think the SC4 will be the machine of choice for me though, when I commit to this.


Brian G21/01/2019 15:16:12
696 forum posts
27 photos

One word of caution with TouchDRO, which is the choice of tablet. We are using 2-axis touch DRO on my son's mill (he ordered two more scales from Arc last night for the Z-axis), and it whilst it works perfectly, it didn't start that way.

When we fitted the scales we used an Acer tablet, that lost its bluetooth connection after a few minutes, so I fitted a different bluetooth module (I built the basic Arduino controller using stripboard with a socket for the bluetooth module) but the problem persisted. We tried again with a Samsung Galaxy Tab which wouldn't even show the application properly regardless of settings but at least it stayed connected, showing that the bluetooth module wasn't at fault. We were at the point of giving up and using the readouts that came with the scales when I tried my Sony Xperia phone, which worked perfectly, although the displays were rather small.

Returning to Yuriy's site, we saw that the Kindle Fire 7 was mentioned as being successful, so bought one. The DRO now works perfectly, I have 3D printed a housing that will hold the tablet and the TouchDRO module, and this week's task is to make a pivoting mount for it. Then it will be time to do the same all over again for the lathe, for which my wife has already surrendered her Kindle I guess that choosing to do it again shows what we think of it.


Mark Eisen22/01/2019 07:12:50
87 forum posts
68 photos

I put a 2 axis dro on my 9 X 20 lathe, the scales where too high to fit behind the cross slide, so I mounted it on the end of the cross slide, I had to modifiy my backsplash guard.


Kifayat Hussain08/02/2019 13:00:41
3 forum posts
3 photos

First time posting here but have been silently following the forum for years.

Its 2019 now and several cheaper options exist for DROs. You just need to shop around. Ebay, AliExpress, etc.

Magnetic DRO packages are a lot cheaper now than they used to be a few years ago. (I am not talking about digital linear scales here but the actual magnetic scales here).

I always wanted a DRO set for my SX2P and SC2 but the size of the cheap digital scales or glass scales always put me off. But magnetic scales have a much smaller sized head and are easier to mount in tight spaces and offer almost negligible loss of travel or interference with machining activity.

LittleMachineShop has guided instructions somewhere on their website describing the optimal way of mounting it a Sieg Magnetic DRO scale to a mini lathe or a mini mill.

One of my local Sieg re-sellers had the Sieg magnetic reader heads on sale for a attractive price and I quickly bought 2 along with magnetic scales. They are out of stock now else I would have bought a few more for the SX2P Z axis and the SC2.

The magnetic reader heads had information for the various coloured wires as follows:

Yellow=A, Brown=B, Grey=Z, Red= 5VDC and White=0V

After some searching on the web I realized most of these scales have the same generic dimensions, 5 micron resolution and supported 5V TTL/RS422 signal connections.

You can find the same generic magnetic read heads sold under various brand names all over Ebay/Aliexpress.

Once I had the magnetic reader heads and scales, I started shopping around for the DRO display unit or the bluetooth tablet based DRO display option.

I found a Ditron D50_3V dro unit for a reasonable price on Aliexpress. It supported reading the same 5V TTL/RS422 signal but required DB9 pin serial connectors.

I then bought a pair of no weld DB9 connectors to wire the magnetic read heads with the DRO display unit.

The wiring sequence I used is: Yellow=A= Pin 6, Brown=B= Pin 8, Grey=Z= Pin 9, Red=5VDC= Pin 7 and White=0V= Pin 2.

After some quick setup of the DRO display following the instruction manual, the setup worked.

Overall the above mix and match setup was a bit of a risk but only costed me around A$ 350.

I have not mounted the DROs on my SX2P yet but I am happy with the quick tests.

Michael Gilligan08/02/2019 16:35:24
15710 forum posts
687 photos

A great first post, Kifayat yes but the pictures are conspicuous by their absence.

You may need to read this **LINK**


mechman4808/02/2019 18:48:53
2663 forum posts
410 photos
Posted by jimmy b on 12/01/2019 04:33:37:

I've still not progressed with this project!

I'm using a modded tyre tread depth gauge on the cross slide and a modded caliper on the saddle.

Every time I revisit this, its the cross slide that stops it!


I have a similar set up on my WM250V-F & a tread gauge on my tailstock, all work well to my needs. I was considering getting a DRO set up from EMS or M- DRO but cannot justify the expense so I stick to my tread gauges which gets me to where I need to be on final cuts. I have a remote read out system ( ArcEuro ) on my WM 16 mill which also work just fine for me.


Kifayat Hussain08/02/2019 23:50:09
3 forum posts
3 photos

Posted by Michael Gilligan on 08/02/2019 16:35:24:

A great first post, Kifayat yes but the pictures are conspicuous by their absence.

You may need to read this **LINK**


Hi Michael,

I have added the photos to my album but I am unable to edit the post.

Here are the photos of the mentioned items:

Magentic DRO Reader Head (Model MR500A)


Ditron D50_3V DRO Display Unit


DB 9 Pin No weld connectors


Michael Gilligan09/02/2019 09:48:54
15710 forum posts
687 photos
Posted by Kifayat Hussain on 08/02/2019 23:50:09:

I have added the photos to my album but I am unable to edit the post.

Here are the photos of the mentioned items:


Thanks for that ^^^

As you have noticed: We only get a short time to edit posts.


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