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DRO on Rong Fu RD45

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John Reese22/03/2019 20:16:29
746 forum posts

I plan to mount a DRO on my Rong Fu 45 mill. I want the X scale on the back of the table. Doing so will block access to the ball oiler on the back if the table. The only solution I have come up with is to drill through the table so I can put a ball oiler on top of the table. It would have to be in a counterbore to keep it below the table surface. I will have to remove the table and do the drilling on another machine. I don't have enough Y travel on the RF to drill the hole for the oiler in the right spot.

I do not want to mount the scale to the front of the table as it would interfere with the table stops and the clamp screws.

I am looking an alternative to what I proposed. I hope the collective wisdom of this group will find me an alternative.

Paul Lousick22/03/2019 22:13:26
1096 forum posts
483 photos

I have a DRO on the back of my RF45 mill and it does cover the oiler hole but it is just as easy to lubricate the table slides by sqirting oil directly onto them when the table is estended to either side. (bracket for Y scale also used to re-attach rubber cover).


dro 2.jpg

John Reese22/03/2019 22:16:21
746 forum posts

My scales have a protective cover that mounts above the scale. That is what interferes with the oiler. I guess I could just make a cutout for the oiler.

Paul Lousick23/03/2019 01:44:54
1096 forum posts
483 photos

I modified the protective covers which were supplied with the Easson scales. The oil hole on the rear of my table is about 10mm from the bottom and behind the scale, so not able to drill an access hole.

Also added a scale to the Z axis.


dro 1.jpg

dro 7.jpg

John Reese23/03/2019 02:14:22
746 forum posts

Thanks, Paul.

It didn't look like things would fit. You proved they would. I would really appreciate any photos you could post of the Y and Z axis installations.


Paul Lousick23/03/2019 07:22:50
1096 forum posts
483 photos

Hi John, Check your messages.

Edited By Paul Lousick on 23/03/2019 07:23:11

Jon23/03/2019 18:41:16
988 forum posts
46 photos

Thats the first time i have seen anyone mount the spindle DRO like i did in 2004 but mine houses the coolant tap on quill.

On the X axis used C type Sino scales on to supplied backing with cover.
Can just see here flush with top. Think lose 1 1/2" Y travel.

John Reese23/03/2019 19:33:08
746 forum posts


It has been a while since I was in the shop. Went on a cruise in Feb. and came back with a broken arm. Went out yesterday to look at my mill in case my memory was faulty. It was. Unlike your mill the ball oiler is near the bottom of the table casting. I currently plan to remove the table so I can machine it on my Bridgeport. I am going to place the oiler near the top surface of the table, just as it is on your machine. As soon as I get the cast off my arm I will begin the project.

Clive Foster23/03/2019 19:46:27
1745 forum posts
52 photos


With some significant jiggery pokery I was able to mount a Sino glass scale on the front of the Rong Fu style mill I used to own. Basically I changed the hand-wheel for something with a longer hub and mounted the scale on spacer blocks so there was enough room to pass a spanner though to get at the bolts holding the stops and the bolts operating the table locks. As I recall matters the spacers were about 1" thick.

Pretty sure I thinned the stop blocks down a bit. Obviously the clamp actuating bolts had to be cut to the right length. Maybe a turn or two of movement on both but realistically half a turn was more than enough to go from locked to free.

The read head was mounted in line with and above the Y axis screw carrier. Don't recall exactly how I did it but it involved either serious modification to the stop "lug" or a redesigned one also carrying the read head. Unfortunately I don't have any photos illustrating the set up and can no longer remember exactly what I did in the end.

Worked pretty well in the end once I'd got the technique with the spanner down the slot. My mill had a shorter throat depth than most, barely half the table width, so I really couldn't afford the Y travel loss involved with a scale at the back of the table.


Paul Lousick23/03/2019 19:57:26
1096 forum posts
483 photos

Hi John,

Sorry to hear about your arm. The oiler on my mill is at the bottom and coverred by the scale. Just as easy to apply oil directly to the slides wnen they are extended to either side. I did not have the luxury of a second mill to drill the mounting holes, just did them manually on the RS45 after removing the table. My scales have slotted mounting points, so accuracy for the bolts was not that critical.

My scale was mounted on the rear of the table because I did not want to clutter the front working area and wanted easy access to the table slide stops. I still get 180mm of Y-axis travel instead of the full 195 mm. I could get more if I removed the cover but have not needed to do so.

The table is easy to dis-assemble. Unscrew the keeper brackets on the end and remove the leadscrew. At first, I was unsure of the weight of the table and suspended the overhang from a temporary crane setup but found that I could lift it by hand to re-assemble.

Send a PM if you want details of my installation, Paul.


Edited By Paul Lousick on 23/03/2019 20:12:49

Robert Butler23/03/2019 21:30:23
75 forum posts
1 photos

Sorry to partially hi-jack the thread, i have a Chester Lux RD 45 fitted with DRO to X & Y Axis. I have power feed and with the limit control fitted the x axis reader is positioned at the rear otherwise the stand off's would have been ridiculous. This may be helpful to know if you are contemplating power feed.

The point of my post I noticed Paul Lousick has fitted a Z Axis reader and I have been sketching, measuring and not reached a conclusion as to where to fit. From the images it looks as though Paul has come up with a neat solution. Paul have you any closer images that you could share please.

Robert Butler

John Reese23/03/2019 23:14:22
746 forum posts


I will try to get pictures as I go along and post them. Unfortunately, when I get into a project I tend to forget little things, like eating, etc.

John Reese23/03/2019 23:17:10
746 forum posts

Hindsight says I should have bought the DRO from DRO Pros. Their tiny magnetic scales would have fit nicely. I bought my DRO from one of the vendors on Amazon and saved about $300.

Clive Foster24/03/2019 00:07:51
1745 forum posts
52 photos


I mounted my Z axis sale in pretty much the same way as Paul except for being on the other side. Scale bolted to the mill, reader head on an L shaped bracket fixed to the bottom thingie on the quill. Did a quick and dirty set-up using two pieces of "Speedframe" knock together square tube framing system with an L type flat corner bracket holding them together. Cost me an inch of Z travel which I didn't really miss enough to get round to doing the proper job. Just slapped the cover on and used it. Nowt so permanent as a temporary fix!


Planned proper job would have had the bottom arm modified into a sort of U section where it bolted on so as to minimise lost travel. In retrospect it would have been better to fix the read head to the machine and have the scale moving.

You can see a bit of the front mounting system for the scale too.

Paul Lousick24/03/2019 00:13:45
1096 forum posts
483 photos


You have caught me on a very generous day. This is the drawing which I made for the Z scale guide. Note the guide pin comes out of the top bush when the quill is lowerred and did not go back in smoothly when raised so I removed it. A longer pin could be used but the scale has been working for 2-3 years without any problems. Also in my roundtuit list is to make a modified version using a linear ball slide instead of the pin and bushes.


rf45  z-scale sht 1.jpg

rf45  z-scale sht 2.jpg

Robert Butler24/03/2019 09:56:17
75 forum posts
1 photos

Thank you Paul, Clive & John I am most grateful for your replies and particular thanks to Paul for the drawings I was only hoping for closer images. I had toyed with mounting the components on either side and front, fixed and moving read head and scales. Paul's solution seems ideal, mounted either side as the left hand side seems rather crowded but the mounting bracket/plate may overcome this. I intend to have a longer guide pin with linear bearing, available from Euro - Bearings for less than £20-00 (Jan 2019 prices - no connection etc.) with the scale fixed in place. The bearing will be mounted at the top of the gearbox and just provide some support to maintain alignment or as suggested by Paul a linear ball slide. Once again many thanks Robert Butler.

John Hinkley24/03/2019 10:17:48
724 forum posts
235 photos

John (Reese),

You don't HAVE to either lose Y-axis travel or access to the X-axis travel stops when mounting a DRO scale on the X-axis. When I was choosing where to mount mine, I came up with the solution below:

x-axis scale 2

As you can see, I mounted a slotted steel flat on stand-offs to move the travel stops outboard of the scale. (It also incorporates the limit switch actuators for the X-axis power drive as well, as it happens.) In use, I found that I was using the DRO to determine travel, and not using the travel stops and have since removed it. I don't miss it. Having said that, if I was carrying out repetitive cuts to the same dimensions, I might be tempted to put it back on, just for that job. It's easily mounted and removed.




Edited By John Hinkley on 24/03/2019 10:18:15

John Reese24/03/2019 15:57:53
746 forum posts

Thank you all for your input. I is a great help.

Colin Heseltine24/03/2019 16:16:04
306 forum posts
67 photos

John H,

Which model machine is yours. Is it one of the turret mills.


John Hinkley24/03/2019 17:51:59
724 forum posts
235 photos


Yes. It's a Warco VMC. Fitted with Warco budget three-axis DRO, spindle digital readout and 3-phase motor with VFD and X-axis power feed.. Excellent bit of kit. Far exceeds my capabilities.


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