By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th

Installing a magnetic DRO on my VM32L

Where to start?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Iain Downs29/06/2020 08:36:24
667 forum posts
594 photos

Hi, experts! I need your help.

I've just taken delivery of a factory DRO kit for my Amadeal VM32L (think WM18 roughly). This has taken 6 months to get to me (I had a choice of a MT3 machine with DRO or an R8 with a factory kit coming later) due to Covid.

All the bits appear to be there, but there is not one line of instruction (other than for the display box).

So far my requests for instructions to Amadeal have not produced any results. I've pestered them again today, but I thought I would try the assembled knowledge here.

Here are the bits.

dro kit.jpg

and a close up of the magnetic tape.

dro strip.jpg

So I guess I peel of the backing tape and stick it to the mill. Is the steel cover just for transport or should it stay on?

The (badly made) brackets don't indicate which axis they are for. I can guess, I think, but I'm not comfortable doing so.

What;s the gap between the reader and the tape? Should I shield the tape when it's stuck on? Most installations seem to do so , but from what I can remember of seeing one in the warehouse in December, they're left exposed.

I'm hopeful I'll hear something from Amadeal, but if there's any advice you can give I would appreciate it.


Journeyman29/06/2020 09:06:06
805 forum posts
141 photos

I would have expected more aluminium in the kit! All the DRO's I have seen have aluminium carrier strips and covers and the magnetic strip is stuck onto an aluminium extrusion and not directly to the machine. This allows for fine tuning the alignment between the strip and the moving read head. I hasten to say that I have not got a DRO on my mill but have spent ages looking at shows and on-line working up to getting one.


Jed Martens29/06/2020 09:08:43
82 forum posts
54 photos

There is a DIY Magnetic DRO thread that shows a number of approaches to mounting the tape


In my case, I made an aluminium carrier, while others have attached the tape directly to the machine with good results.

ChrisB29/06/2020 09:59:38
497 forum posts
190 photos

The installation kit you have there is very basic, not even carriers for the strip and readheads!

I built my DRO from scratch as described in the link above by Jed. The magnetic strips have adhesive backing and I stuck mine directly to the machine. I drilled no holes for the mounting brackets - either used existing holes or epoxied the brackets to the mill itself (but you could drill if you wanted of course) I think you would be better off to manufacture your own bracketry or modify what you have. You don't have much to work with tbh!


Mike Crossfield29/06/2020 11:13:59
216 forum posts
19 photos

As other have said, it's common to have extruded aluminium carriers for the magnetic strips, which ensure a flat surface and offer some protection for the strip. Also wise to have covers to keep swarf away from the strip/read head. Adjustable brackets for the read heads make it much easier to align the read heads and set the required clearance from the strip. My kit from Machine DRO had the strip carriers and the covers, but the read head brackets were useless for my mill and I had to make my own. I think this is fairly common. The DRO-PROS.COM website has loads of useful information about installation, and several very good videos. Well worth a look.


Iain Downs29/06/2020 15:41:57
667 forum posts
594 photos

I believe that the factory installation has the strip directly on the machine.

Happily, Jorge of Amadeal has responded to my last prompt but only in so far as he's sent of a request to Weiss.

Thanks for the link to ChrisB's post - and thanks for the post, Chris! That's useful to know.

One thing I'm not clear on is if the steel strip in the photo above is just for protection in transit, or if it should be attached to the magnetic strip in operation.

Another question is if it matters which way round the strip is mounted - left to right or right to left, or if you can set this in the display box.


ChrisB29/06/2020 15:56:19
497 forum posts
190 photos

It should not matter which direction the strip is installed. The stainless strip is a protective cover, and it should have a self adhesive backing. You can use the magnetic strip with or without the protective strip but for obvious reasons I would install it as well once you have it.

Be careful how to install both strips, they have to be installed accurately inline to each other and to the read head.

The way I would go round the installation, if you are installing the magnetic tape directly to the mill is to first get your brackets ready and install them then machine a block of aluminium with similar dimensions to your read head. On the block machine a slot the width of the read tape (as a guide) Then pass the tape through the dummy read head while traversing the axis you're installing the magnetic tape to.

It probably sounds a bit complicated, if you read through my build thread there are photos of how I did it. Probably there are other ways, but that is how I did it.

John Haine29/06/2020 15:57:13
3178 forum posts
171 photos

There should be a thin stainless steel strip between the magnetic encoder strip and the read head to protect the former. In the MDRO kits there are slots in the extrusion supplied to fit the encoder to the machine to take the steel strip. Absent that I guess you could stick the strip to the encoder with double-sided but seems a bit of a kluge.

Cornish Jack29/06/2020 16:51:06
1139 forum posts
163 photos

Just finished a fitting on my mill. Slightly more complete bits but instructions needed a magnifying glass and deep searching to find the right reference. Your question about read head clearance - my instructions suggest between 0.1 and 0.9 mm, so reasonable latitude. Most of our members seem to find it quite straightforward - my skill set meant much head scratching!!



Michael Briggs29/06/2020 20:02:00
189 forum posts
9 photos

I purchased my magnetic scales from Mdro about 6 years ago. The stainless steel strip was not self adhesive, the alloy section was supplied with a round rubber seal similar to o ring material. The final part of installation was to fit the stainless strip and seal it top and bottom with the rubber insert, I finished the assembly by sealing the ends of the scale with silicone.

Ian P29/06/2020 20:31:57
2406 forum posts
101 photos
Posted by Michael Briggs on 29/06/2020 20:02:00:

I purchased my magnetic scales from Mdro about 6 years ago. The stainless steel strip was not self adhesive, the alloy section was supplied with a round rubber seal similar to o ring material. The final part of installation was to fit the stainless strip and seal it top and bottom with the rubber insert, I finished the assembly by sealing the ends of the scale with silicone.

Mine was the same, the extrusion. magnetic strip and the SS cover strip were all supplied loose. I did fit it all as the thickness of the extrusion only added 10mm to the tailstock side of the crosslide. (Harrison M250) If I had to do it again I would investigate gluing the bare magnetic strip under the cross slide.

The sensor head and its cable (of the Amadeal kit) looks to be a bit vulnerable, I'm not a fan of the spiral metal conduit but its more robust than what is shown in the top pictures, Maybe I'm doing it a misjustice if it has a tough polyurethane jacket.

Out of interest, how much did that kit cost?

Ian P

Iain Downs29/06/2020 20:38:50
667 forum posts
594 photos

Well, I agreed to pay the difference between the Non-DRO and DRO version which is £400. Having said that they appear to have forgotten to charge me and I will not remind them until I have got it all working.

It appears to be a 5 micron set up which is more than enough for my work.


JasonB30/06/2020 07:01:24
18318 forum posts
2024 photos
1 articles

Looks like they put the X-axis one into the slot at the front of the table where the "tape measure" strip goes on the non DRO machines. Not sure if it is machined out to a different size at the factory. 

Y axis just stuck on the side


Edited By JasonB on 30/06/2020 07:41:05

Iain Downs30/06/2020 08:10:25
667 forum posts
594 photos

HI, Jason. That makes sense with the shape of one of the mounts. I will look into that. Can I ask you where you got the photos. I couldn't see them (or the VM32l) on either Amadeal or Weiss web site.


JasonB30/06/2020 08:28:07
18318 forum posts
2024 photos
1 articles

DRO Pros in the states sell the Weiss stuff, photos are bigger there

Precison Mattews is another seller but not showing anything with DRO

Iain Downs30/06/2020 12:00:20
667 forum posts
594 photos

Thanks, Jason.


Iain Downs30/06/2020 14:46:19
667 forum posts
594 photos

What is slight scary is that it looks like they've sawn the top of that sensor in order to fit it in!


Iain Downs01/07/2020 09:59:42
667 forum posts
594 photos

It looks like the groove for the ruler is a good place to put the magnetic strip - short of actually trying it. Also, It seems I have two strips. A magnetic strip with a sticky back and a steel strip with a sticky back, so installing the strips looks fairly straightforward.

There is 1.8 metres of strip (each type!) which is plenty and more to cover the range.

Less pleasing is that it's still unclear how the mounts are meant to work. The one which most looks like an X mount simply won't fit.

I will try taking the ruler out and try fitting the strips, but I'm guessing I will have to make new mounts. Which is annoying.


Iain Downs01/07/2020 18:13:46
667 forum posts
594 photos

Here are the instructions / photos provided by Weiss. First, I should say that I appreciate that someone took the time to take the pictures.







I'm not entirely sure I need to replicate all the swarf ridden bits of metal round it and I hope I can manage better alignment.

I have to say that I wouldn't call what I've received a kit. The brackets don't fit the sensors and the bar in the picture above is simply not there!

Having said that, I'm now fairly clear on what I need to do to put it all together, though I will need to make my own hardware I think...


Ian P01/07/2020 19:35:23
2406 forum posts
101 photos

I'm sure you will make a better job of it than the factory have done!

There appears to be bits of old magnets used as temporary clamps holding the self adhesive(? ) strips in place, I also see the wonky looking sensor on the Y axis (has the casting a machined surface where the strip is located?). If the surface is not machined then there is a good case for fitting the strip in some extrusion. I think I would use some ali 'U' section (with the U upside down) so that the magnetic strip faces downward and the bulk of the sensor head is within the U, as in under an umbella.

Whilst the strip and sensors are probably coolant proof, oil and coolant could migrate its way into the adhesive allowing the strip to detach eventually.

Ian P

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Allendale Electronics
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest