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dro encoders

magnetic or glass

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paul rayner27/01/2014 20:42:24
160 forum posts
44 photos


I'm thinking of up grading my senior m1 mill and my ford ml7 with dro's

i think I'm going to go with machine dro's sds6 style readout

but unsure about which encoders to get weather glass or magnetic

I understand that the magnetic ones are a lot slimmer and take up less room they are also ip 67 rated which is good

any thoughts or comments good or bad would be appreciated as I know very little about this subject other than what I've read on this site and the net in general

may I also add they will be used for model engineering only (hopefully) and i do sometimes use pumped cutting fluid

many thanks in advance for any replies


The Merry Miller27/01/2014 20:47:40
484 forum posts
97 photos

Evening Paul,

I converted my Senior M1 a while back.

If you look at my photo album on the conversion you might get some ideas.

I used Allendale (Machine -DRO) glass scales and adapted the machine to suit.

Len. P.

paul rayner27/01/2014 21:13:07
160 forum posts
44 photos

hi Len

thanks for that

I see you seem to have the covers as well.

my senior has the knuckle head so i will probably be getting a 3 axis one

I will have to mount it on the knee somehow but theres plenty of room and i will be able to use it when horizontal milling (although i never done any yet)

which readout do you use? had any problems with it?

many thanks


Gray27/01/2014 22:11:48
1037 forum posts
13 photos

Hi Paul

I have the magnetic read heads on the cross slide and compound of my gh1330 lathe and have been very happy with them, a lot more compact than glass scales and well suited to the application. I used a glass scale for the carriage travel as there is plenty of room at the rear of the bed. Not sure what mounting brackets they have available now by I ended up making my own to suit.

The Merry Miller28/01/2014 09:58:13
484 forum posts
97 photos

Morning Paul,

Below is the link to the two axis display I have installed, again from Allendale.

Also you will notice on the vertical head the DRO device is one of their caliper style readouts suitably modified.

I have added an LED book light just in front to enhance the display.

Len. P.

OuBallie28/01/2014 10:20:15
1150 forum posts
661 photos

Len. P.

LED lamp with tripod.

Would appreciate details of how you attached it to said tripod please?

Geoff - Drawer organising turn for the better, after grey matter decided to co-operate for once!

Douglas Johnston28/01/2014 10:52:39
699 forum posts
34 photos

I have had two magnetic and two glass scales in use for over a year and both types perform very well. The magnetic ones take up less space but are probably more vulnerable to swarf damage, which is why I installed one under the cross slide of my lathe (some pictures in my album ). If space is not a problem I would go for glass scales and perhaps magnetic for the Z axis of a mill where swarf is less of a problem. You can mix glass and magnetic on the same machine.


The Merry Miller28/01/2014 13:01:08
484 forum posts
97 photos


I don't know where the LED lamp with tripod came from but I've just added an album showing the attachment of my lamp setup for the vertical DRO.


I've had no problems at all with the display.


paul rayner28/01/2014 21:02:45
160 forum posts
44 photos

thanks for the replys guys

Len: thats the readout I'm considering for my lathe

im considering a 3 axis one for the mill or a couple of those box of tricks that lets you plug the encoders into my laptop

Doug: you mention that the magnetic ones are more prone to swarf damage , which I'm surprised at because the sated IP rating on them is IP67 which for light fittings is very good

Regards Paul

peter allen 128/01/2014 21:20:54
3 forum posts

I bought the Allendale kit for my Tom Senior some time ago but have not yet had the confidence to install it. I wanted to keep the functionality of stops and power feed trip and have not worked out how to do this.

Merry millers photos very encouraging to me although I cannot quite see from the photo if your stops and power feed lever are operational. Is that a special feed lever?

Is there anything that you would do differently?

Did you by any chance keep details of the dimensions of the brackets?

The Merry Miller28/01/2014 21:42:36
484 forum posts
97 photos


I carried out the mods to ensure I didn't lose any of the functionality so yes power feed is still operational and the stops are still working and fully adjustable.

I had to machine part of each stop to ensure they didn't clout the spacers that the X axis scale is fitted to.

Tomorrow , if I have time, I will take some more pictures and annotate where necessary with dimensions.


Andrew Johnston28/01/2014 21:47:24
5635 forum posts
652 photos
Posted by paul rayner on 28/01/2014 21:02:45

Doug: you mention that the magnetic ones are more prone to swarf damage , which I'm surprised at because the sated IP rating on them is IP67 which for light fittings is very good

It is probably a case of knowing how to 'interpret' the specification. A rating of IP67 implies submersion to a depth of 1 metre. Looking at the pictures on the Machine-DRO website it looks like the read head is sealed and would survive submersion. Likewise I assume that the functioning of the magnetic strip is probably unaffected by submersion in water, even though it does not look sealed. However, it might be possible for it to be affected by swarf, particularly ferrous. Technically it probably shouldn't then have an IP67 rating, but it sounds good in the marketing blurb. I enquired about the Machine-DRO magnetic strips some years ago at the Midland show, and decided against them as they were not guaranteed to be immune to swarf and coolant.



paul rayner28/01/2014 23:13:20
160 forum posts
44 photos

hi Andrew

thanks for your reply, its got me thinking

I think you are probably right in saying that its just the actual reading head that is IP rated as i can't see how the magnetic strip can be dust proof as even if theres some sort of sealing strip there will still be a slight opening however small where the head protrudes out of the scale.

"decided against them as they were not guaranteed to be immune to swarf and coolant."

does this mean that the glass ones are less likely to be troublesome?



Steamgeek29/01/2014 07:41:36
44 forum posts
4 photos

I have glass scales on my mill, and they have been trouble free.

I did add a small bead of sealant between the protective cover and the front of the milling table for the x axis, as that looked like an obvious place for trouble.

Not that it makes any difference but I fiited the slim line scales.

Gray29/01/2014 10:32:21
1037 forum posts
13 photos

I've not had any problems with swarf ingress or fouling on the magnetic reader strips, the magnetic strip is fitted into an aluminium housing, covered with a close fitting stainless steel strip retained with two rubber sealing strips. A dab of silicone sealant each end of the housing ensures nothing gets in that way. I also put a strip of aluminium angle over the top of the reader to prevent dwarf dropping g down between the read head and the scale.

I'll try and remember to put some photos on later today.

Edited By CoalBurner on 29/01/2014 10:36:44

Douglas Johnston29/01/2014 16:54:37
699 forum posts
34 photos

Paul, the only concern I have with the magnetic scale is swarf getting trapped between the reading head and the cover over the magnetic strip.It is not a problem I have experienced, but then again both my magnetic scales are in quite well protected areas. I would not be happy with a magnetic scale down the side of a lathe cross slide for example.


paul rayner29/01/2014 21:28:25
160 forum posts
44 photos

Hi guys

thanks for all the replys

John- thats some serious kit you have got there!

coal burner- that would be great if you can post some pics

my dilemma is the cross slide on the ML7, If bush them out so i can get to the gib strip screws via angled screwdriver and spanner i won't be able to access the carriage lock and visa versa, this is why i was thinking about the magnetic ones as they are quite a bit smaller. the tom senior M1 mill is no problem whatever i go for as theres loads of room.

if anybody's got any pics of there Myford cross slide DRO I would be really greatfull .


Gone Away29/01/2014 22:36:56
829 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by paul rayner on 29/01/2014 21:28:25:

if anybody's got any pics of there Myford cross slide DRO I would be really greatfull .


There's an article on this site here if you haven't seen it.

(Edit) Oh, BTW, click on the pics in that article to get much larger versions that you can save if you want.

Edited By OMG on 29/01/2014 23:01:52

OuBallie30/01/2014 14:28:26
1150 forum posts
661 photos

Thanks Len.

Those lamps look as if they are battery powered as I can't see a power cord.

Geoff - Drawer organising at a standstill again crying

paul rayner30/01/2014 22:12:06
160 forum posts
44 photos

Hi guys

thanks again for the replys

Bogstandard2 yes I did see the link and to be honest its a bit daunting for me doing that sort of work , Im ok drilling and tapping a couple of holes but any more than that on the cross slide I'm not confident enough.

OMG I did see the article you mentioned and its the best alternative I've seen so far, although you would have to remove the read head etc to adjust the gibs, it would only be four fasteners though and easy enough to remove

any way thanks to all those who have posted, Its all been good advice and nice to see how others have got round problems Gives you food for thought. I think I've made my mind up now and I will chew it over a couple of days before I part with the hard earned readys (that will be the hardest bit)

many thanks to all again



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