Touch DRO Install on Rockwell 21-100 Vertical Mill - Printable Version

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Touch DRO Install on Rockwell 21-100 Vertical Mill - Lowpass5 - 01-22-2018

                Attached are a few pictures of the Touch DRO install on my Rockwell Mill.  I previously had the iGaging Easy View scales and displays on the mill so this project entailed  making an enclosure for the adapter, and a mounting bracket for the tablet and swapping out the displays.

I made a box out of Plexiglas for the adapter and built an aluminum bracket for the 8 inch tablet I am using.  I mounted the adapter box to the back of the tablet bracket since I already had the scale wires routed to that location for the Easy View displays.

Still need to do a little harness dressing, but everything is running and working well.

RE: Touch DRO Install on Rockwell 21-100 Vertical Mill - Mtracz - 01-24-2018

Congratulations and well done!

I am in the process of an install on a millrite and love seeing how other setups.  I chose to mount he tablet similar to yours because I didn’t know if I needed an articulating arm. It turns out I didn’t and saved some time and money. This is a super capable setup and your Rockwell mill will be thanking you. I feel I will use mine more once it’s ready to go!

Would you mind sharing photos of how you mounted the scales?  I’m working on my Y now and it is proving to be the most difficult.  I have ideas but want to simplify. 

 Thank you for sharing and congrats on your DRO.

RE: Touch DRO Install on Rockwell 21-100 Vertical Mill - Lowpass5 - 01-24-2018

        No problem.  Here's a picture of my Y axis scale mount.  I used 18 Ga sheet steel to make the sensor bracket and use the supplied scale mounting brackets.  You may note that the sensor bracket to table is not 90 degrees for my machine. The 18 Ga brackets are more than stiff enough to move the senor along the scale without inducing errors and allow the ability to tweak the mount to keep the sensor running true.  Also, the thin 18 GA allows a little forgiveness if my alignment is off a little.  

For the z axis, I did something a little different.  I mounted the sensor to the knee using the same type custom sheet metal bracket.  I have provided a picture of that but you can't see the sensor itself or the scale as they are covered with the Swarf shield.  To mount the scale to the column,  I bonded rare earth magnets to the supplied scale mounts so the scale is magnetically positioned on the column.  I use a 12 inch scale on the z axis with a knee travel of 16 inches.  I rarely use the machine at either end of the travel extremes so the 12 inch travel is fine for 99% of the work I do.  For the rare case I need to work at the travel extremes, I just run the machine to one extreme or the other and let the sensor push the scale up or down column.  Sounds little strange - I know, but the column is straight for most of its height but starts tapering at the top.  The sliding mount allows me to keep the install more compact and I don't have to deal with the taper.

I use a similar mount for my lathe long axis where I have one end of the (12") scale mount magnetically attached to the lathe carriage on one end and the sensor magnetically attached to the bed.  This works extremely well and as with the mill the carriage will pull the sensor (in this case) along if I run out of travel.

RE: Touch DRO Install on Rockwell 21-100 Vertical Mill - Mtracz - 01-24-2018

The magnet solution is genius!  So simple and non-invasive.  I was thinking about getting another scale for the knee since I've rigged up my quill with 4" of z travel.  

Thank you for the photos and taking the time to write the response.  It is a huge help and you Y axis bracket wizardry has been an inspiration.  So simple.

I may post some images of the final install here too.  Although not as clean... 


RE: Touch DRO Install on Rockwell 21-100 Vertical Mill - Lowpass5 - 01-25-2018

The rare earth magnets work very well. I bought both cylindrical and rectangular in bulk from China on the cheap. They do accumulate a little Swarf when machining magnetic steel, but accumulation is slow so not much trouble. I use the cylindrical ones to hold way covers I made from Home Depot rubber runner material.

You will definitely like the z axis on the knee. I started out with an import round column RF-40 clone. I put the original iGaging scales on X, Y and Z on the quill. Problem with Z on the quill is in plunge milling or in boring where the weight of the quill makes it very difficult to sneak up on the z dimension. The plunge forces tend to make the quill ride up in the backlash and then as come up on the desired dimension, the quill weight pushes through the backlash and you overshoot. I actually installed an airspring system on my quill to push it up against the backlash to prevent the override. It worked, but no where near as well as a knee.

With the Rockwell, and your Millrite, the weight of the knee keeps all of the backlash taken up as do the plung forces. It is much more accurate than plunging or boring with the quill. When I first got the Rockwell, I thought I might miss the quill DRO and figured I could add it later. After using the machine for a while, I find that I only use the quill to drill through holes and all precision work is done with the knee. At least for what I am doing at present, I see no need for the quill DRO.

Good luck, you will enjoy your vintage machine.