DRO Recommendations for Bridgeport (that aren't $2k)

We are looking to add a digital read out to our bridgeport (

I’m not 100% sure of the size needed yet, I remember measuring the table and gibbs and got 48x24 but now that I think about it, I could be wrong. What is the correct way to measure for sizing scales?

Anyways, we got a quote for an Acurite 203 for $2200 and that is way more than we were expecting on a DRO. Are there any other options that are good? I’ve only worked with acurite in the past, so I don’t know how well other brands work

Maybe one option for us is just replacing the scales. We have an old DRO on the machine, but it is ancient and errors out every time we move the table. I think the scales may have been damaged during shipping, plus the seals are all breaking apart on it

I havent worked with this company, but Ive come across them in the past: https://www.dropros.com/

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We bought this kit and have been reasonably happy with it. The X axis install went perfectly, but the Y axis didn’t come with the exact brackets that fit on our specific Bridgeport (an older model) so we had to fabricate a few simple brackets. Seems to work fine.

However, the installation instructions leave a LOT to be desired. Took us a bit of figuring and experimentation to get it figured out. If you are in the US, be aware that everything uses Metric hardware, and you will need to drill/tap metric holes etc…

The shop manager at my university went the DIY route, similar to this. I suppose it could be a good project for a student.

We have at least 3 DRO Pros kits on our manual machines. Bought them back in 2016-2017 timeframe, have been great units all around. It also helps that they’re office is about a 20 minute drive from us :wink: I believe they gave us a 5-10% education discount too when we explained we’re a high school team.

Definitely recommend DRO Pros. Finding good DRO’s can be a pain, and it will always involve some work on your end to do the scale install.

Also, finding replacement scales can be nearly impossible, in our experience. There are so many manufacturers across decades of machines, we’ve rarely had luck finding drop-in replacements if an old scale goes out.

Best,
-Mike

Edit: Maybe @RoboChair can share which DRO Pros kit we got for one of our bridgeports.
Edit 2: Here is what we ordered in our first round of DRO installs in 2015. I don’t know if these products are still the latest and greatest of what they sell image

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Measuring the length of the table/gibbs is not how you want to size your scales. You want to size scales based on the axis travel length + a bit of margin so you aren’t hitting the hard limit of the scale before you hit the limit of the axis travel (using scales as an axis hard-stop is no bueno). To do this, you can just max the travel of any axis to one end, measure along the axis travel with a tape measure from a point on the table to some fixed point on the machine or nearby (a wall), then move the machine to the other axis limit and measure again, take the delta, add an inch or two, and you’re in business.

Bridgeports generally have 12" travel on the Y, hence the 350mm Y scale we got. The X axis can vary based on the model.

-Mike

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Get magnetic scales if you can, they are MUCH harder to mess up over time. And make sure you have an indicator so you install it parallel.

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We bought this for our Excello vertical mill (very similar to a Bridgeport) in 2019. It works well and was easy to install. We did order with scales that were a bit too long but worked around that. Better than having them too short. CDN$213.90. https://m.aliexpress.com/item/2044293041.html?spm=a2g0n.orderlist-amp.item.2044293041&aff_trace_key=&aff_platform=msite&m_page_id=4764amp-BfBwJhJ4ehJMO2oiz7sMQA1615296062903&browser_id=&is_c=

I bought some $200 eBay scales a couple years ago, and they didn’t last too long (maybe a year). They’re weren’t mounted correctly (one was facing upwards) so that can be taken with a grain of salt.

After doing a few hours of research and phone calls, I think we are going to go with this one

Ditron 2-Axis with Magnetic Scales

Is there anyone with this one? Anyone see any issues? I called and the guys said that these are probably the way to go if we are using them for a HS Robotics team shop