One of the new features in the upcoming version of TouchDRO app is tachometer readout. The beta version of the application had full tachometer support for some time now. Over the last few weeks I added directional tachometer support to all four controllers. In this post I will try to give you some ideas on how to build a tachometer for your mill or lathe using commonly available parts. Your setup will vary, of course, but the main principle will be the same, so you shouldn't have too much trouble to adapt these designs to your particular needs.
Since I added a DRO to my mill I can't imagine how I lived without one for so long; it makes working on the mill so much easier and more efficie. Since you're reading this post, you are probably looking into building a DRO as well, and if you feel lost, you're not alone. Although I've been trying hard to keep the project as simple as possible, so it remain accessible to people with little or no experience with electronics or computers, it might seem a bit overwhelming.I this post I will provide a quick summary of the steps needed to get a DRO up and running with links to more information where appropriate.
TouchDRO is designed to work with a wide range of scales and machines, but it will not work right out of the box. After the application is installed, it needs to configured to match your particular setup. The process isn’t complicated and takes just a few minutes, though.
By default the application is configured for a three-axis vertical milling machine that uses imperial units. If that matches your setup, the only thing you’ll need to do is to configure your scales and the DRO will be good to go. Otherwise, there are a few additional settings that needs to be changed.
I’ve received a fair number of complaints about the readout being inaccurate when the default counts-per-inch were used. These problem can be caused by several different issues. First of all, CPI for most of the the capacitive scales isn’t officially provided by the scale manufacturers. The values for many of the commonly available scales have been found experimentally, and might be off by one or two counts. In addition, there are manufacturing tolerances, rounding issues etc, that can skew the numbers even more. Furthermore, many of the scales that come from China are metric. For instance, the glass scales that are advertised to have resolution of 0.0002” have resolution of 0.005mm, and 5 microns don’t equal 2 ten thousands. This leads to an error in CPI. Based on the 0.0002” resolution the CPI should be 5000, but in fact it’s 5080, which is almost 2% off.
About a week ago I started posting nightly builds of the new release of TouchDRO application. Based on the feedback provided by the beta-testers I've made a few changes to the user interface. The biggest one is the addition of the new "Axis Details" screen. It's purpose is to display the feed rate and chip load while the axis is moving, and offer few axis-specific functions.
|Clicking the axis readout brings up the "Axis Details" view|
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