Beta Version of TouchDRO Now Available

Friday, January 31, 2014

Yesterday I published the first beta build of the TouchDRO application to the Google Play Store. This release includes a few major upgrades, such as tool library, tachometer, configurable user interface and preference banks. Tachometer output is pretty much self-explanatory; the other three need a bit more clarification.

Battery Backup For DRO Interface

Friday, January 24, 2014

In the first part of the build instructions for the MSP430G2 LaunchPad-based DRO controller I showed a few pictures of the unit I built for my mini mill. Out of necessity my controller had to have battery backup, since the power in my garage was very flaky and the circuit breaker tripped every time I looked at it crooked. The battery backup circuit I built originally was a quick stop-gap measure that would get me through until the garage was rewired properly. I didn't spend much time designing that circuit. Since several people asked me to provide more details about it, I decided to take a more methodical approach for this post.

TouchDRO Coordinate System

Saturday, January 18, 2014
DRO Coordinate System

One of the aspects of the TouchDRO application that causes confusion is the coordinate system. Every once in a while I get questions like “Can I do hole circle/pattern/tool offset on a different plane because on my mill the spindle is X (or Y) axis?”, or something along these lines. This question really means that the DRO is not set up right and the user is trying to compensate for it by “customizing” the user interface. Obviously, this is your DRO and you are free to set it up whichever way you like it. TouchDRO is pretty flexible, and the basic DRO functionality will work just fine even if you have axes mixed up and backwards. After a while you will likely get accustomed to it, and use the DRO without second thoughts. Never the less following the conventions is a good idea in the long term.

DRO Interface Pin Functions for MSP430 LaunchPad

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Last week, after posting the “Roadmap for the DRO project”, I received a few emails from different people who were working on developing a custom PCB for the controller that can use the firmware I created. During one of the conversations it dawned on me that I never explained what my intentions for the Launchpad Interface are. At this point a lot of the controller functionality is still “vaporware” (i.e. I’m still working on it). Fortunately, when selecting the platform for the DRO controller I planned out the connections. I wanted to be sure that MSP430G2553 that come with the “Value Line” LaunchPad kit, so I carefully mapped out the future needs. In this post I will try to explain how the pins are currently used, and which pins will be used for future expansion.

Connecting Glass DRO Scales to The Controller

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

After the two posts describing the DRO setup for my Sieg X3 mill, I’ve received a ton of emails asking for more details. It appears that a number of people are having issues with the glass scales. Additionally, there has been a lot of interest in the simplified version of the interface board. I think a more detailed follow up is in order.

DRO Project Roadmap for Early 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Well, first of all, Happy New Year! I hope 2014 will be a great year for everyone. There is a lot of stuff in the pipeline for the Android DRO project for the 2014, including a new version of the TouchDRO application, new MSP430 Launchpad controller firmware and better documentation among other things. Now that I’m back from the holiday vacation, I’m ready to start tackling my “to-do” list.