Connecting iGaging Absolute Scales to TouchDRO

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Recently I posted a mini review of the iGaging Absolute DRO Plus scales that covered the some basic information on the connection scheme, etc. As I mentioned in the last post, the scales use a different communication protocol. Unlike the DigiMag scales, these scales require additional circuit between them and the MSP430 LaunchPad board. As promised, in this post I will provide instructions on how to connect the scales to the MSP430 Launchpad controller.

Working with iGaging Absolute DRO+ Scales

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Since their initial release iGaging Absolute DRO Plus scales seem to be gaining momentum. They have a lot going for them, but unfortunately they are incompatible with the original 21-bit iGaging protocol. For some time I've been getting an increasing number of request to add support to the controller firmware, so a few months ago I went ahead and purchased a 6" scale to experiment with. Finally last weekend I added support for these scales to the "Mixed Scales" MSP430 controller firmware. In the first part of this post I will explain what's different about the Absolute DRO+ scales and provide a quick overview of the data protocol; in the second part I'll provide detailed instructions on how to connect them to the MSP430 Launchpad DRO controller.

Making Lathe Tachometer - Part 1

Friday, February 27, 2015

A few posts ago I offered some general ideas on adding a tachometer to TouchDRO setup that covered some theory and a basic example circuit. Since then I've received a ton of emails asking for more details, so in the next few posts I will provide a detailed start-to-finish example of building a tachometer for my Jet 1024 Lathe. In the post "DIY Tachometer for Your Mill or Lathe" I covered the basic of tachometer operation and provided a basic tachometer circuit using a IR emitter/receiver couple. A number of people wanted to use a Hall effect sensor with a magnetic encoder disk, so I will go that route for this design. Along the way I will use this project as mini-tutorial for some of the basic TouchDRO functionality.

ER-40 Collet Chuck for JET 1024 Lathe

Monday, February 9, 2015
ER-40 Collet Chuck mounted on the lathe

Every time I get to use my JET 1024 Lathe I have a hard time wiping the grin off my face. The machine is very sturdy and accurate for its size, and has served me very well so far, but has a few minor annoyances. For example, the spindle has a straight 1.25" bore with no Morse taper. Recently I had to make a few dozen studs for a steam engine project using a 4-jaw chuck where using collets would've been much more efficient and convenient. Since using collets in the spindle is out of question, the only option left is to use a collet chuck, so last month I set out to either make or buy one. After going back and forth between C5 and ER-40 I ended up choosing ER-40 for various reasons.