DIY DRO Project

TouchDRO is a DIY DRO project designed to help hobbyists, machine shop enthusiasts, and makers to build an easy to use versatile and powerful digital readout system at a fraction of the cost of a comparable off-the-shelf unit. The DRO uses a DIY wireless scale interface adapter in conjunction with an Android tablet or phone to offer a touch-based graphical user interface and can be used with vast majority of modern capacitive, magnetic, and glass DRO scales.

Building a DIY DRO

As a do-it-yourself DRO project, TouchDRO is designed to be flexible and offer a variety of options for people with different levels of electronic assembly experience. A DIY scale interface adapter can be built from scratch using commonly available components, constructed from a TouchDRO DIY DRO Adapter Kit, or purchased as a fully assembled board from the TouchDRO Store. The TouchDRO application can be installed from the Google Play Store free of charge.

TouchDRO Android Application

TouchDRO is a free Android application that provides all standard DRO features combined with easy to read high-resolution multitouch display and superior computing power offered by modern phones and tablets. Without the constraints of physical buttons or a LED display, TouchDRO can be easily configured to suit your particular needs and provide much more intuitive and easy to use interface. The application can be installed from the Google Play Store free of charge on any Android phone or tablet that meets minimum system requirements listed below.

Do-it-Yourself DRO Scale Adapters

DIY DRO scale adapters provide similar functionality to the pre-made boards, and with exception of the iGaging version, use the same firmware.

    MSP430 LaunchPad iGaging DIY DRO Adapter More Information

    This DRO adapter uses a Texas Instruments MSP430 Value Line Launchpad kit with MSP430G2553 microcontroller to interface with up to four iGaging DigiMag/AccuRemote/Shahe DRO scales.

    MSP430 LaunchPad Mixed Scale DRO Adapter More Information

    This DRO adapter extends upon the basic version of MSP430 Launchpad-based DIY DRO adapter by adding support for standard "chinese" scales and inexpensive calipers.

    MSP430 LaunchPad DRO Adapter for glass scales More Information

    Quadrature adapter is 100% pin-compatible with the Mixed Scale version but uses firmware optimized for quadrature encoders, including 1 micron magnetic and glass DRO scales.

    Arduino Basic DRO Adapter More Information

    Uses the ubiquitous Arduino to read the scales and transmit the position to the Android app via Bluetooth-to-Serial adapter or USB cable. The main advantage of this design is the availability of the parts. With the exception of the Bluetooth transceiver, all of the required components are available [in the USA] at the Radio Shack and many other electronic stores.

TouchDRO Firmware Comparison

Please note, firmware listed below is free for personal (non-commercial) use. For commercial use or re-sale you can either purchase a pre-made board or contact me for a licensing arrangement.

  Arduino MSP430 LaunchPad
Basic iGaging Mixed Scale Quadrature
Supported Scales/Protocols
21 bit
i.e. AccuRemote & iGaging
Yes Yes Yes No
Sylvac
A.K.A. 24 BIT Chinese Scales
No No Yes No
BIN6
A.K.A. "Cheap Calipers"
No No Yes No
Quadrature Encoders
i.e. Glass & Magnetic Scales
No No No Yes
General Information
Number of Axes 4 4 4 4
Tachometer Support Yes (directional) Yes (directional) Yes (directional) Yes (directional)
Scale Read Frequency 24 Hz 10 Hz Up to 100 Hz Continuous
Position Update Frequency 24 Hz 10 Hz 10 Hz 10 Hz
Tachometer Update Frequency 2 Hz 1 Hz 1 Hz 1 Hz