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Posted: Oct. 11 2006, 11:54 ET

First, let me say that I am a totally self-trained, rank amateur machinist-gun butcher. I have never even seen a mill or lathe with a DRO installed on it. I live in a very small, isolated town in far West Texas so there are no examples to see.

I have a Smithy BX-288 mill (you’d think that even a non-mechanically inclined, economist would know better than that, wouldn’t you?).

I have just bought a Shooting Star BT-3 DRO that I need to install on the Smithy. (Incidentally, as was pointed out on another similar thread, Shooting Star’s customer service seems to be first class and they assure me that the unit is compatible with my machine.)

The instructions are OK but, obviously by necessity, very general. In fact and frankly, so general I really don’t know where to start. My particular problem is exactly where to mount the rack and head assemblies on all three axes.

The difficulty is likely because (having never seen one) I do not understand how the thing is supposed to work—e.g. is the readout head mounted to the moving part of the axis (table, cross feed, quill) and the rack supports attached to something stationary? Or is that vice versa? Or am I totally out in left field?

Good close up pictures of all three axes would surely help. Could anybody lead me to such?

BTW, this particular machine does not have a “knee” per se. Instead, the gear box-spindle housing is mounted on a support column that is cranked up and down. (I can send a diagram if that would help).

Thanks in advance for any and all help offered.

Posted: Oct. 11 2006, 14:10 ET

Here are a set of instructions with bracket drawings from Little machine shop for the Shooting Star DROs

The scales will be fixed, the reader moves. I have no experience with this DRO but general rules of thumb would be to indicate everything as precisely parallel to travel as you can and everything must be 100% rigid.
I hope this helps.

Posted: Oct. 12 2006, 12:37 ET

The little machineshop guide is pretty good, even for non shooting star DROs.  Gives you the basic ideas I think.

I need to buy a DRO soon and give this a try.  Looks like a decent one is going to be about 500 on ebay.

Posted: Oct. 12 2006, 14:36 ET

If memeory serves me right (sorry CRS) there is a site on Yahoo for the Shumatech DRO.  It is an excellent site and was quite a help when I built my dro for my (ugh) smithy.  I seem to remember a thread or download file on scale installation.  Maybe worth looking and hope it's still there for ya.  Haven't  been there in quite a while.  One unfortunate day (financially) I was bitten by the cnc bug and things haven't been quite the same since.  Yeah...  I have it bad!

Posted: Oct. 12 2006, 16:42 ET

Cheap DROs:
the shumatech dro-350 (feature ritch, home-built DRO)
ShumaTech yahoo group

SMW Precision's ebay store, his Shop & Hobby DRO System is $400 with mounting hardware. excellent service.