Cheap Y-Axis Digital Read Out




Introduction: Cheap Y-Axis Digital Read Out

To continue from my previous project, a Cheap Z-Axis DRO, I present the Y-Axis upgrade. I chose this orientation so that the read out increases as you move the cross slide out (towards your self). This is so you don't accidentally turn any parts with a negative diameter and cause the universe to collapse.

The one drawback with this is that it doesn't have a 'lathe' mode. 2 axis DRO packages will have this option that doubles the Y-axis reading, giving a true diameter of a part being turrned. It will, of course be correct for milling.

Step 1: Materials / Tools

Raw Materials Needed:
~ 6" 3/8" steel rod
~ 6" #8 threaded rod
~ 6" 1/4 threaded rod
3 #8 nuts
4 1/4" nuts
1 Cheap 8" digital caliper

Tools used:
Dremel (Cut off wheels, 1/8" carbide cutter, 1/4" cylinder grinding stone)
Hack saw
1/4" tap
1/4" die
#8 tap
3/16" drill bit
5/32" drill bit
Cordless drill
Small screw driver (for the digital caliper)
Drill Press
Wire Dykes

Step 2: Preparing the Caliper

Begin by removing the thumbwheel and back of your digital caliper. Remember that evil designers often hide screws under labels. (under label screws instructable comming soon)

Cut off the inside and outside jaws on the beam (Dremel + cutoff wheel). On the display part, remove the inside jaw and only part of the' outside jaw. Make sure you leave enough of it so a #8 nut will clear the plastic housing. Drill a 5/32" hole.

Make a 1/4" hole in the end of the beam. I found a solid carbide straight 1/8" ball end cutter that worked fantastically compared to the grinding stones I used the last time I did this. Tip: use disposable gloves to prevent the tiny metal slivers from burying themselves in you hand. It's like fiberglass that doesn't wash off :( You could also try attaching a magnet to the workpiece to retain the slivers.

Step 3: Prepare the Cross Slide

The cross slide is drilled and tapped to accept the 1/4" threaded rod. This hole should be up near the corner as illustrated (about 1/2" form the top and side). Drill and tap the saddle for the #8 threaded rod.

Step 4: Mounting Brackets

This time I used wire dykes to deform the threads on the rods where I wanted to lock the nuts on.

Step 5: Attach to the Machine

After it's mounted, move the cross slide all the way in and measure the distance between the beam and the table near the display and at the end of the beam. Adjust the nuts on the 1/4" threaded rod until the two measurements are the same, thus ensuring that it is parallel to the Y-axis.

I should note that the end of the beam is just under the hight of the table. With the original 3 jaw chuck I have, the jaws can stick out about 1/4" before they hit the table. Make sure you don't run it into the jaws if you are working on something with a large diameter. As an improvement, I think I will make another 1/4" hole on the table at the bottom edge to lower the DRO a bit closer to the saddle. I can probably drop it about 3/4" which will give me some more clearance.

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    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That's where I would put it for fear that the chuck jaws would make shrapnel out of it.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea!

    On step 3 your drawing shows that you drilled the 1/4" hole on the apron dovetail rather than the cross slide and I'm like "Nooooooooo!". I wonder how many people actually did that. LOL.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Even cheaper calipers with free shipping worldwide:


    14 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable!! I have been thinking of doing something likw this ever since I first saw one that my company had installed on the z axis on our Bridgeport mill! Thanks for making it easier for all of us!!!


    14 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Capitan! I put one of these on my old Logan lathe. Your instructable helped me save a lot of time. PS: I even read some of what you wrote, instead of just looking at the pictures....


    15 years ago on Introduction

    most people don't have the time to read your other instructable and this is the reason that no one besides me even cares. I am doing this just to inform you of the matter

    Captain Pedantic
    Captain Pedantic

    Reply 15 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, pretty down note for the first comment. I think this is an excellent execution of a great idea.