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Fabricating iGaging DRO for 15" Planer

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Review by rawdawgs50 posted 01-10-2012 09:27 PM 4312 views 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Fabricating iGaging DRO for 15" Planer No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I wanted my planer to have digitized measuring but did not want to spend a couple hundred doing this.

I recently purchased a Digital Read Out …DRO…from iGaging. I got it on amazon for $33.50 plus free shipping. When I received the unit, the lcd screen protector was cracked. The LCD protector is actually glass. I contacted iGaging and they responded very fast to my email, and after a few questions they shipped out another unit the next business day. Even though I live in Florida and they are in California both packages arrived very quickly, I think it was 2 or 3 days. Needless to say I was impressed with their customer service and the way they addressed the problem was fantastic. I told them about how I thought the unit may have been damaged and the second package was packed more secure to alleviate any future issues with shipping. This is a company that cares.

Now on to the actual product. Aside from the incident, which I will not hold against the product…every thing looked very well made. It included 4 batteries, 2 of which are spares and 4 different mountings brackets and hardware. The instructions included were really not all that helpful, although they were in color…rare these days. I found out through other sources that I was able to adjust the accuracy of the unit by pressing the SET button and taking it from 1/32, 1/64 and 1/128 of an inch. I am leaving mine at 1/64 of accuracy for the planer.

The mounting brackets were useless to me as well. Again I will not knock them on this one. With the many different ways these are going to be used it would be impossible to include the “right” bracket. I would hover like to see the addition of just some bar stock the same thickness for you to bend and drill for a universal fit.

The unit works as advertised and that means very well. I feel that I really got my $$$ worth with this product and will now consider other iGaging products. Keep in mind this is not an out of the box and bolt on kit. There is a little bit of tooling involved, but nothing you can not handle if you want this type of accuracy. I would bet that people who want this accuracy are probably all good with tools.

Also you will probably need to take a trip to the hardware store and spend a few more bucks on the misc pieces. Mine was for a planer, there are many different applicable applications.

I easily spent 3-4 hours cutting grinding and test fitting different methods attachment with wood and steel and mocking up with clamps on the planer before I settled on the final design. With the info I am sharing, you can easily have this up in running in an hour and have that accuracy you always wanted on the machine.
This is how I did it:

Video only shows the set up and overview. The process on how to get there is below.

This is it out of the box
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This is the extra pieces needed to put it on the planer. There are other pieces used as well but these are most likely what you do not have laying around the shop…besides the wood of course…...The bolts are 10-24 allen headed. The small ones are 3/8” long and are what bolts into the planer arm/ The other one is 5/8” and will bolt into the planer bed.
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This is detail to show the thickness of steel I used for the bracket. It needs to be sturdy and really can not be any thicker than this or the provided hardware will be to short. You can probably use construction strapping which run about .042” thick
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This is to show the relationship of the wood to the custom made bracket. The bracket bolts to the back of the reader which slides up and down the beam. Where I am holding the pencil is the area which will need to be rounded over. This is very important.
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I pre drilled holes in the center of the wholes drilled into the metal back plate. The holes are larger than the screw threads, but not the head. This will allow alignment to make it parallel with the planer bed. Important to center to get as much adjustment as possible.
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This is just a detail of how the angle bracket will fit onto the wood block. NOTE…the rounded edge does not touch the bracket at all. The top of the wood will act as a zero point on the bracket…again this is very important.
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From the previous picture I traced the outline of the bracket and then scribed the screw hole onto the wood. I will use a forstner bit and chisel to create about a 1” long slot to allow for adjustment…no need to make it bigger than this.
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Here is a detail of created slot and hardware.
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This is the hardware in order of how it will be put on. You can substitute the nut for a butterfly nut.
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I am not going into detail of how to tap metal. However, the picture here shows a very good mounting point with the bolts holding the measuring beam in place. KEEP THE BOLTS LOOSE while putting it all together. Once a dry run is made we can tighten them.
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Detail showing the metal bracket mounted to the beam reader and the wood block screwed in. The block is loose as well. Adjustment need to be made to make it run in plane with the bed.
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The angle bracket was applied with pattern tape and then a c-clamp. It is not going anywhere. Now align everything to this and raise and lower the bed. Tighten down the wood screws first on the bracket..then raise and lower again. Now tighten the beam reader screws to the planer arm. Everything should be parallel now.
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Set the top of the block of wood tight against the bottom of the angle bracket. This is your ZERO when we set it up.
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This is the bootom of the LCD panel display. Lots of strong magnents….very nice.
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Display mounted near planer adjustment wheel…seems like a good spot.
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This is the stick I am using to set it all up. It will get planed square very close to 1/4”
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.253” works for me.
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With the wood block pressed tightly against teh angle bracket we can ZERO the readout.
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Now we loosed the nut and slit the wood down and slip in out reference setup block. Pull the wood up tight and tighen the nut. Should read on the display as .253”
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If these numbers (yours will be differnet) is not what you are seeing….you missed a step
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Now lets make it repeatably easy to setup no matter what happens…battery change, accidentally ZERO out…etc. More wood scrap…perfect!
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All these numbers seem difficult…but its not…. the video shows what all this means..watch it.
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More #’s??? Wait for it….
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Ok…this is it. It works like magic…buts its just math.
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These are my LABELED blocks. Can forget what they are for, right. See the ziploc bag…put them in there and keep them as stable as possible for when you need them.
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Thats it. Now you can spend less time measuring each trip through the planer and get the project done faster.

Good luck-

Jason
Wetland Wood Works




View rawdawgs50's profile

rawdawgs50

81 posts in 1673 days



5 comments so far

View Marco Cecala's profile

Marco Cecala

188 posts in 2689 days


#1 posted 01-10-2012 10:20 PM

Thanks for the information. This is a great help.

View AttainableApex's profile

AttainableApex

338 posts in 1488 days


#2 posted 01-12-2012 11:10 AM

crazy setup, thanks for the vid.
got to come back and read this indepth review. nice job

-- Ben L

View Cato's profile

Cato

641 posts in 1968 days


#3 posted 01-12-2012 02:09 PM

A digital read out on a planer is very handy.

It adds a lot more precision to thicknessing. Really handy when you have to plane some extra pieces and match.

Lot more work installing yours, than the wixey I put on my portable planer, but I guess stationary planers may have a different set up than mine.

View bugz's profile

bugz

773 posts in 1319 days


#4 posted 01-12-2012 06:41 PM

I have the wixey gauge and have not instaled it yet, thanks. this will maybe help. Great indepth review, I will be looking at this agian very shortly.

-- Bob, Lewistown, Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View rawdawgs50's profile

rawdawgs50

81 posts in 1673 days


#5 posted 01-13-2012 12:13 AM

The install looks more difficult than it is. I honestly think that you could go from package to installed in an hour with full calibrated setup blocks if you got a plan before you start.

There might be a better way to do it than what I did….but this way works and its quite simple involving basic math.

The hardest part was getting the steel plate cut and drilled. My bent design on the steel is totally unnecessary. A straight piece of steel with some holes in it will do the job just as well. Most important part of the whole thing was just making sure everything is moving parallel with each other. Again…real simple and the method shown above automatically aligns every thing by leaving the screws just a tad loose and allow it to correct itself… then you can tighten them down.

I realize there are other kits out there they may have a more refined install process out of the box…but they are not this cheap nor as universal as this. Accuracy is fantastic. Got it because of these reviews coming from CNC guys for this product.

Already planning some other mods for other tools.

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