TouchDRO - Wireless DIY DRO Project

What is TouchDRO

TouchDRO is a wireless DIY Digital Readout for machine shop enthusiasts, makers and small prototyping shops alike. Thanks to its modular design, use of powerful modern hardware, and multi-touch user interface TouchDRO combines great flexibility and ease of use with advanced features that most traditional Digital Readouts can't offer.

Why TouchDRO

Traditional DROs have evolved to address the needs of professional machine shops whose workflows and tooling are very different from those of most hobby machine shops and makerspaces. Majority of those shops use manual machines for relatively simple one-off jobs, with more complex jobs done on CNC machines. For those uses cases a traditional 7-segment DRO is more than adequate.

In contrast, hobbyist and makers have very different skill sets and often want to machine complex parts using smaller and lighter machines with much more limited tooling. While an inexpensive import digital readout can significantly improve the usability of a manual machine, it falls short in letting the small shop realize the full potential of their machines. As a hobby machine shop enthusiast, I've designed TouchDRO to be much more than a DRO emulator. Instead, the main goal of the project was to create a digital readout that can push the limits of what can be done with a manual milling machine or lathe and enable the user to create complex and accurate parts that would traditionally require a CNC machine.

Flexible

By separating the display unit from the scale interface TouchDRO can be used with most modern DRO scales and linear encoders, ranging from inexpensive Chinese capacitive scales to high-precision 1-micron glass and magnetic scales from many different manufacturers.

Easy to Use

Using modern high resolution multitouch display TouchDRO can offer superior touch-based user interface that is sharp, easy to read, easy to use, and easy to customize to fit your specific needs. Furthermore, since there are no physical controls, TouchDRO adapts to the task at hand making otherwise repetitive and mundane operation faster, less error prone, and more enjoyable.

Powerful

Thanks to the fact that even the modest Android tablets have factors of magnitude more processing power and storage than a traditional digital readout, TouchDRO can offer speed and capabilities that are unparalleled even by the most expensive DRO units.

Cost Effective

Many of the features offered by TouchDRO can be found only on the top-ot-the line Digital Readout units can cost thousands of dollars and lock you into using the scales and from that particular vendor. With TouchDRO you are in control and can tailor the type of scale, adapter and Android tablet to suit your needs and your budget without sacrificing the functionality.

Always Up To Date

TouchDRO is under constant development, and each new version brings even more features and capabilities to it. The best part is that you will never be stuck with the "last years" model. As new features are added to the application, getting your DRO upgraded is as easy as clicking a button.