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   DRO Link: CMM System for Traditional Milling Machines



A computer software called DRO Link is developed for using conventional milling machines as a coordinate measuring machine. A digital readout device (DRO) is needed for coordinate measurement. The probe of DRO is used to gather the coordinates of the part. By using RS 232  connection, DRO Link transfers these coordinates to a CAD software like AutoCAD. DRO Link helps the user to define geometrical shapes using the coordinates. Another important function of DRO Link is to transfer the coordinates of a CAD drawing to the memory of DRO device. This function lets the user does the machining without making any coordinate calculations. DRO Link gathers the specified points on the CAD drawing, transfers them to the DRO device. The user only traces the coordinates from the display. More than that, DRO Link follows the motion of the machine and informs the user about the machining coordinates. We can categorize the capabilities of DRO Link in 3 functions:

 1. From CAD Software to Milling Machine

-         User either draws the workpiece geometry or plots the toolpath in CAD software

-         DRO Link extracts the machining coordinates from the drawing. These coordinates can be modified, deleted or new coordinates can be added manually by the user.

-         Extracted coordinates are sent to the memory of DRO device. User can either send whole coordinates or divide them into blocks and send them partially.

-         Machining operation is done by following the coordinates on the screen of DRO device step by step.


An AutoCAD Drawing of Workpiece



Extracted Coordinates of Workpiece in DRO Link



Coordinates are Loaded into DRO Memory


2. From the DRO Device to the CAD Software 

Some DRO devices are capable of making basic coordinate calculations like circular patterns. More than that, operator stores some coordinates in the memory. DRO Link gathers the coordinate memory and shows the coordinates graphically. If required, these coordinates are sent to CAD software.


3. From Touch Probe to the CAD Software 

Touch probe is used to obtain coordinates from the workpiece. By using DRO Link, these coordinates are sent to CAD softwares. Therefore, conventional milling machines can be used as CMM (coordinate measuring machine) systems.


Workpiece Coordinates are Gathered by Using Touch Probe


Touch Points can be Viewed in DRO Link



Touch Points are Sent to Cad Software For Measurement



Advantages of DRO Link:

-         Decreases the risk of  errors in coordinate calculations due to human factor

-         Decreases the coordinate calculation time

-         Workpieces can be measured without dismounting from the machine

-         Conventional milling machines can be used as CMM

-         Lower production time

-         Lower production cost

-         Lower cost than CMM systems


Features of DRO Link:

-         User friendly interface with Turkish, English language option and color controls

-         Coordinate information can be saved, loaded and exported into an ASCII text file

-         Coordinate data can be edited manually

-         Coordinate data can be seen in graphical interface with zooming and panning functions

-         Compatible with different brands of DRO systems that use RS232 interface

-         Windows 9x, ME, XP is required as an operating system

-         Compatible with AutoCAD R13, 14 ,2000, 2002, 2004 and Intellicad


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Polimak Grup Endüstriyel Üretim San. AŞ.