How to fit DRO to a milling machine

One frequently asked question we’ve found when it comes to our new glass optical digital readout systems relates to how to fit them. And it’s a good question, as these we started offering the new lower cost systems with customer fitment in mind.

In the past, we’ve tended to fit these systems in our own workshop for customers, and this is something we’re still happy to offer – our engineers have many years of experience fitting these systems so we’ll always be on hand to help.

The advantage of buying one of these systems for self-fitting is the saving on the labour cost of having it done professionally by us. And believe it or not, it can often be a rewarding experience.

Each system we supply comes with both a DRO operation manual and a separate installation manual showing what goes where and how to install. To accompany those instructions – because pictures can often be more useful than words – we’ve posted some mill fitment photos in more detail below.

These photos show as an example an install we’ve completed on a milling machine, in this case a WM14/ WM16. The same principles will apply to larger sized mills too.

Warco WM16 with DRO
The front of the mill, showing the counter location.
DRO scale on milling table
The location of the longitudinal travel scale on the rear of the mill table.
Mill DRO - cross travel scale
A closer look at the cross traverse scale mounted to the machine. We use bright mild steel to support the scale overhang.
Cross traverse viewed from the back of milling machine.
The cross scale viewed from the rear. Here you can see the supports supplied as part of the fitting kit with our system.
DRO mill mounting bracket.
And here’s where we locate the mounting bracket for the DRO counter.

These images are a general guide to fitting locations, and you might find you have a different method that suits your needs in some other way. A general purpose bracket is provided as part of the kit, designed for modification depending on application, so it’s worth noting it may vary in appearance from the one shown above. The counter bracket location is less critical than the scales, you can afford to be more freestyle here.

These images should be a handy starting point in combination with the fitting instruction guide that comes included with our systems. And as ever if you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch – we’re always happy to help.

Further reading:

How to fit DRO to a lathe

Following on from our post about installing DRO to a milling machine, we wanted to share some pointers on how to do something similar with a lathe. We’ve shared some example images below to help show how to fit DRO, these show where we’ve mounted the glass optical digital readout scales to a Warco WM 250V. Also shown in these examples is a WM 290V – the same principles will apply to machines in a range of different sizes.

Cross slide DRO on lathe
Showing the scale for the cross travel. This is after we have drilled and tapped the necessary holes and mounted it into position.
DRO lathe cross travel
Another view of the cross travel scale fitted to the lathe.
Warco WM 290V
A view from the front with scales fitted. Here a WM 290V is shown (note the milling attachment at the rear).
Glass optical scale - view from rear on Warco lathe
View from the back of the lathe showing the longitudinal scale. Note we’ve removed the machine’s rear splash guard for better fitting access.
DRO scale - view from back of lathe
Another view from the back, showing the scale mounted after drilling and tapping in the appropriate places.
Warco WM290V DRO
And here’s another example of that same axis with the splash guard refitted – here on a WM 290V lathe. Note on this lathe there’s a milling attachment in place; the narrow section design of the scales means with that even with the milling column mounted, movement is still unrestricted.
Warco WM250 Lathe with DRO
Finally, there is the mounting of the counter. Positioning of this is less critical than the scales, so you are free to locate it wherever is most convenient. We’ve gone with the headstock end as it makes the most sense for readability, shown in this example on a WM 250. Supplied general purpose fitment bracket is intended for modification depending on your specific application.
DRO Warco WM 250V
The end result of a fully configured WM 250V with 2 axis DRO. The visible cables would usually be tucked neatly out of view – we have them on the swarf tray here for convenience as this is a display model.
DRO manual
Warco DRO systems come with the above installation manual, illustrated throughout with step by steps. 

With any luck, with the manual to hand alongside these example images, you should be well equipped for completing the satisfying job of your own installation. Anything we missed, or something you’re still not sure about? Let us know in the comments below!

See also:

Warco DRO for lathes and milling machines

We’ve noticed more and more people keen to fit glass optical digital readout systems to their machines, but found existing systems too expensive to justify, especially for home workshop and small scale engineering businesses.

With that in mind, we introduced an all new glass optical system specifically designed for metalworking lathes and mills at an affordable price.

This system has the added advantage of using small section scales, so where space is tight on smaller machines like the WM 14 / 16 mills or WM 240 / 250 lathes, there is still no space issue.

Because this system is sold for self fitting, there’s a big saving. Each counter two comprehensive manuals – 1x operation instructions and 1x guide to fitting. You can read more about the counter shown above here.

If you aren’t using coolant on your machine and don’t require a waterproof system, even cheaper options than this exist.


This digital readout counter in combination with the corresponding scales is a cheap alternative to the more professional level systems.

Find this and all of our digital readout system options at