In an issue of Home Shop Machinist there was an article about using a spreadsheet and DRO to machine a surface. This is one of the more interesting articles I have read in a long time. This particular project is cutting a tool holder dovetails using a fly cutter. Normally the final cut would be done using a dove tail bit, but here with the use of a set of coordinates and a machine fitted with a DRO, "the manual CNC" method.
There are other elements that I found interesting, one is the use of tools to remove metal, each tool being us to its advantage. I have to admit that most of the time if even if I could remove material in a more optimal manner than just hogging away with an endmill, I am too lazy to move the stock from one machine to another and just mill away for a little longer time. And I own a dove tail cutter, so all this work would seem unnecessary, but the technique is interesting and could be used on other project to advantage.
I am a manual machine guy, while I certainly can see the advantage of CNC machining, I don't own a CNC machine, and a lot of stuff being made via CNC, the CNC part of it is not really necessary. But have some friends that are CNC machinists at heart, they would rather spend a hour making up the part in CAD and then machining it, than an hour invested in fixturing and machining. I don't own a DRO, and use dial indicators when it is necessary to be more precise than hand-wheel dials.
With all that said, I have a project coming up that I want to try the DRO technique out that Mr. Wakefield has employed in this article. More on this later.
Enjoy, I would love to hear some feed back.