Need help finding super simple rotary encoder with display

Thread Starter


Joined May 18, 2013
Hi, I'm trying to find a simple encoder I can fix to the end of an lead (ACME) screw that will measure the distance traveled by number of rotations (as per threads per inch). I need it to have a display of some sort that shows inches, fractions of an inch and/or decimals. (Maybe even feet.)

I can't believe how difficult it is to find something that simple. I thought these things would be everywhere, but I've spent hours and hours trying to no avail.

Would really appreciate any tips to find it!


Joined Jun 19, 2012
The device you speak of will not be found as an "off the shelf" solution.

You can buy linear encoders with position readout. (very expensive)

Measuring rotations and calculating position from that requires that the pitch of the screw and encoder counts per revolution are in correct ratio, then you have to do the math to convert the counts to the correct units.


Joined Feb 11, 2008
You can buy DROs (Digital Read Outs) ready to use from the metalworking machine suppliers. They are not particularly cheap, although lately there have been some Chinese ones hitting the market.


Joined May 13, 2013
I usually find interesting components as such in my local dump .
There is a separate container for electronics waste .
You could probably find one in a dvd player or stereo or something of that sort