Lathe conversion to CNC
The carronade is finished, as far as I intend to take it. At some future date I might make pulleys and ropes etc, but at this stage I am putting it on the mantlepiece. (mantelpiece groans). Some detailed pics in a future post.
I have commenced my next project.
I have a CNC lathe but it will accept work up to only 125mm diameter and 125mm long. It was not big enough for the long gun, and barely fitted the carronade. And I have some ideas of further larger projects (field artillery pieces, and possibly a model of a Turkish wall smasher like the ones which allow the Turks to conquer Constantinople. That one was almost 6 meters long, and fired stone balls of 600mm diameter!!! So even at 1:10 I need a bigger lathe.
OK, so I could use a manual lathe, but that is not the point. A bigger CNC lathe would be fun. And I have a Taiwanese one which I think would be suitable for conversion. It is 600mm between centres, (just big enough for my Turkish smasher), and about 300mm swing. It is not pleasant to use as a manual lathe due to very noisy spur gears. So I have decided to convert it to CNC.
The steps are:
- Remove the existing lead screw, cross slide screw, apron, back gears, gear box and more.
- Measure for ball screws and buy them.
- Buy the electronics. Stepper motors (7amp NEMA34), break out board, Gecko stepper drivers, limit switches, power supply, 3 phase 2hp spindle motor, etc etc
- Fit the ball screws and motors.
- Fit the electronic components and hook them up (Stuart, I hope that you are reading this)
- Configure Mach3 and Ezylathe on an old computer
- Make a Turkish smasher
I have made a start. Removed most of the unwanted manual components from the lathe today. It felt very threatening and unnatural to be wrecking a perfectly good lathe. See the photos. At this stage I am taking lots of photos in case I have a change of heart and restore it to its original state. But I will press on. Watch this blog. I expect that the conversion will take a couple of months, by the time components arrive from overseas.