CNC Mill Upgrade
I was not planning any more major projects for 2019, instead intending to finish the triple expansion engine, the beam engine, the vertical boiler, and the CNC rotary table.
But… my hand has been forced.
The Y axis on my CNC mill has been a bit unpredictable for some months, and on my return from UK, it has totally stopped working. It seems to be the encoder on the Y axis servo. I could just repair or replace the encoder, but after discussing the situation with my expert advisor Stuart, I have decided to replace all of the electronics in the mill. New axis motors, new breakout board, new drivers etc. It is a 1997 model, and this is the second electronic failure this year. Plus, it is only a 2.5 axis mill. It will move in only 2 directions per move…. XY or XZ or YZ, never XYZ in a single move. Plus I would like to add a rotary axis, making it a 4 axis machine.
The in built computer in the mill has a 7k memory. That’s correct, 7000 bits. I have an external computer linked to it, which makes it a bit more useful, but the Fagor controller is clunky and idiosyncratic, and I would like to switch to Mach 3.
So, I will document the upgrade as it happens. The mill is a good solid machine, with big ball screws, and 1000mm of x travel, 450mm Z and 450mm Y. It is worth spending some money on it. There are a lot of big, old, CNC machines with obsolete electronics out there for sale. It will be a project which might just be worth watching.
I have done a Mach3 retrofit on my Bridgeport (Chinese copy) added AC servo’s to the X & Y axis also precission ground ball screws, I added a Z axis kit from the states, your machine not needing this. I also had a 4th axis rotary table from a previous cheap cnc conversion so I added this also. I had a lot of help with the electronics as that is not my strong point, I am a toolmaker. I have added Mach Standard Mill screen set I think it is layed out better than standard Mach3 and is working well.If I can help in any way feel free to contact me, my electronics friend is very good at this type of work as it is what he does for a day job, ecectricial engineer.
PS The verticle boiler project is coming along nicely.
Thanks John! I also have an expert electronics friend, thank goodness! But I will keep your generous offer in reserve if needed. John
Hi again John. Might I ask what power AC servos you used for XY and Z. The existing servos are 1kw each, and although I would like to increase the servo power (for no good reason), I am limited by having to use a 3 phase converter for the main spindle. I am on a farm, with 2 phase power, 20 amps per phase. John