johnsmachines

machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment. I read every comment and respond to most.

Category: Boxford 125 TCL.

Soft Jaws

The bronze gears which I cast yesterday were cut off the tree with small bolt cutters, band saw and hack saw.   Then a belt sander to reduce the daggy bits.

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The gears, and the tree trunk and branches which will be remelted.

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The faces needed to be flattened in the lathe, but how to hold the rather thin, delicate, irregular gears?

Soft jaws.

Soft jaws made of aluminium, and exactly machined to match the external diameter of gear teeth, so there are multiple contact points, and minimal chance of damaging the teeth.  I made these soft jaws ages ago, for just this sort of job.

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The soft jaws are machined to exactly fit the workpiece.

The soft jaws may be used multiple times, machined to shape each time.  Very handy in this situation.

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The larger gears are good.  I silver soldered some extra material on one of them for the shaft, then turned the shaft to size .  But, holding the small pinion gear is more problematic.  I will need to machine a soft jaw with a taper to hold the teeth.  Next session.  I should have anticipated this situation and designed the gear with a shaft to be PLA printed as one piece.

 

 

Axles for a Cannon Carriage

How fascinating is that for a topic!

Well, I found it interesting.  Maybe says something about me.

My 2 carriages have 20 wheels and 20 axles between them.  Plus the 4 big ones under the chassis’.  I had made the wheels.  The axles required some planning and thought, after all, whatever I did was going to be repeated at least 20 times.

I decided on stainless steel for the axles, and brass for the end caps.  The originals were steel, but they will be painted, so the appearance of the metal is irrelevant.

First steps were to cut up 20 pieces of 5mm stainless steel, 25mm long, and drill 5mm holes in 12.7mm brass rod, and part off 20 pieces 5mm wide.  With a few spares.

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The the brass end caps need to finish 4mm wide, so there was a machining allowance of only 0.5mm on each face.  So the silver soldering of the 2 parts needed to be reasonably precise.

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To assist with keeping the brass disks square to the rods while soldering, I drilled some 5mm holes in an aerated concrete block, exactly 21mm deep.

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Fluxed the mating parts, and silver soldered 5 at a time.  Very quickly.  I could have used Loctite 620, but would have had to wait until it cured before machining.

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A soak in sulphuric acid for a few minutes, then a water rinse.

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Then turned the end cap shape on the Boxford TCL125

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Not quite finished. M2 Holes to be drilled through the end caps, and threaded to the brackets.  I will use the CNC toolpost milling attachment which I made in 2019.  That might warrant a short video.

A short video.  Well, a bit over 5 minutes…

 

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The capscrews are not kosher.  The original cannons had large slot screws.  But will anyone notice?  (idea…  I could fill in the hex hole with JB Weld, and machine a slot?!).  Maybe.

In retrospect I could have done the entire shaping and drilling and milling of the brass end cap using the toolpost mill on the CNC lathe.   Would have been a lot more efficient.

Boxford TCL125 CNC Lathe, 3rd AXIS.

Below is a video which was recorded by my machining mentor friend, Stuart Tankard.  Stuart made a milling attachment for his Boxford CNC lathe, and he demonstrates it in the following video by making some lovely small valve control handles.

I followed in Stuart’s footsteps by making a similar attachment for my identical Boxford 125 CNC lathe, but I have not yet video’d it in action.  Not much point when Stuart’s video is so good.  I really like the absence of irrelevant, irritating music.  Just machining sounds.   Enjoy.   (if you want to see it full screen, copy the YouTube address from the settings icon).

Lathe Toolpost Milling attachment (CNC)

 

Although my recent posts indicate that I have spent  a fair amount of time recently on Google Earth Pro, I have also been busy in the workshop.  Mainly finishing the toolpost milling attachment for the Boxford CNC lathe, but also fiddling with the laser attachment for the CNC mill.  Neither of those projects is completely finished, but I thought that you might be interested in some progress photos.

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This is what the Boxford TCL125 CNC lathe now looks like from the front.  It is substantially modified from the original which I purchased 5 years ago.  To mention a few changes…..

the axis stepper motors are bigger and more powerful than the originals

the ball screws are now 10mm diameter, compared with the original 8mm

there are some adjustable axis limit switches

the 3 jaw chuck is replaced by an ER32 collet chuck

there is a removable toolpost milling attachment with ER 16 Collet chuck, with a speed controller, cables, and panic switch.

there is a removable safety screen (not seen in the photo)

And hidden in the electronics compartment….

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There is a 750 watt AC Servo spindle motor and controller (RHS, under the coiled cable)

The electronics have been replaced with a Mach3 compatible breakout board and associated peripherals.  Anyone with an original 1985 machine will hardly recognise these components.

And the software is now Mach3, running off an old Windows XP computer.  And using “Ezilathe” for most of the G coding, especially threading, and interpreting shapes which have been drawn as CAD dxf’s.

The new toolpost spindle works, but the software  needs a bit more fiddling to tie it into the CNC controls of the lathe.

The Boxford has provided an excellent base on which to make these changes, and I look forward to producing some videos soon of the renewed machine in action.

 

CNC Lathe Toolpost Mill

Just a quickie to show you a progress photo of my current project.

It is a very small milling motor with a small ER collet, mounted onto the toolpost of my Boxford CNC lathe, which will convert the lathe from 2 to 3 axes.

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At this early stage the toolpost holder and cylindrical motor have been mounted to the water jet cut bracket on the right side.  Pulleys and drive belt yet to be fitted and I will trim the shaft at the left hand end of the motor.  Then the motor wires are connected to a speed and direction and on-off controller.

The usefulness of this tool is apparent in the following video of a completed unit in use.  The main spindle motor of the lathe is now a 750w AC servo motor, which can be controlled from Mach 3, to go to programmed positions and hold the position while a milling procedure takes place.  Of course the milling procedure will be with small cutters or drills, perhaps up to 3-4mm diameter.

The idea, plans, and some of the parts are courtesy of Stuart Tankard, my very clever friend, whose completed machine is the subject of the following video.

Stuart’s video is republished here with permission.  The original, with comments, is visible on YouTube.  If you have technical questions about the setup, I suggest that you contact Stuart via his YouTube post.

Another axis for the Boxford 125TCL

Watch the video of Stuart Tankard making tiny valve handles on his CNC lathe.  Changing the old Boxford spindle motor to a new generation servo motor allows him to use Mach3 to control the spindle to turn very slowly and to a set number of degrees, producing the very attractive handle cut-outs and rim dimples.  i.e. he has added the functionality of an indexing head to his CNC lathe.

It required adding a small milling head and motor to the toolpost.

I can see one of these on my Boxford 125TCL in the near future.

New Spindle Motor for the Boxford 125TCL CNC lathe.

Reader Ben asked about the spindle motor replacement on the Boxford.   This is a small CNC lathe, and was often used for teaching in secondary schools in Australia.  Mine was made in 1985, and I replaced the electronics a few years back because they were obsolete and not functioning.  The mechanicals of the lathe were beautifully made and in excellent condition.  I did replace the ball screws, but in retrospect, that was probably unnecessary.   I also installed new and bigger axis stepper motors.

I was still getting some unreliable results, despite the the upgrades, and wondered whether the spindle motor was lacking power.  I was taking lighter cuts to try and cope but clearly a new spindle motor was required.

The space that the motor occupies is fairly tight, and initial searches for a suitable replacement were fruitless.  The new  ClearPath motors looked promising, but enquiries to the manufacturer indicated that the required power and rpm’s were not available.  Then my expert friend (or should that be “friend who is an expert”?), spotted the Ebay ad below, and bought and succesfully installed the servo motor in his 125TCL, so I did likewise.  I am afraid that the electronic aspects remain a mystery to me, so I cannot help with those.  It is a 0.75kW motor, substantially more powerful than the original, but very compact.

 

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Do an Ebay search on the code on the controller.  I paid $AUD339 but it is now plus postage and GST, so close to $AUD400

 

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The new spindle motor and servo controller

 

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A new motor pulley was required.  There is still a high and low belt ratio available, but with the extra power and torque I never use the low ratio.  RPM range is 300-3200.

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This has been a very successful modification.

Many thanks to Stuart Tankard for his generosity in time, expertise and advice in getting it going.