View Full Version : Upgrade questions fro beaver mill VBRP Mk2 with Anilam Crusader II controls

20-01-2018, 11:25 PM

Hoping for some advice. I came across a Beaver mill (VRP) a few years ago and as it was only 1 I bought it. It has Anilam crusader II CNC controls that don't work. The mill came out of a college and has apparently sat in a corner for many years due to a fault in the CNC controls.

Roll forward a few years and it's in the way. I need to decide if I go with my manual Bridgeport or sort the beaver mill and sell the Bridgeport. To be honest I fancy having a cnc machine and the beaver mill is slightly heaver duty than the Bridgeport. So it comes down to how practical it is to upgrade the Beaver mill.

I managed to get the machine tool tech's from work to look at it a while back. Conclusion was that there is an issue in the Crusader unit. Symptoms were refusal to jog in any direction. Once the override relay was frigged (piece of wood to hold it closed) all 3 axis would traverse. However the X axis would 'stall' after a few millimeters.

I have stripped the unit and found no obvious poor soldered connections/loose connections. However to be honest the controller is ancient (cards are dated 1981), even if I get it working the link to send code to the machine is a parallel port, etc. In short I don't think it is worth making much effort with. From my limited experience with CNC it gets old very quickly typing in G code at a machine. I wan to be able to design in CAD (use atuoCAD), send to post processor and though to machine.

So to me an upgrade of the controller is the right way forward.

I have:

x and y & Z - SEM DC servo drives (MT30E4's). 1.1 NM stall torque, max rpm 3600, 72 volts. Appear to be fitted with a tacho (7.5 volt per 1000 rpm)

Drives - not sure - in a cabinet, assume Anilam units

Encoders(?? position indicators) - fitted 0.01mm accuracy

Already has ball screws

So as a newbie what would you do?

I like to do things 'properly'. So I think I want to do the following:
1/. New CNC control, PC based.
2/. I'd like to keep the current drives and servos, but be able to upgrade later if I had an issue.

So my request is what would you do/recommend as solutions?



21-01-2018, 01:26 PM
depends how good you are at electrical work.
its original servo drives will be analogue- so to use those you would require a motion controller that supports analogue servo control
ie galil, csmio a, etc these will work with mach3/4 (ive never tried mach4 yet) these systems can be fun to wire/ setup and tune for steady movement if you havnt a clue in motion control.
however- as your motors are quite low torque and voltage you could keep motors and install new step/direction drives ( www.cncdrive.com make these that would be suitable and not over expensive)
you could also go the cheapest / easiest method and change servos for stepper motors- this would work fine too.

ive had success using uccnc via a galil controller to run analogue too - however depends on your skill level once again- and how much you want to spend to have it up and running.

21-01-2018, 02:57 PM
Your plan is reasonable, however the one component you really need to check, are the encoders actually encoders?
Given the age of the machine, they could be resolvers (basically the analogue predecessor to digital encoders).
You can get converters, but fitting new encoders is cheaper. A KFlop/Kanalog combo can be rigged to read resolvers, but it's not recommended, as there are a lot of variables that affect the final accuracy.

Keeping the existing servos/drives should work well as long as they all still work. They would need a controller capable of analogue +/-10V.
Some suitable controllers are-
CS-Labs CSMIO-IP/A - Requires Mach 3 or 4.
Certain Galil - Not that common for hobby use, as they are more expensive (and a bit more involved to setup)
MESA boards - Main use is for LinuxCNC.
Dynomotion KFlop/Kanalog - Can be used with Mach 3, or Dynomotion's own KMotionCNC software.

I personally prefer Dynomotion, as it's the most adaptable, but that comes at the cost of needing to know a bit about C programming. I've also ditched Mach 3 on all but one of my machines, as I got fed up with it's glitches, but the built in wizards are very good if you want to do simple machining.

However, the first thing I'd advise you to do, is create a list of all the inputs and outputs you'll require, as that will help comparing controller options.
Also think about things you may like to do, as again it's easier to plan now, than retrofit later.

21-01-2018, 10:27 PM
My advice is to dump the servo's for AC brushless with Step/Dir drives and go with Centroid Acorn Controller.

The Centroid control Software is built proof tried tested over many years and comes with built-in conversational Cam.
The Controller is 4 Axis with Spindle encoder input and 0-10V analog Output for speed control. With more than enough I/O for Mill.

You can buy AC Servo's cheap enough from China which will work fine. This combo will give you great machine with strong control that won't cost a fortune.

Clive S
21-01-2018, 11:43 PM
Bloody hell Dean.: Welcome back from the dead :beer:

22-01-2018, 10:16 AM
Bloody hell Dean.: Welcome back from the dead

22-01-2018, 10:36 PM
Thought I would stick up a few pictures:








Thanks to those that commented. I'll knock up an I/O list and post next.