View Full Version : Boxford TCL160 turret operation

23-01-2015, 10:24 PM
I've managed to get an Arduino board to control my TCL160 turret, through the use of three buttons. Two just rotate the turret in each direction, so I can reposition it.

The main one rotates the turret in one direction for just over 1/8th of a cycle and then backs it up against the pawl, thus selecting and locking the tool.

I'm rotating 'forwards' by 1650 pulses, and 'reversing' for 300 pulses.

It seems to work OK, but on some of the positions it reverses into the pawl almost immediately, so spends quite a while stalled. On other positions it rotates back probably over ten degrees before hitting the pawl.

Does anyone know if this is a 'feature' of the Boxford TCl turret, or might there be something else going on ?

I can obviously cater for this in the number of steps it reverses, so that it is always hard against the pawl, but in some locations this is going to put quite a strain on the motors and gear train.

Tomorrow, I will remove the cover over the ratchet operate the turret, so see what it is actually doing, just in case it's something simple like ratchet stations being full of debris.

I could also tune the programming so that, based on the assumption that the turret is always at position 1 at power up, the Arduino knows how far to reverse for each position.


07-03-2015, 04:09 PM
Hi Adrian,

I have a nice Boxford TCL160 (1994 build) complete with 'Way Tool Change Turret' and running in 'Stand alone' mode.
I will eventually want to convert it to Mach3 however before I do I want to see how it performs with its native software.
I have 4.3.1 but it wont run on windows 8 64bit machines (not surprisingly)
Are there any other ways to get this running or do I have to purchase a 386PC and install the software ?
Any help would be good.
Many thanks

08-03-2015, 06:13 PM
Mine didn't come with the Boxford software, so I know nothing about it I'm afraid.

I would guess, if your machine is from 1994, you would need a PC running Windows 95 or 98. It should be possible to pick up a copy quite cheaply on eBay.


27-03-2015, 08:58 AM
Are there any other ways to get this running or do I have to purchase a 386PC and install the software ?
Any help would be good.
Many thanks

You could get this running using machine virtualisation software



22-10-2015, 11:58 AM
My TCL160 with auto change tool turret runs original cad/cam design tools V10 from Boxford, build 3, so it's quite old. However, when the machine is unpowered (switched off), there's some radial play in the tool turret. When switched on, this play disappears and the turret is rigid against the pawl - whatever the tool position.
Rotating the turret : The turret always advances beyond the final rotational position and then reverses hard against the pawl. I believe that current to the stepper motor is maintained and thus the motor is stalled, I believe this to be common practice but the current is somewhat diminished to minimise motor overheating, presumably by software. One minor oddity which may explain the different number of steps required to reverse against the pawl....when the turret advances to a normal shanked tool position (eg a turning tool) it advances only just over its final position and then reverses to lock, however, when advancing to a 'drill' position it has to reverse a little further. I assume this to be the need for the shanked tool to be on centre, which means the top side of the shank, in line with the cutting tip at 10mm, needs to be on the lathe axis, but the drill bore axes, if equally distributed around the turret axis with respect to the shanked tools would have to reverse by an extra 5mm (radius of the drill bores) to be on centre. This would account for the extra reversing required for drill tools.