1. #1
    Hi everyone,

    Another new member from maidstone. Im here trying to find ways of getting rid of commercial controls on some of my machines and get rid of the ever increasing rip off costs for spare parts. I have studied a lot about mach 3 in past months/ years, but it still leaves me with a lot of unanswered questions.

    My aim if its possible is to get some of those questions answered and find out if its possible to use this style of control on a commercial type machine to full effect.

    Being an electrical idiot with very little knowledge, its going to be a challenge.

    To clear the air, i am in business as a sole trader running a small engineering co. I hope this is not a problem to the forum. Although in business, to those in a similar position to myself wil understand if you are a sole trader like myself, its a bit more than just a job its a hobby as well as a way of life and a job.

    Being formaly trained in the sector as a Toolmaker, i hope i can in return bring some help and knowlege to other users.

    My kind regards,


  2. Welcome Scott,

    I'm sure what you want to do is achievable, many of our members have retrofitted older machines. The electrics side we can help you with!

  3. #3
    Scott welcome

    You should not be concerned about being a business man, it's a positive reason for doing it. Sharing knowledge is key and you have the sort of experience that can answer a lot of questions.
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  4. #4
    Many thanks for the warm welcome, Well the first project I need to look at (I have 3 in fact) is a full blown Mazak slant bed turning centre. I think this one will be the easiest to learn on as it already has ball screws and fanuc servos in place, so its purely a matter of the control side. The machine does have an existing control (Fanuc 6t) which is now non operational. I cant really justify keeping a control of some 25 years of age running. So im thinking the way to go is the way home build cnc kit style. At least this way i will be able to learn and fault find myself and maintain them and stay in business, without the worry of earning a few quid then having to pay a fortune in spare parts costs and engineers cost to keep them running which I simply cant afford any longer.

    The second project will be my 3 axis mill. I had this retrofitted with a brand new commercial control some 5 years ago, costing a small fortune. Even so the spare parts costs are a total joke now, and have in fact risen some 60% in the last 2 years. Alas, as a very small one man band, I again can not justify spending 1500 for one board. I will sell that control off in parts to raise funds for a home build retrofit, if it is doable as a project.

    The third one is really the jewel in the crown. This is actually an old capstan lathe a Herbert/bsa 2d. This machine has a peg board control which derived into the emi mec air over oil peg board system. There are no engineers left in my neck of the woods any more so its a matter of time before the machine dies totally. This machine is an ex college machine, doing no work at all and mechanically and wear wise its is impeccable. My thinking was to cnc it with indexing tool turret when funds allow. This one will be a lot more involved as its not really suited to ball screws being fitted. Plus up to 3 servos as its a turret lathe. This one will be very involved as the spindle motor is ermmmmmmmm well its a 4 speed motor with a high/low gear box. How you integrate a motor like that is totally beyond me, as is just about the rest of it lol. So that one will be the last of the projects if money ever allows me to do it at all.

    Kind regards,

    Last edited by spluppit; 21-08-2010 at 07:34 PM. Reason: cant spell!

  5. #5
    Many thanks for the re assurance, I know some forums are a bit funny about business people. They all seem to think a lot of us guys are loaded with cash and have no place on a DIY type forum. How wrong they are! All I’m after is ways to reduce cost and learn into the bargain, and be more self sufficient.

    Indeed, as you correctly say, sharing a knowledge base is the way forward. Its the only way we will keep tricks of the trade alive in this country now. In my sector hardly anyone is being re-trained and very sadly the skills are being lost forever.

    Kind regards,


    Quote Originally Posted by 2e0poz View Post
    Scott welcome

    You should not be concerned about being a business man, it's a positive reason for doing it. Sharing knowledge is key and you have the sort of experience that can answer a lot of questions.

  6. Scott... if its got any form of ballscrews and stepper or servo drive it can be retrofitted. Software products like Mach3 (arguably the mainstay CNC controller product for hobby and small businesses, although there are others), while not having the complexity of a Fanuc controller, can deliver the goods, its just a different way of working... often more design/pc based than CNC programming on the machine itself.

    While many of our members here are hobbyists there are just as many who run small businesses (not all engineering or CNC related). And your other experience is equally valuable. We look forward to you imparting it as and when!

  7. #7
    I know anything can be cnc'ed, my trouble is total lack of knowledge of how systems work and they integrate with each other to all work as it should. Being electronically challenged I cant make my mind up if this is totally beyond me. I understand very basic principles but that’s as far as it goes.

    One problem i have is knowing where to post about the first machine slant bed lathe. As the questions i need answering cover many aspects including hardware, integrating, software and its capabilities, spindle control, hydraulics and safety systems.

    Where should I post this so it doesn’t get moved?

    Kind regards,


  8. Scott,

    A good place to start would be posting your thoughts in the commercial machines forum and then when you start the conversion creating a build log either there or in the Lathes Build Logs

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