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  1. After being distracted with some other repairs (bloody neighbours who buy tractors for a 'good' price thinking they've bought a bargain!), I've finally been able to spend a bit time this week working towards getting the lathe fully functional. I've set the QCTP square, measured the backlash (I still need to check the SS plugin as I couldn't get the Mach backlash to work), set up a couple tools, and even cut a thread!

    The final part of what I need now is a drill mounting method, so I've been working on a gang toolholder which will use ER20 collets.
    I still need to make a couple T-nuts, bore some holes for holding collet chucks, and also make some collet chucks, which I might get done over the next week (I've got another queue of repairs building up, which may distract me again :confused: ).

    Here's a couple pics of the last couple nights work
    <pics removed>
    Last edited by m_c; 14-11-2012 at 08:49 PM.

  2. #32
    Having followed your thread it struck me that the connect 121 is a good solid machine with a reasonable centre height which would be ideal to convert into up-to-date software, I found one last week which is in virtually new condition and collected it yesterday. Unfortunately my enthusiasm outstrips my knowledge I thought the machine would operate in manual modes and by fitting new stepper motor drivers and interface cards I could operate on Mach3. However there is no visible method of starting and controlling spindle speed so I assume that this machine will only run under computer control which since I know absolutely nothing about servo drives and controls leave me with a very steep learning curve or converting to an inverter variable speed drive.
    Your horizontal multi tool holder is a great idea in the absence of a turret and if I get mine working certainly fit one.

  3. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's a solid machine, but then I'm used to bigger machines.

    If you don't want to do a full retrofit, and your machine uses a Conquerer Design & Engineering (CDE) board, then they still exist and do an upgrade kit so the lathe can be run on more modern software -,cncupgrade

  4. #34
    Thanks for the input, I thought I was in for a real problem, but after examination I found that it was fitted with Conquerer driver boards and contacted Eaziform to see if the driver boards would be ok with parallel port Mach3, Alex Mackinnon asked if it had a Conquerer
    input board and if so why not connect it to a serial port and run Eazicnc !
    Did that and it works!! and the electronics were updated after 2005 so it's no longer an update job, though I still have to get the mist coolant working, calibrate the spindle speed and make your tool holder.
    Don't know if it's capable of screw cutting so I still have a learning curve on g-code and software.
    Alex at Eaziform has been amazingly helpful and a pleasure to deal with especially I was not and original purchaser of their gear.
    The solidity is relative, my main machine is a 17x36 DSG (2 tons) but the Conect struck me as heavier than some of the 65mm centre height machines.

  5. Why is lathes seem to attract clutter?
    The milling machine always remains relatively tidy, however lathes somehow end up being used as workbench extensions...

    Anyway, I did get some time last week to use this. To finish the gang tool holder, I needed to make up a 20mm adapter for holding the boring head.
    I grabbed a bit silver steel and using my clarke lathe, turned a section to a bit under 20mm to fit the largest ER32 collet, then mounted it on the ER chuck on the 121, and using the various Mach wizards, machined a suitable end for the boring head to screw on to. The thread cutting worked well, and only took a couple tweaks to get the right depth of thread.
    <pic removed>

    Then for simplicity, put it back in the clarke and machined the thread undercut using the cut-off tool.

    Next step is to bore the gang block to final size. I've done the grunt work on the milling machine, as the 121 just doesn't have the power to push a drill into steel, so just need to remove the last couple millimeter using the boring head in the 121.
    I also need to figure out CSS, and tuning the spindle speed so the actual speed is nearer the set speed. I've tried the settings in Mach, however I suspect their lack of function may be something to so with the SS.
    Last edited by m_c; 14-11-2012 at 08:50 PM.

  6. I've had some more time over the past week while waiting on parts for various other jobs.

    The gang tool holder has been bored using the boring head, and a few lines of G-code to semi-automate the process. Took about 40 minutes of repeated adjust, click start, and wander of do something for a few minutes while it cycled through the three holes.

    <pic removed>

    I've also machined two ER20 inserts for the tool holder, which put the lathe to good use.
    I chopped a bit 1inch silver steel long enough to make two holders, drilled a 13mm hole through the center with the bigger lathe and done all the rest in the Conect.

    Threading depth/profile is still more miss than hit, but I suspect that could be because the insert I'm using is a partial profile and it's possibly not got the right angled shim under it. It does the job however, and if I need to do more threading I'll invest in the proper inserts, and spend some time tweaking the threading numbers.

    <pic removed>

    I tried the new toolholder out with a 8mm drill in some alu, and it worked perfectly.
    I now need to wait for some collet nuts to arrive, make another collet holder, and hunt down some stub drills in the required sizes so I can (hopefully) start making some money with it!
    Last edited by m_c; 14-11-2012 at 08:51 PM.

  7. The gang collet holder is finally finished!
    I even made an extra holder.

    <pic removed>

    I'm surprised how well the Conect managed the threading. You can waste a minute or so of your life watching the threading video here. For the silver steel, I've got to set a pretty low depth of cut to avoid spindle stall issues, so the collet thread ends up takng about 17 passes. Not ideal, but I don't plan on doing steel very often.

    Details of the gang tool holder can now be found at
    Last edited by m_c; 14-11-2012 at 08:52 PM.

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