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  1. #1
    I bought a Boxford vmc260 last year, used it with the Boxford software but found it very slow and limited so I'm going to upgrade to mach3 control.
    My machine has Parker stepper drivers and a get Gemini speed controller, does anyone have any information on converting this machine using these original parts and preferably a smoothstepper board?

  2. #2
    Can anyone help?

  3. #3
    Well it's unlikely anyone has converted that exact machine, but there are usually lots of generic similarities. It would be hard to comment without knowing the exact type of drives and controller, can you give part numbers? Since it sounds like the machine already works, are you sure there isn't a config problem with the existing software? And why would you need a Smoothstepper if the machine already works, could you just upgrade the controller to Mach 3? More information would help.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHaine View Post
    And why would you need a Smoothstepper if the machine already works, could you just upgrade the controller to Mach 3? More information would help.
    He'll be wanting an external motion controller to get away from the Parallel port I'd guess.? It's common for folks to think external motion controllers are called smooth steppers when it's actually a brand name.

    If this machine does have Separate Parker stepper drives then it should be an easy upgrade. You'll most likely just need a breakout board and analog speed controller to provide 0-10V to Gemini.
    If you do want or need an external motion controller to get away from parallel port then I'd suggest a better product than Smooth stepper which is from company called CSlabs and model number is CSMIO-IP-M.
    This will be more suited to this type of upgrade due to using 24V I/O which this machine will probably use. It also provides analog speed output which could be used for the Gemini.
    Another BIG plus is that it doesn't use or need a separate breakout board so very reliable. It's a very high quality product designed just for this type of retrofit.

    If you post some details of the machine and if possible some high quality pics of inside the control cabinet we can see what you have or don't.

  5. #5
    Hi thanks for the replies. You are correct jazz, I am upgrading the control electronics so I don't have to use the parallel port anymore, I was machining some 3d moulds and the parallel port could not transfer the data quick enough resulting in missed steps.
    I was originally going to use the smoothstepper board, but I bought the csmio on someone's recommendation.
    Seems like it will be a fairly easy conversion, I'm just looking for some moral support!
    I will post some pictures of the electronics and the progress I have made so far. Shall I put it here or is it better to start a project thread in the retrofit section of the forum?

  6. #6
    Im in the process of converting (well towards the latter part now) of converting my 260 VMC machine. i went down the new BOB and stepper driver route and am using the original spindle controller.
    Its working well, except i have just dismantled mine to replace balls in the Y axis as its a bit slack.

    I have the version with the auto tool changer (now not used) and air mist coolant and auto lube pump.
    Pics are available here: https://flic.kr/p/rf37eX

    If you have any issues with wiring or need to trace it, and it is the same as mine in the images on my flickr album, ask me as i have been tracing the wiring and can help wire it up.
    If it is the same, i may however ask if you could trace a wire for me! :) The door interlock and how it wires up the the spindle controller/emerg stop? and also the output from the 3 large resistors.

    Thanks

    Nat
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  7. #7
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    Last edited by i2i; 21-03-2015 at 02:14 AM.

  8. #8
    I tidied up the wiring in the back of the cabinet, I removed the Yasaka contactors as I don't need the CCW spindle functionality.



    Here are some close ups of the Power supply and Spindle Controller



    I am guessing that I can remove this relay as it would have been for the lights switch on the main front panel.



    Not sure what these resistors(?) are connected to...

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  9. #9
    Hi Nat, I found the original Boxford control/boards and wiring very confusing so have stripped down the machine to just the bits I will be keeping,

    I have found some information on the door interlock...

    http://blog.ckdevices.com/?p=12
    http://www.machsupport.com/forum/ind...70.5/wap2.html
    https://www.machsupport.com/forum/in...;topic=11590.0

    It seems most people wire a connection across pins 3 and 9 on the speed controller to bypass the killswitch, I would guess that you could wire your E-Stop and door microswitch in series between these two pins depending on if they are NO or NC.

    Sorry cant help with the resistors, does your machine work without them wired up to anything?
    Last edited by jamesgates1000; 19-03-2015 at 08:56 PM.

  10. #10
    Hiya, yes the wiring is confusing.

    most of mine is in a pile along with original electronics.i have used some of the cables to retire up my machine.

    i am using a BOB board as I said earlier in post. The one I used has a 10v speed out for the spindle so I didn't need the spindlev4 board I bouht in the end. I blew a BOB board prior so went and bought some new ones.

    the dspindle lead 3 to 9 is for the door lock, but as I have wired it currently, it only stops the spindle and the machine still currently runs in axis so sure way to break tool bits! I have it going 3 to front control panel chocblock where it is wired into the door interlocks, then returns to pin 9. I'm sure there is some link to emergency stop I should put in but I need to investigate this.

    the 3 resistors I believe reduced the current going into the power into the relays to stop them burning out when in operation.

    the mains filter feeds supply to the spindle controller and the lights so your correct there.

    2 big blue caps are wired together and provide 18v dc, the other is 28v dc, you can get rid of one of the 18v dc caps and just use 1.

    the relay is for the lights. handy to keep hold of it to fit later on, as provides good lighting to the unit. However prob easier to fit lights on when machine is on and bypass relay, or to fit 24v Led lights and run off 18v? Again to run continuously.

    the spindle sensor is an optical unit, and unless you have some custom electronics to display spindle speed, or wire it into your controller, it's not necessary.

    on the spindle controller, the are 2 rotary dials which adjust the lowest speed, and highest speed. I set mine up when it was running, but be careful, as its mains! Looks like your cover isn't with the machine, the orange plastic cover.

    ground from the mains is earthed to machine the big aluminium plate. Live goes from the input, to the key switch, then back to the reset fuse the green and red button thing on the side, then back down to filter and spindle. I have my complete wiring diagrams at work, so will add them to my Flickr pool for you to see.

    will post this as I can then see what else you have said and I can reply again

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesgates1000 View Post
    Hi Nat, I found the original Boxford control/boards and wiring very confusing so have stripped down the machine to just the bits I will be keeping,

    I have found some information on the door interlock...

    http://blog.ckdevices.com/?p=12
    http://www.machsupport.com/forum/ind...70.5/wap2.html
    https://www.machsupport.com/forum/in...;topic=11590.0

    It seems most people wire a connection across pins 3 and 9 on the speed controller to bypass the killswitch, I would guess that you could wire your E-Stop and door microswitch in series between these two pins depending on if they are NO or NC.

    Sorry cant help with the resistors, does your machine work without them wired up to anything?

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