ive had a mill for a fair few years now
its a clarke CMD1225D
i need to make a stand for it to sit on with a suds tray etc.
and will proberly sort that out once ive done a welding table.
but i did see a picture of this mill converted to cnc,
and thought WOW....
what a great idea...
now i want to work out whats needed to do the conversion...
I plan to embark on a conversion this year and have been putting together a shopping list which so far includes;
1. Breakout board, stepper drivers, stepper motors and mounts.
2. Ballscrews with zero backlash stepper end bearing kits, ballnuts and mountings to allow them to replace the table's standard nuts and couplings to connect steppers to shafts
3. Milling head counterbalance system, still wavering between gas rams or a steel bar weight with steel rope & pulleys to allow the Z stepper to deal primarily with movement & positioning rather than a huge vertical load.
4. Pumped lube system, either automated or hand pumped but a simple quick plumbed in way (no pun intended) to get lube everywhere it's needed so it's not a chore to lube the mill every morning before it starts work.
Nice to have features include MPG wheels for each axis on the machine to allow manual machining.
Last edited by magicniner; 22-03-2014 at 09:13 AM.
Can I suggest you don't Pump a lot of money into this converting this machine as they are not very suited to CNC conversion being round column and relatively low strength.
Buying quality parts for the Electronics is recommended ie: Drive's, BOB, PSU etc as you can take these with you to another machine but I wouldn't go to great expense or trouble on the machine it's self. Ie: Zero backlash Ballscrews etc and would just do the minimum required at first with lead screws on it already.
This will give you an idea of what's involved and also show you the limitations of the machine under CNC control.
If you do go to the trouble at first it will seem great has your not used to CNC but it won't take long before you start to see it's failings and want better from the machine and start chasing it.
In time it becomes like digging a ditch your so far into it's hard to to get out and you pump more and more energy and money into it but the reality is you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's hear and your still stuck in the ditch.!!
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 22-03-2014 at 12:24 PM.
Did you spot mine?
Going for zero backlash (which is the case now - need to update the thread) does complicate matters and is arguably a bit over the top. It is nice to have though.
Regarding the strength of the mill, yes it's a round column mill so a bit limited in that respect. However if you compare it to say the X3 which is a similar size 'square' column mill, the dovetail slides and table are quite a lot bigger, plus the back of the X3 column is open so its torsional stiffness will be reduced somewhat. So overall it may not make that much difference ... but I hope it does as I've just acquired an X3! When I've put it back together I'll do some testing to compare.
thats a fair list magicniner.
but i dont think il do everything on this mill.
ive never had a cnc before.
thats good advice jazzycnc.
i understand its a manual mill and proberly not best suited to be cnc controlled.
and as you say good quality electronics can be taken off and moved to another machine.
i dont think there is much or any backlash on the mill at present, i would need to check.. but i guess fitting it with ballscrews wouldnt be cheap.
so where would be best to buy the electronics from. also i would need the software too.
The main issue with round-column mills isn't so much the strength, unless you're trying to hog out large cuts in steel, its the lack of registration on the head. To CNC the Z-axis you can only really drive the quill which limits z movement to 100mm or less. Changing tooling often means raising the head and then you lose positioning in X-Y. While there have been many approaches proposed to address this in the end none are truly satisfactory. a square column mill wins hands down in this respect.
Not all round Column mills are created equal ;-)
My Emco FB-2 based manual mill (the conversion I have planned) and current CNC - a Rishton based Connect are both round column but have good Z travel with excellent registration and gib strip adjustment.
I've considered doing the work to machine a slot in the column and add registration with gib strip adjustment to my floor standing mill-drill, then I remember how heavy it was when I assembled it :-O
Last edited by magicniner; 22-03-2014 at 05:50 PM.
hi jonathan, i did see your thread about the mill..
i did send you a PM when i joined here,
was going to ask about the mill. but you didnt reply.
so i thought il post up a thread and get advice from fellow members.
so where would it be best to buy the electronics from.
what size steppers.. nema 23 ? or .....
also i would need the software too.
and the pulleys and belts ?
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