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  1. #1
    Hi All,
    .
    My router is running OK at the moment (shortly about to convert a rotary table and tail stock/chuck into a 4th axis), but I find myself looking to do some steel parts for various projects.
    .
    What I am thinking of is a milling machine, which looking around for "bang for buck" is boiling down to these two:
    .
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AMADEAL-AM...-/360422555676
    .
    http://www.warco.co.uk/milling-machi...g-machine.html
    .
    Both are roughly similar in travel, spindle HP etc. and both would be MT3 variants (I have a fair few MT2/3 bits from my lathe) but the Warco from the limited views looks to be a bit more sturdily constructed.
    .
    Has anybody got experience of converting these to CNC and if I got another set of 3NM Nema 23 steppers, would they be up to the job or am I really looking at 34's? I can of course cut motor mounts etc. using my router and will probably use a box containing a pulley/belt for that purpose.
    .
    Also I have seen various posts talking of epoxy/aggregate mix to essentially make a milling bed and I'm wondering whether this might be a cheaper alternative to a conversion - I'm thinking 3 slabs in essence with ground linear guides/rails; 1 for the base, 1 for the X and 1 for the Y - Z I haven't considered yet.
    .
    In terms of timing its not urgent, so likely towards the back end of this year for either option, but obviously the conversion will be quicker in theory to complete.
    .
    Opinions?
    .
    Cheers
    .
    .
    Chris
    .
    PS. I forgot to mention if I can get away with Nema 23's then I could use my existing control box - just swap the XLR connectors before using each machine (and make the necessary changes in MACH of course).
    Last edited by Washout; 10-06-2014 at 05:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Washout View Post
    Hi All,
    .
    My router is running OK at the moment (shortly about to convert a rotary table and tail stock/chuck into a 4th axis), but I find myself looking to do some steel parts for various projects.
    .
    What I am thinking of is a milling machine, which looking around for "bang for buck" is boiling down to these two:
    .
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AMADEAL-AM...-/360422555676
    .
    http://www.warco.co.uk/milling-machi...g-machine.html
    .
    Both are roughly similar in travel, spindle HP etc. and both would be MT3 variants (I have a fair few MT2/3 bits from my lathe) but the Warco from the limited views looks to be a bit more sturdily constructed.
    .
    Has anybody got experience of converting these to CNC and if I got another set of 3NM Nema 23 steppers, would they be up to the job or am I really looking at 34's? I can of course cut motor mounts etc. using my router and will probably use a box containing a pulley/belt for that purpose.
    .
    Also I have seen various posts talking of epoxy/aggregate mix to essentially make a milling bed and I'm wondering whether this might be a cheaper alternative to a conversion - I'm thinking 3 slabs in essence with ground linear guides/rails; 1 for the base, 1 for the X and 1 for the Y - Z I haven't considered yet.
    .
    In terms of timing its not urgent, so likely towards the back end of this year for either option, but obviously the conversion will be quicker in theory to complete.
    .
    Opinions?
    .
    Cheers
    .
    .
    Chris
    .
    PS. I forgot to mention if I can get away with Nema 23's then I could use my existing control box - just swap the XLR connectors before using each machine (and make the necessary changes in MACH of course).
    Hi Chris,

    I've just got the WARCO Major GH Milling machine and so far I think it's great, done a few little jobs on it....admittedly I've nothing to compare it against as I've never had a milling machine before!! I'll be converting it to CNC in the near future, the only real challenge I think will be the Z axis...still looking at that to see how it can be done without too much cutting and carving!
    Neil...

    Build log...here

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  4. #3
    Thanks Neil,
    .
    If you get some time could you post a few pictures of the Warco? I'm interested in how the leadscrews? and manual handles are mounted. Also is the Z axis power fed or again manual?
    .
    Cheers
    .
    .
    Chris

  5. #4
    After looking at a few of the machines around (including all the Warco mills in their showroom) I went for the VMC. One main reason was height - the VMC has the main drive motor hanging down rather than sticking up and my workshop has limited headroom. The rise-and-fall knee looks like a reasonable proposition as part of a CNC conversion but not sure if that would be easier or harder than on the GH. GH capacity is a little larger, but the VMC has more iron in it (going by published weights) which might count for something! If you include a stand, then the VMC is a little cheaper, and the saving would buy you an R8 ER32 collet set. I've only had 2MT tooling until now, so would have needed to add 3MT or R8 collets, chuck, etc, and R8 is much nicer to use than MT shanks. Looking at the Warco site, in fact, they only seem to list the GH with R8 anyway.

  6. #5
    Subed I'm pretty much in the same boat

    Sent from a GS4 using tapacrap

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Washout View Post
    Thanks Neil,
    .
    If you get some time could you post a few pictures of the Warco? I'm interested in how the leadscrews? and manual handles are mounted. Also is the Z axis power fed or again manual?
    .
    Cheers
    .
    .
    Chris
    Hi Chris,

    I'll take some pics in a bit and put them on here. The Z is manual feed....
    Neil...

    Build log...here

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  9. #7












    Hope these are of use?
    Neil...

    Build log...here

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  11. #8
    Thanks Neil

    Those are perfect and looking at the lead screw mounts/bearing blocks I think those will be fairly easy to adapt to ball screws/steppers - clearance underneath looks a little tight, but I guess a custom coupling can be made also.

    I'm guessing that a 1605 size would fit in there?

    I'm 90% sure I'll be buying the same machine or the dovetail Z axis variant.

  12. #9
    I converted this mill about 9 months ago using the existing screws. with 3.1nm motors and now
    I am just changing the lead screws to ball screws if this helps on my Warco WM-18 mill I will be use 1605 screws.

    I machined a slot out under the X table with my router very slowly 1mm DOC 200mm/min with a 6mm carbide 4 flute at 5500 rpm.

    The yellow endplate on the X table will have the boss taken off and the hole opened out to 42mm, then a boss will be made to insert into the 42mm hole.

    The boss will then have a 32mm hole cut out for the AC bearings offset by 3 mm to bring the screw up into the machined slot under the X table by that amount.
    Attachment 12572


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    The Y screw will fit using the original boss just opened out to 32mm for the AC bearing.
    Then of course there is the Z to think about. ..Clive

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  14. #10
    Excellent pics Clive, thanks (do you have a build log?)

    I'm assuming the slot in the bed and moving the replacement ballscrew up is needed to clear the Y axis carriage below it? I was rather hoping to get away without modding the main milling structures (beds etc.)

    BTW - when you milled that slot were you using a 2.2Kw Spindle on your router? I've not tried running mine that slow as I thought you got torque issues below 6000rpm?

    The Z axis looks like it could be converted by using a new top plate/bearing holder with a stepper/belt arrangement essentially strapped to the back of the column and abandon the "differential/bevelled gears" from the original?

    Looking forward to seeing more progress shots.

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