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  1. #1
    Hi fellas,

    Just joined here to get some guidance on if I can convert my machine to full CNC.

    Here are some pictures of what I

    This is the machine with the big machine table. I've seen some of the fantastic work by members here and I have not seen the same machine as mine modded.

    I've used a mill for over 500 hours and I've trained on 3 Axis Machines manually coding. No CAM.

    I have CAD CAM on SolidWorks but I'm not sure if my machine will accept that kind of CAM.

    I've got a copy of Mach 3 too.

    Thanks for your help.


  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Onocyclone View Post
    I've got a copy of Mach 3 too.
    Shhhhhhh you do mean genuine version of Mach3 and not Copy don't you.!!! . .

    Can't see any reason why this can't be CNC'd but the Z axis will need some attention due to being rack driven. Think you'd be wanting to devise some brackets for a ballscrew setup. Don't think the rack will accurate enough to be any use for CNC.

    Regards CAM then provided the CAM software as a Mach3 post processor to output G-code file in format Mach3 understands then doesn't matter what machine it is.
    Also Mach3 doesn't care what machine your using it just translates g-code commands produced by CAM into signals that go to drives that control motors along with monitoring incoming signals for things like Limits and safety. It also controls output signals for turning things on/off or controlling other external devices.

  3. #3
    Yes i got a Gen version.

    Doesn't the x2 use the same z as my machine. Just mine doesn't tilt it is stationary. My main concern is the XY brackets for the CNC ball screw. I don't know where to get the brackets from or if so how to make them. The ball screw has got to be a very good fit ! Do they make a Tap ?

    So in Mach 3 there is a CAM ? I don't understand.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Onocyclone View Post
    So in Mach 3 there is a CAM ? I don't understand.
    No Mach3 is just Motion control software, it does nothing but control the movement of the machine based upon commands it recieves from G-code files. It does this by sending electrical pulses to drives that control motors. It does other things beside like turning things on or off but won't go deeper or confuse any further.!

    Let me explain the process better. It goes like this.! (excuse if you know already)
    Parts are created in CAD which then go into CAM software. Inside CAM you create toolpaths that define how the part is to be machined. Ie Geometry to follow, cutting Depths, tools and speeds to use for that process.
    This then goes thru a process within CAM called Post processing. This is where the Toolpaths are setout in a format that the Motion control software understands.
    Now machines can have many differant control systems, even on same make of machine. So for CAM to know how to format for each control software it uses a file called a post processor that sets out how it should create the G-code file so that particular control software can read it. These post processors will often come with the CAM software but if not or the Machines control system is Old then you will need to make one or ask the CAM company for one.

    Now Mach3 isn't too fussy and use's the basic Fanuc G-code standard and most CAM software will have a generic post processor so this often works with mach or can be modified to make work.
    Also most common CAM software will have a dedicated Mach3 post processor or someone will have made one for it.

    If I've just confussed you more just ask again and I'll try harder not to fry your brain. . Lol
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 24-08-2014 at 11:20 PM.

  5. #5
    Ahhhhhhhhhhh I've been doing some fiddling and found out how to use it.

  6. #6

    All i need now are the motors, drivers, ball screws and ball screw brackets.

    Any advice on this part ?

    Cheers fellas,

  7. #7
    Great your sorted with the CAM side then and often that's the hard part so your off to a good start.

    Sorry can't help with where to go for dedicated parts for this mill but for Motors and drives etc then Gary at Zapp is good start.
    Ballscrews will depend on diameter size and pitch your wanting. To be honest I think your biggest problem will be getting ballscrews to fit and Big chance your going to need to modifie the base or bed in some way to make room. Unfortunatly I've no experience with these small mills so can't help here.!

  8. #8
    All i need now are the motors, drivers, ball screws and ball screw brackets.
    Any advice on this part ?
    If you do a search on here there has been a few conversions done. This company makes a kit:- Also there is a thread here :- .. Clive

  9. #9
    i picked up a used clone a few weeks ago to do basic jobs but have done quite a bit of research on them all. It looks like you have the one with the upgraded spindle motor and a belt drive up grade which i think is the first mod people do. The good thing about yours is the fixed base as this is a little more solid than the adjustable one however a lot of people seam to go for building a hole new steel frame to bolt the base and the column to to get it even more stable. there is a good thread here about it and is what i plan to do
    Click image for larger version. 

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    youtube has lots of cnc conversions and as mentioned there is a kit from cnc fusion which uses ball screws all round. Again i have been looking into ball screws but ideally you want one with a small ball nut which i have not found yet.

    another common mod is to use ether a gas strut or counter weight on the z axis.

  10. #10
    Stripping it down ATM

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