View Full Version : My Boxford 300VMC COnversion

05-02-2017, 01:43 PM
First of all i want to thank many of you guys here in this forum for advice and helpful comments. I`m well on my way to refurbish / convert my VMC and Pictures will be added.

The story...
Finding myself without a job at age 55 in January 2016, i knew i had to come up with a good idea on how to make use of the days.
Discussed it with my wife, and she agreed on that it might be a good idea to start up my old company again. But this time with some completely new disciplines like machining.
I bought a completely new BF25 mill from HBM and a lathe from the same company.
My plan was to convert the mill and the lathe to cnc.
Didn`t take long before i received my first assignment, making prototype parts. Even the veteran car and bikers club gained interest, and asked me to make some hard to get parts.

Then i came across the Boxford VMC300 on sale on day for 850, fully working and hardly ever used. The VMC had been stored for some years in a garage, and they just wanted to get rid of it.
A reasonable price I thought, and it took me 5 seconds to close the deal. Using my friends company Mercedes van, i picked it up the same day before somebody else got their hands on it.
Using the van electric rear cargolift i squeezed the machine in with a pallet truck, and i tell you there was NO room for any fingers between the machine and the ceiling/floor.
Quite a challenge considering the machine weighing nearly 600kg with all the additional equipment. You think i was nervous when i pulled it out of there?
Setting it down on the small cargo lift area, it felt like being on the deck of an old fishing boat. Nearly shit my pants trying to stabilize it.
Using ropes and pulles, the machine waslowered to the ground and pulled inside my workshop with the pallet truck. Must have been some circus for others to watch.

Well inside and installed in my workshop, i installed the original software on my computer, powered it up and tryed to study the software.
It was as simple as it gets, and putting it mildly a bit inadequate for my use. Planning for a 4th and perhaps 5th axis, i threw away the software and started to study the parts and electronics inside.
Finding the data for all parts installed took me a couple of weeks(and i still havent found a wiring diagraphm or datasheet for the MAC/Sirel spindle driver).
Some of the electronics was if not ancient, at least antique and had to be replaced. After considering some advice from you guys at the Mycncuk forums, i decided to rip it apart for a full convertion.
I`m glad i did, cause after a closer inspection i found some of the parts not worn out but slightly rusty, dryed out timing belts and a couple of malfunctioning inductive limit switches.
But it was no doubt that this machine had seen little use and suffered more from being stored away and being all alone in the dark for several years. Poor thing :-)

The coloumn, base and saddle however was in good condition as well as the leadscrews and many other parts.
The Boxford VMC300 solution is i think a perfect solution as my first VMC convertion. Just love the size of the fully closed cabinet with water outlet and individual compartments.

Based on the original schematics, and datasheets found for all other parts, i started to draw new schematical wiring diagraphm using TinyCad.
Tryed to calculate the most costeffetive solution for stepper/PSU solution, but i wanted a good controller and ended up with the CSMIO/TP-S from CsLabs. No regrets there.

I ripped out all electronics, motors, leadscrews, sensors, ATC, and got cabinet scrubbed and sanded, cleaned with a Xylen / methyl ethyl acetate based solvent, and repainted it in some more refreshing colors.
X axis pulley, lock nut and housing was rescued with some solvent and polishing disc work, and everything else in the base and saddle cleaned up. Backlash on leadscrews all checked out nicely.
Trew the old wires and installed new shielded wires capable of higher currents except for the power cables from PSU to the drivers where i used standard 2,5mm2 PN cables.
Just about everything on the VMC as well as the ATC was ripped apart and refurbished. Even the tool holders :-).
All steel parts on the ATC rotating head was treated with gun blue chemical solution instead of black paint(used by Boxford) except for stainless stell parts.
Some Pictures from the "New VMC"

The front control panel was removed and planned to be replaced by a new brushed stainless steel plate with a slightly different layout for manual controls.
I`m nearly done with refurbishing this VMC, but some questions came up when i was planning the front panel vs a hinged sidepanel with monitor and keyboard.
I wanted to be able to control the basic functions manually from the front panel, and i know i can do most of them from the keyboard. But it seems natural to have some of them on the front panel.

So which functions would you consider necessary as a manual function from the front panel, and which functions are considered as nice to have ?
Anybody with CSMIO experience know if there will be a problem with a manual overide button in paralell with the CSMIO output port ?
Example: I will program the CSMIO to start and stop either flood or mist cooling with a relay when running, but i also want to manually start or stop both of them.

I might be needing the CSMIP-IO unit with the additional 16 digital inputs and 8 digital outputs(i`m a bit short on inputs/outputs due to the ATC), unless i can make some functions manual instead.
And i`m not shure if i should add the CSMIO-MPG expansion module.

Anybody that get some immediate thoughts or suggestions?

06-02-2017, 09:33 AM
Afraid I'm not able to help with your questions Proteus as I'm an IT worker who is still learning about Mills and Routers and the like, but it strikes me that you're doing a very thorough job of this conversion, based on the criteria you're setting for yourself after much consideration and deliberation. It's always good to see a well run project, so Good-On-Ya from down under!

15-03-2018, 09:31 AM
My name Andy i,m pretty new to this site and would appreciate some help with my boxford vmc 300 milling machine
I recently purchased this machine with a view to machining small plastic parts ,my reason for this purchase was enspired by some youtube videos on the boxford design cad software which also came with the machine which i installed on a old desktop computer with xp ,loading the software was pretty straight forward and setting up the computer went without any problems so far,however when it came to the machine i powered the machine up ! control panel came on ,work light switches on/coolant pump works/spindle runs backwards and forwards but their seems to be no life in the x y & z when manual mode selected or homing the machine , the doors are shut and all reset buttons are pressed , i removed the cover of the y axis and manually wound the axis by hand then tried to home the y axis of which the axis moved out ok but seemed to go to far were it reached what seemed the over travel part of the slide were it seemed to oscilate backwards and forwards a little at the end, but generally the machine doesn,t respond to any manual axis movements in its ordinary state , i viewed the drop down electrical panel at the back and one of the pcb boards as 3 led lights 1 red which is permanently lit and also 2 greens ( limit 2 & limit4 i think ) which are both permanently lit. i understand you have to reference the z axis first but unfortunately nothing is generally moving at the moment . I have read lots of posts with regard to converting the m/c to mach 3 which i will look into later but i would like to ask for any help with getting the machine to a state were i can reference the axis on power up and what to check for relays/boards led lights / relays as i would like if possible to see what the original software and machine are capable of . The machine as been in storage many years without use but as very little wear and slideways all seem in good condition.

19-03-2018, 04:59 PM
Can i ask what did you do with the original electronics you removed from the machine when you converted it to mach 3 .