View Full Version : New to me Denford Starturn 8 what to do?

08-10-2022, 05:31 PM
So I have managed to acquire a Denford Starturn 8

bought it with the theory it was a good solid foundation for my first venture into CNC it was a non worker but had all the parts including PC....

after night tinkering cleaning swarf from the electronics bay (slight design fail for that one) a replaced fuse and its fully working:yahoo:

it also comes with the 8 tool turret:triumphant:

so here is where the problems begin....

as I am new to CNC learning to use the DOS based control involves the use of finger CAD to key in the G and M codes but since it is a training lathe and I need training this isn't such a bad thing and the Denford training material seems like as good a place to start as anything.

the first thing I am looking to do is get an oldish Toughbook so I can transfer the DOS control to a more modern PC and as I suspect I will in due course want to upgrade the controller and software to something more modern this should give me a dedicated PC for the lathe going forward.

I am thinking of setting several boot partitions one for the existing DOS control. one for having a play with Linux CNC and another for windows while I figure out what direction to take.

I am not wed to any control system so that will be something i need to look into while hopefully getting to grips with the DOS control and finger CAM:distrust:

any advice or words of wisdom gratefully received

lots of cleaning oiling and servicing are in my future

Lee Roberts
12-10-2022, 09:22 PM
Hi Open, how you getting on, did you make a decision on how your going to approach this yet?

Surly your going to need to retrofit the control hardware as well ?

13-10-2022, 08:47 AM
Hi Lee,

Sort of.....

I have the DOS software loaded on the laptop using DOSBox so its up and working for now.

For now i am going to continue cleaning and servicing it as i want to clean and regrease the head and toolchanger as after over 30 years the grease is likely dry and ineffective.... some love will go a long way.

After that i still am unsure. One option is to go the route of Denfords modern software.

Whichever way i go will need a new motion controller and control software plus some form of CAM software with post processing so any route involves cost of hardware and software.

From what i can tell there is nothing wrong with Denfords software and it should do anything i will need. My only hesitation is licensing cost as i will be adding a Triac mill if i ever find one for a price i can pay.

I need to have a chat with denford as if the total software cost is too high that may change my direction but for the moment its a tempting way to go.

I am away for the next week but with any luck i should be making chips in a couple of weeks which will give me an idea just how much fun the DOS system is to use

13-10-2022, 09:07 AM
In terms of hardware i am firmly in the "if it aint broke, dont fix it" camp.

Can it be improved with the newest servo spindle and stepper motors and fancy motor drivers?... most likely but as they all currently work i doubt there is much of a difference to be had other than speed and as its not for a comercial environment i can wait a bit longer for a program to run.

The motion controller however is one area where an improvement could show great benefits as thats the interface between the machine and software.

My current thinking is the CAM software is most important and that will likely determine the direction i head with the motion controller

I need to sort out my Fusion360 as its gone a bit funny with the licence but i can then have a look at the inbuilt CAM post processors and go from there.

Sorry i am a rambling mess of many directions... no final direction yet lol

Lee Roberts
16-10-2022, 08:39 PM
Hi Lee,

Sort of.....

I have the DOS software loaded on the laptop using DOSBox so its up and working for now.

For now i am going to continue cleaning and servicing it as i want to clean and regrease the head and toolchanger as after over 30 years the grease is likely dry and ineffective.... some love will go a long way.

Cool, share some pics of your progress, always good to see something new and it acts as a reference for people further down the road that mite need some info, you can turn it into a restoration build log to if you want lol ;-)

Now that would be cool if you can stretch to a video of you doing the DOS stuff and then the chips flying, DOS systems are before my time so a window into the past would be great ;)

Enjoy your time away,

22-10-2022, 11:23 AM
Lol it seems machines are like busses... been looking for years and having just got the lathe i may be about to get the Triac mill as well. Just working out the deal but looking forward to giving it a new home.

I will get started stripping the changer and getting it cleaned and regreased today if time permits and i have some delrin rod to play with so with luck i should be creating swarf soon....

The more i look at the G code and dos control the simpler it seems to be... i have high hopes but cant quite believe its not going to be more complex than it appears. While i am going to need to work out spindle speeds and feed rates i am hoping the delrin should be more forgiving of errors... fingers crossed.

Will post some clips when it runs��

25-10-2022, 02:12 PM
so we have chips ����

created a couple of simple programs one to do a face cut and the other to true up a bar

here is a vid of the face cut one taking a 0.5mm cut


Lee Roberts
25-10-2022, 06:33 PM
Looking good, should be a cool project to bring up to speed, I would be on the "if it aint broke, LETS UPGRADE it" camp with this one, would love something like this to play with...

25-10-2022, 11:15 PM
lol its not ruled out yet.....

while the DOS control seems powerful it has a few issues.....

I think I have an older version and while the g code has functions for tapers, convex and concave profiles as well as threading what it seems the later version settled with was all the routines to do progressive stock removal to get into the position to use these functions. I need to see what I have and how it works but if i have to calculate all the points and use loads of lines of code for the stock removal side then a new motion controller may happen faster than I planned.

once i have the mill it will be interesting to compare as it will have modern CAD CAM programs feeding it to mach3 so I will be able to compare both worlds