View Full Version : REBUILD: Boxford 125TCL

27-01-2014, 10:35 PM
CNC stuff has always been an interest of mine and I finally got the chance to pick up a couple of machines that just needed a bit of modernising.

Here's a Boxford 125TCL Lathe I picked up a couple of weeks ago.


It's only a small machine but with the benefit of having the tool changer i'm hoping to be able to get more stuck in to multi tool turning without having to keep swapping tools :D

Generally, the machine is in good condition. It came with the BBC Micro computer to run it along with software for this, a 240TCL and the 260VMC that I got as well. A massive bonus was that I got wiring schematics for a the Boxford TCL's and VMC's as well. They were a great help.

As well as having the turret tool changer it came with a manual chuck and a pneumatic chuck. Hopefully put that to some use in the near future. The downside is that at some point a previous owner had decided to hacksaw out the spindle drive board following what looks like a bit of a capacitor burn up :(

Other than that, the electrics are all there and working.


As I wanted to ditch the BBC controller I decided to opt for a USBCNC board from Planet CNC (http://www.planet-cnc.com) and figured i'd swap out the stepper drivers and steppers at the same time. I had a couple of short nema 23 steppers so just ordered one for the Z axis and 3 Leadshine DM442 drivers.

Motors fitted, time to drop it back to manual'ish control just to check everything moved ok :D


The slow part was working through the original wiring and stripping out what wasn't needed any more and trying to find all the bloody safety switches Boxford seemed to like hiding on the machines. Last night, the wiring was finished for all the new kit and it was given it's first test.


Only a real short test as it was just after midnight and I had an early start this morning.


The next bits are :-

Tune the motor settings in the USBCNC software.
Sort the lack of spindle drive.
Re-wire the front jog panel to the USBCNC board
Wire and set up the optical switches on the spindle to manage CSS and Index pulse for threading.

28-01-2014, 10:19 AM
I sit the motor tuning last night and ran a quick gcode test to see what backlash was present in the machine. The x axis returned to bang on the starting point and there was 0.05mm variance on the z axis :D


Lee Roberts
28-01-2014, 10:19 AM
Looks like a nice project Runna, look forward to reading updates!

Will you be rebuilding the other machines or just this one?


28-01-2014, 10:28 AM
Hi Lee,

Yes, once this one is done I'm going to update the 240TCL. May just end up swapping the controller card on that one and using the existing steppers and drivers. Will see how they perform.

After that, I'm going to fully rebuild the Boxford CUD that I first retrofitted and use the other machines to make a new cross slide with better accuracy and possibly a tool changer. Doing the CUD is just so I can turn larger parts.

23-08-2014, 05:15 PM

Hi Roadrunna,

I recently bought a Boxford 240TCL (ex college) with a view to converting to new electronics. Can I ask what data the stepper motors are sent as I want to add as little as possible to the original equipment. I haven't spent any money on conversion parts as yet but seem to be stumbling on the motor controllers. Do you know what data they are sent? I am also at a loss with the spindle controller any advice you could offer would be very helpful.

The machine I bought works perfectly from the front panel, it has the tool changer and manual post, I even have the original software disc on CD but can't run the machine because an Admin code is required.

I want to replace my Myford ML7 manual machine but can't sell anything until I have this machine operational.

Best for now.