View Full Version : Boxford 190vmc Mach3 Conversion - Help needed!

26-09-2015, 04:41 PM
Hi all,

Been searching around for information and the details seem scattered at best.

I have a Boxford 190vmc that I decided to go for after looking at all the options.

Id like to convert it to Mach3 or something similar that'll let me run it from a laptop.

Could you kind, knowledgeable folk please point me in the direction of either a step-by-step guide, or let me know what I need to buy!

Fortunately I live with an electrical engineer so installation/replacement of circuitry wont be a problem - I just need to know what bits to give him and what bits to remove!

Thanks so much


26-09-2015, 11:04 PM
I don't know of any step by step guide.
To convert to Mach and use a Laptop you'll need an external motion control card and Breakout board to replace the exisiting Bespoke Boxford Motion control and I/O board.
Then if uses Bespoke driver board with all drives built into it then you'll need to decide if you want to keep or replace with newer individual drives or keep the Old board.
If fitted and you decide to keep the old board then you'll need find or figure out the Pin connections so you can connect upto to the New motion controller. This may be more difficult than it sounds because I don't think people who convert these machines like to share this info.!!

Also you'll need to some way to drive the spindle.! Often the exisiting spindle drive can be reused to power the spindle but you will still need some means of providing a speed reference voltage.
Depending on the Motion controller used then you can get this a few ways. Some like the Cslabs card Which I'd recommend have this built into them. Others like the Smooth stepper don't and will require a seperate spindle board or Breakout board that has one built into it.
Personaly I'd only use Cslabs Controller for the very fact it doesn't need a breakout which can be a major pain. Plus it's high quality industrial strength unit which provides plenty of 24V I/O connections along with 2 x Analog I/O for things like spindles etc. It's a very neat package and the IP-M model is perfect for small machine like this.

However you will need to find out if the Spindle drive is Mains isolated or not because this will change the spindle card requirements. If not mains isolated then you''l need a Isolated spindle reference source. This may mean buying a separate card or building some isolation board to go between. Other wise you will fry the spinlde board/Controller if not isolated from mains.!

Then you'll have few other things like maybe needing to add PSU's to provide lower voltages like 5V-24V.

If your not into CNC and want to keep much of the existing stuff has possible then I suggest you try to speak with some one like i2i on this forum who knows these machines well and will convert for you for a price.

Other route is to just rip out most of the Old and put in new. Doing this is simpler and with a little guidence easily do able for new user.
You'll still be able to use some of the old stuff like Spindle Drive, motors and possibly PSU but all the Drives and Logic side will be replaced with modern stuff which is easy wired.

Really it's all down to how much time vs Money you want to throw at it.!

30-09-2015, 11:55 AM
Laptops are not very good for use with Mach 3 as the built in graphics interferes with the timing and gives jitter. Also you will probably want to use a parallel printer port and there are not many laptops that have them. Better to pick up an old desktop PC running XP. They are very cheap now.