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  1. #1
    Hello all.

    New to the forum and cnc machine upgrades but with a great deal of experience with Haas and Fanoc controlled lathes and mills especially 3D surface milling. Now retired I am about to upgrade a 190vmc and would appreciate comments on the route to take. I am currently looking to fit a 401 controller from CDE in Luton and three of their Step1 servo controllers.
    I still have a CAD/CAM system by Pathtrace which I plan to use to generate the tool paths and the G codes and then import the codes into Easicam to run the mill.

    Your comments would be much appreciated.


  2. #2
    Hi, I wondered why you were going to change the control system. I ask as I have just bought a 190VMC (not delivered yet) and wondered if I should expect problems. If you have to change then the CDE system looks wonderful, I've bought one for my Conect lathe but have not yet fitted it. if I have to change the VMC then I'll definitely use the CDE system, but I believe (based on what I've seen on the Boxford site) it should run G codes direct down the serial port.


  3. #3
    i2i's Avatar
    Lives in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 25-10-2022 Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 699. Received thanks 29 times, giving thanks to others 1 times.
    have either of you considered using Mach3 as the controller, and use the existing steppers and drivers.

  4. #4
    I did look into Mach3 when I found I had to replace the control system on my Conect lathe, but went for the CDE system based on cost and the difficulty in continued support for parallel ports on PCs. The serial port solution seemed more supportable and easier to add on newer PCs so I went that way. Also CDEs controller comes with a copy of EasiCNC whereas a proper copy of Mach3 is extra cost.

    Having said the above I notice that there are some USB to parallel adapters appearing especially designed for Mach3 so that particular objection may become irrelevant.


  5. #5
    i2i - you've' got me a bit interested. I've had a chat with Boxford and they can't sell me the software unless I'm an educational establishment, which I am not. All this stuff probably went in the bin instead of staying with the mill so unless I can get it running easily (i.e. with EasyCNC or Freemill, neither of which I've tried yet!) I'm going to have to change the control system. So can you advise if Mach3 will handle the following:

    1/ Stepper motor indexing tool carousel, valve or motor for clamping and unclamping the tool and programmed sequence to move the spindle to the holder, drop the tool, raise the spindle and then rotate the carousel, drop and reclamp. I ask as I'm going to have to make a carousel as the Boxford one is pneumatic and I don't want to go that route.

    2/ interface to DC level speed control for spindle? I know about the parallel port signals for the steppers but how do you drive the spindle?

    3/ I need to engrave windows TTFs, with borders and simple line graphics, do you know if there is software available to do this?

    Sorry about the list, but I need to be sure I make the right choice, it seems much more complicated driving a mill than a lathe because I need the engraving.


  6. #6
    i2i's Avatar
    Lives in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 25-10-2022 Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 699. Received thanks 29 times, giving thanks to others 1 times.
    Hi David, i'll pm you my phone number for a chat.

  7. #7
    David i am not familiar with the boxford but if you have parallel interfacing to the machine then give EMC2 a try. There is a lot of support and it will be free to try. If spindle is controlled via DAC conversion then that can be controlled too. Most things are controlled by pins going high or low so somebody should be able to do something for you? does this machine have servos or steppers?

    Check out their site and ask a few questions? you never know you may be lucky?
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  8. #8
    Hi again, many thanks to i2i for the chat and the info, very useful.

    However after a great deal of thinking I've decided to stick with the CDE system, mainly for the following reasons:

    1/ I want to do rigid tapping of threads down to M3 and the CDE system has a 'many pulses per rev' input and will adjust the feed to match the spindle even if the spindle speed changes, as it inevitably will when the tap picks up the thread. A single pulse per rev is not as good although it would be fine with a tapping head.
    2/ I can still retain most of the 190VMC control system using CDEs XC641SC board to generate the correct pulses for the SGS drivers.
    3/ The CDE spindle control is built-in with analogue output.
    4/ The CDE system has inputs for limit switches in all directions.
    5/ I can retain the front panel jog switches
    6/ I can retain the front panel feed rate control knob, which I have found very useful on the one CNC machine I get to play with occasionally. It's very handy to be able to slow things down just by reaching for a control knob, although I am sure Mach3 has a similar function it might not be as easy (quick) to operate.

    Thanks again to i2i

  9. #9
    Hi All

    I have just aquired the same VMC190 and responce from Boxford. As anybody come up with a solution to date?

    If you have it would be nice to share info on this problem.

  10. #10
    Hi JB,

    I think either solution is viable, depending slightly on what you want from the machine. In spite of my choice of the CDE system Mach3 is a well supported system, both the Mach3 and CDE routes are similar in cost, in both cases you can keep the motor drive and stepper drives if they are working properly. Whilst I don't have my machine running, there always seems to be something else to do , I'm not expecting any problems and apart from the reservations I already expressed it's a case of choosing which way you are happiest with and going with it. If you don't need the rigid tapping that's the major objection out of the way, but do make sure you get hardware with a charge pump circuit to shut down everything if the PC crashes. I was going to go for DIYCNC System4 if I went Mach3, looks good and very good prices.

    So do some research, look at prices and choose which way makes you feel best.


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