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  1. #1
    Hi all,

    I am relatively new to this forum so go easy.

    Basically I have bought myself a Boxford VMC with tool changer. The machine came with discs (flppy discs). But I have no floppy drive. I have heard the best option is to upgrade these machines to run on mach3.

    So my first step is to purchase a Smoothstepper - Ethernet option (as I understand this reduces interference and gives more input flexibility). Now my first question is would I also need a breakout board with the Smoothstepper or does it just plug right into the controller board?

    Assuming I do need a controller I understand the best one for the smoothstepper is the PMDX-126 as this give plenty of flexibility. Am I on the right tracks?

    I now understand I should be able to get the machine running under Mach3, however I can upgrade the stepper drivers to ones from Gecko. Now I need to confirm the amperage of the drives but assuming they are 2.5A on this machine I assume I go for say 3.5A stepper drivers. Are my assumptions all correct?

    I did build a simple small CNC machine many moons ago but it was very basic and I bought the stepper motors and the driver board as a kit and just plugged it all in.

    Would appreciate any advice on the above.


  2. #2
    WOW lad slow down on the buying blind or you'll end up wasting a lot of money.

    First there are better options than Gecko and Smooth stepper/PMDX. From this I take you've been reading on our american cousins sites which are obviously Gecko and SS biased. Now nothing wrong with any of these products and all work very well but times have a changed and there are cheaper and better options.

    But that said you are probably jumping the Gun anyway by presuming the drives need changing or any of the internals. Now I don't know the VMC190 at all but First you need to detemine exactly what motors and electronics you have on the machine. After this it can be decided what needs ripping out and what can stay.?

    Regards motors and amps etc you Can't presume anything. The motors have a rating and for correct operation they need to run at this rating so it's not just a case of getting drives with a higher rating than the motors. The drive should have current setting that equals the motor rating or very close other wise you'll have either under performing or over heating motors. Some drives only offer fixed current settings Ie: 1A, 1.5, 2.1, 2.8, 3.1, 3.5 etc in which case you'd select the nearest lowest to avoid motor heating but this is 2.1a and your motors rated amps for best performance is 2.5a so your not getting the best you could from motors.
    Now to be honest this is more a problem with cheaper drives anolog drives so if you buy modern Digital drives which I highly recommend you do if end up needing to then this probably won't be a problem because often they can be configured in software in 0.1a increments so can get exact current rating needed.

    I' won't go any further as it will only confuse for now but If you can get us some info or very good quality pictures then can better guide you on what to keep or throw.

  3. #3
    Hi Jazz,

    You have a good point but i'm not going to spend anything until after I have at least tried to run the machine using the original software.

    Have a look at these pics and let me know what you think. There is a PLC at the top left which I understand is part of the auto toolchange system, it runs on solenoids and air and is working quite well in manual mode.


    I have attached links rather than uploaded to site as these are hi res photos.

  4. #4
    I have a problem with the spindle motor not working can you tell me what size it is and can I test it withouy removing it its run on original software

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