View Full Version : CNC a Import mill/drill with round column?

01-09-2007, 03:04 PM
Has anyone converted an imported mill/drill to CNC control. I have no CNC experience what I am thinking I would like to do is convert my old mill/drill round column type to CNC I have no use for it now I have replaced it with a larger vertical machine and it is either going to be sold or made into something usefull. I make some plastic parts that need to have a series of holes drilled in and then countersunk more holes than I want to stand over and do manually it is all flat work no 3d stuff.

I am wondering what this would cost to convert? Would it be worth it? How hard is it to learn to make hole pattern programs? Do they make anything in a kit form to do this or do I need to try and scrounge parts? If this is not a worth while effort I will just sell off the machine.

01-09-2007, 03:14 PM
GD...there is info on this here
There was a guy who used to go on the PM board who had a ready made round column CNC outfit. He was making some really nice looking parts for dirt bikes with his machine. Someone else here may remember the guys handle over there. There are kits out there but they aren't cheap.

01-09-2007, 03:20 PM
I've been having a long hard look at the Seig super X3 conversion by Syil.
Maybe sell off your old RF35 or wotever and put the proceeds down on the Seig?
If I didn't already have so much in my home-brew gantry, I'd have my order in now.
(usual disclaimer)
Rgds, Lin

01-09-2007, 05:22 PM

Back in the January/February 2002 issue of HSM, we began a series by Roland Friestad on converting a Grizzly G1005 (round-column) to CNC. The series went four parts through to the July/August 2002 issue. If you have those back issues, take a look.


01-09-2007, 05:38 PM
Torker, if its the same guy I am thinking of, his handle was Dirt Rider. You can see his machine and some of his parts a little ways down on my workshop hall of fame page:


Pretty amazing results from a modest mill. I would love to go to a workshop that guy put on to see how he does it.



01-09-2007, 05:45 PM
Bob...That's the guy! I couldn't remember his name/moniker/handle :D

01-09-2007, 06:25 PM
After looking at some of the CNC router tables that might work better than this m/d converted. I am going to start some research on both.

What do you think it would cost to finish something like this and make it functional?

http://cgi.ebay.com/CNC-ROUTER-Table-24-x-36-Metal-Wood-Art-Signmaking_W0QQitemZ250069180930QQihZ015QQcategory Z12584QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

John Stevenson
01-09-2007, 06:30 PM
These are not the best donor machine to convert but given what you have a need for then there's no reason at all not to go this route.
Let's address your problems.

I am wondering what this would cost to convert? Would it be worth it? How hard is it to learn to make hole pattern programs? Do they make anything in a kit form to do this or do I need to try and scrounge parts? If this is not a worth while effort I will just sell off the machine.
OK cost, given that what you want to do isn't rocket science you can get away with the standard screws on X and Y and use the existing quill feed.
So most you can do yourself as it's all bracket work.
First off you need three stepper motors, don't bother with Ebay as the older round type motors are just not worth the hassle as newer square ones are more powerful and cost effective.


Gives some ball park prices [ no connection and you may better their prices ] You are looking at the type 34 motors at 450 oz/in driving the X and Y screws via a 2:1 belt reduction.
Same motor is required for the Z axis and again 2:1 via belt to the fine feed wheel.
Next you need three drivers, go for separate drives like the Gecko's instead of the combined 3 and 4 axis drives advertised as if one driver pops then the whole board is toast.

You now need a power supply to drive it which is just a transformer, rectifier and cap. You want a 45 to 50 volt transformer which when smoothed will give you no more than 70 volts DC.

Last but by no means least you need a controller, two choices, TurboCNC on DOS on a clunker computer for $40 or Mach3 on a 1gig computer on Win2K or XP for $159.

Looks at first like a no brainer until you learn that with TurboCNC you have to learn to program.
With Mach3 you have to learn how to fill boxes in.:D


Shows a sample screen from inside Mach3 for hole patterns.

So now back to you, reckon up three motors, three drivers, a few electrical bits, some bracketry, a computer and controller program and work out if the expenditure is worth it.


01-09-2007, 06:43 PM
Thanks for the info John. I have some studying to do.

01-09-2007, 08:23 PM
One of the best groups for home brew CNC is ...


A very nice and knowledgeable bunch.

I did a conversion for around $1000 and ended up with a very nice and tight

I must say that I had a well stocked Junk Box for many of the parts and pieces.
Mostly what I purchased were used motors, Gecko Motor Drives, ball screws and Mach2 software.
I built my own power supply and interface, and had most all other materials.

I would guess to buy everything, it could be $1500 - $2500 tops.

If I was to do anything differant, I would have used Servo Motors for all 3 Axis. Currently I have one on the Z-Axis and Step Motors on X & Y.

I recently was laid off after 21 years. From the above experiance and what I learned about G-Code and such, I was able to walk right into a position of Programming and maintaining CNC. So I feel the money and time spent on my little Mill was paid for many times over.

Tom M.

01-09-2007, 11:42 PM
This is worth looking at if you want to do a low buck CNC conversion.