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QSIMDO
04-04-2009, 08:44 AM
Does anyone here have any experience with or technical savvy of the Yahoo group ELS?

The result of their efforts is being marketed and I'm wondering how well it functions.

Paul Alciatore
04-06-2009, 02:13 AM
Never heard of them. What exactly is it that they developed or are marketing?

QSIMDO
04-06-2009, 04:21 PM
Sorry, here's the link; http://www.autoartisans.com/ELS/

There's a Yahoo group based on the effort and I believe this to be the results.

Weston Bye
04-06-2009, 05:40 PM
No comment on the ELS, but my sensiblities were offended upon the first glance at the photo of the enclosure. All the connectors and other breaches of the enclosure were right on top where coolant, chips, rainwater from the leaky roof, spilled coffee and Mountain Dew could funnel in to molest the electronics.

Years of building control panels and wiring machine tools taught me to never feed into the top of an enclosure. Even with seals and gaskets, leakage will eventually occur.

Paul Alciatore
04-19-2009, 02:01 AM
No comment on the ELS, but my sensiblities were offended upon the first glance at the photo of the enclosure. All the connectors and other breaches of the enclosure were right on top where coolant, chips, rainwater from the leaky roof, spilled coffee and Mountain Dew could funnel in to molest the electronics.

Years of building control panels and wiring machine tools taught me to never feed into the top of an enclosure. Even with seals and gaskets, leakage will eventually occur.

That's a good comment. So a top should not have any openings. What about a sloped front panel? How bad do you think that is? Also what about mounting control panels above the work/cutting area? Does that provide a significant amount of protection? How about ease of use? A panel mounted high would require reaching up to it over and over. Any other ways of protecting electronics around machine tools?

Weston Bye
04-19-2009, 04:59 PM
I have similar sentiments about slope front panels, although I have employed them, but only using NEMA 12-13 or NEMA 4X oil and watertight pushbuttons and pilot lights.

I have also seen plenty of flexible membrane keypads used on sloped and verticle surfaces that had eventually cracked or otherwise ruptured, mostly on the high-use buttons like START or STOP or CYCLE. For the most frequently used pushbuttons, a NEMA or IEC type button would be a good idea, while the membrane-type switches for numeric keypads and such are OK. Indeed a big red mushroom head EMERGENCY STOP button is easier to mash with a palm, elbow, chin or forehead in a hurry.

I am pleasantly surprised that the bat-handle toggle switch mounted on the top the spindle speed controller of my Sherline lathe has not yet been infiltrated by minute chips. I haven't had the chance or inclination to test it with liquids.

Mounting above the work area does reduce splashing, but for those of us with bifocals, some other inconveniences arise, particularly if an LCD display is involved, and reaching up frequently or for extended periods for data entry can be uncomfortable. Most of my experience involves production machinery where once the program is written, the operator has little involvement with the control panel; just load and unload parts and hit a separate CYCLE button or two and hit the EMERGENCY STOP if things go badly. The rest of the controls are mounted somewhat away from the work area, but in view. Many cnc machines employ a pendant mounted "teach" panel that the programmer can use for fine tuning the operation. most of these include a membrane keypad, display, some LEDs, a mechanical "deadman" switch and a mushroom head E-STOP. Some of these are well made and pretty watertight, but I have done my share of replacement of jog potentiometers and switches that have been infiltrated.

QSIMDO
05-03-2009, 10:40 AM
So, I'll take that as a "no" to my original question?

Ryobiguy
05-06-2009, 02:36 PM
I've reviewed the algorithms and code that the Yahoo ELS group uses. My only complaint is that it uses an 8-bit microcontroller. This doesn't mean it can't do the job, it just doesn't have "more power" that a computer nerd like me would like.
It uses 1 pulse/rev on the encoder (index channel) which just means you can't take a super deep threading cut on a grossly underpowered lathe - probably not a problem.

While I haven't used one, or even seen the physical device, I believe the menus and functionality are probably well thought out and optimized for typical lathe operations. I bet it's very usable, I know there must have been a lot of work organizing the menus to make things efficient. Dunno if it really is user friendly to those who aren't used to computerized things.

As far as I know it's just about the only game in town when it comes to a stand-alone electronics box to put on a hobby lathe for threading, and optionally tapering if you have second stepper. Feature-wise it's got quite a bit - compare that to the Frog of a decade or so ago.

Does anyone know of any competing standalone ELS products?

-Matt

tony ennis
05-07-2009, 05:09 PM
That group is also geared (:rolleyes: ) towards hobbyists.

I have hard time with 'design by committee' and moreso with 'design by committee where you don't know anyone's qualifications.' While I do not know if this applies to the ELS group, the "OpenLathe" group certainly has problems. Evan made a lathe in a few weeks that kicks ass. The OpenLathe group started long before Evan did and is still talking.

tony ennis
05-07-2009, 05:14 PM
Does anyone know of any competing standalone ELS products?

It really depends upon what you want. Pure low-end ELS is what I am interested in, and it's little more than a pulse generator, and stepper motor, and a few ICs. There was a thread (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=34639) on a related topic this week.

tony ennis
05-07-2009, 05:17 PM
I ran across this interesting thread (http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74497) while learning about CPLDs and FPGAs.

The guru there, Mariss or something like that, sells several nice stepper controllers.

lazlo
05-09-2009, 06:36 PM
Hi Tony,


The XC2C32A is a very capable little CPLD. All the G250 microstep drive logic fits inside (and uses all 32 macrocells). The G203V uses the XC2C64A with room to spare.

The Xilinx XC2C32A is the CPLD on the Spartan developer's board I suggested. It's a 32-cell FPGA:

http://www.xilinx.com/products/devkits/HW-SPAR3E-SK-US-G.htm

tony ennis
05-09-2009, 11:55 PM
I still haven't go a feel for how the number of gates implemented by a macrocell.

Jackch
08-28-2009, 09:35 PM
Hi I am new to this site and I believe a little late answering the question, but for what its worth I have one of the proto type ELS controllers mounted on my Wabeco 6000 lathe. I have had it for about 3 years and it workes just great. I can cut threads, cut tapers or use it for general machining. It started out as a simple controller that would cost $150 bucks. and control the Z or lead screw only. I have mine on the lead screw and cross feed screw. Its in kit form so you can make the box up anyway you want to sockets in the bottom top side what ever box you buy make sure its large enough. I do know the guy who designed it. Great knowlegable guy. I have no connection with him regarding the sale of the product, all I did was get interested in the idea and wanted to have a low cost nearley CNC lathe. It is a do it yourself device. Have a great day Jack

Weston Bye
08-29-2009, 07:22 AM
It really depends upon what you want. Pure low-end ELS is what I am interested in, and it's little more than a pulse generator, and stepper motor, and a few ICs. There was a thread (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=34639) on a related topic this week.

An update: I am working on a project for the Winter 2009 Digital Machinist that provides electronic threading for the Sherline lathe, although the principles presented can be applied to other lathes.

I am using a scheme of logic gates, counters and comparators rather than microcontrollers or programmable gate arrays, much as I described in the thread Tony referenced.

I try to present methods in my articles that can be accomplished with the fewest specialized tools. Programmable devices require programming platforms or software and the knowledge of how to use them. A lot to learn and invest in when what you really want to do is make a screw. Using random logic gates, all the builder has to have is some good instructions, a soldering iron and some patience.

All that being said, I am not opposed to programmable devices, and am in the planning stage for a future article using a microcontroller.

jackary
09-07-2009, 05:27 AM
Hi Folks,
I cannot see the advantage of ELS over what is already available in a simple CNC conversion of a lathe using stepper motors on the leadscrew & crosslide
and controlling it with a lap top computer using TurboCNC or similar available
programmes. With such a set up you also get the advantage of a variety of other options in machining capability. This is what I have used in Stepperhead and it works very well.
Regards
Alan

Greg Q
09-07-2009, 08:37 AM
I have been following the ELS since last year. I believe it does have some advantages, but these are perhaps subjective. Among them are the stand-alone nature of the box-no computer or extra software required. (This may not be a big deal for those who can use a flea market computer for their CNC)

The inputs for desired thread, or feed, or taper seem to be fairly straightforward and quick once the user learns the menu/input scheme.

It seems to me that the project's affordability targets were a two-edged sword: It's cheaper to install than chasing a missing set of change gears for example, but it is not at all the product it could have been with a $200 higher price point.

I have been considering it for my lengthy lathe resurrection project but haven't made a decision. (Ideally I'd like something less menu-driven) My machine lacks a taper attachment and a metric change gear set. The ELS is cheaper than either of those things let alone both.

FWIW I contacted the seller about pre-ordering a kit last year which he refused, not wanting to take money before the product development was complete and shipping. That alone speaks volumes about his integrity in my book.

Greg

lazlo
09-07-2009, 09:48 AM
I cannot see the advantage of ELS over what is already available in a simple CNC conversion of a lathe using stepper motors on the leadscrew & crosslide and controlling it with a lap top computer using TurboCNC or similar available programmes. With such a set up you also get the advantage of a variety of other options in machining capability.

Agreed. Sir John has made that same argument here several times: an electronic leadscrew is 80% of the electronics you need for a full cnc retrofit. Put a stepper on the crossfeed and have a full CNC implementation.

Weston Bye
09-07-2009, 04:04 PM
Hi Folks,
I cannot see the advantage of ELS over what is already available in a simple CNC conversion of a lathe using stepper motors on the leadscrew & crosslide
and controlling it with a lap top computer using TurboCNC or similar available
programmes. With such a set up you also get the advantage of a variety of other options in machining capability. This is what I have used in Stepperhead and it works very well.
Regards
Alan

Alan,
Just so.

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In reviewing your Stepperhead thread I see that the arrangement you present for driving the spindle bears a similarity to what I will be presenting in my article, and it would be an easy upgrade from my system to yours - something that only just occurred to me. My compliments to you on your work. That being said, my system is what it is and will be presented as such. Perhaps there will be a future addendum to my article. Thank you for the inspiration.


from Greg Q ...(Ideally I'd like something less menu-driven) ...

Without presenting the contents of the article here, the control panel for my ELS is laid out with thumbwheels and toggle switches in a manner that should be comfortable and logical for anyone who has done manual threading.

john buck
09-08-2009, 12:14 PM
Have you looked at Autoturn by Putnam Engineering. It does all kinds of
threads,tapers, ball ends etc.

kf2qd
09-08-2009, 12:39 PM
I've reviewed the algorithms and code that the Yahoo ELS group uses. My only complaint is that it uses an 8-bit microcontroller. This doesn't mean it can't do the job, it just doesn't have "more power" that a computer nerd like me would like.
-Matt

8-Bit controller is hardly a problem. I have used CNC's powered by a single Z80. 3/4 axis and real nice results. Tree and others used them back when 8 -Bits was the norm. Kind of limited program size and max speeds, but then we weren't worried about a bazillion inches per minute and nobody imagined Megabytes of memory and terabyte of disk drive

lazlo
09-08-2009, 01:01 PM
I've reviewed the algorithms and code that the Yahoo ELS group uses. My only complaint is that it uses an 8-bit microcontroller.

8-Bit controller is hardly a problem. I have used CNC's powered by a single Z80. 3/4 axis and real nice results. Tree and others used them back when 8 -Bits was the norm.

Especially for an electronic leadscrew, which is just a simple divider circuit.

Sir John's Electronic Hobber, which is almost the exact same function, has a simple 74-series divider that divides the number of pulses on the spindle by the "gear" ratio and uses that to drive the hob blank (the leadscrew in the case of ELS). Total of 4 bubble-gum components.

Weston Bye
09-13-2009, 08:55 PM
An update: I am working on a project for the Winter 2009 Digital Machinist that provides electronic threading for the Sherline lathe, although the principles presented can be applied to other lathes...


Oops, looks like I spoke too soon...

George has apparently had plenty of other good article material to fill the Fall 2009 issue, so my Walking Beam Transfer article will be divided to run in 2 parts. (it was kinda big anyway) So it looks like the Electronic Threading article will be pushed back to the Spring 2010 issue.

Have a look at the cover photo of the next issue of Digital Machinist:

http://www.digitalmachinist.net/comingsoon/contents/view

I am looking forward to that article.

George Bulliss
09-14-2009, 07:33 AM
Wes,

We were tight with the magazine but your article was not cut and we are still planning on running your lead screw article in the winter issue. A mistake was made when entering the info on the web site. Iíll get it changed as soon as the web guys show up.

George