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Thread: SX2 to CNC, what all is involved?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Wetumpka, AL
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    Default SX2 to CNC, what all is involved?

    I just bought myself the LMS version of the SX2 mini mill. I'm going to pick it up today.

    After reading a little, I have seen where people actually convert these things to CNC, using stepper motors and other stuff. I'm not sure what all is involved, but it may be something I'll try to take on one day. I am fluent in CNC and do it as my day job, but actually building one is out of my range of knowledge.

    I understand there are stepper motors that actually move the axes..but what tells them what to do? Is there an on-board pc or control?

    All in all, if I built every single part for the conversion except what I have to buy like stepper motors and computers..What would I be looking at as far as costs - ballpark??

    I think it would be a neat project.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2009
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    Go on over to cnczone.com. Lots of X2 conversions there and probably a few SX2s as well.
    Regards
    Geoff
    My place.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Traverse City, MI
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    At the CNC Workshop (see the Workshop forum) that Digital Machinist magazine put on in June, we had a class where ten guys converted a LittleMachineShop mini-mill. I understand that LMS is hoping to offer a kit to do this conversion, but it could be a while before it hits the market.

    Our kit was put together using parts from CNC Fusion, Keling Technologies, and ArtSoft. CNC Fusion supplied the ballscrews and motor mounts. Keling provided the stepper motors, power supply, smooth-stepper, Gecko 540 driver, and assorted odds and ends. ArtSoft provided the Mach3 controller software and the participants brought their own computers to load it on.

    All told, the mill plus the conversion parts ran about $2,000. I doubt you could you could put it all together for this price, as it reflects discounts for the components and shipping that we were able to receive due to the large order.

    There are not a lot of parts you could build yourself, so the price reduction by doing so would be minimal. You could put together your own power supply though, which would save some money. Also, the stock screws could be used rather than the ballscrews, though you would sacrifice some accuracy. A smooth-stepper is not required (depending on the computer used) and could always be added later.

    Good luck with the project if you do decide to take the plunge.

    George
    Last edited by George Bulliss; 08-26-2011 at 01:57 PM.

  4. #4
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    JS,
    On thing to bear in mind is that the bed on the SX2 is actually the bed off the X1L series and not the X2 bed.
    This makes a lot of difference when selecting ball screws etc.

    Not saying the CNC fusion kit will not fit but may require some modification, just a heads up.
    .

    Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.




  5. #5
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    Dec 2010
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    Finland
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Stevenson
    JS,
    On thing to bear in mind is that the bed on the SX2 is actually the bed off the X1L series and not the X2 bed.
    This makes a lot of difference when selecting ball screws etc.

    Not saying the CNC fusion kit will not fit but may require some modification, just a heads up.
    I don't know where you have looked that information, but it is not correct that I know of. My friend has an SX2 and it is exactly the same as my X2 except for the spindle drive/motor.

    I know one English netstore that sells an "SX2" but it has that cheapy bed from a smaller mill and thus it is not an SX2.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    What would I be looking at as far as costs - ballpark??



    Oh boy. that's a loaded question.

    It depends on how much you want to do yourself.

    I made my ballscrews by buying a length of Thompson ballscrew shafting and cut it up and turned the ends down. I made the nut holders too. Along with the bearing blocks for each axis. The cost was my time and bearings.
    Some people just hang motors on the existing hardware.
    1. gecko drives $350(there are sites which can tell you how to make your own.)
    2. breakout board $130 (this basically isolates everything so that if you blow one driver up it doesn't take out the whole setup.Also has hookups for relays to power the spindle and coolant pumps)
    3. Power supply (go to the Gecko website and read the treatis on power supplies. read it several times.) $60
    4. An computer. One with Windows 98 if you're going to run Mach3-recommended.
    5. it's a lot easier than you think. Most error are error of omission.

  7. #7
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    if I can do it. You can.

  8. #8
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    Collierville, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustybolt
    $60
    4. An computer. One with Windows 98 if you're going to run Mach3-recommended.
    I loaded up Mach3 last month and the min spec was W2000 or XP with a separate video card. Not sure I'd try W2000, I think XP would be better.

    You might've been thinking about TurboCNC or CNCPro which will run on W95/98 in the DOS mode or a pure DOS installation. My CNC router runs great on a 386 (!!) laptop with W95 & TurboCNC.

    If you're bent towards the geeky side, there's always Linux/EMC. (That's a compliment, not an insult. I'd love to be "geeky"/smart enough to run EMC.)
    Milton

    "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

    "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

  9. #9
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    Or add the Dynomotion USB controller, it has its own (limited) front end or has a Mach plug in for HMI.
    Also top notch support and configurable with C# or C++.
    True closed loop controller, can also run analogue drives if neccessary.
    Max.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    3,873

    Talking

    You're right Mr. Dickybird. XP is the software of choice for Mach3.
    Last edited by Rustybolt; 08-27-2011 at 10:41 AM.

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