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Thread: Yay! Bought a "real" CNC lathe project!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Collierville, TN
    Posts
    2,572

    Default Yay! Bought a "real" CNC lathe project!

    Yes, it's only a "training" lathe, a Denford Orac but its guts are very serious. It has good ballscrews on both axes with adjustable double ball nuts, double A/C bearings at both ends of the Z screw along with the spiral expanding chip covers, hardened ways and serious bearings in the spindle. I'm getting only the bed/headstock-spindle/carriage with ballscrews, etc and the sheet metal base carcass. I won't be needing the ancient steam powered tape drive electronics & steppers. It came (I'm told) from a university and has around 30 hrs. on it. It's perfect for the small production work I get these days and will fit in my shop with just a few minor shuffles.

    Here's a pic of it from a brochure:



    It's freaky how things work out sometimes. I've been collecting bits & bobs to scratch build or retrofit a more capable CNC lathe than the one I cobbled together last year from the Craigslist Denford MicroMill. I've looked at used 7x14's and read all the CNCZone retro's thinking I'd do one of those (yuck.) Thankfully, along comes this Orac at a fair (not gloatworthy) price and I pulled the trigger on it a couple days ago.

    After doing a little research and downloading the manuals, I find that under the hood it's an Emco Compact 8, the exact lathe my manual lathe is a very well-built clone of! So, the 3 & 4 jaw chucks, the ER-32 collet chuck, the tailstock (which the Orac is missing) the steady rest and other tooling is a perfect match! I couldn't be happier.

    Well, I guess I could be happier if coincidentally one of you guys just happened to travelling from the Detroit area down through east Tennessee or west AR this weekend and had some extra room in the back of your truck.
    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Surrey BC Canada
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    1,404

    Default

    Nice score Milton!
    You have been doing some nice work on your home brew one. I look forward to your progress on this one.
    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Luton,UK
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    Default

    I have an Orac (and an Avon mill. I wonder how much of a Blakes 7 cast it's possible to get in machine tool form).

    Mine is complete and working in it's original condition, but could really do with a Mach 3 upgrade.

    A bit of nostalgia for British forum members is the Orac promotional video on Youtube; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV1bQeJ9tx4

    William Woolard was a Top Gear presenter back when it was a factual informational program!

  4. #4
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    That's the other wierd thing in my life's ongoing twists & turns. I've **worked for British car dealers since 1971 and the 2 most recent machine tool purchases I've made were both built in the U.K. Who would'a thunk a guy in the middle of the USA in Tennessee would've ended up with not one but TWO machines built in Yorkshire, England. The other bit of irony is that I worked with a lad from Leeds for 16 yrs. Taught me the value of a dollar, I can guarantee!

    **"worked for British car dealers since 1971" Some might say that a guy that worked on 70's era British cars and still bought the 2 machines ought'a seek professional psychological treatment! (Just KIDDING, I love 'em.)
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Lancashire, UK
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    Not many Americans would understand the naming of Denford tools. I'm glad you appreciate the strange humour of it. Now if they had made a Servalan grinder I would have been interested.
    Bill

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Nottingham, England
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    15,232

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    Milton,
    Got an identical one in storage somewhere but I think that one has got an air operated chuck on it.

    I did plug it in when I bought it but just errors out, it's been parked up waiting for a transplant.

    Probably move to EMC on this as Mach3 still cannot thread properly on machines with less than 10Hp spindle motors.
    EMC will support multi-line encoders.
    .

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




  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Stevenson
    Milton,
    Got an identical one in storage somewhere but I think that one has got an air operated chuck on it.

    I did plug it in when I bought it but just errors out, it's been parked up waiting for a transplant.

    Probably move to EMC on this as Mach3 still cannot thread properly on machines with less than 10Hp spindle motors.
    EMC will support multi-line encoders.
    When I read about your one in storage my mind flashed on it sitting under a pile of cr@p and it's little ATC plaintively crying out: "John...JOHN...JOHN...Put me in a sturdy wood box and send me to Milton over in Tennessee so I can live out my life being reverently used in a nice warm place!"

    Since I can barely use Mach, there's not much chance of me using EMC to cut threads. What little threading I might be doing is pretty small & short stuff so I assumed that Mach would work OK. I see lots of videos where it looks like it's working. Not true, eh?
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Collierville, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFMiller
    Nice score Milton!
    You have been doing some nice work on your home brew one. I look forward to your progress on this one.
    Dave
    Oops, missed your kind remark...thanks Dave! May I send a link to SWMBO? She thinks I'm messed up in the head for doing all of this stuff...until the checks come in.
    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
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by DICKEYBIRD
    Since I can barely use Mach, there's not much chance of me using EMC to cut threads. What little threading I might be doing is pretty small & short stuff so I assumed that Mach would work OK. I see lots of videos where it looks like it's working. Not true, eh?
    It works if the spindle speed is stable under load. Mach 3 uses just one pulse per revolution, so it can't necessarily track speed changes accururately enough. A sensorless flux vector drive might do the job. I plan to have a play with an ordinary cheap VFD and an external speed feedback circuit.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Lafayette Indiana
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    1,499

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    Quote Originally Posted by DICKEYBIRD
    After doing a little research and downloading the manuals, I find that under the hood it's an Emco Compact 8, the exact lathe my manual lathe is a very well-built clone of! So, the 3 & 4 jaw chucks, the ER-32 collet chuck, the tailstock (which the Orac is missing) the steady rest and other tooling is a perfect match! I couldn't be happier.
    Cute lil machine. I like it.

    Not to nitpick, but to save a headache, the tailstock will need to be shimmed or ground as appropriate. They do not interchange between lathes perfectly.
    "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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