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  • Logan CNC Lathe

    For those few of you that have been following my antics for a while, you'll know that several years ago, I started converting one of my then-three (and only two functional ) lathes over to CNC. Well, it's taken way too long, owing to the usual customer work, redesigns, lack of funds, occasional family issues and, of course, 2020 in general, but finally, the thing is done enough to use as needed, AND... I've finally gotten just enough of a grasp of the programming to be dangerou- I mean, to make actual products with it.

    I've also been teaching myself how to make moderately decent YouTube videos, so if you're interested, have a look:



    For those interested in the details... well, it's been so long I've forgotten some of them but it's a '56 925 11" Logan lathe, and the installation was done with an eye toward doing no mods. No new drilled holes, nothing machined away, etc. The only part that needed modding was the saddle, and for that I bought a replacement off eBay. It's run on a first-gen Centroid Acorn, and the software I currently have on it is a couple generations old now, but making actual parts is more important to me than having the latest shiny button icons or whatever.

    Over this past week, I was able to produce my first run of production, for-market parts, albeit with help. (I pre-drilled the blanks on the turret lathe, then finished, as the video shows, by using the turret again to knurl them.)

    Let me know what you think!

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    Very good. Always enjoy following your rebuilds. Didn't realise you had stuff on You Tube so will have to catch upon that. Great work!
    West Sussex UK

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    • #3
      Nice job Doc, congrats on your new employee.

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      • #4
        Nicely done. You'll have to share with me when I stop by how you got past the CNC stumbling blocks. And, was it worth the effort? If you were to do it over would you bite the bullet and buy a used CNC machine. Granted you have space limitations but there are small CNC machines out there and with a proper shoe horn could have been stuffed in your shop.

        I'm still in Cleveland and plan to have a look at McKean and Cleveland machinery this week. Not that I need anything mind you but being in the neighborhood I can't not have a look.

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        • #5
          You said the software on the Acorn is a couple generations old. I am not real familiar with the Acorn but learning. To upgrade to the current version do you have to pay or are upgrades free? I know they have a enhanced version of their software that is sold, I am talking of uupgrades to your existing software.

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          • #6
            That's looking good.

            CNC is so nice if you have many to do.... They end up all the same, without the usual boredom and dope-offs that cause rejects. Qualify the process, check first article, and go.
            2730

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan

            Everything not impossible is compulsory

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            • #7
              Yep - always do a first article inspection, like Jerry says. Same goes for manual machining, but if you don't do CNC right, it's just a faster way to make scrap. Congrats on your CNC lathe, Doc!
              Kansas City area

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              • #8
                Nice job.
                You are on the road to perdition, once you become comfortable using such a machine you will never touch a manual machine again unless required.
                I run mostly CNC lathes but have to do manual lathe work as well, have come to truly dislike the manual lathe work for obvious reasons.

                Enclose that machine and add a coolant system, turn it on and walk away until it finishes, parts that require a good deal of metal removal can take hours to run which will allow you the get ahead of the parts banging out the second OP out on the turret lathe.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Alan Smith View Post
                  Didn't realise you had stuff on You Tube so will have to catch upon that.
                  -I didn't, until just a couple months ago.

                  And, was it worth the effort?
                  -Realistically, yes and no. What I really needed was a proper, production machine. Maybe not necessarily some half-million-dollar bar-fed thing, but some unit designed and built to run parts all day. Coolant enclosure, turret tool head, or at least gang tooling, etc. But I couldn't afford such a thing- and you know well as I that such things don't exist, new or used, in Alaska- so this was pretty much my only other option.

                  But really, I needed it five years ago.

                  If you were to do it over would you bite the bullet and buy a used CNC machine.
                  -Almost certainly. I need production parts. Not many, but enough that a 'robot' doing much of the work is a major help. This machine is an improvment over my roomful of manual machines, but it still has limitations- no tool changer and no flood coolant for two.

                  Granted you have space limitations but there are small CNC machines out there and with a proper shoe horn could have been stuffed in your shop.
                  -Yep. Any one of the various "GT-27" style machines would be great.

                  Doc.
                  Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparky_NY View Post
                    You said the software on the Acorn is a couple generations old. I am not real familiar with the Acorn but learning. To upgrade to the current version do you have to pay or are upgrades free? I know they have a enhanced version of their software that is sold, I am talking of uupgrades to your existing software.
                    -No, once the Acorn is paid for, any of the periodic updates are free.

                    My problem was that my progress on this machine was so slow, and their update schedule so fast, that it seemed like every time I wanted to get back to it and tinker some more, one of the first things I had to do was update the damn software.

                    And it's not a simple case or clicking "install updates"- you'd have to download the update, manually record all your "wizard" settings, navigate to the folder in your system, rename and replace files, double check the wizard settings, etc. etc. Early updates caused me troubles when it'd reset some- but not all- wizard settings back to defaults.

                    I'm given to understand it's easier, now, but it's still a matter of my having to deliberately ignore updates for a while- it works now, as is, and newer versions don't change much, except for the fact you can move the control panel buttons around, if you want.

                    Doc.
                    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Very cool Doc! I'm glad you are doing videos now. I much like that form of content. Please show us more production if you have time. I love to see production work, especially the turret lathe stuff.
                      21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                      1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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                      • #12
                        Planning on it, TMB. Just keep in mind I'm not a "professional YouTuber" like AvE, Abom or Tony. I already have four day jobs- that's not an exaggeration- and videos take a good deal of time to plan, shoot and edit.

                        There will definitely be more, I just can't say when.

                        Doc.
                        Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post
                          Planning on it, TMB. Just keep in mind I'm not a "professional YouTuber" like AvE, Abom or Tony. I already have four day jobs- that's not an exaggeration- and videos take a good deal of time to plan, shoot and edit.

                          There will definitely be more, I just can't say when.

                          Doc.
                          I understand. Me neither. I probably only post once every few months.
                          21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                          1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sparky_NY View Post
                            You said the software on the Acorn is a couple generations old. I am not real familiar with the Acorn but learning. To upgrade to the current version do you have to pay or are upgrades free? I know they have a enhanced version of their software that is sold, I am talking of uupgrades to your existing software.
                            The Centroid "pro" level products are really easy to update. You create a report on a usb stick, install new software, then do a simple "restore report" to get back all your settings, etc. Pretty much a 10 minute job.

                            The Acorn uses "wizards" to help the DIY'ers with all the proper settings. In order to upgrade, you need to go thru the wizards again and redo all the settings. Centroid recommends taking pictures of all "Wizard" screens then looking at them to get all the settings the same after the upgrade.

                            Looks good Doc. I would love to pick up a small lathe to convert to CNC. The ones out there that are already set up for CNC, but in need of a new control, seem to go for big $$$. CNC is a huge time saver when making more than one identical part.

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