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Upgrading a Spectralight lathe and mill

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  • Upgrading a Spectralight lathe and mill


    I have a 1980's vintage Spectralight lathe and mill that I would like
    to upgrade.

    These systems were designed around the Sherline lathe and mill. For a
    computer, they used an Apple II with a separate box for the motor
    drive system. For motors, the system has Superior Electronics
    M062-CF-401E NEMA 23 steppers which are rated for 125 at 4.75

    What suggestions would the group have for how to upgrade these systems
    to more modern electronics and software? I consider the Sherline lathe
    and mill to be adequate for my usage but would like to hear any
    suggestions as to whether one should upgrade to stronger steppers.

    I consider there are two avenues available. First would be to upgrade
    both the computer, software and drive electronics. Second would be to
    upgrade only the computer and software while retaining the drive
    electronics. Any suggestions are welcomed in how you think I should
    proceed. As for upgrading the software, I would be interested any
    suggestions with which company to go with.

    Thanks In Advance,


  • #2
    Check the previous post regarding CNC. The BBS's publications MW or was it HSM - had recent articles CNC controller construction using Geko drivers - this would allow you to upgrade to stronger servos or steppers, but there is a point where you are just wasting money. The Sherline only has so much spindle power to begin with and unless your steppers currently drift (inadequate holding power), then upgrading will only allow faster moves and not faster cuts. The upgrade will also have the effect of faster processing speed (the biggest advantage here). At best an Apple ][GS runs twice as fast as a standard Apple ][ (need a RGB ][GS - email me, I have tons) and upgrading to a miniumum of a 100Mhz. 486DX (with math chip) will make great speed gains.