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Now I got 2 of ‘em II, The Sequel

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  • Now I got 2 of ‘em II, The Sequel

    Yesterday I had one mill; today I have 2! Well, looking at the thing I should say I have one and a half mills. The table is a whopping 2.75” x 13.5”!

    It’s a cute little thing, the mill itself is possibly a Taig micro; looks like one anyway with a hefty DC spindle motor; no sewing machine motor here. It’s a Denford Micromill 2000 educational CNC mill made in the U.K. Looks like it had minimal use cutting wood and is only missing the X-axis Oldham coupling. I plugged it up, it lights up, fans make whirring noises, etc. I got it off of Craigslist for a song and ¾ tank of fuel.

    My plan is to gut it, sell the nifty enclosure and use what I can to make a little CNC lathe. I would try to get it running as is but from what I can dredge up online, Denford is a pain in the arse and their machines require a dongle and their high-dollar software. At the price I paid, it didn’t come with either. I ain’t smart enough to hack their proprietary code either.

    I may build my own controller from one of the many board kits out there and run a free/cheap control software. Maybe I could convince Macona to email me his brain for a weekend in trade for a couple orders of some good ol’ Memphis Rendezvous ribs.

    Anybody ever messed with one of these things?

    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
    Take a few pictures of the internals, it is probably very easy to just replace everything with your own stepper motor drivers. It is also possible that you might be able to use the existing drivers and replace just the control with Mach3 or something.

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    • #3
      Looks like a Sherline mill not a Taig.

      Comment


      • #4
        Ahh, a Sherline, eh? Shows you how much I know.

        I'll get the covers off this weekend and see what kinda magic lives inside. Hopefully something that's usable by a mere mortal such as myself.
        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

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks dockterj, after looking at their website it's definitely a Sherline. The spec sheet for the Denford shows a 15" long table instead of a 13". Other than that, it looks identical to the mills they show on their site. Prices range from $650 to $775 for the manual mills so I think I did good on the price.

          If I can't get the controls to work, at the very least I can get an MT1/ER16 collet adapter from CTC and use it as a small precision drill press with the collet sets I already have.
          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

          Comment


          • #6
            Here's some pics of what it looks like with the back off. It really has some well put together stuff. Neat cable raceways and everything's well thought out. The enclosure is heavy gauge sheet steel and is where a LOT of the weight is.

            The little mill is very tight & rigid for it's diminutive size. I found a date tag on the back of the enclosure: April '96. The cooling fan blades don't have any dirt on them so I know it didn't run long.

            Overall view:


            Main board, SmartStep 3


            Sub board off to the right of the main board; I have no idea what it does:


            Relay board, I assume it powers up the spindlle, rotary pot on the front side to control the speed.
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              Dickeybird,

              The sub board pictured is the speed control board for the spindle. The manufacturer of the board, KB, makes many speed control products.

              Robin
              Robin

              Happily working on my second million Gave up on the first

              Comment


              • #8
                Awesome find, Dickeybird.

                I don't usually check CL that far south of here, but if I had, I'd have tried to beat you to it.

                Would really love to have a little tabletop 3-axis cnc to play around with.

                Not sure which smilie shows envy so just use your imagination.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Looks really good. I'll bet with Mach 3 and a couple of Gecko boards you will have a nice machine.
                  Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bend, chip, crack or peel

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rdfeil
                    Dickeybird,

                    The sub board pictured is the speed control board for the spindle. The manufacturer of the board, KB, makes many speed control products.

                    Robin
                    Okay! That's some info I can use. If it turns out I can't get the stepper controls to work, I should be able to at least get the spindle running and be able to use the mill manually.

                    K/F, my budget won't allow Geckos & Mach 3. I might try one of these http://www.hobbycnc.com/ or something similar later on if I do a few more paying jobs and feel like the little mill could help.

                    Dyersburg eh? It's nice to know there's at least somebody in the general vicinity that suffers a similar affliction.
                    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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It looks like you can separate the stepper driver board and hook that up to a computer with mach, emc2 och something else. It will take some tracing of the signals to sort it out. Whate kind of drivers does it use? (the ic:s u9, u11 and u13 screwed to the heatsink)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CountZero
                        It looks like you can separate the stepper driver board and hook that up to a computer with mach, emc2 och something else. It will take some tracing of the signals to sort it out. Whate kind of drivers does it use? (the ic:s u9, u11 and u13 screwed to the heatsink)
                        Cool! Someone that actually understands this stuff.

                        So you think somewhere on the main board there's maybe a standard stepper controller circuit that can be isolated from the Denford proprietary stuff? That'd be really nice. Unfortunately, I'm pretty ignorant of digital magic and only have a standard DVOM.

                        I'm at work now and can't tell you what driver chips it has. I'd suspect pretty old technology since the machine was made in April, 1996.
                        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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Denford Machine Tools have a forum to support the old machines and have been providing scans of old doccuments from their archive.

                          That's just as well as they are about to re-locate and much of the old paperwork is going to be destroyed.

                          http://www.denfordata.com/bb/viewforum.php?f=36

                          I think the Micromill RS232 interface supports DNC ('drip feed') so you can feed it G-code one instruction at a time from a PC.
                          Paul Compton
                          www.morini-mania.co.uk
                          http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by EVguru
                            Denford Machine Tools have a forum to support the old machines and have been providing scans of old doccuments from their archive.

                            That's just as well as they are about to re-locate and much of the old paperwork is going to be destroyed.

                            http://www.denfordata.com/bb/viewforum.php?f=36

                            I think the Micromill RS232 interface supports DNC ('drip feed') so you can feed it G-code one instruction at a time from a PC.
                            Thanks Paul, coincidentally I just found Denford's nifty forum via Google search and have already been doing a little perusing. Much of what I'm reading is making me cross-eyed and my head is hurting.

                            My CNC experience has been with what I would consider "non-professional" equipment with very open info & software. The commercial stuff gives me the all-overs. If I can make it work with the type of software I'm familiar with, I'll be a happy camper.
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have an Orac in near perfect original and working condition and an Easymill that's undergoing a stripdown, clean, repair/rebuild.

                              The Easimill Z drive was via a clamp around the spindle nose cap, which isn't the best setup, especially when the nose cap is machined out of cast aluminium and has just two threads! A replacement in steel with a longer threaded section will have to be made up and I'll probably re-do the Z drive so it uses the depth stop block on the front of the spindle.

                              I'm not the first person to have this problem; http://www.denfordata.com/bb/viewtop...5&hilit=+quill

                              Last edited by EVguru; 08-27-2010, 11:01 AM.
                              Paul Compton
                              www.morini-mania.co.uk
                              http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

                              Comment

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