Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Manual Mill to CNC Conversion

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Manual Mill to CNC Conversion

    I've been in need of a basic CNC for quite some time. But i dont have the space for a full size CNC Machining center. So I have been searching for a converted mill or an older CNC that looks like a beefed up manual. So far, no luck.

    But i recently picked up a nice Excello (XLO) manual mill. Seems to be in great shape and is a little more heavy duty than my series 2 Bridgeport. So, this might be a good candidate for a comversion. The problem is, i know very little about the wiring and electronics side. I can make and mount all the steppers and what not. But im pretty clueless after that.

    By chance, does anyone here know of a fully plug and play, or very well labeled controller/electronics kit to convert a manual to CNC?

  • #2
    What’s your budget?
    I’d look into Prototrak equipment. It’s a well established company and a very proven platform.
    Super capable and super easy to learn their conversational input. But, will also accept g code from CAM programs.
    I have their mill. Couldn’t be happier.
    I know three phase light bulb has one of their controllers on a BP too.

    Comment


    • #3
      There is also one from Acu-rite. I use one from about 10 years ago. But before we tout our favorite commercial products, do you want to spend $15-20K (everything including ball screws for three axis) on your conversion or are you thinking way way less?
      Last edited by lakeside53; 03-04-2018, 12:27 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Lots of folks seem to do CNC conversions on small stuff.

        Not so many do larger machines. There is no doubt a reason for that, and it probably comes down to a lot more cost for a large machine conversion, in proportion to the smaller proportional cost to do a small machine. Not absolute cost, but conversion cost in proportion to machine cost.
        CNC machines only go through the motions

        Comment


        • #5
          Way less... i have found a few ready to run converted mills in the $7500 range. But they have been too far to go and get myself, and rigging charges seem to be a little ridiculous.

          So i couldn't see spending more than $5000 to convert mine. More than that and it would make sense to sell the mill and purchase another. Even if i had to pay for delivery.

          Comment


          • #6
            Look at Centroid's Acorn 4 axis controller. Great company to deal with and have been in the business a long time. Their software is solid and with the acorn you have a pretty good choice as to what motors and drives you can fit.

            Centroidcnc.com
            Location: The Black Forest in Germany

            How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

            Comment


            • #7
              ok.. then you need to learn a bit about wiring etc. Tons of stuff available from old Mach 3 to the new Acorn.

              Are you going to replace your lead screws with ball?

              Comment


              • #8
                Much of the cost is in the mechanics/hardware Ballscrews, dogbone etc, some of the XLO had a air assisted motorized knee.
                I also did away with the Varispeed set up and operated timing belt direct, the G.B. was used for the low spindle rpm's.
                Mitsubishi VFD fitted for the 4 pole 3ph motor programmed for x2 the plate frequency.
                If new to enclosure electrics, I suggest getting a hold of NFPA79 Industrial Machine wiring.
                Important to set up star grounding etc.
                Max.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                  Lots of folks seem to do CNC conversions on small stuff.

                  Not so many do larger machines. There is no doubt a reason for that, and it probably comes down to a lot more cost for a large machine conversion, in proportion to the smaller proportional cost to do a small machine. Not absolute cost, but conversion cost in proportion to machine cost.

                  The difference is only proportional, but the other side of that is a heavier manual mill is much more useful than a light weight manual mill if for no other reason than it takes fewer passes (and less time) to do the same job.

                  It does cost a little more to CNC a heavier machine, but not exponentially more. Bigger motors and more robust drivers mostly.
                  *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sen2two View Post
                    I've been in need of a basic CNC for quite some time. But i dont have the space for a full size CNC Machining center. So I have been searching for a converted mill or an older CNC that looks like a beefed up manual. So far, no luck.

                    But i recently picked up a nice Excello (XLO) manual mill. Seems to be in great shape and is a little more heavy duty than my series 2 Bridgeport. So, this might be a good candidate for a comversion. The problem is, i know very little about the wiring and electronics side. I can make and mount all the steppers and what not. But im pretty clueless after that.

                    By chance, does anyone here know of a fully plug and play, or very well labeled controller/electronics kit to convert a manual to CNC?
                    You should look into retrofit kits from Centroid CNC, Southwest Industries (ProtoTrak), and Acu-Rite. You could install the retrofit kits yourself, but I would highly suggest having one of their pro partner machine shops/dealers do the installation.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's one thing to retrofit a smaller machine so you can "play" a bit but it's quite another to make changes on
                      a Bridgeport or similar sized mill. Yes, a Bridgeport is significantly heavier than the "toys" but it's nowhere
                      near to being rigid enough to fully utilize the CNC controls and mechanical changes you have to make. Even
                      entry level CNCs will run to 6000 RPM but at 2500 RPM your Bridgeport is gonna be tearing itself apart--and
                      sound like it too. "Real" CNCs have a lot more mass in relation to their capacity...
                      Keith
                      __________________________
                      Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LKeithR View Post
                        "Real" CNCs have a lot more mass in relation to their capacity...
                        If a converted B'port isn't a real CNC, than how could a Tormaach be one at only 1400lbs?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          @ Keith

                          huh? My BP is factory at 4200rpm, and goes up to 6 and 7k often... Sure a step-belt model likely "stopped" at 2700, but the spindle is identical the Varispeed version and happy way higher than that.

                          As much as some like to poo poo the rubbery nature of Bp's, they are capable of some very fine work. I can hogg all day long with 1/2 inch carbide EM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post
                            If a converted B'port isn't a real CNC, than how could a Tormaach be one at only 1400lbs?
                            exactly... and any machine that is converted is certainly no worse at milling than it was as a manual machine.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LKeithR View Post
                              Yes, a Bridgeport is significantly heavier than the "toys" but it's nowhere
                              near to being rigid enough to fully utilize the CNC controls and mechanical changes you have to make. "Real" CNCs have a lot more mass in relation to their capacity...
                              I picked up some XLO's from a U.S. manufacturing facility that had closed that had been using them on their production assembly process, these had previously been retro-fitted CNC and the company had folded, so these were all auctioned off.
                              I retrofitted them for re-sale to local Co.
                              They are built slightly heavier than B.P.
                              Max.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X