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Author Topic: Denford Micromill convert to Mach  (Read 12898 times)

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Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« on: February 25, 2011, 06:32:51 PM »
Hello All - I am new to this forum and new to CNC. I am planning to buy an ex-school Denford Micromill (circa 2002) with no control software. I would love to get an idea of how hard it would be for a newbie to convert to run with Mach3 and what's involved (and cost). I have a pretty well equiped workshop, a workshop PC (ok spec, Windows XP, no serial port). I am a software engineer by trade but don't have any electronics knowhow.

My research so far leads me to guess that i will need to replace the control boards for the existing 3 axis stepper motors and the spindle but I am not sure of this plus purchase Mach3.

I would really appreciate some advice.

Thanks very much ! Themule

Offline Hood

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Re: Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2011, 07:05:01 PM »
I imagine the mill has steppers so the easiest way would likely be to replace the drives but keep the steppers if they are ok. Have a look at the Gecko G540, it might be a cost effective drive setup for you and Geckos make, in my opinion, excellent stepper drives.
Spindle I am not sure of, just depends what it is, if it just needs a 0 to 10v input then possibly the G540's spindle output would work.
Hood

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 02:54:21 AM »
Themule,

I don't know if this helps but I converted a little Boxford mill to Mach3 operation a couple of years back and the details are here http://www.cooperman.talktalk.net/files/14.htm  (I think my additional parts cost was only around 150 GBP)

This may give you some idea of what would be involved if you tackle the Denford.

Tweakie.
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Re: Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2011, 05:16:41 AM »
there is another option, and that's to just add a breakout board and a analogue spindle board (if not already in the breakout) and keep the Denford drives, steppers and power supply which probably work well.

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Re: Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2011, 06:04:06 AM »
This thread is probably relevant http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,9947.0.html

Tweakie.
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Re: Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2011, 06:20:59 AM »
Ok, with the most basic conversion you're looking at getting it going for about £50, or with a reasonable opto isolated breakout board you'll be looking at about £80 ish. The Denford control board can be removed easily and you then have a 3 axis drive board that will run directly of a breakout board. It's basically as easy as that, pm me if you require a guide through.
Re: Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 11:49:19 AM »
Thanks for all the quick responses and advice - much appreciated. Angel Tech - I will take you up on your offer when i start the project please. What sort of electronics skills would be needed with the plan of adding a breakout board to the existing drivers and PSU - it doesn't sound too hard.
Re: Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2011, 12:57:28 PM »
it's pretty easy even with limited electronic experience.
Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 03:06:54 PM »
Evening - newbie to this forum. Just acquired a Denford Microrouter compact to cut my teeth in the world of cnc. just wondering if you ever completed your conversion on this as I'm interested in doing the same.

Angel Tech - would you be able to provide some advise on component selection?
Re: Denford Micromill convert to Mach
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 11:19:50 AM »
First - do you have the Denford electronics box with the machine?  If so then you could visit http://www.denfordata.com/bb/viewforum.php?f=36 which is the Denford support forum where someone may be able to help you get the original Denford software.  Even if not they are very helpful with information on the older Denford machines.

If not then others here have given good advice - I acquired a Novamill which is rather bigger without electronics and bought all the drivers and a breakout board on ebay for only about £100.  PSU was about £30 from another UK supplier, everything all in certainly less than £200 (but used some stuff from the spares box).  Got the machine up and running quite quickly using Mach3 with a bit of help on this forum.

Also I think the micromill is based on the Sherline mechanics.

Good luck, John.