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Author Topic: VDF/Padovani Rescue  (Read 5273 times)

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Offline JTW

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VDF/Padovani Rescue
« on: March 18, 2015, 07:35:05 PM »
Still a work in progress but it starts to look like we can finally settle on Mach3 and start putting things back together without worrying about taking them off again 5 minutes later! We were looking for a large lathe and came across a suspiciously cheap big old lathe. VDF is a German brand so I was willing to take a look. The machine was in pieces, could not be seen running but I was assured she was ok. Yea, sure... Mechanically she looked ok and the price was barely above the scrap metal rates. Little to lose, much to gain. Sold! 800mm max. diameter and 2000mm bed, quite a large lathe and just what we need to complement our other machines.

We got the machine back to our shop and surprise surprise she wouldn't start. The backup battery had failed. But here is the weird part. The machine was actually a home-brew retrofit of a Padovani system with a Sinumerik 805. But to reset the parameters you needed either an original Sinumerik keypad or this special software. The keypad was 500eur at best on ebay, and the software was impossible to find. We called a service center who immediately tried to screw us over and wanted 2000eur to reset the machine. Enter MachIII. We spent a few days reverse engineering the machine as we had absolutely no documentation. We opted for a smooth stepper, PMDX126 and PMDX107. The control panel has a PC built in instead of the PLC but this is not operational yet due to cable length issues. The machine is running from laptop but not yet really finished or reliable as we would like. There is also a strange backlash issue, which appears to be electronic in origin as the mechanical system is backlash free. Still we are cutting metal with it.

All in all, it is great to now have a control with new parts and an active support system. Our other machines are still running on older controls and we constantly have troubles with support, which is actually not a bad thing as we are now quite adept at diagnosing and repairing our equipment! Even though the machine is not ready yet we are already planning to fit MachIII to our oldest CNC lathe as it is built amazingly well, also German but the machine is far more complex so we leave that until Christmas shutdown!

Machine arriving on back of truck.

Red screen of death!

Original Sinumerik 805 installation

PMDX, Smooth stepper and CNCdrive parts after installation

In service!   ;D

This is the next step. We found an 8 tool turret on eBay for 200 American dollars. A CNC lathe that cannot change it's own tools is not much of a CNC when in a production environment. We have no idea if this thing works, how it works or even who made it. We have to reverse engineer it just like we did with the machine. For the price, like the machine, we are willing to give it a go. When the wins are much bigger than the potential losses you are crazy not to attempt it, even if we fail we will have learned something.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 07:37:04 PM by JTW »
Re: VDF/Padovani Rescue
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2015, 01:46:42 PM »
SWEET!  That's quite a machine; thanks for sharing.  Don't those huge machines require giant electrons? ;D

When you get it working well, please post some videos of that big fellow peeling off some manly sized swarf!
Milton from Tennessee ya'll.

Offline JTW

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Re: VDF/Padovani Rescue
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2015, 08:05:15 PM »
Getting closer to that manly swarf, Dickeybird! Thanks for the compliments! Today we did a bit more on the control panel. Then we must figure out the tool turret and finalise everything.

A few minutes with angle aluminium and TIG welder

Windows 7 Install

Much nicer to look at than Sinumerik 805!

MachIII installed

Only major problem now is connectivity issues. The USB Smoothstepper goes to live on a laser cutter and we replace it with Ethernet Smoothstepper as per advice on this forum. USB Smoothstepper is just not reliable for an industrial machine.