Hello Guest it is June 19, 2019, 09:37:57 AM

Author Topic: How to convert Boxford VMC to Mach3  (Read 9337 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Re: How to convert Boxford VMC to Mach3
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2014, 03:02:29 AM »
Thanks Mike,

Would you mind confirming which controller board you went for?  I found a company called Planet CNC which look to produce a similar product to the smoothstepper.  Both also give the option to allow for network connections.  I assume all you had to do was swap the controller board out from the Boxford and reconnect the relevant wires? 

Steve
Re: How to convert Boxford VMC to Mach3
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2014, 10:41:18 AM »
Hello Steve,

The website is www.edingcnc.com
The company is owned by Bert Eding, who I think is a "one man band" but obviously very clued up and very helpfull with installation.

The conversion is not totally straight forward and, whilst I can find my way around a circuit diagramme, my knowledge of electronics is rather limited so I may not have done it the best way. but with Berts help I managed it and it worked.

The 2 large main boards, plus the "3rd axis board", were removed and replaced with 100mmX100mm usbcnc board, and the relavent wires re-routed.

I used the existing 24v supply for the stepper drivers, but added a new seperate 5v supply, (from Maplins),  for the CPU. This was on Berts advice, to avoid any possible interference between the two.

I changed the stepper drivers, in part because of the difficulty in seperating the old ones from the pcb, but they also increase the speed of the machine by 4X and they are not expensive.

The spindle drive control was connected direct to the new cpu, otherwise unchanged.  This means that the manual spindle control is limited to the software control and the buttons on the front of the machine are redundant. In fact all the manual controls on the front, with the exception of the Estop are not used, but I think this is normal practice.

My machine was an early version and did not have limit switches on the table travel, so I had to fit them for the "homing" function. I have a newer model now which has proximity sensors so is easier to convert.

Finally, I understand that the USB communication is particularly vulnerable to interference, so I fitted a mains filter to the incoming supply for added safety.

That's all I can think of at present.

Good luck
Mike
 

Re: How to convert Boxford VMC to Mach3
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2014, 11:05:23 AM »
By the way Steve, the UK agent for USBCNC is Zapp automation if you prefer them. I have not used them at all so cannot comment on the service.
rgds
Mike
Re: How to convert Boxford VMC to Mach3
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2014, 03:41:58 PM »
Hi Mike,

Thanks for this.  So let me get this right. To upgrade and allow for new CNC software and faster speed you need to upgrade the controller board and upgrade the stepper controllers.  Looking at the website the boards look expensive, I dont mind paying the price if I am happy it does the job etc.  I think I would prefer to go with an ethernet based system to reduce interference.   Out of interest can you get any stepper drivers as long as they have adequate amperage?


I have attached 3 photos of the inside of my machine.  I take it the 2nd one shows the stepper controller board?  and the third shows the power supplies for the stepper motors? 


Steve
Re: How to convert Boxford VMC to Mach3
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2014, 05:19:47 PM »
Hello Steve,

The board that the stepper drivers are mounted on, plus the other large one in your photos, plus the 3RD axis control board(spindle up/down), which I think is mounted on the side, are all interconnected, and replaced by one modern cpu board about 100mm square.

The cpu that I used cost about £200 but included the control software so Mach3 is not needed. There are cheaper ones about of course, especially from China, but I do not know enough about electronics to have taken a chance with any of those that may not have had any support, and then you have to buy Mach3  anyway at about £100.

However, I did take a chance and bought the stepper drivers from a China company on Ebay, and just chose one of appropriate current rating, and they worked ok.

I think I looked into the "Smoothstepper" thing a few years ago to see if it would improve my  small "Isel" benchtop machine, and at that time it was far too complicated for me to attempt, and cost about £400 if I remember correctly. I may be able to do it now that I have converted a Boxford, but don't really have the need anymore.

I the "smoothstepper" you have in mind is the same one, and is applicable to your machine, I think you would still need control software, unless you have the Boxford programme.  

Sorry I can't be more specific but, as you have probably realised, I am only an "enthusiastic Amature", and can only really speak of what worked for me. I think if you are not at least conversant with conventional circuit diagrammes you may be taking on more than you would like.

rgds
Mike

Re: How to convert Boxford VMC to Mach3
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2014, 04:07:21 PM »
Hi Steve,

I used Zappautomation for the bits (ballscrews, controllers, motors and bob's, the lot) I found Gary very helpful especially with advice as I got onto trouble. I would give him a ring at 01202 237770.

Best of luck, Dave.
Re: How to convert Boxford VMC to Mach3
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2014, 09:59:57 AM »
Hello Steve,

I replied to your lest msge, but it doesn't seem to appear on the forum. Did you get it?
Mike
Re: How to convert Boxford VMC to Mach3
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2014, 06:50:16 AM »
I got the message (I think), thanks.  As advised by a few of you I shall contact Zap automation I think.  I have the old software but typically my old floppy drive doesnt seem to be working on my PC :/