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Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« on: July 10, 2007, 06:51:07 PM »
Hi all !

First time here...
I got hold of two Boxford Duet from a machine dealer, but they're out of software. Boxford seems not to be at any help providing a copy of the orginal disc, as their license agreement prevent them. I've been noticed that the Boxford software sucks, if I should trust some posts I have found. Now is the question if anyone and how much work is there to get a mill and lathe of the Boxford Duet to run on Mach3...


Any hints from You out there ??   

Very best regards

Offline Chip

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Re: Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2007, 07:49:48 PM »
Hi, Piobaire

Looking at the data, There stepper motor driven, Check the stepper board/boxes for Info, Post it if you can.

There bound to be othe'rs hear that have some experience with them.

Just a Start, Chip

Re: Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2007, 07:40:56 AM »
Do a search on "serial" you will see we are trying to control a boford Duet with Mach 3

Offline jimpinder

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Re: Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2007, 07:53:26 AM »
If they are stepper motor driven, just change the stepper driver boards for a modern version.

Mine are Stepmaster - got them on Ebay - they came from the States. The run up to 2.5 amps at 30 volts, they are fully adjustable and wire directly to the printer port of your P.C. to be controlled from Mach3. They worked straight from the box with comprehensive instructions and  wiring diagrams for different motors.

I think Boxford were made in Huddersfield - which is 10 miles from me, but I never had one.

New cards run at about £30 per axis.

You can get moroe powerful boards for 4 or 6 amps - there is a British supplier on Ebay as well.

Not me driving the engine - I'm better looking.
Re: Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2007, 08:19:12 AM »
There is some work involved in getting the Duet running on Mach 3 but not that much, the steppers are controlled by the LPT port so can be linked to Mach with no problem but the spindle control is serial, I have managed to initialise and control the spindle of the Duet but the more complicated part is the tool changer and tool offsets, I am working on that now.
Re: Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2007, 05:04:31 AM »
How are you getting on with the Duet, Have you measured its spindle Run Out yet mine is awful 70um, I'm trying to find a solution, I think the outers of the bearings are rotating and moving from the manufactured position resulting in the excessive radial run out, what do you think?
Re: Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2010, 03:02:54 PM »
were you able to get the duet running with mach software?

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 03:37:05 AM »
Boxford are unwilling to provide any information which would help with the use of their machines once they have left the education loop and come into the 'second user' domain.

The only really practical solution is to replace the internal electronics driver card etc. with a new driver card which is Mach compatible (I used a cheap Chinese board bought on ebay). Some of the details here may be of help. http://www.cooperman.talktalk.net/files/14.htm

This approach may seem a little extreme but it is not too difficult to do and at the end of the day you finish up with a good machine.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 10:50:29 AM »
hotwire : The duet works fine with Mach especially when you add limit switches.

In answer to some of the more radicals. Removing the electronics if they work, seems to me to be a waste of time the duet operates from the parallel port so can be driven directly by Mach. The spindle is a bit more of a problem but the solution is simple just send duet.dat via serial to the spindle board using cypress enable the macro program that comes with Mach, the contents of duet.dat is the program that the duet uses to control the spindle but this must be loaded into the duets own memory. Then a few bytes sent to the boxford set the speed, the secret is knowing which bytes, I used a serial cable attached to two PC's to sniff the boxford program and find what codes were being sent. after this I added limit switches and touch probe facility which is more difficult than it sounds. the tool setting was a matter of programming the touch probe function to use the tools as probes and use a settting standard in the chuck.  I am now in the process of writing CAM software for lathe.  I also got the duet to make PCB's but that is even more difficult as the table is not flat, once you have a probing function established it is easy to plot the surface defects and find out the table is warped it would seem, however this is not the case the way the duet holds the table means the table can never be flat so I had to write software to compensate for the warp. I did have to modify the power supply box to link some of the signals through to the parallel port but this was a minor modification the more difficult one was adding the limit switches. you can see where I have added a small connector box between the original cable and socket this allows me to take off signals to my interface box for the switches.

Tweakie.CNC :  I think you may have misplaced your post as this post relates to the boxford duet.
Re: Mach3 and Boxford Duet
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2015, 04:58:46 PM »
The duet I am attempting to control has been riddled with interference, the top most crescent shaped board is missing completely but is shown in The Black cat's image, there have been some modifications to apparently replace the board, but I would like an idea of what the board was supposed to control as at present I am lost till I establish some form of communication.

Most interference has been performed by someone trying to make it work with a more sophisticated operating program and has failed dismally,I am attempting to use the duet software to test the machine {if I get any reaction at all ?}. The more I delve into it the more doubts I hold.

For those thinking of conversion, the motors are Nema 23 - 24v - 1.7a per phase on 3.4a supply each. I wonder what the future holds ????