Acorn upgrade (help please)

Jtodaro

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Hello, I just purchased a Alliant mill with a CNC masters controller on it. Let me first explain something, I am not a machinist. I am just getting into this as a hobby. This is my first machine. This retrofit was done in 06. I am currently exploring how difficult it would be to upgrade this controller to a acorn. I would like to keep the stepper motors for now. I want to keep the upgrade as cheap as possible for now. I want to learn how to use the machine before doing a full upgrade with servo motors. I contacted centroid about the upgrade and was told the acorn works with stepper motors but they weren’t sure if or how the existing motor drives would be wired. There is no documentation on the drivers or motors. I am just looking for someone who has done this or knows how I would adapt the acorn to my drivers/motors. I will post some pictures of what I have.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!
 

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JimDawson

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Looks like a nice machine.

Is the CNC Masters system not working?

In any case, once you figure out what the input voltage is for the existing drives you could replace them with any number of drives. You might have to pull one of the drives off to find a part number on it, my suspicion is that the part number on on the face of the drive, towards the circuit board. From the pictures I can't even tell how they are mounted, but appear to be plugged in on the front.

It looks like all the signals come in on that ribbon cable so you would have to trace that out to find the step & direction inputs to the drives. You should be able to find a breakout board that would breakout the pins on the ribbon cable.
 

Jtodaro

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i have not even picked up the machine yet, I took the pictures when I paid for the mill. Before I purchased the mill I called CNC masters and was told basically I would not get any support from them because I was not The original owner. He then told me that it was so old that newer software may not play well with the old controller and I would have to upgrade for $2200. When I was told that and he would not even help me at all to get the machine up and running. I decided right then and there I would not ever do business with him. I am new to this hobby and just looking to learn how to use the machine before I do a total upgrade. The mI’ll is currently working The old owner is using solid works for the programming.I believe they work with him to create the post processor for it to work correctly. I am not currently ready to use a high-end high dollar program at this time. When this was originally converted it was used with Bobcad v21.I have the Bobcad prohgram but I am not able to load it on a new computer because it is so old and there’s no support for it. My thoughts were to use fusion 360 but I’m not sure if the post processor is going to work with the old controller.
 

JimDawson

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I hate it when companies do that. Fusion 360 has a lot of post processors available, and you can also modify them to suit your needs.

The short answer is that it can be easily converted to work with Acorn.
 

Larry$

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There is a huge difference in the way companies do business. I've got a 20 year old IMA machine that I'm going to tear apart and sell the pieces, scrap the main body. It's a German made point to point. Siemens controls, 4 axis, 18 tool changer, 21 spindle boring block, 13' of X. The controls have always been a problem and support not good. I'm going to buy a plasma cutter to chop up the main body. I'll end up with some nice pieces of steel for hobby machining. I'm guessing the machine weighs 15,000#s.
On the other hand we have an older Komo, with Fanuc controls, that has been excellent, great support.
 

ArmyDoc

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i have not even picked up the machine yet, I took the pictures when I paid for the mill. Before I purchased the mill I called CNC masters and was told basically I would not get any support from them because I was not The original owner. He then told me that it was so old that newer software may not play well with the old controller and I would have to upgrade for $2200. When I was told that and he would not even help me at all to get the machine up and running. I decided right then and there I would not ever do business with him. I am new to this hobby and just looking to learn how to use the machine before I do a total upgrade. The mI’ll is currently working The old owner is using solid works for the programming.I believe they work with him to create the post processor for it to work correctly. I am not currently ready to use a high-end high dollar program at this time. When this was originally converted it was used with Bobcad v21.I have the Bobcad prohgram but I am not able to load it on a new computer because it is so old and there’s no support for it. My thoughts were to use fusion 360 but I’m not sure if the post processor is going to work with the old controller.

Are you talking about Solidworks? Solidworks is available several ways for a fairly low cost. Probably the cheapest is to join EAA.org, and use the license that comes with their membership.
 
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