electronic lead screw

greenail

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I'm wondering what is state of the art for electronic lead screws these days and if anyone has advise based on implementing on on an import lathe?
 

JimDawson

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The options are almost endless. What exactly are you looking to do?
 

greenail

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The options are almost endless. What exactly are you looking to do?
I'm wondering what hardware software combination to use. the original ELS project seems a bit long in the tooth. There are 3 or 4 on github and a Russian lead screw design.

I "need" a 1/2"-12 left hand thread. My lathe has no reverse so i'm thinking it would be just about as hard to do the electronic lead screw as it would be to add the reverse. I'd also need to make a thread dial. Changing the gear on that thing set is no picnic either.
 

markba633csi

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You can cut a left handed thread by simply reversing the carriage travel- and you would need the gearing to cut 12 tpi
mark
 
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JimDawson

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It is really a very short distance from ELS to full on CNC and the CNC may actually be easier and cheaper to accomplish due to the availability of various kits. The total cost could run from <$500 to as much as you want to spend.

If you want to keep full manual capability then it gets a bit more complicated, but not a show stopper. The only addition required is backlash control on the carriage, and a couple of relays or switches to disconnect the stepper motors from the drives. I was going to do this to my lathe but then I bought a CNC lathe and dropped that project.
 

greenail

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Jim, do you ever find yourself wanting to have a manual lathe again? I suppose the only thing stopping me is that having to do CAM for everything is a barrier to getting stuff done sometimes. I have a cnc mill and a manual mill. I kinda don't want to convert the manual mill since it is convenient and quicker for many things.
 

JimDawson

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I still have my manual lathe, I didn't sell it when I bought the CNC. I would really miss it if I didn't have it. They are really 2 completely different machines with different purposes. I have thought about adding CNC capability to the manual lathe, but keeping full manual operation with an instant change over. I have all of the parts on the shelf to do it, but really have not had a need to do it.

My knee mill is almost instantly convertible between full manual, 2, 3, or 4 axis CNC. Many times I use a combination of operating modes on a single job.
 
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Dabbler

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There's a nice ELS from Germany that they call an Electronic Lead Screw - Stefan Gotteseinter did a review of it on his youtube channel. They will have a complete English manual available early this year. It leaves manual operation untouched and is DIY for the home machinist.
 

greenail

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My divorce got in the way of my attempt to implement an ELS but I recently saw a deal on mini lathe and ended up starting a CNC conversion with centroid which cut it's first chips last night!

I've watched clough42's videos. I wish he had picked a more common and cheaper controller. An esp32 is around $4 and an stm32 is about $1.5. Both should be able to do the work. The nice thing about the esp32 is that it has 2 cores and you can have one core handle monitoring the button inputs and the display while the other stays focused on spindle sync. I also wonder if he is going to power the cross slide or if he is just going to leave it setup to sync the screw. Adding cross slide feeding and feeding back to the start position saves a ton of cranking.

My attempts used an esp32 which has plenty of processing power to synch the spindle. I also attempted to set my implementation up to allow you to cut both ways but the backlash in my lead screw made this not possible. I may dig back into it at some point but now that I have centroid to learn it may be a while.

If you implement an ELS you are really about 5 steps away from a full CNC implementation. The thing that pushed me towards ELS was keeping manual control. The ideal world has the full CNC conversion but allows for a really good manual control scheme. I was thinking that some force feedback control wheels would be a very nice way to manually drive a converted lathe and maybe is a better project overall to work on. I wish grbl's jog interface didn't suck so much, there are a few forks that implement spindle sync and bart dring's esp32 port is very nice.
 

kb58

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I've watched clough42's videos. I wish he had picked a more common and cheaper controller. An esp32 is around $4 and an stm32 is about $1.5.
The controller board is maybe another $20, roughly 15% of the total. Does that make it a no-go?
 
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greenail

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answer a: I have a few spares of the other MCU's so it would be easy to test if he chose something I already had on hand.

answer b: I think you could get away with a non-hybrid stepper at a much cheaper cost. the hybrid will give a much better torque curve and that really helps if you are trying to thread at a high speed.

answer c: at $250 you are pretty close to a centroid or linux cnc setup. The utility of a full CNC lathe setup is questionable for the hobbyist.

answer d: I think engineering the costs down as low as possible would make it more approachable to small lathe owners and the more prevalent the MCU is the more people could contribute. I also think a fully canned threading cycle like the Russian ELS has would be fairly easy to do and would be worth the effort.

All in all I wish the CNC community was a bit more open source oriented in general. RepRap did a ton for 3d printing and I think there is still tons of room for the CNC hobbyist community.
 

ttabbal

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I'm actually waiting for parts to give it a go on my PM1127. I ordered a larger stepper, not the hybrid. He mentioned testing both successfully, and I don't need the higher speeds. I suspect the stepper is overkill, but it wasn't that much more expensive than the smaller ones. I ordered a couple of belt and gear options, and the lathe has a gearbox for rough adjustment.

While I have ESPs and other micros around, the cost of the MCU wasn't an issue. I know that it works and it looks like it has plenty of headroom. The MCU has a free IDE that is cross platform. Not quite as easy to pick up as Arduino, but it doesn't look difficult to work with.

I know it's not much further to go full CNC, but I've been wanting to do at least the feeds this way for a while, and threading needs almost the same setup. That's enough for me, having a lathe has taught me that I always want a manual lathe around. CNC might be interesting on a second lathe in the future if I use my CNC router enough.
 

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I'm actually waiting for parts to give it a go
Me too. They all seem to be on the same slow boat from China though. Probably not the launchpad though. That’s coming from Digi-Key “UK”, which probably means the US but without the import duties... ;)
 

ttabbal

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I got parts in, now I need time. :) I have a couple of things in the way before I can start installing things on the lathe. I did wire up everything to bench test and it looks good.

I had some issues with the stepper setup I initially got. I found that they have a resonance point that causes what looks like missed steps. I think it would work with a digital controller, but I just got the same hybrid servo he used.

Looking at the GT2 pulleys, it looks like the center is pressed in. Kind of annoying, as I need to cut a keyway in one. I think I'll also need to cut off the protruding bit with the set screws to fit the change gear axles on the lathe. I guess I could also press it out and replace it with my own.
 

Briney Eye

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Let the games commence! ;)
View attachment 303235
I’ll be interested to see how the Launchpad works for you. I used an Arduino Mega and pretty much the same parts you have, and have it working quite well but keep thinking up “one more” improvement. I suppose I should start participating in this thread and put up what I’ve done.
 

GreatOldOne

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For those of you attempting the Clough42 build, these might be of help. My LED&KEY module had different hole spacing to his, so 8 ended up remixing his 3d printed parts to fit my board.

 

kb58

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I'm building a Clough42 ELS for my Takisawa TSL-800.
 

Qtron

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There's a nice ELS from Germany that they call an Electronic Lead Screw - Stefan Gotteseinter did a review of it on his youtube channel. They will have a complete English manual available early this year. It leaves manual operation untouched and is DIY for the home machinist.
found his site - nothing re ELS there! Searched Youtube under his name - couldn't find it. Are U referring to the expensive but slick Rocketronics.de ELS4?
 

Qtron

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I’ll be interested to see how the Launchpad works for you. I used an Arduino Mega and pretty much the same parts you have, and have it working quite well but keep thinking up “one more” improvement. I suppose I should start participating in this thread and put up what I’ve done.
Am new to this forum, found this page & joined.. Am trying to find Jon Bryan, & more details other than the youtube clips re his amazing touchscreen ELS,
Can anyone assist please? (I am very keen to load the f/w into a Arduino Mega & test it, but need much more detail first, like backlash compensation, electronic gearbox steps, range, etc).
 

Dabbler

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yes, I'm referring to the 'rocketronics' ELS. I forgot their name (sorry) The new one does circles and elipses, as well as tapers. very nice...
 

Qtron

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Thanks Dabbler Admin., converting EU to Oz $ plus freight, might as well use Mach3! But yes its slick as, best bit is X axis motorised.
ELS4 Pro even slicker / dearer, when released.
Jon Bryan's also very nice but no X axis drive.
I am hoping to rotate spindle slowly as well for cutting long curves, so an electronic indexer, married into Z feed, all as a standalone, for those oldies who cant use mach3 or PC's, with stored settings,memory. Probably too hard..
 

Briney Eye

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Am new to this forum, found this page & joined.. Am trying to find Jon Bryan, & more details other than the youtube clips re his amazing touchscreen ELS,
Can anyone assist please? (I am very keen to load the f/w into a Arduino Mega & test it, but need much more detail first, like backlash compensation, electronic gearbox steps, range, etc).
You found me. I don't have any backlash compensation because it's not CNC, just a programmable "gearbox". The number of pitch selections is arbitrary. I've implemented every pitch that I could find in online pictures of lathes, and every tap available from McMaster-Carr. I stopped short of having an arbitrary programmable option, but it would be possible. I did limit it to 4tpi just because I have a small lathe. That's getting to be some serious depth of cut, and I have already noticed some "hiccups" cutting an 8tpi Acme thread in 1144. I'm waiting for more timing pulleys and belts so that I can gear it down from the current 4:1 ratio between the stepper and the screw. I'm planning to test it at 5-, 6- and 8-to-1.

I still have more to do. The touch screen is great for a lot of things, but on-the-fly feed direction control needed something more tactile, so I've added a toggle switch mounted in front of the headstock. I quickly programmed it to control the direction, but have to add jogging support still. I just got sidetracked by actually making some things.

I think it would be cool to do cut knurling, so I'm also thinking of adding support for multi-start threads, but that's a ways off yet. I've only used half the RAM on the Mega so far, so there's still room to squeeze more features in :). I promise to make at least a basic version of the code available at some point when I'm satisfied with it.

-Jon
 

matthewsx

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Thanks Dabbler Admin., converting EU to Oz $ plus freight, might as well use Mach3! But yes its slick as, best bit is X axis motorised.
ELS4 Pro even slicker / dearer, when released.
Jon Bryan's also very nice but no X axis drive.
I am hoping to rotate spindle slowly as well for cutting long curves, so an electronic indexer, married into Z feed, all as a standalone, for those oldies who cant use mach3 or PC's, with stored settings,memory. Probably too hard..
Yes, a bit of a learning curve here but not sure it's more than doing an ELS.


Cheers,

John
 

Dabbler

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The issue for me isn't just learning Mach3. there's the entire toolchain to learn. I programmed at all levels for 40 years, and -for me- those days are over. So I want a nice, pre-programmed solution that will up my game without retooling my brain for Fusion360, mach 3, dealing with feeds/speeds and other minor annoyances of CNC. The ELS feels more like what I do manually, but reducing the operator-error possibilities.

I am following the various ELS threads on youtube as well as here. It may be I can home-brew my own, but right now I'm leaning toward Rocketronics ELS in their largest size (My target lathe is 15" LrBlond).
 

matthewsx

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The issue for me isn't just learning Mach3. there's the entire toolchain to learn. I programmed at all levels for 40 years, and -for me- those days are over. So I want a nice, pre-programmed solution that will up my game without retooling my brain for Fusion360, mach 3, dealing with feeds/speeds and other minor annoyances of CNC. The ELS feels more like what I do manually, but reducing the operator-error possibilities.

I am following the various ELS threads on youtube as well as here. It may be I can home-brew my own, but right now I'm leaning toward Rocketronics ELS in their largest size (My target lathe is 15" LrBlond).
For sure there are challenges with homebrewing any of these systems and the Rocketronics stuff looks like it will be good and it should be available any day now.

I'd only wonder about two things, first will it actually be easier than a DIY solution and second, what happens if the manufacturer goes out of business and the device breaks down. If I did it myself I'd have the skills to fix it, purchasing something in a black box I'm not sure....

Sure it's a relatively small cost ~$250 but you still need to do all the electro/mechanical bits like hooking up the steppers to your machine so it's not plug-n-play by any stretch of the imagination. I'd be more inclined to try the Clough42 ELS since it's opensource and available on github but that's just me (I am typing this on an Ubuntu workstation right now ;)).

Neither product is actually available for purchase right now so there's time to do more research before laying down your hard earned dollars/euros.

I'm following because although I have almost all the change gears for my Seneca Falls 9x5 I'd rather punch in a number than fiddle with them for doing feeds and threading.

Cheers,

John
 

kb58

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...Neither product is actually available for purchase right now so there's time to do more research before laying down your hard earned dollars/euros....
Well, the Clough42 "product" will only be a small board that combines several functions that several separate off-the-shelf products already perform. The CPU, display board, servo, driver, encoder, and power supplies are also off-the-shelf products. I have it running now as a cobbled-together mess, just to prove it runs. The idea is to get his board when it's done, but all that will do is eliminate a couple of the individual boards; it doesn't really do anything new.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you want to build one now, you can without needing to wait on anything.
 
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