Looking for advice on a small (ish) mill

Crutches56

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Well the mill has made the trek across the mountain. We got his trailer tires pumped up and drove to the rental center. And in less than 5 minutes had it lifted off his trailer. Drove his out from under it, and backed my trailer under it. Tied her down. Stopped twice over the mtn to check the straps. All went well. She's now in my "needs some love" shed at my shop. I'll finish those outer walls so it'll be more protected. I'll pick it up and drive it into the shop in the next month and start de-rusting her. I picked it up with my skidsteer at the shop and drove it right Into the shed. (just to ease worry, we had wood blocks under the ram ways to protect them from getting hurt.)
 

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matthewsx

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Crutches56

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Right on, I should have known you'd be wearing a utilikilt:cool:
Haha that is my machinist buddy. He's a stud, he's the one who gave me the mill. Knee high boots and a utilikilt are what he wears everyday. And that insulated coat.... On a 98 degree summer day...

I'm going to start cleaning this week and see what her condition is.
 

P T Schram

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You've done well Young Jedi!

I agree with everything above. Block it in place. As you can't move the knee, I cant very well tell you to run the knee up to support the head, but otherwise you're on your way.

W/R/T the electronics, etc, start learning yourself on CURRENT State-Of-The-Art controls. I'm not in much of a position to contribute much there, other than to say this should be one of the easier updates as you have everything there, now just need to interface to modern computer hardware/software.

Yeah, I'm a little jealous!
 

P T Schram

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Right on, I should have known you'd be wearing a utilikilt:cool:

You might want to give these guys a call and see if their kit will work for you.


Cheers,

John
I missed the kilt part! I LOVE my Workingman's Kilt, but I'm forbidden from wearing it in the shop, apparently it's too much like shorts and shorts are forbidden as well.

The Snap-On man at the shop shared that bit, my kilt was costume for Snap-On Franchisee Conferences. They might not have known my name, but everybody there knew who I was-LOL
 

Crutches56

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I started messing with things tonight after family went to sleep. I live about a mile from my shop, so I can sneak down here quick. With the knee not moving, I pulled off the felt wiper cover, it's cracked: has been over tightened. And the wiper itself is dead. No surprise there. The flathead adjustment screw on the gib is SEIZED. I filled the hole with wd-40 and in about 7-8 seconds it's gone, so it's going somewhere, hopefully that's a good sign. I'm going to let it soak overnight, then in the morning, I'll put my hand impact driver on it for 1 hit and see what she says. I talked to my buddy and he seemed to have a memory that this was a 1 part machine, so he actually never moved the knee the whole time he ran it... So he said it's been probably 15 years since this knee has moved.

I chipped the metal chips out of the T-slots tonight (flat blade screw driver and a hammer)... They were packed. The t slots were completely full. Now those are out and I started cleaning the table a bit. It's in great shape. I'll clean it up a bit more tomorrow in the light and take pics.

I plugged in the computer that came with this thing, and it works! Hahaha. Didn't expect that. I plugged it into my flat-screen I use for my security cameras, and the dang thing works. I figured you guys would get a kick out of this. On the screen, the jogs work, and I loaded a program the shop ran, and it ran through all the numbers in their g-code. Haha. I'm just watching it sitting here laughing. When the mill can get the right power to it (it's in my forklift shed right now), I'll plug the computer in and see if this thing will move it. Check out this computer and the DOS program...
 

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matthewsx

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Nice, I'd make an image of that hard drive right away. Also copy the program off to floppy disk, if the machine works as-is it will give you time to plan the conversion to modern stuff.

John
 

Crutches56

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Nice, I'd make an image of that hard drive right away. Also copy the program off to floppy disk
Agreed, however... Where am I going to find a floppy disc?! Haha. I haven't even seen one in the past 20 years... I bet my parents have some stashed on their basement...... Time to go digging.
 

matthewsx

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Agreed, however... Where am I going to find a floppy disc?! Haha. I haven't even seen one in the past 20 years... I bet my parents have some stashed on their basement...... Time to go digging.
So, as a network admin here's how I would handle this.

1. Remove hard drive from this machine and make an image using whatever cloning software you like. You'll need a machine that can handle old IDE disks though, should be one at a thrift store nearby.

2. While the disk is still attached to the machine you're cloning from also copy the CAM program/s to the local hard drive and/or USB.

3. Try to get it working on the machine you used for cloning the original drive, old PC's are cheap/free and it's likely the software will only work on something close to it's own era. Running on a virtual machine is possible but probably not likely given the need to interface directly to hardware.

I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time on this but it's probably worth a few hours to preserve the original stuff. Even if you never use it there may be important things there like offsets for backlash, etc.

Cheers,

John
 

north1

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Nix the WD40 and use PB Blaster instead. For this type of application it will do a much better job of penetrating, loosening and lubricating.
 

Crutches56

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Nix the WD40 and use PB Blaster instead. For this type of application it will do a much better job of penetrating, loosening and lubricating.
Totally agree, I'm a huge fan of ob blaster and Kroil for this type of stuff, but I ran out last week in the shop, and wd was all I had. Should be getting more today. Always appreciate the help!
 

markba633csi

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Does that computer have USB ports? You could copy everything to a thumb drive
Mark
 

matthewsx

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I SO hoped that! This computer was made before USB was twinkle in Ajay Bhatt's eye...
Yep, I figured as much. Write down or photograph any configuration pages you can get to in the DOS program, then figure out how to clone that drive.

Or, don't worry about it as you'll be retrofitting everything anyway;)

John
 

Crutches56

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So Im pricing a full setup to completely update the electronics. Motors, drivers, control boards, power supplies etc... I'm a newb so if I come across as dumb.... I am.

The motors on it are 2.1v 8amp motors with a holding torque of 840 Oz in. I'm looking at setups that have 1600 oz in of holding torque, with 5v at 6 (ish) amps. The motors themselves look smaller, but torque is torque. There is no reason those motors wouldn't do well right? If someone asked me that, I would say "absolutely they're fine", but where I'll be coughing up actual money, I want to be sure. Also I plan on removing one to check the what shaft these have so I can replace it correctly.

This is the setup I'm thinking. Give me thoughts, opinions, disclaimers.....

3 1600 oz in (possibly 1841 nema 34, price is similar) stepper motors with drivers as a package deal. 6.2 amp

3 Power supplies: 60v 8amp

6-axis USB ethernet control board compatible with. Mach 3

I want to get Mach 4, will it be compatible with that control board? I don't know why it wouldn't be. Just covering bases.

Brett
 

matthewsx

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So Im pricing a full setup to completely update the electronics. Motors, drivers, control boards, power supplies etc... I'm a newb so if I come across as dumb.... I am.

The motors on it are 2.1v 8amp motors with a holding torque of 840 Oz in. I'm looking at setups that have 1600 oz in of holding torque, with 5v at 6 (ish) amps. The motors themselves look smaller, but torque is torque. There is no reason those motors wouldn't do well right? If someone asked me that, I would say "absolutely they're fine", but where I'll be coughing up actual money, I want to be sure. Also I plan on removing one to check the what shaft these have so I can replace it correctly.

This is the setup I'm thinking. Give me thoughts, opinions, disclaimers.....

3 1600 oz in (possibly 1841 nema 34, price is similar) stepper motors with drivers as a package deal. 6.2 amp

3 Power supplies: 60v 8amp

6-axis USB ethernet control board compatible with. Mach 3

I want to get Mach 4, will it be compatible with that control board? I don't know why it wouldn't be. Just covering bases.

Brett
I'm far from an expert but why change the motors? I doubt Bridgeport undersized them from the factory and as you pointed out they are the most expensive piece. Also they're steppers already, right? So no advantage in changing to bigger steppers if you don't need the power to make your cuts.

A new control board and drivers are going to make life easier but check the power supplies you already have, most of the modern stuff operates in a range of voltages so if the power supplies on the machine will work there's also no advantage to replacing them.

The exception would be if someone has already engineered a complete system that will bolt right up, then it might be worth replacing everything. However, with that fine old iron Bridgeport probably supplied some fine old electrical components as well. Getting pieces that are as high quality as what's on there could be prohibitively expensive. Taking the time to evaluate what you already have is just a matter of spending a few hours with a meter and a pencil.

As for the control board I can't really say without a part number. Lots of folks seem to be happy with the Mesa Electronics stuff, they're here in the states so I would give them a call. They've probably helped people with your exact mill and can steer you in the right direction with all the components they have.

Cheers,

John
 

Crutches56

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Alright... Lots of good updates! It works! The cnc controls, motors, everything works..... I lifted the mill up again and built a tough pallet for it. 3/4 cdx plywood on top of a pallet built for concrete bag mix. Tough. Then strapped the mill to it. Now I can drive it in the shop when I want to work on it, and go put it in the shed when I need the space to do repairs (again, I run an atv/small engine shop). I'm building another building eventually to house this, and it'll have a permanent spot, but that won't be for probably 6 months. I put power to everything but the 3 phase motor, and it all works. I de-chipped the table. And got the knee unstuck tonight found out the key on the knee crank clutch is sheared, and the actual clutch is cracked. But we'll address that another time. Got the spindle un-stuck, and can move the table x and y full length... It's awesome! I think I'll do a pmdx-424 control board, and use the existing drivers....
 

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matthewsx

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Great news!

Don't fix what's already working, if you can get away with just a new control board you're miles ahead in having a working machine.

John
 

Crutches56

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So we have all the heavy rust off the table. But this is what I'm fighting now... I can't get the spindle nut off! I have a few questions if you guys know...
A: what spindle is this? (my guess is bt30?)
B: it's holding an ER chuck, and that comes off, but the main black nut (knurled) will not budge.

It's been soaking in pb blaster, and I've put a spanner on it, put the spindle brake on and pulled. And hit the spanner, but without going nuts, I want to make sure I'm not missing anything. I've been in touch with kennametal, and they said it should have 3 locking screws and you do things with them st certain points to lock this thing, but all the threads don't have bolts. Just half full of dust and junk. They finally said "use force to unlock it"....

Before I start going heavy duty trying to loosen it up, am I missing something simple?

Brett
 

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matthewsx

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See if you can get an exploded diagram, that will tell if you have a mechanical issue or just rust.
 

Crutches56

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See if you can get an exploded diagram, that will tell if you have a mechanical issue or just rust.
This machine has been so modified, I don't know what to look up. The cnc conversion, I learned, was done by the last company who owned this. They did all of it themselves (my buddy helped convert it, but he said he doesn't know what the spindle is)
 

matthewsx

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This machine has been so modified, I don't know what to look up. The cnc conversion, I learned, was done by the last company who owned this. They did all of it themselves (my buddy helped convert it, but he said he doesn't know what the spindle is)
Well, if you have the capability to use ER tooling you could leave it be until you have a better idea of what it is and how to take it apart. I'm sure someone on here will recognize the system and speak up eventually.

John
 

Crutches56

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Updates:
Table is looking awesome. Mostly clear steel across the whole top. There is pitting and rust in the low spots, especially where they sent a drill into the table.

I was there until 1am last night going over wires and my plan. They have line voltage coming in to a transformer, which then feeds a bridge rectifier, which then hits a big capacitor, which then feeds nice filtered DC to all 3 driver boards. It works perfect, I won't change a thing.

They have their 3 phase coming in (I don't have 3 phase) that hits 2 big contactors wired in parallel, which then feeds 3 phase to a breaker, which then feeds 3 phase to the spindle motor. I'll feed 220 to my VFD, which will feed 3 phase to my motor. So those massive contactors will go bye bye and be replaced by a smaller setup for 220 single phase.

Heres the best updates:
I purchased Mach 4 hobby, and downloaded fusion 360 and have been learning them. They're awesome. I took drafting in college for 2 years before going to motorcycle tech school so it was simple for me to pickup. Then I bought a PMDX-424 smart BOB USB control board. This will interface directly to my current driver boards and allow me to run this Bridgeport with my laptop.

IIts all coming together!! Thanks for all your help with this. I'm up to around $1,200 total in what I've spent to get this thing going, but that includes a 6" mill vise I bought, the board, Mach 4, etc... Everything.
 

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rwm

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Could you use the existing 3 phase breaker to interrupt the output of the VFD? What happens if you cycle the VFD power as you describe? Does it restart where it left off?
Robert
 

matthewsx

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Could you use the existing 3 phase breaker to interrupt the output of the VFD? What happens if you cycle the VFD power as you describe? Does it restart where it left off?
Robert
Generally no switches between a VFD and the load. It’s easy enough to manage VFD functions from the CNC control board.
 

Crutches56

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Generally no switches between a VFD and the load. It’s easy enough to manage VFD functions from the CNC control board.
Oh right, I didn't mention: from pmdx, I also got their 407 spindle control board, which plugs into the 424 board. This will be able to control spindle speed from Mach 4 (407 board manages the vfd). My boards should be here this week, and I will be able to start wiring them up. I could possibly be running a program within a week or so!
 
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