Tree Journeyman 425 CNC milling machine control retrofit

slodat

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Thought I’d share my my cnc milling machine build. This is copied over from another forum. I just found Hobby Machinist a few weeks ago.. Forgive me, some of the writeup may be past tense, considering the mill is up and running now.

I’ve wanted a cnc milling machine (and lathe) for a long time. After converting my router to Centroid Acorn, I knew I wanted my other machines to run their control as well. Mill was 150 miles away. Weighs 6000 pounds, CAT40 spindle taper, oiler, coolant, Baldor DC servos, 7.5 HP spindle. Turned out to be a perfect candidate for control retrofit and will be a great first cnc mill for my shop. Seller needed it out of his shop. I got it for scrap value or a little under.

I got a pdf of the original control schematics from ZPS. They own the remaining Tree CNC stuff. They have been great for a few items I needed.

Original plan was Centroid AllInOneDC, Ended up going with Centroid Acorn. Mostly due to cost, and I wanted new servos instead of messing with the old DC servos. I am limited to single phase supply into a VFD for the spindle.

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Made it to my shop without incident.

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Delta 20 control.

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The seller had a 4k forklift. It took everything it had to get the mill loaded on the trailer.

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Picked from the top with both forks together. Two straps and a clevis mostly leveled the load.
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Lifting it to get the steel bar cribbing out was the limit of the forklift.
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Load was in the sweet spot for the trailer.
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Tied down secure and ready to roll.
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Stopped to check things out. No issues. Drove between 30 and 55 mph on two lane backroads the whole way home.

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Made it home just as the sun set. Twelve hours round trip.
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Rented a 10k telehandler to unload.
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Same rigging as the day before to pick it.
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Coming up to the shop door.
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We set it back on the 3” square tubing it was on at the sellers shop and picked it up from the bottom and drove it in the shop. It’s sitting on the tubing now. I’ll lower it off the tubing onto round bar with a toe jack and roll it into place on the bar. Once it’s in place the toe jacks lift and set it on the ground.

Looks like good bones. Needs a thorough cleaning and a complete electrical rebuild. Lots of useable parts in the original control. PO said spindle VFD has failed.

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Spent several hours and a gallon of cleaner scrubbing the coolant and grime off the mill today. Will need another pass of cleaning. After getting a closer look, I’m still happy with the machine. Should work well for my needs.

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Not sure what this motor is on the X axis. It’s not the same as the Baldor on the Y.

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Cleaning that dirty old beast was no easy task!

Schematics in hand I set out to test the control. It powered up, all faults cleared and I was able to reference the machine.

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The Dynapath Delta 20 control worked. The spindle drive had failed. I was able to sell the original control for about twice what I paid for the mill.

I tested the spindle on an inexpensive 10hp HY VFD. It did fine for testing, but I wouldn't run this big spindle motor on one and expect it to last.

I wonder what the old drive’s life was like..

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slodat

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Removed the Dynapath Delta 20 Control and servo drivers. The cabinets were like the rest of the machine. Absolutely filthy. A little better after some cleaning.

I originally thought I could put the new control in one cabinet. Once things started going together I was really happy to have both cabinets. Plenty of room to work and no electrical noise/interference issues.

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First step is to do a bench test of everything to make sure all is working prior to installation. Really helps when troubleshooting later on. All went well. Next step was to blow this apart and start the build out. Since I know people love photos..

(It’s bench testing. Not final work. I used chunks of wire I keep in a box for stuff like this. I know it’s a rats nest ;)

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Had a bit of drama with one of the motor pulleys. Found a used one at ZPS. They have been awesome for info and parts.

Next came panel layout. I really like the way it’s setup with the VFD and input power in one and control in the other. There’s tons of room, existing venting for the VFD heat sink, etc.

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AC power section taking shape:
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Progress on the controls side:

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Cut the slot for the cable pass through. This is a Centroid item. Really slick.

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Starting to look like something.

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Start of the control panel. Used a chunk of 1/4 aluminum I got from the scrap yard. Was some sort of sign. It’s turning out how I had it pictured.

I need to weld the lcd bracket standoffs to the front plate, engrave the lettering and sort out the mounting holes.

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Engraving the letters went well. Metabo burnisher did a great job on the scrap aluminum.

It’s mounted.

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Used sharpie markers to color in the letters. Worked great!
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Powered up the control for the first time. Control panel is in and working. Lots left. Nice to see the screen up and running.

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The Intel NUC front panel is accessible from the side away from the spindle. The opening was existing.

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Received the Hitachi SJ-P1 drive for the spindle. This is a very nice drive. And, they are rated for single phase supply to very high HP levels. I bought the P1-00800-LFUF 15kW model rated for 31a output continuous when powered from single phase. Drive comes with bracket for wall or through wall mounting which places the heat sink and fans outside the enclosure. This is how the original drive was mounted when it was new. I had to open up the hole a little.

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The spindle motor has an encoder and Hitachi has an encoder interface option for the P1 drive. I think I’m going to give closed loop sensor vector a try and see what that’s like. I’ll also have a chance to run the thermistor wire to the drive when I run the encoder wire and replace the motor main leads with modern VFD cable.

I wanted the spindle fan to run for a few minutes after the spindle stops, so I ordered an off delay timer. I replicated the spindle FWD and REV outputs to drive the spindle fan contactor with an interposing relay.

The machine is getting close. I’ll get the probe receptacle and spindle load meter wired and I’ll be pretty much done with the conversion. Very happy with the machine thus far.

Short video of the spindle and drive doing their thing.


Getting close to completing the mill build. Still a few details. Got the way covers cut out of rubber sheet. Looks like it will do the job. Touch probe receptacle is in and the probe works great with the built in probing cycles.

This was a bore probing cycle on a 1.0000 Mitutoyo ring gauge.

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Plan is to make a keyboard tray/mount like so:
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Starting to look the part. Next up is getting the table chip enclosure back on.

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For the most part, the mill is ready to use. As I type that I realize I have some tidying up to do with the air stuff and the wire trough cover.

Used it for a real job tonight. The Y axis cover needed clearance for the position of the new motor pulley. There is a knockout in the cover. Used the probe to locate the existing hole. Mind blowing how well this works! I’ll make an appropriate cover for the opening.

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As it sits now with chip shields in place. The table is really high when close to the quill. 48” in these photos.

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Started making some chips. Looks like I need to dial in the turns/inch a bit better. I may have forgotten to check it and dial it in. Things are looking good otherwise.

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Sorted out a keyboard tray. This was a nice upgrade over it getting moved around a lot. And, cleaned the chip guards up and reinstalled. They make a big difference.

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Hopefully I’ll get it dialed in a little better tomorrow and make some more chips!

Had an issue where I thought my Z axis was accumulating error. After the suggestion from the Centroid forum, I checked if I was losing steps between Acorn and DYN4. I had been through this before on my router. I incorrectly assumed this would get fixed based on my experience a year ago. Nonetheless, it was short work to modify the DMM DYN4 -> Acorn cables and switch to the Acorn step/direction signals on the DB25. Once I did that all was well. No more lost steps between Acorn and DYN4.

At that point I needed to go through the axis calibration and backlash measurement. That went well. Lastly, I dialed in my Hallmark ITTP again now that the machine was moving as the control commanded. I'm happy to say I made the part I've been using to test this all out. Part turned out good. Two sided part using two WCS. Fusion 360 for CAD and CAM. Really happy with Fusion for CAM on the mill.

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Some of the various pieces of scrap I made diagnosing issues and dialing it in:

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Installed:

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The side of the mill control panel has an existing opening with a small cover. I mounted the new control pc behind this opening. This leaves the front panel of the NUC CNC PC accessible. It's on the far side from the spindle, so no coolant or chips to worry about. I sold the original Dynapath 20 stuff on ebay. All in all, I am very happy with the mill, the retrofit, etc. I highly recommend the Hitachi SJ-P1 drives!
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The cover:
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Some measuring and drawing:
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Point and click:
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slodat

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The mill has been done for a year now. It has been completely reliable and is a pleasure to use. I have kept the CNC12 software updated as the releases come out. Centroid is very active in development and listening to their customers. I'm very happy with the machine and highly recommend this sort of thing if it's what you are into.

I have a Hardinge lathe with an Accuslide CNC conversion that I'm working on a very similar conversion. I'll post a thread about it soon.

I welcome comments, questions, etc.
 
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FOMOGO

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Very impressive work. I'm still waiting to dip my little toe into CNC with my plasma cutting table, but have to finish up the shop first. Mike
 

ArmyDoc

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So, as a retrofit of an existing CNC, you didn't have to replace the ball screws, just the servos? If you don't mind my asking, how much did the conversion end up costing?
 

slodat

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So, as a retrofit of an existing CNC, you didn't have to replace the ball screws, just the servos? If you don't mind my asking, how much did the conversion end up costing?
Correct. I did not replace the ball screws. I replaced almost everything electrical with a few exceptions - spindle motor, limit switches, pneumatic solenoid and pressure switch, etc. I believe I spent somewhere around $8k all told on the control retrofit. The spindle drive can run the motor full load indefinitely on 240v single phase supply. That drive was a bit more money because of the upsizing needed for the single phase supply.

Retrofitting a machine like this results in a very good machine for around the same money as the lowest end Tormach or a retrofitted benchtop machine. Let me know if you have more questions. It's a lot to dive into. I'm happy to share what I've learned.
 

Papa Charlie

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Impressive work. I have built a lot of electrical controls and equipment from scratch. Of course a lot of it was relays and such over CNC as it was years ago. I really enjoyed going through this thread and seeing the forethought and execution of the retro. Very nice work.

I am looking forward to having my shop again when I retire next year. Been playing with CNC controls on some Stepper Motors as a learning process. The goal will be to build my own Plasma table so hoping this learning I am doing will help prevent a lot of costly mistakes/
 

slodat

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Impressive work. I have built a lot of electrical controls and equipment from scratch. Of course a lot of it was relays and such over CNC as it was years ago. I really enjoyed going through this thread and seeing the forethought and execution of the retro. Very nice work.

I am looking forward to having my shop again when I retire next year. Been playing with CNC controls on some Stepper Motors as a learning process. The goal will be to build my own Plasma table so hoping this learning I am doing will help prevent a lot of costly mistakes/
We aren't terribly far from one another. Let me know if you're ever over on the other side of the state. I'm a high voltage protective relay craftsman by trade, so that helps with some of this stuff. Thank you for the kind words. These machines are a lot of fun to retrofit. And, they are MUCH better than a benchtop or Tormach if you're so inclined and have the space. A CNC plasma is on my want list. I think I'm going to buy one already done though. I don't have the equipment to machine the frame the way I would want. Sparq Robotics makes a nice machine with linear rail motion. Cheers!
 
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