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For Sale: Denford Orac

Date added: 16/05/2022 17:38:43

  • Category: CNC
  • Year: 1983
  • Price: £2,250.00

I am selling my Denford Orac CNC lathe. This has been completely renewed with modern control components, electronics and software. It is ready to plug into any computer via USB and start machining. It runs of a single phase plug. These are very well built, rigid accurate lathes with chunky roller spindle bearings, hardened and ground bedways and double nutted precision ground ball-screws. They have a center height of 4”, a 3 jaw Japanese chuck, MT2 tailstock and a manual topslide. This also comes with a swiss toolpost and 2 toolholders. I also have another chuck backplate if you wanted to fit a 4 jaw. It runs very quietly – no noisy gears to worry about. In terms of capacity it is slightly larger than a Myford but much more rigid. The basic lathe was in good mechanical condition when I got it, with no noticeable wear or dings on bed or slideways. It had been stored for many years and the paintwork had suffered. I completely disassembled it, removed all the original electrics and control electronics and ditched the original front with the CRT screen, keyboard and tape deck. I pulled the main spindle bearings, checked, cleaned and regreased and cleaned the ball-screws and nuts. The front panel has been replaced with a piece of 3mm steel, which also acts to stiffen the lathe chassis. I decided to completely renew the control system of the lathe and the only thing I retained was the original 3 phase main spindle motor as it’s a quality item. I use Mach3 on my milling machine but it is getting long in the tooth now and a bit buggy. I did a lot of research and opted for the PlanetCNC setup. It is very nice to use and runs on Windows, Mac or Linux. It works with PlanetCNC’s own control boards so it all works together with no hassles. Online support and documentation is excellent. I used the PlanetCNC MK3 4 axis USB board plus their output board to control the main spindle. I purchased new stepper motors and matching DM556 drivers for each axis and a new power supply. These give ample torque to run a lathe of this size. The main spindle drive is controlled by a Mitsubishi D700 single phase to 3 phase digital inverter wired to the PlanetCNC output board. The spindle can be started, stopped and speed changed via G code or the PlanetCNC UI. The controller is wired up to an optical rev counter that feeds back the actual spindle speed to the controller and allows it to adjust for accurate threading etc. New microswitches were installed as limit switches. The controller boards, inverter etc. are all wired in neatly and mounted in the space under the lathe. I made a big effort to reduce interference by using a mains filter, high quality USB cable and correctly grounding all shielding for control cables. All wiring is very neat and secure and everything is mounted on a secondary sub frame that can be un-screwed and slid out as a whole unit if you need to do any electrical work. I have added a photo as best I can. I must stress I am not an electrician though. There is a single 3-pin plug and a main switch to turn everything on. There is an emergency stop button wired in that stops the 2 axes and main drive immediately and signals the PlanetCNC control. There is also an LED worklight built in. I purchased a PlanetCNC license that will come with the lathe. I have tweaked all the settings so it all runs smoothly and they can be transferred to the new owner. The software itself can be freely downloaded and installed on Windows, Mac or Linux and connects to the control board via a USB connection (you need the license to run more than 25 lines of code). I have been running this on my Windows laptop but I need to keep the laptop really. I have also run this on a Raspberry PI with no issues. If you don’t have any suitable computer I may be able to help. The software is really nice and works well with a lathe, I have done threading in Aluminium using G-Code and it worked fine. I had a few improvements in mind - purchase a 7 inch touchscreen, install it in the front panel and put a Raspberry PI behind. The lathe would then be completely standalone. The other is a solid toolpost mount to replace the existing topslide. I have seen a few designs online and it would make the lathe much more rigid and allow you to use larger tools – I am not sure of the value of a topslide on a CNC lathe. I have purchased a big chunk of CI for this as well as a new piston type toolpost and holders from ARC EuroTrade – I started the work but never got round to finishing it. I am happy to throw these in with the lathe at the right price. Other improvements would be a wireless MPG controller – PlanetCNC sell these fairly cheap and it would give manual control as well. Overall I spent a lot of money on components as well as a lot of time doing this build. I am delighted with the results but I always intended to sell when it was done. Happy to send a video of this running or better still just pop round. I would be happy to help someone get up and running with this if needed and happy to help load this to your transport, it would fit into a hatchback but is pretty heavy (130kg maybe). All that is needed to start machining is to install the software on a suitable computer, load the settings file I will provide, plug in the USB lead and turn on the lathe.

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