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Member postings for The Novice Engineer

Here is a list of all the postings The Novice Engineer has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: emco pc turn 55 conversion to mach3
28/02/2019 22:13:01

Here are some photos of my Emco PC Turn 50 cabinet with the rewired power side , the Rack mounted PC and 5 axis controller, the Drive motor VFD and the Vertex 5 Phase stepper drivers.

I had been using this as test bed for trying out ideas before modifying a Emco PC 50 Mill, The lathe retains the original  Emco 5 phase stepper drive motors and the 3 phase main drive. 

img_20190225_124846.jpgThe transformer was retained to provide 24v for the tool changer. The Vertex drives are 110v and are run form tapping on the primary side of the transformer.



The Power supply at the front is for powering the PC [a Mini ITX dual core running XP off an SSD ..very quick] it also powers the Mach 3 control card, and recently the Tachometer RPM meter


The terminal block is a power take off for testing the RPM Tachometer of the Main drive.


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 28/02/2019 22:13:56

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 28/02/2019 22:18:50

Thread: Emco 50 CNC Mill ...Increasing X and Y table travel ?
28/02/2019 21:39:31

Here is a shot of the parts from the Emco manual, part 19 is the rear cover that operates the Y axis limit/home switch.


28/02/2019 20:40:27

Update 3

Here are some more details of what I modified on the Mill to gain the extra X Y workspace .

Y Axis

This is where the greatest improvement was made. By removing the front Guard and rebending the front of it I gained around 24 mm of movement on the table [when moving to wards the rear column], I also changed the lower cap head screw that secures the cover over the Z ballscrew on the rear column for a low profile dome head, another couple of mm for little effort.

The rear cover [accessed from behind the mill] includes the limit switch actuator for the forward movement [Home position] of the table, this was gently re-bent to allow more movement

Emco PC Mill 50 guard

X Axis

There was slight gain on this axis when moving to the left, by shortening the microswitch actuator rod ,~ 8mm removed. [this operates the limit switch under the right hand cover over the stepper motor]. This allowed the stepper motor assembly to come up to the ball nut housing, I set the switch for about 1mm gap here.


iEmco PC Mill 50 actuator


The other item to be modified was the cable gland fixing for the stepper motor cables. The gland plate was moved back ~ 18mm with a spacer plate. before I did this when the table moved to the maximum right and back the stepper motor cover would jam against the gland.

Emco PC Mill 50 gland


I hope this information will be useful to others.

I will post some information on the electronics I used as another thread.


Edited By The Novice Engineer on 28/02/2019 20:44:49

24/02/2019 22:58:03

Update 2

After altering the covers on the Cross Slide I now have 124mm Y travel , and shortening the switch actuating rod on the RH side I have 205 X travel.

So a useful work area of 204x123 [allowing 0.5 mm at each limit switch before hitting the end stops!].

I have fitted a tapped plate to the table that allows greater flexibility for fixing items down.

Emco CNC 50 Mill

Thread: Rev counter (Tachometer)
24/02/2019 22:21:28

I have fitted one of the eB*y Tacho's to my Emco, although I used a smaller sensor than the one supplied [originally it was fitted to the emco Steppers]. The sensor is fitted into a housing that is stuck around the spindle with industrial double sided foam tape.

I have placed the magnet side on to the sensor, its position is not ideal but it works.



Thread: Metal cutting bandsaw
22/02/2019 20:24:24
Posted by Chris Taylor 3 on 27/01/2019 14:52:26:

I bought the Aldi machine and I'm very happy with it for the price. The only criticism is the "vice" supplied with it, it's ok for holding big chunks, but the overhang is too great for smaller sections. I fitted an old machine vice with modified base and jaws which works well, see photos.

Having bought the Aldi Bandsaw I agree that for the price it is very effective, though as you say the vice leaves something to be desired holding small and irregular items.

I have modified the vice using the body and fitting larger jaws and a threaded rod. With a bit of fettling to clear the saw it meets my needs. Cutting steel sock and sections & aluminium castings are no problem.

Aldi metal bandsaw mod.jpg

Aldi bandsaw vice modification.jpg

Thread: Pensions
21/02/2019 21:29:04

I took early retirement 4 years ago and spent a lot of time crunching numbers with spread sheets, before taking the plunge.

What I noticed was that the pension companies gave me a default option of an Index Linked Pension with 50 % to my spouse upon my demise. This had the lowest starting sum [around 2.5% per year of the money pot with index linked increase every year ~2.5% of the 2.5% !! ]. Reading the smaller print there was up to 5 alternative options.

I chatted to a number of relatives and older friends, their consensus was take the highest payout so that you have the most money to use whilst you still can. As they aged they could do less and spent less. No one in our family has ever made it to living in care ... they just kept going at home then pegged it.

I took the option that gave me the highest starting sum [around 5% per year of the money pot with no increases]].

Running the numbers though the spreadsheet showed that all the options paid out the roughly the same total amount after 22-25 years. The index linked pension with the lowest starting sum would beat the payout of the highest starting pension after this, by which time I would be 83 .... if I was still around!

To maximise my return from my pension pot I took the Tax Free cash [25% of the pot] and put the money into Shares within an ISA [invested with high Dividend shares] which gives tax free returns.

I have another pension yet to take , I shall probably do drawdown with this.

My 2p worth

Good luck

Thread: Emco 50 CNC Mill ...Increasing X and Y table travel ?
14/02/2019 22:39:14

Thanks for the input.

I have had a bit of time to take a look under the covers. I reduced the stepper current so I can run to dead stops without causing damage. Then disabled the limit switches.

At first glance the Y axis can be extended by modifying the Front and Rear covers to give around ~120mm.

Gaining more movement on the X axis is a bit more limited , moving to the left running up to the ball nut is possible to gain ~8mm. Moving to the right the limitation is the stepper motor hitting the case side. There is a Cap Head screw under the Table that is the physical stop, [it appears to hit the Ball Nut housing] removing this an option.

A little more time later this weekend.


12/02/2019 23:27:44


I have had the Mill now for a year or so and love what it can do.

During my conversion of the mill from Emco control to Mach3 I did alter the limit switches to gain about 6-8mm on each axis, however I now find I am hitting the limit of what I can machine in a ~198x 95 work area.

I was recently looking at making some spoked wheels ~ 4" dia and before that cutting out a 4"x8" control panel. Both times disappointed . Trying to machine the part in 2 setups wasn't really good enough. [An optical finder is on my build list !]

I was thinking that I could maybe replace the ball screws and push the work area upto 275 x 125.

Has anyone got any experience of doing a modification like this?

Thanks Steve

Thread: Threading a bar for 6ba
07/02/2019 17:11:44

Try here for 6BA Studding

or click on the link below


Thread: 3D Printing using Flexible Filament
05/02/2019 22:41:51


I found the information here from Madhackers very useful

or use this **LINK**

I bought some Priline TPU filament from Amazon and spent a few hours finding the best setting printing a variety of 20mm cubes.

The the standard Leapfrog Creatr feed mechanism seems to be able to feed the flexible filament OK so far.

I created a profile for the Filament that had a higher temp than PLA [240 C] and increased the Extrusion multiplier to 1.15.

The setting for the Print profile was created using a much lower speed setting , Max speed 30mm/sec down to 10 mm/sec.

There is probably scope for tweeking as I print different projects.


Thread: emco pc turn 55 conversion to mach3
03/02/2019 20:56:49


I've converted an Emco Turn 50 to run of Mach3 a while back, ripped out all the Emco controls but kept the original Main Drive motor and stepper motor's.

I used a Generic Chinese [E-bay] parallel port interface controller card, Vertex 5 phase stepper drives, and a Omron VFD .

It was mostly re-wiring rather than building new electronics.

I run off a Windows XP pc the Operating System has been stripped down to the essentials and NEVER connect it to a network or the Internet. [Mach 3 control via the Parallel Port only works under XP or 2000. Windows 7 and above should use a USB interface card]

The Main drive is under manual control as is the Tool changer, Mach 3 looks after the X and Z axis.

So far this has done every thing I have asked of it, including taper turning, threading .... the awkward stuff ...etc.!!!

I use Fusion 360 for the CAD - CAM, and the Mach3 Wizards for simple stuff.


Thread: 3D Printing using Flexible Filament
31/01/2019 23:08:17

I'm looking at making some Lens covers [ for Camera and Telescope Lenses ] has anyone got any advice and experience of using Flexible filament.

Here is an example of the type of cap


Any recommendations on manufacturers of good [ and duff] filaments would also be welcome

My 3D printer is a Leapfrog Creatr.



Thread: Electronic advice
31/01/2019 22:46:47

Try this


for more choice


Thread: Fitting a Reversing Switch to a Motor on a Myford Lathe
31/01/2019 22:29:31

Posted by Mike Donnerstag 1 on 31/01/2019 20:09:25:

I assume a VFD with a new 3-phase motor would be around £400?? Also, do the VFDs all create that horrible high-pitched whine?

I picked up a 2nd hand 1 hp 3 phase motor and a 0.75 kW VFD off E-Bay for under £150 for both. The bargains are there , just got to look and be patient if cost is important. I made the control box using parts from Maplins for around £20. I use CPC Farnell to get my parts now

There was no high pitch whine when running, a very controlled start and a quick stop.

Be aware that some VFD's can have problems tripping domestic RCD's with their inrush current when first turned on.

The combination has worked faultlessly for a couple of years. ........however do not try and run the Myford in Reverse at anything other than slow speed ...... the chucks do spin off ........ !


Thread: Metal cutting bandsaw
26/01/2019 00:17:37

Looking for a better way to part off 3" Aluminium [too deep for my parting tools!] and the Kennedy Hexacut hacksaw is only good for 2" .

Looking on this Forum and else where I came across this

and another version

Its getting packed in my workshop so size is a consideration

Its got to be worth a punt so I've ordered one.

Anybody else used one ?


Thread: Cutting a large chunk of nice aluminium into workable pieces
21/01/2019 23:00:52

I successfully cut some 20mm Al plate on my Draper 350 Band Saw [this is NOT a dedicated metal cutting band saw] with a 6TPI blade, it helps to have a vacuum cleaner to suck up the chips

I also like to clean up any chips that get in side on to the rubber tyres before they get embedded.

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 21/01/2019 23:01:21

Thread: Using a heatbed froma 3D printer to control condensation on my machines
23/08/2018 22:44:37

My solution to sorting out condensation in my unheated workshop was a De-humidifier that had originally been used to dry out a new build extension.

The machine tools were kept nice and rust free.

As a bonus It collected gallons of pure water, ideal for the steam boiler

Thread: PLA Filament Breakage
23/08/2018 22:11:21

I had a reel of Black PLA 1.75mm that appeared to have brittle regions, it would print OK for a while then I would come back and find it had snapped !

I did place it in the slow oven of the Rayburn for a couple of hours to dry out, no real solution it would break again after a few hours of printing

In the end I just put it in the bin rather than spending any more time or loose any more days with failed prints.

IT was the only brittle problem reel I've had in 3 years of 3D printing [Can't recall the make/brand]

I keep my reels in plastic bags with the silica gel bags, and if the printer isn't to be used for a while I will remove the reel and bag it.

Thread: Any tips for Machining (turning down) a Hardened (60c) shaft on a Myford 7
17/07/2018 22:41:09

Just a quick update.

I sucessfully completed the job using CCGT 09 carbide tool running at 300 RPM with a 30' (0.75mm) depth of cut working dry. The swarf came off cleanly and a dark blue colour. The surface was rough but I was then able to use another CCGT tool at 1800 RPM to clean up the shaft to finish size.

Thanks for all your responses, gave me confidence to get stuck in !

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