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CNC converting

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Mathew Stewart29/01/2015 20:43:10
5 forum posts

Ive just signed up to this forum so am new to this.

I would just like to find some more information about converting my lathe to a CNC control one and some advice on the subject thanks


Emgee29/01/2015 22:23:06
2404 forum posts
285 photos

Hi Mathew

It would be best if you state the size of lathe you have, possibly the make and model, someone may have already been there and done it.


Another JohnS29/01/2015 23:01:52
832 forum posts
56 photos

Matthew; if you want to see a small lathe - I did a Unimat SL lathe using LinuxCNC for control - there is a link **LINK** that will give you some of the info on it.

I did use a Gecko G540 for stepper motor control, which is a bit "over the top" but I had it, and it does work very well.

I do have an Emco Compact-8 to CNC-ize, one of these years!

Maybe the Unimat stuff in my link above will give you some food for thought.


Paul Boscott30/01/2015 08:29:03
99 forum posts
21 photos

I have just updated my mill and was very impressed with the help I got from CNC4YOU Ltd MK

Mathew Stewart30/01/2015 10:05:13
5 forum posts

My lathe is chester machine tools crusader lathe. But one of my big worrys is that if i convert it will make unpractable for one off or repair were need to feel the touch on the dials

Bazyle30/01/2015 12:03:52
6295 forum posts
222 photos

Why do you want a CNC lathe? Are you planning to mass produce round things?
A CNC mill is much more useful and if you haven't got a mill then the money is better spent getting a manual one.

If it is a training excercise you could start with a smaller lathe to avoid compromising your main one.

Mathew Stewart30/01/2015 14:56:31
5 forum posts

yes i am planing some mass production. i also have a chester machine tools turret mill i just thought it would be easy to start of converting the lathe first.

Another JohnS31/01/2015 03:48:28
832 forum posts
56 photos


Very recently I purchased the digital subscription to Model Engineers' Workshop.

Lots of "Look how I've converted my lathe/mill to CNC" articles with detailed plans. (not my cup of tea; I'd rather make the plans myself!)

A fellow called John Pace (IIRC) did a 10" lathe to CNC - you might find the digital subscription, with access to all of the back issues, to be money well spent.

Certainly lots of good ideas there for those starting out.


John Haine31/01/2015 07:17:37
4622 forum posts
273 photos

Hello Matthew,

i have converted my Super 7 to CNC, I can find and post you a link to some description I put up on the mycncuk forum. I also have some photos I can post here. I think the arguments for cnc-ing a lathe are quite strong, quite apart from mass production. For example, more versatile threading, faster threading, shapes like spheres and tapers and more general profiles without all the bother of special attachments, I've posted here about profiling gear cutters which is a doddle and much more versatile than the standard button method, and so on.


John Haine31/01/2015 09:29:03
4622 forum posts
273 photos


Matthew, link is above.

Another JohnS31/01/2015 11:54:40
832 forum posts
56 photos

John Haine - interesting link, thanks for that.

The guys at work (doing scientific prototypes) are an interesting bunch; two thoughts from talking to them:

1) They can't understand why we'd have a manual mill;

2) They do have manual lathes, but,

3) the CNC lathes have two hand wheels (MPGs) on the front, for manual operation. (the lathes are enclosed, of course, so MPGs are not on the aprons)

John Stewart.

John Haine31/01/2015 13:38:51
4622 forum posts
273 photos

Yes, I have a couple of mpg's to fit once I've put a ballscrew on the z axis. It is fiddly but possible to use the x-box controller I have for jogging for manual ops but mpg's will be more intuitive.

Another JohnS31/01/2015 17:47:57
832 forum posts
56 photos
Posted by John Haine on 31/01/2015 13:38:51:

Yes, I have a couple of mpg's to fit once I've put a ballscrew on the z axis. It is fiddly but possible to use the x-box controller I have for jogging for manual ops but mpg's will be more intuitive.

Totally agree! I got rid of my game controllers because there is definitely something about twiddling a handle to mimic movement of an axis on one of our machines. Maybe decades of manual machining has re-mapped my brain, but using a game controller did not work well for me.

(Matthew - hope you are reading this - relevant to your original question)

Mathew Stewart31/01/2015 18:11:10
5 forum posts

Thanks guys for all the info and links. It's given me some things to look into. it's big job to take on so i want to do the the reach first. but is there any company that actually fit all the CNC gear?

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