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Stepper motor and driver supplier recomendations

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Andrew Evans20/01/2020 08:46:23
313 forum posts
8 photos

I am doing a complete rebuild of a Denford Orac - can anyone recomend a good UK based supplier for stuff like quality stepper motors, drivers etc? I was thinking of Gecko drivers and a smooth-stepper interface.

Any advice is welcome. Andy

John Haine20/01/2020 09:23:12
3021 forum posts
160 photos

Zapp Automation for stepper motors. But consider if you really need to replace them - I built new driver electronics for a Denford Novamill using the bog standard 2M542 drivers and keeping the original motors. There's no sign that it's short of torque on the axis drives.

I suspect that there are now much better drivers than Gecko around based on the latest generation of stepper driver ICs (unless Gecko have also updated).  Maybe ask on mycncuk?

Edited By John Haine on 20/01/2020 09:24:37

Andrew Evans20/01/2020 10:32:50
313 forum posts
8 photos

Thanks John. I have considered keeping the existing steppers and drives. The lathe has been in storage for at least 15 years and some of the electronics looked a bit dodgy so I have taken it all out and just thought I would get better results with a new, more powerful spindle drive, steppers and drivers. I want to do threading in steel. Previously I converted a Starturn to run with Mach3 using the original motors and it did struggle cutting steel to any depth.

I will look at Zapp

Alistair Robertson 120/01/2020 11:17:54
89 forum posts
6 photos


I have a Denford Orac which I converted to Mach 3 using the existing steppers but used a couple of generic type drivers. I found they were powerful enough to do anything that could be mounted in the lathe. I fitted a Smoothstepper Board and found that the Orac runs a lot smoother since then. I control the spindle with a Seimens VFD and I find that the programmed speed is correct within a couple of revs, in fact as good as the spindle on the Haas TL1 at work! I used the original index pulse and I can thread beautifully and have thread from 1/8" BSP to 30 mm x 6 trapazoidal successfully. I also have a Denford Novamill converted to Mach3 and the original steppers and drives have never run out of power or accuracy but she settings in Mach3 must be spot-on.

Andrew Evans22/01/2020 15:02:11
313 forum posts
8 photos

Thanks Alistair - I have now completely stripped the lathe, it was so dirty it needed doing. Where did you get your smoothstepper and drivers from?

Alistair Robertson 122/01/2020 17:28:36
89 forum posts
6 photos

Hi, Andrew.

I bought the CW8060 60 volt drivers and the 60 volt power supply from

The Ethernet Smooth Stepper I got from from Amadeal.

The Break-out Board I got from Machdrives in Australia. This is a very good board with a very stable 0 - 10 volt output to control a Siemens Micromaster 6SE Variable Frequency Drive which drives the original GEC 3 phase motor. The spindle pulses come from the original Orac and if the Mach3 settings are correct it is excellent.

I have cut a 30mm diameter x 5mm pitch (not 6mm as I said before) trapezoidal thread at 200 rpm and though it is scary to look at everything worked fine for the 150mm long shaft.

petro1head27/01/2020 13:03:49
736 forum posts
143 photos


John Haine27/01/2020 14:11:25
3021 forum posts
160 photos

Not exactly UK based...

mgnbuk27/01/2020 14:55:16
746 forum posts
60 photos

Not exactly UK based...

But they do ship from several locations, the UK being one of them. I bought a 3Nm motor from them last year & it was delivered in a couple of days from the UK location.

Nigel B

Nick Hulme27/01/2020 23:29:11
743 forum posts
37 photos

+1 for Zapp Automation, excellent supplier.

Andrew Evans08/02/2020 21:30:59
313 forum posts
8 photos

Thanks, this is really helpful. I have completely stripped the lathe and cleaned it all up. The slides and ballscrews all seem to be in excellent condition with all the original scraping marks still visible. It is a really well made lathe.

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