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Brian Abbott07/10/2021 13:23:10
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491 forum posts
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Hello all.

Ive been thinking for a while about dipping my toe so to speak into home cnc milling.

Anyone any experience of Wabeco machines?

Thanks

Brian H07/10/2021 13:49:54
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2312 forum posts
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Hello Brian (that's a nice name!), cannot help with your specific question but I would also like to dabble so hopefully someone who knows more than we do will be along soon.

Brian

Martin Connelly07/10/2021 15:08:44
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If you go on YouTube and look up "Build Your Own CNC!" by This Old Tony he CNCed an Etch-a-sketch to show the basics of CNCing a machine. I think it is a reasonable primer on the process.

Martin C

Edited By Martin Connelly on 07/10/2021 15:09:10

John Hinkley07/10/2021 16:08:21
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When I won a Shapeoko 3D router, I found myself in the position of not knowing anything about cnc except for the very basic principles. I was reasonably competent at producing "models" in Alibre Atom and used that experience to generate gcode for use with the Shapeoko. I downloaded Fusion 360 for free and although it meant learning a bit of Fusion 360, I became au fait with a lot of cnc terms - like adaptive clearing, 2D contours and suchlike. At least you could have a dabble for little or no outlay and "see" on screen how you would produce a particular part, using the simulate function in Fusion manufacture. The last thing I would do is go out and buy a machine to practice on - if that is what you are suggesting. Sounds a tad expensive to me. I made a short series of videos on my progress and lack of it on YouTube, starting here:

There are numerous other videos, most much more professionally made than mine. if you search for them, that should give you an insight into what you might be letting yourself in for. Jason Bellamy uses a cnc mill and gets excellent results, as you would expect, as well as giving good advice on here, of which you would be well advised to take heed.
Good luck,
John

JasonB07/10/2021 16:16:46
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From Previous posts on here the Wabeco machines seem to perform well, have a look back for posts by barrie Lever. Though I do know someone who was not that impressed with his manual Wabeco mill, seems to be let down by the electrics rather than the mechanicals.

I think any new ready to use mill based machines will be quite expensive to buy but the gantry type machines with router or high speed spindle can be a bit more reasonably priced. Also if you are upto the electronics side of things old Denford or Emco machines can be updated and perform well.

John Haine07/10/2021 17:40:43
4631 forum posts
273 photos

+1 for Denford, I have a Novamill with my own built electronics.

Emgee07/10/2021 18:38:55
2404 forum posts
285 photos

+1 for Emco and Denford cnc machines, I regularly use an Emco F1 cnc mill, a Compact 5 cnc lathe and a Denford Orac cnc lathe which is a bit bigger than the Emco 5.

All are simple to use and can be converted to modern control systems with minimum outlay, they already have adjustable ball screws fitted to both axis, 3 axis on the F1 mill.

I currently have 2 Emco Compact 5 cnc lathes ready for conversion for anyone interested.

Emgee

Brian Abbott08/10/2021 13:18:43
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491 forum posts
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Thanks guys for taking the timing to reply.

I have looked at the option of converting a manual mill into a cnc but to be honest i don't want the head ache.

Maybe a second hand Denford or something similar in working ready to go condition is the way to go otherwise i would be looking at spending maybe 6K plus.

Thanks all.

John Haine08/10/2021 13:52:59
4631 forum posts
273 photos

There's a Novamill at just over a grand on eBay at the moment, Mach3 converted. Has a machined riser block fitted to increase the Z height too. Otherwise working Denfords are generally pretty expensive, ~5k. I was lucky (in retrospect) to get a Novalmill without its electronics for £600, built much more modern drivers for less than 200.

You could also get a new chassis with ballscrews fiited like this one from CNC4YOU. £2648, then you'd have to fit the steppers & electronics but could probably be done for considerably less than their kit if you feel capable.

Stuart Smith 508/10/2021 14:01:13
274 forum posts
40 photos

Brian

There is a Denford micro mill in the ‘For Sale’ section on this site if that’s what you want. ( not mine, just noticed it!)

Stuart

Alan Kinsey09/10/2021 19:57:20
5 forum posts

Hi

I'm also looking for a bench top CNC mill, I'm looking at a second hand Denford Triac but becouse of the age you don't know if you are buying a heap of problems. Also moving and transporting is difficult.

I am fairly confident on the mechanical side of the conversion, but not the electronics as there is so much choice of components' and settings.

I have priced a complete kit from CNC4YOU that is almost plug and play, but its nearly 5K, but you do get 19"X7"X13" working envelope.

Cheers Alan

2

AJAX09/10/2021 20:03:59
368 forum posts
42 photos
Posted by Alan Kinsey on 09/10/2021 19:57:20:

Hi

I'm also looking for a bench top CNC mill, I'm looking at a second hand Denford Triac but becouse of the age you don't know if you are buying a heap of problems. Also moving and transporting is difficult.

I am fairly confident on the mechanical side of the conversion, but not the electronics as there is so much choice of components' and settings.

I have priced a complete kit from CNC4YOU that is almost plug and play, but its nearly 5K, but you do get 19"X7"X13" working envelope.

Cheers Alan

2

Lack of software and incompatibility with modern operating systems is another problem too. Maybe I'm wrong but haven't I heard that denford software is difficult to obtain? For example, if the machine was originally for the school market.

Yet another Brian

JasonB09/10/2021 20:08:56
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From what I have seen most seem to be fairly good mechanically but all the electronics and software are dated so that is what really needs to be changed rather than a mechanical conversion unless you happen to get one that has had a hard working life.

Which of the CNC4YOU kits was that cost based on a mill conversion or one of their own machines? Sounds a useful X, Y size, I have reached my 135mm Y max on a few occasions.

Edited By JasonB on 09/10/2021 20:10:03

Martin Connelly09/10/2021 20:27:11
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2123 forum posts
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My Y is about 180mm but I recently made something that had to be done in two paths with the part rotated 180°. I put a couple of dowels through the waste part to set it up parallel to the T slots and then set zero on one of them. Worked out ok but it was wood and could be sanded to smooth out any disjointedness.

Martin C

Alan Kinsey09/10/2021 20:34:01
5 forum posts

CNC4YOU KIT

MM25 CNC FF Mill with machanical conversion, Control box N23 4Axis, 4.5 mn Stepper motors, Laptop with Mack 3 installed and proximity switches. almost 5K.

John Haine09/10/2021 20:42:13
4631 forum posts
273 photos

The Denford software is no longer supported and anyway ran on dated PC hardware and OS. You can find complete systems with a PC included on eBay but it would be a nightmare when the PC expires. But the Denford mechanics are superb, so if you could get a machine without the electronics (as I did) or were prepared to junk what comes with it it's easy to update that side of the machine with a new PC, BoB, stepper drivers etc and run a modern controller. (Ideally NOT Mach 3). May not be necessary to renew the stepper drives, as I know it's possible to get at them using the exiting board, but modern drivers are much improved.

Sir John was a great advocate of these all-in-one Chinese controllers (actually they don't have the stepper drives but those are relatively cheap) and I believe he upgraded a number of Denford machines at various universities - there's a description somewhere on this site.

I initially had a plan of making a raising block for my Novamill, but actually haven't yet had a need, especially since I found some BT30 finger collets which gives me ~50mm extra daylight at a stroke.

ChrisLH09/10/2021 20:42:21
29 forum posts
1 photos

Brian, I have had a Wabeco with CNC since 2004. It works OK for me doing 2D and manual work. It uses the software supplied at the time (PCLathe/Mill PLUS) which is fine once you have put the initial learning effort in like all these things. However the software is no longer supported (support which I've never needed) so I suppose it's supplied with something more up to date these days. The machine is quite rigid but I do have some mechanical niggles which I've learned to live with. Not everything German is perfect !

If you need further info about my experience, please PM me.

Chris LH

JasonB09/10/2021 20:46:45
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Similar size to my KX3 which does loose a bit of Y movement due the stepper being nicely hidden away at the base of the column rather than stuck out the front.

When I did the big frywheel pattern I toyed with the idea of indexing the part but as it would have needed 4 or 5 positions I opted for doing each of the six spoke separately.

Michael Callaghan09/10/2021 21:16:07
49 forum posts

Cnc, a nice thing to have in the workshop. I have a warco milling machine conversion and a Denford 2600 router which I converted to Mach3. But which machine is best, is a big question. Like all machines there are work arounds. But with cnc machines, some things are more important then others. What materials do you wish to machine. Spindle speed is important, high speeds are ok for small cutters, but not much good machining steel or hard materials with larger cutters. You need a rigid machine from the off. If you wish to machine names plates a small mill will do the job well. If motion parts for a 5 inch gauge loco a larger mill with a good spindle is needed and some form of coolant to keep the chips clear and the tool cool. You can still purchase Denford software, but it’s expensive and very limited as to the post processing it will import. Apart from the machine you will need the cad and cam software, fusion 360 is good and free, and the gcode software to run the machine like Mach3 or Linuxcnc. The conversations are not too expensive to do depending on the size of the motors needed. To my mind being able to run on newer pc,s then the older xp types is the way to go. Cnc is a lot of fun, but can get very troublesome at times.

Nealeb16/02/2022 22:30:48
76 forum posts

I'm a bit late to this party but I am a Wabeco mill owner, at least!

Some time back I was playing with the idea of a CNC conversion for my Warco VMC, going for ballscrews and all, but was still worrying about how all the bits would fit without stripping it first, given various comments on various forums about maybe having to machine clearances under the table.

My wife persuaded me to take one last look at eBay for something second-hand and. lo and behold, a Wabeco turned up for sale - fresh on the market and only about 25miles away. Turned out to be a 1410LF hs. Can't quite remember the difference between the 1210 and 1410, but the LF and the hs are significant. LF means Hiwin profile rails instead of dovetail slides, and hs means the high-speed 2KW 7500RPM spindle. I think these are standard Wabeco upgrades, but this machine had had been upgraded by a US outfit and had ballscrews, driven by servos not steppers. In place of the standard (and not very highly regarded standard Wabeco software) it used Mach3 and an Ethernet SmoothStepper. The spindle was also BT30, not MT2, and it came with the full enclosure and stand, plus coolant system. In all, a pretty good bundle. I'm not sure if the standard machines have a counter-balanced head, but this one does.

I doubt if you will find another same-spec machine in the UK, but in terms of structure and build it is still Wabeco. It is not as stiff as the Warco - there is just not as much iron in it. The swivelling head has swivelled by itself once due to me trying to take too heavy a cut by accident as the clamping arrangement is not that great. However, within its capacity I have found it to be an excellent machine, even down to a recent experiment machining a HSS form tool using a carbide cutter. I have used cutters down to 1mm in steel where the high speed is really useful - it does 140-7500RPM without belt change. The axis handwheels all have fold-out handles for manual operation but because there are no table locks and the ballscrews move very easily, this is not a great idea. However, using a wireless MPG and keeping it under CNC control works well for me.

I did replace the Ethernet Smooth Stepper with a UC300ETH and UCCNC software, partly to get rid of Mach3, partly because I was having random comms issues with lost connections from time to time, and I decided to make them all go away by replacing the obsolete hardware and software with something current and supported. Pretty easy job to do, by the way.

Not sure that I have answered many of your questions but happy to help if I can.

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