As a poor guy i am often found scrounging through my local scrap yard in search of good usable junk. a while back i cnc'd my old jet mill drill using some motors from some C-band satelite actuators and some gecko drives. it worked fairly well, but the backlash on my machine is absolutely horrible. so it wasn't all that usefull as a cnc machine. i sold the geckos on ebay, almost for what i paid for them, and put the hand wheels back on. of course than the mill just sat in the corner of my garage not being used much, as i hate to crank the hand wheels. not long ago i pulled a control box off a junked machine in the scrap yard, i think i payed 5 or 10 bucks for it. it had some pneumatics, some relays, and a leeson dc motor drive in it. today, after spending the better part of two days doing some spring cleaning in the shop and running accross all those actuator motors, i thought this would be an excellent time to add power feed to the old mill/drill. an hour later this is what i had, and it works awesome. i still need to add limit switches to it, and i think that i am going to pull the hand wheel from the y axis and put another motor there. no more cranking at all. the speed range is about 0 to 50 ipm, so it is plenty fast and so much nicer than cranking away at the handles. sure a guy could argue that if i don't have a handle on the y i may not be able to feel the cut, but i generally don't do any heavy cutting, so i ain't to worried about it. Also, the wiring will get cleaned up, so don't make fun of it.
i just thought i should post about it so the other poor guys out there could add some functionality to there mill. even if you don't have a scrap yard near by i don't think that the items needing to do such a conversion would cost much on ebay. maybe $100 after shipping, which is much less than any power feed available.