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Thread: Light Machine Corp CNC Lathe

  1. #25
    Member Fastest1's Avatar
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    Btw when I did my conversion. I bought a Hobby Cnc Pro board kit with 4 steppers and built it myself. I had never soldered a pc board or run anything cnc at that time. It has been a long road just to be pulling out of the driveway and just finally getting to the street! The learning is just beginning. Dont be discouraged, dont throw it in the trash pile. It is a Sherline, there are loads of parts out there. It will cut metals too if you are very very patient and or you dont know where the feed rate over ride is! LOL



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    Default Re: Spectralite

    Teched88,

    I have tried to post a reply to your request for two days. For some reason the site keeps looping me to the login so I am sending you this pm. You have several options available to you. There is a post on this forum "spectralight 0200 controller..". the person who posted it reverse engineered the control signals with an oscilloscope. He then created a custom 25 pin cable to be able to operate without the ISA card. There is a link to his site in the post. Do a search for spectralite 0200. If you are currently familiar with the software and operation of the two machines, this will be your least expensive option. It will also remove any learning curve. The next option would be to use the existing hardware and switch to Mach 3 software for controlling the cnc. Mach 3 can be downloaded free. The free versions only limiting factor is 500 lines of code. The learning curve for Mach 3 is fairly short and you can review the instructions to familiarize yourself with its operation. You can use the same computer to run both machines with an A-B switch for the 25 pin printer cable. You can find many CAD-CAM software packages for free. If you are fortunate enough to have some budget money, than you have more options. If you look at Rhino 3D software, you will find this to be a top of the line, professional, Cad program. You can download a trial version that provides 25 saves. Rhino offers a substantial discount for students and teachers along with free teacher resources. Rhino cam is a plug-in made by Mechsoft. You can go to Mechsoft and download a free version of their professional package that excepts Rhino files. Rhino imports and exports all kinds of files and is much more user friendly than AutoCAD. Mach 3 costs $175.00 for a full license and in clues lazycam and lazy turn. For what you are doing I would suggest you check out the cable mod first and allow your students to use the old software. The advantage to the old software for education is the familiarization with G-code. You could later upgrade in stages. The problem with inexpensive Cam packages is they are limited in control of tool pathing. They do it automatically but not always well. You then need to modify the code on occasion or at least review it to identify problems. The more expensive packages are more complicated to learn and assume a basic understanding of G-code. If you decide to upgrade to Mach 3 you will have greater flexibility an still be able to manually G-code when you want. I guess this is enough to get you started. After a little research, if you have some questions, I am always glad to help the survival of teched. Please feel free to contact me as needed.

    Hope this helped,

    Jeff



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    Thanks for the information guys.... seems like there are a few options out there.

    I really appreciate the long posts with lots of information. It's very time consuming (although educational) to spend hours researching options for this machine.

    I like most, see that it is not cost effective to put too much money into this machine, but at the same time would hate to throw it away.

    So, now for the good news. I found a copy of windows 95, and the original computer drivers cd. I also had all of the 3.5" floppies with the spectracam software from intellitek.
    I was able to reformat the hard drive, reinstall all the software and save the machine.
    I have a brand new 15 year old machine! LOL
    I am refreshing myself with the software, but the machines and software seem to work well. I ran the axis to both endstops, travels well, set home position, chalked up a pc of plastic and ran one of the sample programs...... works great. The machine actually has very few hours on it.

    I am still interested in upgrading it though......
    I like the idea of eliminating the ISA control card, and plugging it directly to a parallel port ( but my new computers don't have a parallel port either ) BUT I'll find one that does.

    So.... Jeff, your saying that I can run this machine as is on windows XP by repinning the parallel cable and I could run mach 3 as a control software and it comes with it's own cam software to interface with the control software. I would assume that spectracam would no longer work with mach 3.

    I am going to build a DIY CNC router by phlatboyz. The Phlatprinter uses mach 3 and they have a lot of free software, like google sketch up.

    If I could get both machines ( spectralight mill and lathe ) AND the new Phlatprinter cnc router to work off of the same control software I would be very happy. We could use one type of cad software and one type of control software for all of the machines.
    I could use one or two newer pc's to run these machines...... through a printer switch right? That would be great...

    Now to get the old scorbot er4pc up to speed.... had to reformat that hard drive too, reloaded the software, but it doesn't recognize the control board yet.... maybe a dip switch that needs repositioned. I think it says IRQ controller not responding ...
    Thats later.....

    thanks guys



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    Default Re: Spectralite

    Teched88,

    Don't waste your time with Sketchup. There are plenty of free Cad packages that will import and export DXF and Vector files. Mach 3 has Lazycam and you would not want to go back to the old Spectralite Dos software anyway. You would, however, still be able to use the G-code from the files you accumulate from the Spectralight software. Buy a pci parallel port card and use the computer you have. I still think you should look into Rhino 4. It is an exelent program that your students and you will benifit from in the future. If you run into any more snags let me know and I'll lend a hand.

    Jeff



  5. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by teched88 View Post
    Thanks for the information guys.... seems like there are a few options out there.

    I really appreciate the long posts with lots of information. It's very time consuming (although educational) to spend hours researching options for this machine.

    I like most, see that it is not cost effective to put too much money into this machine, but at the same time would hate to throw it away.
    It being an older machine, there have been a few changes mechanically but most if not all parts will swap over.
    So, now for the good news. I found a copy of windows 95, and the original computer drivers cd. I also had all of the 3.5" floppies with the spectracam software from intellitek.
    I was able to reformat the hard drive, reinstall all the software and save the machine.
    I have a brand new 15 year old machine! LOL
    Even with Mach 3, the latest, greatest and fastest computers arent necessary.
    I am refreshing myself with the software, but the machines and software seem to work well. I ran the axis to both endstops, travels well, set home position, chalked up a pc of plastic and ran one of the sample programs...... works great. The machine actually has very few hours on it.
    I am still interested in upgrading it though......
    I like the idea of eliminating the ISA control card, and plugging it directly to a parallel port ( but my new computers don't have a parallel port either ) BUT I'll find one that does.

    So.... Jeff, your saying that I can run this machine as is on windows XP by repinning the parallel cable and I could run mach 3 as a control software and it comes with it's own cam software to interface with the control software. I would assume that spectracam would no longer work with mach 3.
    Use it like it is. It probably doesnt accept G code. The new controller or identfying the step and direction pins of your machine would allow for Mach 3 and G code use.
    I am going to build a DIY CNC router by phlatboyz. The Phlatprinter uses mach 3 and they have a lot of free software, like google sketch up.

    If I could get both machines ( spectralight mill and lathe ) AND the new Phlatprinter cnc router to work off of the same control software I would be very happy. We could use one type of cad software and one type of control software for all of the machines.
    I could use one or two newer pc's to run these machines...... through a printer switch right? That would be great...
    I just tried this and it appeared to work for a day or so and I abandoned it momentarily as I was/am chasing a gremlin and wanted all variables gone. It did seem to work and would be very convenient. I will recheck its issues after the rest is buttoned up. The lathe and mill will work off of the same software once G code is accepted by the machines controller.
    Now to get the old scorbot er4pc up to speed.... had to reformat that hard drive too, reloaded the software, but it doesn't recognize the control board yet.... maybe a dip switch that needs repositioned. I think it says IRQ controller not responding ...
    Thats later.....

    thanks guys




  6. #30
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    Hi, I would like to do some light drilling on my spectralight lathe. I have seen where people mount a drill bit on the right side of the lathe (unpowered side) , and use the small wheel to move the bit in and out.

    My unit has the wheel and extension items, but nothing to hold the bit (like a chuck) and no obvious method of locking in anything. Maybe the hollow shaft is tapered ?

    I know this is really a beginner question, but can someone point me toward the items I need in order to mount a drill bit on this lathe?

    Thanks

    Harry



  7. #31
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    sherline.com
    discountcampus.com
    Your machine was built on a sherline lathe. Sherline.com also has instructions part diagrams, free vidios etc
    The tail stock is a 0mt (zero) and the head stock a 1mt.

    PArt number 11890 is the tailstock 0mt adapter for a drill chuck. Discount campus is a few pennies cheaper than the sherline site but the parts come right from sherline.



  8. #32
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    Wow - thats great Info - Thanks



  9. #33
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    Hi, I took a look a chucks and various adaption options to go from where I am to the seemingly simple task of holding a drill bit.

    At the risk of sounding "overly frugal" at this point, I just need to drill a limited number of well centered holes in some plastic parts, and it seems like the cost of buying even a 1/2 decent chuck and "corrections parts" to make up for the tolerances that this was built for would cost well over $ 100. Even after this expenditure, the alignment of the spindle and the bit is definitely not assured- in fact, almost certainly, it is going to be way off based on what I can see with my eyes.

    I had an idea, perhaps crazy, but I wondered if it has any merit.

    Instead of trying to use a chuck to hold the bit, what if instead I had a tool post that holds the bit ? Just thinking out loud here, but suppose I were to mount a blank aluminum block on the x/y stage, and use the spindle to drill a hole in the aluminum block tool holder. If I then move the bit from the 3 jaw chuck, and put it in the freshly drilled hole, it should line up and be the right size. I could snug it down with some set screws.

    There is probably a way a person could re-align this tool holder for future use, although I am still thinking about that part. I suppose if you used a limited set of bits, you could even make a sort of multi size bit holder.

    In any event, even on a bad day, it would be no worse than trying to align the chuck setup.

    Comments ?



  10. #34
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    I beleive that is how they make gang tool holders. I dont really see why it wouldnt work. It really just depends on how much accuracy you need.

    Quote Originally Posted by harryn View Post
    Hi, I took a look a chucks and various adaption options to go from where I am to the seemingly simple task of holding a drill bit.

    At the risk of sounding "overly frugal" at this point, I just need to drill a limited number of well centered holes in some plastic parts, and it seems like the cost of buying even a 1/2 decent chuck and "corrections parts" to make up for the tolerances that this was built for would cost well over $ 100. Even after this expenditure, the alignment of the spindle and the bit is definitely not assured- in fact, almost certainly, it is going to be way off based on what I can see with my eyes.

    I had an idea, perhaps crazy, but I wondered if it has any merit.

    Instead of trying to use a chuck to hold the bit, what if instead I had a tool post that holds the bit ? Just thinking out loud here, but suppose I were to mount a blank aluminum block on the x/y stage, and use the spindle to drill a hole in the aluminum block tool holder. If I then move the bit from the 3 jaw chuck, and put it in the freshly drilled hole, it should line up and be the right size. I could snug it down with some set screws.

    There is probably a way a person could re-align this tool holder for future use, although I am still thinking about that part. I suppose if you used a limited set of bits, you could even make a sort of multi size bit holder.

    In any event, even on a bad day, it would be no worse than trying to align the chuck setup.

    Comments ?




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    Harry you need to ask this on another thread so as not to hijack this one. Mike



  12. #36
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    Default Running the SpectraLight Lathe or Mill without a card

    On my site: build.spaceopera.org I detail how to build a $6.00 cable that plugs the LMC controller box into the parallel port. This cable allows you to run EMC2 / MACH3 and other controller software that can interface using the parallel port.

    I hope this helps. No need to spend a bunch of $$$ when you have the controller and mill/lathe but not controller card or software.

    Shannon Haworth



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