Boxford 250 PC conversion

Discussion in 'CNC Machines and Conversions' started by tonyr769, Oct 29, 2012.

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  1. Oct 29, 2012 #1

    tonyr769

    tonyr769

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    Hi,

    I am starting this thread as a record of the conversion a of Boxford CNC 250 PC lathe I own. The lathe is approx 20 years old and has had very little use. the lathe works fine using the manual controls. I have set up a PC with Mach 3 and have been unable to get any response from the lathe. The original computer system is propriety and Boxford has little interest in sharing the older lathe info I have decided to retrofit the lathe with a controller that will communicate with Mach 3 and the stepper and servo spindle drivers.

    I have selected the CSLAB CSMIO/IP-S Motion Controller which I have just recently received from Poland and I am busy with my head buried in the manual at the moment.

    I plan to update my progress about once a week with the next installment being a plan and circuit diagram of the proposed changes. I have an IT background but CNC is new to me and information on the hardware side of things has been difficult the find. I have been relying on the Mach 3 manual (excellent) and the CSMIO/IP-S manual (excellent) as well as locating the original driver specs on the web.

    I had a few conversations with demonstrators at the recent Melbourne Model Engineering Exhibition and they indicated that they considered configuring a CNC lathe was more difficult than a CNC milling machine. I have a habit of jumping in at the deep end so we will see if I can swim.

    I welcome feedback from forum members and hope this thread will become a useful record of the issues encountered retrofitting a Boxford CNC lathe.
     
    Bernie_of_CPE likes this.
  2. Oct 29, 2012 #2

    Herbiev

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    Hi Tony. This sounds like a very interesting project and I am sure many members will follow your progress with great interest. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. Nov 1, 2012 #3

    SimonD

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    Tony,
    I have converted a Boxford 240TCL and a 160TCL if there is anything I can help with just shout.

    Simon
     
  4. May 25, 2013 #4

    Deltenre

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    Hello, could you give me any explanations to convert a boxford 250 CNC for mach3 Tower
    Thank you very much
     
  5. May 25, 2013 #5

    Tin Falcon

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    Should not be too difficult . I guess you are assuming the old controller electronics are obsolete.
    you need to test /decide if you need new steppers.

    you need a controller I like the g540 myself. you also need a power supply a pc capable of mach 3 and some cabling. a smoother stepper may also be desirable. you will need to program a subroutine for your tool changer.
    Tin
     
  6. May 25, 2013 #6

    canadianhorsepower

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  7. May 26, 2013 #7

    tonyr769

    tonyr769

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for the helpful comments.

    Maybe one of the posters might like to describe the operation of the existing Boxford controller. I have an IT background and had little trouble following the Mach 3 install instructions and getting Mach 3 to work. The Mach 3 manual makes it clear that Mach 3 does some tricky processing outside the control of Windows. (Windows was designed to provide its processing power to run the screen as fast as possible to the detriment to imbedded software processes. So time critical software processing need to bypass Windows scheduling) The Mach 3 manual make this clear and I followed its recommendations to the letter.

    Once I got Mach 3 working I was unable to get any response from the Boxford controller and ended up assuming that it does not read G codes, but is sent a file that it processes. This is a pure guess on my part, hopefully someone might be able to shed some light on how the Boxford controller works and can Mach 3 interface directly to it.

    Anyway I have removed the Boxford controller and will install the CSLAB 6 axis controller in the next couple of days. Here in Australia we have our own electrical and electronic standards but are fortunate that American and European equipment that works on 240volt AC 50 Hz is OK. US 60Hz 240 volt equipment seems to work OK as well.

    My machine will be supplied 240 volt 50 Hz and the controller is supplied with 12 volt DC using a DIN mounted power supply. I plan that all the safety circuits will use 12 volt DC. The Boxford's safety system uses 5 volts and is not shielded in any way so as soon as I have the controller installed I will be replacing the safety circuits with a shielded 12 volt system.

    I would be happy if other contributers described other options as I'm sure there are many good controllers out there. I would request that only those that the contributer has personal experience with are included.

    So in the next few days I will:

    1: Install the CSLAB 6 axis controller in the machine as per the manual
    2. Design and install the safety STOP circuit.
    3. Connect the controller to the Main Spindle Servo Motor

    Cheers,
    Tony
     
  8. May 26, 2013 #8

    Tin Falcon

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    Tony sorry for not reading more carefully .

    Setting up an e switch is easy the manual shows you how.

    12 volts sounds low to run this, the manual shows 24.
    with the controller handle a servo motor. you may need an additional controller.
    Tin
     
  9. May 26, 2013 #9

    rcfreak177

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    G'day Tony,
    I wish I had have read this post earlier, Mach3 will not work directly with the Boxford machine as you found out, it has its own program to run the machine.
    Don't quote me on this but I am pretty sure it is DOS based.

    probably not a bad thing you are converting to Mach3, Any questions you have I will have a crack at answering, not familiar with the motion controller you are using but I have done several conversions to Mach3.

    You will need a custom macro to run the auto tool changer the 250 should be fitted with.

    Here is a link to the latest Boxford Cad,Cam system for your reference.

    http://www.boxford.co.uk/Flipbooks/International_Catalogue/Boxford_International_Catalogue.html#p=1

    Baz.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
  10. May 1, 2014 #10

    Bernie_of_CPE

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    Hi Guys,

    Not sure if this thread is still alive but it is definitely down the same street I intend to walk.

    I opened my Boxford 240 TCL cabinet and took a look inside, I am a complete novice with a thirst to learn and a strong need to get this machine to work. From what I have read and researched so far I have identified the major parts and sort of understand how each system operates to make a whole machine.

    I have a few tough decisions to make unfortunately, the first is more of a quandary. The machine is in really good condition overall and totally functional from the manual control panel, I have a legit copy of the tools software and really like it's integral approach from drawing to outputting the end part. Unfortunately I don't have an admin password so actual production is a non starter.

    The other choice I need to make is how much of the original equipment I can use, from the pulse system for spindle speed detection to stepper drivers and the control board. Hopefully either others who have done this work already can advise or I have a ton of searching left to do.

    Bernie
     
  11. May 2, 2014 #11

    kf2qd

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    What operating system does it use? If it is windows based it is fairly easy to clear passwords and get access to the system.
     
  12. May 4, 2014 #12

    tonyr769

    tonyr769

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for your replies. To tell the truth the conversion got put in the too hard basket for a while but this project is my first priority once again. I will put a post up in the next couple of days detailing where I have got too and the next stage I am working on. Its heading for winter here and I'm heading for the workshop so the plan is to finish before spring.

    Cheers,

    Tony
     
  13. May 4, 2014 #13

    Bernie_of_CPE

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    Hi Tony,
    I will be following along with the greatest interest, it is much easier to undertake this work knowing someone else can compare notes and help along somewhat.

    I plan to post a raft of images from the internal parts of my machine soon, be interesting to see what common parts were used if any.

    Can never have too many suggestions of the best way forward can you?

    Bernie
     
  14. May 13, 2014 #14

    trizman

    trizman

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    Hi,
    Just spent the last week finishing off the operational conversion of a 250. Now have axes, Turret and spindle all sorted. Just connected the air so that can open and shut the chuck and spray coolant. The machine was one somebody tried to convert and got to complex/complicated. Unfortunately they stripped the safety circuits so that is the next job. I previously converted a 160 so know the sort of system I want to implement. Has anyone got a circuit of the original 250 safety circuit? Next job after that is to incorporate the MPGs and panel switches...............

    Peter
     
  15. Mar 14, 2015 #15

    Wayne888

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    Hello to this group.

    I actually have two of these PC250's

    The first is the original design with a 2HP DC spindle motor and belt changes for four speed ranges. I converted this machine and run it.

    The second is the newer design with a 3HP AC VFD, with no belt changes. I have not converted this machine and it is only sitting dormant.

    I have the manual for the first machine, which helped the conversion process.

    I do not have the manual for the second 3HP machine. Does anyone have the manual for a 3HP VFD machine? I am mainly interested in obtaining the schematics .....all of them.

    If anyone wants some direction on the best way to go through the conversion process, I will provide my $0.02 worth.

    Wayne
     
  16. Sep 9, 2017 #16

    servo_Ian

    servo_Ian

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    Hi
    Just joined as I have bought a Boxford 250PC without a computer. It is my intention to convert it to Mach3 over the coming months. I am nearing completion of a similar project where I have completed the conversion or an old Clarke mill to Mach3.
    My first question as I have not collected the lathe yet is what size mounts are the existing stepper motors? Nema something or bespoke. If anyone knows their power rating that would help with research until I collect the lathe. I plan to replace these with a servo system just because I have done steppers to death on the mill.
    No idea what I will make on it once completed but I am sure I will find something
    Thanks
     
  17. Aug 1, 2018 #17

    mataf01

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    Hello,
    I know this is an old post but who knows...
    Ive just bought a boxford 250pc 1st generation (with the dc motor and belt gear change).
    Is there someone that has the manual for that machine (wiring diagrams) to help me to retrofit it?
    Maybe you Wayne888, if you're still here
    Thanks
    Patrick
     
  18. Nov 11, 2019 #18

    Wayne888

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    Hello ...whoops .....I don't follow this group. It was just something I happened to come across in 2015 and could provide a little info.
    Sorry Patrick, yes I have the schematic for your machine with 2HP DC spindle drive. I'm not sure if you visit this site anymore, and I am not sure if it would be prudent to put my email address here. I'll try connecting by some other method.
    For "servo_Ian", the motor frames are Nema 34 for both axis and toolchanger. You can determine the motor rating by the motor lengths which are all the same at 94mm. I believe it is in the 1,000 in-oz area (62 in-lbs, 7 Nm) You can do whatever other conversions from here. If you insist on servos, you will have serious problems with refitting as they are longer than open-loop steppers. This may sound incidental, but if you have the 2HP machine, your X-axis will hit the guard at the extreme travel, and you will have the same problem on Z-axis. You don't need a servo on the tool changer.
    I am in the process of converting the 3HP. I did the first conversion with Camsoft. I won't make that mistake again. When a software adjustment was needed/made, then "something that did work" now no longer worked. This went on and on for years. Now, the G74 which they claim is standard, no longer works .....and they want more money to fix. No thanks. I done with the Camsoft mickey-mousing around. I will be going with Centroid. Their boards are ready to go as is the major portion of their software. One other primary change will be a very significant change in the spindle encoder. Complete replacement for an industrial encoder with standard very high resolution.
    I was just curious about what Boxford is doing these days with innovation and technology with their machines. Well it appears very British. They have regressed. Their solid CNC machines are gone. It would appear their management is not going to be compete with the rest of the world. The machines are now only for teaching principles. Students will not be taught about "material removal", or "material removal rates". These machines are now only for plastic and plastic chess sets.
    Just saw a "Boxford Promotional Video" of their "purpose built" plant ...with some "princess" proudly standing at front-and-center at the end ....with what may have been all 42 employees. ....sad.
     
  19. Nov 24, 2019 #19

    servo_Ian

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    Hi
    I have the 3hp vfd version pc250. I have stripped out the servo controllers and two of the three steppers. I think that the new servos will fit OK however I have to make some brackets to mount them. A little financial cramp meant I couldn't justify outsourcing it whilst I had a vmc300 in the garage. Of course this meant fitting the ess, machx etc. This is now working fine and is a long story all in its own right. The end result is Mach4, ESS, home made interface break out board etc. I still have all the manual side of things to build but we're getting there.
    I'll work on finishing the vmc as we head into Xmas and then return to the lathe. It's been fun if rather slow going
    One benefit of this is I have mapped out the wiring, relays and safety circuits on the mill and I expect these to be pretty much the same on the lathe
     

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