5 axis Mill project

Discussion in 'CNC machining projects' started by Monty, Jul 26, 2022.

  1. Monty

    Monty Silver

    You guys asked about my mill. It's a long story! I'll have to omit some of it for space reasons. The machine was built by a local company a bunch of my college engineering classmates were working for. The company was started by an ex professor. They started out retrofitting old machine tools with PC based controls. This was late 90's. That was chugging along OK, and at some point they decided to get into the new machine business to compete with HAAS. One of the machines they were developing was a 5 axis mill. To make a long story short, the company eventually went belly up before any of the 5 axis machines reached the market. A guy with a machine shop in VT bought the entire work in process for the 5 axis line and took it back to VT with the idea of retrofitting the machines and using them in his business. In the mean time, his business took off and he bought a brand spanky new Deckel. At which point all the 5 axis stuff became surplus to requirements. My dad was a absolute used machine junky in the good old days of Ebay. (truth be told so was I). He saw the machine, thought it looked interesting, and forwarded it to me. I instantly knew what it was. It expired no bid. In the mean time I got ahold of one of the engineers that was involved in making it. I asked him what it was worth and he said SCRAP!. I found the guy that had listed the machine and made him an absolute stink bid. Something completely ridiculous. I think $1K for my pick of the litter and all the spare parts I wanted. To my surprise, he agreed. I thought....Oh crap! I have to go get this thing!! I hauled it all the way back from VT behind my Dodge flat bed on a friends tandem axle equipment trailer. I don't want to know what my gross wt was....I shudder to think. When I had the crane lift the machine off the trailer it was somewhere north of 8000lbs.

    Once I had it in my shop, I began to look into retrofitting a control for it. I got sticker shock when I realized AC servos were going to be around $3K per axis, and then I got double sticker shock when I looked into 5 axis CAM software which was running around $20K at the time. So it sat collecting dust in my shop. When all the Corona insanity happened I had a lot of time at home. Closed loop stepper motors were available that would work, and the hobby CNC stuff had come a LONG way. It cost about $1K for all the motors and drives. So I resolved to get the thing running finally. I have de-rated some things to make it more affordable. The spindle is a very nice direct drive liquid cooled 6hp unit made by Kennametal. It had KM40 tooling. Nice, but $1K per holder kinda killed that deal. I went with Tormach tool holders. I can make them in my lathe if needed, and they are much more affordable. Plus they exchange with my Bridgeport and I put a holder in my lathe, so I have standardized tooling in my shop. I had to design and machine a custom collett and draw bar for the spindle. I tried a MT3, but that didn't work. So far the new custom one works fine.

    Instead of 6 hp and 3 speed ranges (windings switched by contactors) I wired it with the middle range, and used a normal VFD. That still gives me 6KRPM and 4KW. Plenty for me!! I used a liquid cooled CPU pump and radiator to cool the spindle. It has a smooth stepper board and Mach3.
    I also replaced the Yaskawa AC servo on the rotary with a closed loop stepper. That way all my drives are 220AC. I didn't want to have some single and others 3 phase. I haven't written a tool change macro for it yet. But everything else works.

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  2. Monty

    Monty Silver

    My lathe was also a $1500 Fleabay purchase. It is an EMCO Maier. Nice machine with ugly colors. I repainted it. It had a blown control. The Turret was the most interesting thing I ever bought on Ebay. It was upside down in a pallet of junk. The pictures of it were crap. I won the auction for a pittance, shipping cost way more than I bid. Less than $100 delivered. There was nothing wrong with it! All it needed was new seals and a little TLC. Whoever was doing maintenance was a complete moron. There were no O-rings on any of the cover plates. Instead they had coated the entire thing with 1/4 inch of silicone.....I have no words...none. It is a Dorian 8 position turret. They cost about $8K new then. I don't think they still make them.

    This lathe still had cosmoline on it. I think they wired it up wrong an blew the control. It now has Mach3 and a Yaskawa 7 hp spindle motor.

  3. Monty

    Monty Silver

    That mill was a LOT of work. I got really burned out on it. A good year of solid work. I had to design and build a lot of custom parts to fill in the gaps. Fortunately I've got all the original docs and some drawings, but a lot of stuff was missing. I used pool vacuum hose for conduit to the head. Had to make a custom pivoting feed through. A LOT of work, and this isn't my first rodeo. I've rebuilt a fair number of machine tools. This is the last one of this magnitude I think I have in me. Making this collet took 3 tries to get a good blank with zero runout. It's made from 4340 prehard. I had to cut the slots with a 1 mm carbide slitting saw. You couldn't drive a hypodermic needle in my bum with a 5 pound sledge hammer when I was making those cuts. That dividing head was fished out of a dumpster by a friend of mine. He didn't want it and was tired of looking at it so he gave it to me. It was completely covered in green carbide. Took me a while to clean it up. It's amazing what companies will just throw away.

    IMG_20210424_155847_887.jpg IMG_20210424_141614_242.jpg
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  4. Monty

    Monty Silver

    Some of the wiring I had to do. My first job was a test operations engineer so I know a thing or two about electrical cabinets and wiring. Still.....a lot of work
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  5. crazybillybob

    crazybillybob Silver Banner Member

    Nice work!!!
    If you stumble across another 6"-8"dividing head... Let me know. My auction one weighs about 200+Lbs and is 18" across. My mill only has a 6ish" wide bed. I'm thinking about using it as a machine base for a smallish CNC :rolleyes:

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