- we refuse to grow up

Gorton 2-30 CNC Conversion

CNC Mill Enclosure

In a few hours this evening I put some effort into building a much needed enclosure and crossing it off the to-do list.

By Popular Demand: Gorton Servo Assembly Exploded view

Here is an exploded view of the X and Y assemblies on our Gorton 2-30. The existing pulleys were reused we required a shaft adapter, which then necessitated the need for thicker adapter plates.

Gorton 2-30 Servo Adapter Plate

Just tossing up an image of the Adapter plates we used to fit the Teco 1Kw Servos up to where the Hydraulic motors used to be. The aim was to use the existing pulley and what metal stock we had available at the time. If I had it to do over I’d merge the adapter plate and spacer and toss that pulley and extension setup. Then I’d create a new pully from some pull stock at SDP-SI and cut proper keyways in it.

CNC’ing the Quill Servo Bracket

As our first attempt at a real CNC job we constructed a simple bracket in order to mount the servo to the fine-feed box. From there we will have a belt drive between the servo and the little stub of a shaft coming out the back of the fine-feed box. Joey thinks the 5/8″ of shaft on the fine-feed will hold up, though I am a bit skeptical our 1hp servo will spin the pulley. We’ll see if he or I get a told-ya-so out of it.

The bracket looks simple but the fact that none of the CAM software I am evaluating does simple 2 axes stuff it made for a lot of G code editing, a few mistakes, and a whole lot of learning.

You’ll notice a little scar next to the circle on the right. I was toying with G52 offsets and a circular pocketing operation. I learned that once an offset has been entered in via MDI it is reset once the estop has been pressed. Dope!

I am just glad I did not have the tool down any further when it went to rapid back. I think it give it some character.

Yeah I know my feed was all jacked up during this picture, but it is the only picture I grabbed while machining the part. Note to self–Metal should not peel.

Gorton First CNC project

Whoa 280IPM Rapids

I spent the better part of my Monday and Tuesday nights tuning the 1KW servos on the X and Y axes. I knew these servos would be capable of moving our big ‘ole table around but I didn’t think I would hit a silky smooth 280ipm.

Granted 280ipm is about 4 times higher then I’ll be running the Gorton on a regular basis. Things happen fast at those speeds, and 1 crash may be our last. I have noticed a bit of coasting past the limit switches at150ipm. 800+lb table assemblies will do that I guess. In any case it may be a good idea to move the limits in another inch.

So far I am very pleased with our progress and the outcome of our tracer mill to CNC conversion.

If I were to convert another manual mill of similar table weight with 250+ipm rapids in mind … I probably would not and would put the effort into a true VMC. But if I wanted to safely drive a table our size at those speeds Servos with Brakes are a must.

We have CNC motion!!!!

Finally the Gorton is moving on it’s own. Very exciting!!!! I spent this evening wiring up some buck-boost transformers to drop 262V three phase to 240V. The extra voltage picked up on the generated leg has been causing the Servo drives to alarm. By the time I finished the wiring I noticed it was a wee late but I was so close. Though it would make for a rough morning, I am glad I stuck it out. I finally cut metal for the first time via CNC.

My attempt was nothing fancy by any means–but now I need to buy a new end mill. It’s amazing how fast they shear off.

CNC With Style

So this evening I was able to mount the CNC Control boards, three power supplies, run wire for the LCD Voltage Readouts, and two twelve inch 3mm Black Light computer lights. My camera doesn’t do so well with the black lights but what it did take is below. Unless it’s out there somewhere I haven’t seen this may possibly be the most stylish CNC Control Panel EVER! <grin> Notice the neon orange wire tie on top of the servo controllers. If I’m able to keep this pace up this giant should be completely wired in less than three weeks! I can’t wait to see the Gorton move on it’s own. I’ve also been studying several voice modules that we could incorporate and give ol’ Gorty a voice of his own. Would be nice to get responses like “Tool change please”, “As you wish”, “All systems are fully operational”, “Shut down sequence initiated”, “Oops, I did it again”, “Changing speed to %SPEED% inches per minute”, “Danger coolant levels are low”, and etc. It really comes down to what triggers we can get from Mach 3D software and/or status cues from the controllers. Exciting times are ahead which means lots of money will need to be spent. Good thing were working at Money Pit Labs!

My fingers hurt…

So after six hours of wiring all I ended up finishing was adding the fuse block, servo controllers, three pole contactor, and a couple extra terminal strips. In your mind you think “this wire here, that one there, these go to that, …” but it takes so much time to cut every wire to length, strip it, add heat shrink tubing, connector, heat the tubing, and then place that one single end of the friggin wire were it needs to go! Thus far I’d say there have been ~50 or so connections made today for a total of ~200 connections not to mention 113 copper wire stabs to the fingers. To finish will most likely take another ~300 connections not to mention what it will take to integrate other safeties and point of failure interlocks. I can’t wait to see this giant of a machine move by it’s self and sling metal shavings all over the place!

The Wiring Has Begun!

Now with the CNC panel shaped up and some electronics, switches, and lights added it’s time begin wiring!

Mounting the 15 relays and making what seemed like an endless number of electrical connections took approximately six hours of non-stop concentration. This is hard for a fella with ADD let me tell you. I found time went by better when I argued with myself out loud over random thoughts. So the CNC panel has 4 LCD readouts of which three are for constant measuring of the three phase power supply to the servo controllers and the forth for the 120vac control circuit and other devices. One master ON/OFF switch ‘top right’ will break all power to all devices instantly if turned off. The remaining 14 switches are for X Axis Controller, Y Axis Controller, Z Axis Controller, A Axis Controller, Box Fans, Box Lights, Mini Computer, Electric Draw Bar Power, DC Power Supply, Mill Brake Enable/Disable, Coolant Pump, and a few for spares and further integrating the Gorton with other features in the future.

This is only a fraction of the wiring it’s going to take to be fully CNC operational!

Stay tuned to be bored out of your mind with pictures of wires that make no sense at all.

Only here at Money Pit Labs. (A going out of business company)

CNC Front Panel is built



The Gorton CNC panel is assembled.

Much ado on a Monday

We now have the basics for an electrical cooling system! Been pondering how to cut a nice 4.5″ hole without a jig saw or a big hole saw and just had to go ahead and keep with the Money Pit Labs thought process and spend $30 to cut two holes… Just kills me that with all this tooling and current abilities we can’t cut a darn hole in a piece of wood… Now to finish the box we need a nice outlet air vent and a larger side hole to allow for the 17 power, limit, servo, and safety cables that will be run in the next week or so. Well depending on how crazy work is then just a week or so. The metal plate above the holes are for power and other on/off switches that will enable or disable the way too many options that we are adding. <grin>

Lazy Afternoon…

The Real start of converting the ol’ Gorton 2-30 to CNC has begun. There is going to be a WORLD of wiring ahead that most people would almost cry over. I would rather bitch and moan about it myself.

Realized we don’t have much as far as pics of the Gorton so here are a few. Also are three shots of where servos will mount which will drive this beast of a machine.

This is what you get when you go to Lowe’s to buy a table saw!!!

Just a little more of the overall shop. This is the electronics bench and soon we’ll be finished with the mechanical bench. Also is a quick shot of the Grizzly. Not a bad combo mill/lathe for the beginner but we are hardly beginners….we’re overkill! So we’re sorta on the lookout for a good lathe we can CNC also.

I couldn’t think of a good name for this post, post.

This past week has been a fairly good one. No major projects accomplished but we did take care of a bunch of little stuff that just needed to be done.


Here we aptly demonstrate the fine art of precision wheel bearing lubrication.



While the rest of America watched the Super Bowl, Joey also got to work building our enclosure for the CNC controls. It’s intended to be a temporary enclosure until we buy a NEMA enclosure to replace it. However it looks so nice that I don’t think we’ll be an any hurry for the NEMA enclosure just yet.


Wiring and some cleanup

The disconnects are finally in.  Joey is taking some time off for the holidays and is rewiring from the “does it work” state to something a bit less of an electrocution hazard.