Many years ago, our school district used to have CNC class in the high school. As many school district got away from teaching technical course, some of these machine stay behind collecting dust in storage and just not being used anymore.
When we started our robotics club, we got lucky enough to put our hands on 3 of these machines. It included the following:
- a CNC mill,
- a CNC lathe,
- and a CNC router.
Because of its versatility and potential for many uses, we decided that we will rebuild our CNC router first and see if it’s worth it.
This blog is about sharing what we are doing and hoping that maybe an other team or CNC hobbyist can learn from our mistakes and get their project under way.
Ours is a Light Machine CNC Router. It has 3 axis using stepper motor and a Bosch 1617 Router.
This is what we have done so far:
- Because of its age, we gutted the electrical box and upgraded the motor drive control using a Geckodrive G540 4-axis digital step drive.
- We replaced the power supply with a MEAN WELL SE-600-48 AC to DC Power Supply, Single Output, 48V, 12.5 Amp, 600W, 1.5″
- We replaced the original PC and choose Mach3 as our new CNC Controller.
Basically, the Power supply was mounted(using velcro strip) in the old control box. This allow us to use the existing bracket and screw holes right into the machine frame.
We then rewire the main switch to power the power supply unit. This in turn is connected to the G540. We tested all axis motor and found that they all work. Therefore we used the provided DB9 connector and solder the motor cable and wires into the new DB 9. We plugged in the G540 and using Mach3 were able to move each axis as they were designed.
NOTE: because the motor amperage is rated at 2.9A, we will need to put a current limiter resistor on the DB 9 connector. For more info on that read the G540 instruction manual.
To connect our Window XP parallel port to the G540, we used a DB 25 25 pin serial port cable male to male RS232 from Amazon. In retrospect, if you order one, pick a longer than 6ft cable as it limit the computer location for setup.