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6'x10' Retrofit

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:43 pm
by shaddr3
Hey guys, this is my first official appearance here though i've been scouring the forums for a year or so now, this is an amazing community!

I'm a fabricator/machinist, with experience building/retrofitting CNC equipment.

I'm in a local makerspace and we stumbled on this 1988 Esab Signmate Sign Router 6'x10' over the summer via CL. When we purchased it was 100% working but the tribe as spoken to retrofit to a plasma table. We currently have a Hypertherm 1650 mainly for the robot. The frame is very rigid, and we'll be modifying for a water bladder build. The gantry itself weighs around 250lbs bare, comprised of steel and aluminum. I'm trying to accomplish this retrofit within modest budget.

It uses a rack and pinion for the X&Y Axis, though unforunately only one per axis. I plan on upgrading the old DC Brushed servos & 40:1 gearbox with 1kW AC Brushless Servos (2000RPM CONT/3000 MAX), with a precision inline plentary gearbox (<3arcmin, 10:1), aiming for 1000-1500ipm rapids. The AC motors seem a bit overkill, but for $105 shipped for new servo and lightly used drive I couldn't refuse.

I haven't quite decided on the control software but i'm bordering Mach4 or Linux. I don't have much experience with Linux but others at the shop have extensive experience developing for the linuxcnc community. I'm also considering the Nuron Lite for our THC if we do go the Mach route.

My first goal is to get the XY axis moving and calibrated. I'm hoping the servo and drives arrive by the end of the week. I've acquired a AIA 4" Actuator w/ballscrew & DC Servo that im currently benchtesting for the Z axis.

Couple pictures..
Stock Gantry
Gantry Stripped
Original Drive system
X Rail bottom
X Rail Top

Re: 6'x10' Retrofit

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:51 pm
by shaddr3
Quick update. I decided against the 1kw servos, the seller was away for the holidays and I couldn't wait, plus the time involved bench testing them with the AB drives would have been too time consuming. I picked up two DYN4 750W Servos and H01 Drives, also made some adapters to the gearboxes using the original mounts. The original controls where mounted on the gantry itself with wiring from the power supply dangling off hooks to the side of the machine, this wasn't going to fly with the retrofit so I purchased a Gortrac cable carrier (metal) for the Y axis.

I started working on the controller which is mostly finished, I have yet to buy the NeuronLite. I'm using a PMDX 126 breakout board and an ESS motion controller. I think I went a little overboard. I'm hoping within the next week i'll be ready to benchtest the three axis. I scored a decent rackmount i7 desktop, along with a 24" touch screen LCD with articulating vesa mount from a local auction.

Originally I was going to use three phase for the build, but in case in the future if it ever gets moved or sold to a place with single phase, it'll hook right up without modifying connections to the drives.