CNC Boxford Lathe

  1. citizen kane Member

    Messages:
    206
    UK Hampshire
    I wasn't looking for one, it kind of found me and now I don't know what to do.

    IMG_2372.JPG
    After a couple of hours fiddling it came to life and amazingly it all seems to work. Using the buttons on the front I can control all the axis and spindle. Unfortunately the lathe came with no computer to control it so what do I do now.

    Does anyone have any experience with these things, can I just buy some software and plug in a computer or is it infernally complicated to get these things working. Very much out of my depth but willing to learn.
     
    Ali likes this.
  2. Spark plug

    Spark plug Member

    Messages:
    3,780
    Location:
    Durham, England
    Your going to need to find out what software / interface type you need to control the machine. First thing to do is try to find a manual and go from there.

    P.s. a mug for scale would be helpful :)
     
  3. Ali

    Ali Member

    Messages:
    955
    Location:
    Cheshire
    I’d call Boxford directly and ask for their advice. They still refurb these machines now, and carry parts. Not sure what the software would set you back, did the previous owner have any software or a computer with it? Curious to learn how you get on as I’d like one of these - keep us updated. They’re very capable and well designed machines.
     
    Parm likes this.
  4. anto44

    anto44 Member

    Messages:
    1,419
    Location:
    ireland
    School I went to had one of those in the metal shop, the lathe itself was a brilliant piece of kit but the computer running it was a disaster, can't remember what the software was.
     
    slim_boy_fat likes this.
  5. citizen kane Member

    Messages:
    206
    UK Hampshire
    Lathe came from a college. It hadn't been working for at least 10 years. I did get a manual with it but it only documents the CNC mill from the same family. Unfortunately no computer, this was disposed of several years ago. I will try the Boxford route first and see what they say.
     
  6. slim_boy_fat

    slim_boy_fat Forum Supporter

    Did it just follow you home, then? :D
     
    Parm likes this.
  7. Pete.

    Pete. Member

    Messages:
    9,817
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    If I were you I'd get over to CNCzone and post a query. Someone might well have the software for it, though I don't know of they use a dongle or interface card. You'll most probably need a windows xp machine or older to run it.
     
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  8. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    12,596
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    If I recall these used ancient BBC computers. I think the best route may be to retrofit with Mach3 or Linux CNC, personally I would go the former but others prefer the latter.

    http://www.mycncuk.com/ will likely have info for you if you do a search.
     
    Hopefuldave, daleyd, Parm and 2 others like this.
  9. eLuSiVeMiTe

    eLuSiVeMiTe Member

    Messages:
    12,988
    Location:
    Bedfordshire England
    I thought I'd read that somewhere before re BBC computers but wasn't sure.

    Think someone else on here had one.
     
  10. rikrobson

    rikrobson Member

    Messages:
    3,856
    Location:
    Perth, Scotland
    I think this has a serial port on the back to connect it. So a USB serial adaptor will be needed. Then some software to get the g-code over to it.

    Maybe try Boxford. They made/make them for education.
     
  11. eLuSiVeMiTe

    eLuSiVeMiTe Member

    Messages:
    12,988
    Location:
    Bedfordshire England
  12. eLuSiVeMiTe

    eLuSiVeMiTe Member

    Messages:
    12,988
    Location:
    Bedfordshire England
  13. citizen kane Member

    Messages:
    206
    UK Hampshire
    Had a quick look on CNCzone and mycnc, mycnc have a thread on converting the same machine, got a few posts in and starting reading about "boolean logic algebra proves that a single 74C00N Quad NAND gate chip". Must be over 30 years since I even wrote the word Boolean or nand. Think I've got a lot of reading to do. Thanks for steering me in the right direction.
     
    Parm, slim_boy_fat and eLuSiVeMiTe like this.
  14. citizen kane Member

    Messages:
    206
    UK Hampshire
    Thanks eLuSiVeMiTe, its the TCL model so hopefully once I learn the new language of CNC conversions I might be able to get it working. If I do get it working I guarantee that every single thing I sketch up from now on will include some kind of curved feature.
     
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  15. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    12,596
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    There is probably info on the Mach3 forum, I am sure I have seen some there for that model.
     
    eLuSiVeMiTe likes this.
  16. rikrobson

    rikrobson Member

    Messages:
    3,856
    Location:
    Perth, Scotland
    If you can get a pc talking to it over a serial port via USB then you may be able to control it by sending g code to it directly.
     
  17. rikrobson

    rikrobson Member

    Messages:
    3,856
    Location:
    Perth, Scotland
    But to be honest. I think I'd rather stick with my olb Boxford
     
  18. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    12,596
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    I don't think it will be as simple as that, I suspect there will be an motion control board in the PC and the lathe itself will just have the stepper drives etc. Could be wrong though as I have never even seen one.
     
    Hopefuldave likes this.
  19. northwest

    northwest Member

    Messages:
    2,073
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    I have seen a few people try, and fail, at getting them to work. I do believe Hood is right and it was some style of BBC computer drove them.

    Forget everything that went before, what you have there is a starting point. Scrap all the electronics and go from there.
     
  20. RichardM Member

    Most of the second hand ones I have seen for sale didn't come with software, I think I read somewhere it was licensed from Boxford for schools. Give them a call / go to the download page

    https://www.boxford.co.uk/support
     
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