Supporting > My Workshop

From Manual to CNC - Sherlines

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I've been interested in CNC for a long long time and finally decided to take the plunge.
While everything I've done has had no need for CNC, there have been times where I've envisioned a part where CNC would be very useful if not required.
An example is making a set of identical bowling pins. Another would be engraving.

I won't go into all the reasons for the choices I've made in machine, software, etc. Here's some...

I wanted small machines that either were CNC capable or could easily be made CNC capable.
I've used Windows since the beginning.
I got hooked on Sherlines when they first came out (call it an old dream).

I still have my PM1030 lathe and PM25 mill and it looks like I'll be keeping them.
That means I have to re-arrange my shop which is part of the reason I'm doing this in "My Workshop".

This project will take a long time. There is so much to learn. I'll first start by playing with and learning about the machines prior to converting them to CNC.

The major elements of the project include:

1) A full workshop package from Sherline that includes their lathe and mill. I got the manual version and bought the CNC retro-fit kits separately. You can also buy CNC-ready machines. There's good arguments to go for CNC-ready but you have to install motors even if you intend to use the machines manually. I wasn't interested in their full CNC package. It includes a Linux based computer and seems to me to be outdated.
2) A CAD program. I have CubifyDesign which is fine for my purposes but will likely investigate Fusion360.
3) CamBam software for generating g-code. No particular reason other than it's very popular and has been around for years. A lot of support available.
4) Mach3 software to process the g-code and control motion. This is also very popular and has been around for years. (Note that it requires Windows.)
5) SmoothStepper Motion Controller. Also popular.
6) Gecko G540 stepper driver. Also popular.

I started out ordering quite a bit of Sherline stuff. Some of it I may not need once I convert to CNC.
Attached is a Bill of Materials spreadsheet.

A couple of pics of what I've collected.

1) 3 boxes from Sherline
2) Some CNC stuff (Smoothstepper, Gecko, Motors, and power supplies).

As always, criticisms, suggestions, examples of your own are most welcome.

Some more pics of the goodies I got...

1) One of the boxes from Sherline was filled with a bunch of boxes. The ones to the right are the accessories etc. that was part of the workshop package. The ones to the left are the additional accessories I purchased.
2) These are the unassembled machines. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the mill's column is backwards.  ::)
3) The machines lightly assembled. I will disassemble them for cleaning and oiling and then re-assemble and align.
4) This is the set of accessories that came with the workshop packaged.
5) This is the set of additional accessories I purchased.
6) This shows the CNC retro-fit kits.

Again, thanks to all of you who helped me in the Chatterbox thread.

It's 4:30 here. Close enough to 5:00 IF you know what I mean.  :drinking-41:

Flyboy Jim:
Christmas in February!  :whoohoo:  :cartwheel:

I'm looking forward to following your journey Zee.  :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:



"but you have to install motors even if you intend to use the machines manually"

Wellll... I got the zeroing dials, and put them on a little bit of 6.35mm rod (1/4 in old school) and on another CNC mill, milled faceplates that fit where the steppers go, with a 6.35mm hole in the middle so I can use them manually without the steppers in place. A bit of that label maker print with "----" stuck on provides a mark so I can match with the handle dials.

Do they work? Yes, but, with my lathe, with the stepper adapter in place, I can't easily slide the tailstock off.  :???:

Like you, I think these little machines are great, and I'm glad Sherline are producing and designing more and more.

Keep going, and thanks for the updates.

Thanks Jim.

Alex: Yeah, I forgot a couple of fellows on the other thread showed some ideas for manually moving the motors on a CNC-Ready machine. Thanks for the reminder.


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