Author Topic: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines  (Read 17452 times)

Offline zeeprogrammer

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From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« on: February 08, 2020, 09:24:11 PM »
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 It includes a Linux based computer and seems to me to be outdated.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.
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2020, 09:32:26 PM »
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:
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Offline Flyboy Jim

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2020, 11:02:00 PM »
Christmas in February!  :whoohoo:  :cartwheel:

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

Jim
Sherline 4400 Lathe
Sherline 5400 Mill
"You can do small things on big machines, but you can do small things on small machines".

Offline Alex

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2020, 11:09:39 PM »
Zee:

"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.

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2020, 11:38:58 PM »
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.
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Offline Flyboy Jim

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2020, 11:52:23 PM »
Zee,

Here's a link to the better Y Axis lock I was mentioning some time back: https://sherline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/tip_028.pdf It works great and would be a great project to test out your new machines.

Here's a video about the same thing:

Jim
Sherline 4400 Lathe
Sherline 5400 Mill
"You can do small things on big machines, but you can do small things on small machines".

Online crueby

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2020, 01:50:26 AM »
Zee,

Here's a link to the better Y Axis lock I was mentioning some time back: https://sherline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/tip_028.pdf It works great and would be a great project to test out your new machines.

Here's a video about the same thing:

Jim
Seconded, I put one of those on my mill a while back, works great. Just have to remember to loosen it again when done with a position.

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2020, 02:02:05 AM »
Thanks!

You guys are going to get a lot of questions from me.

I (tried to) install the QCTP I got from LMS. I say 'tried' in the sense that I don't know if I got it right.
The instructions indicated I should use the short set screw and leave off the original base.
But that combination set the cutting tool too low regardless of adjustment.

I used the longer set screw and put the original base back in. Now I can adjust the cutting tool against the center line.
Only thing is...now the big nut on top that holds the QCTP to the table doesn't fully engage. There's about 2 threads (maybe 3) shy from the bolt to the top of the nut.
I feel like I'm asking for trouble.
But I just started playing.  ;D So there are possibilities I haven't tried yet.
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Offline Kim

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2020, 02:03:14 AM »
Looks like a whole pile of fun there, Zee!  ;D  :popcorn:

I'm looking forward to following along with your learnings.  I'm not ready to go CNC yet, but who knows, I may want to someday.  And it's sure fun to watch and learn! :)

Kim

Online crueby

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2020, 02:13:47 AM »
The hieght of the holder on the qctp depends a lot on which tools you ate using. On mine I added a ali plate under the post to let me put another t nut out the side to prevent twisting with long boring bars. Had the side effect of raising the whole thing, which helped you issue too. Another quick fix is a bit of bar under the tool inside the holder. Too many combos of tool thicknesses and cutter tip positions to have aftermarket add-ons work everywhere.

Offline Flyboy Jim

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2020, 02:31:19 AM »
The hieght of the holder on the qctp depends a lot on which tools you ate using. On mine I added a ali plate under the post to let me put another t nut out the side to prevent twisting with long boring bars. Had the side effect of raising the whole thing, which helped you issue too. Another quick fix is a bit of bar under the tool inside the holder. Too many combos of tool thicknesses and cutter tip positions to have aftermarket add-ons work everywhere.

Zee..........here's an example of the plate Chris is talking about. My plate is for my A to Z tool post, but gives you the idea. It really stabilized the tool post (had trouble with it wanting to rotate before). You could add one whatever thickness gives you the height needed. Also, are you using 1/4" tools or 3/8"? Mine are 3/8" which might make a difference.

Jim

Sherline 4400 Lathe
Sherline 5400 Mill
"You can do small things on big machines, but you can do small things on small machines".

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2020, 01:52:28 PM »
It helps to have an insert in the holder.  :facepalm2:
Photo shows the insert within adjustable range without the base under the QCTP, the bolt is now fully engaged with more to spare, but I'm near the end of the range of height adjustment.
 
So yeah, I'll need the plate under the QCTP which will also minimize rotation of the tool post.

What did you all do to prevent the tool post from rotating on the plate?
Have you got a sketch or drawing of the plate?
In your picture, Jim, are you using 3 T-nuts?

Now...off to Home Depot to get the items needed to make the bases for the machines.
Initially I was going to mount the machines to my lab workbench but I didn't like the idea of drilling holes in the bench and it would set a terrible precedent if I needed to move the machines.
It is also true (as mentioned in the documentation) that mounting directly to the workbench will amplify motor noise and vibration.

With a machine on a base with rubber feet, I'll be able to move the machines around.
I'm limited to a 5' long workbench and this will allow me to move the machines around as I need them.
Hopefully they won't walk on their own.

Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Online crueby

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2020, 02:21:35 PM »
 :lolb:




I used small countersunk screws through the plate up into the base of the qctp, to lock them together.

Offline Flyboy Jim

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2020, 02:51:26 PM »
:lolb:




I used small countersunk screws through the plate up into the base of the qctp, to lock them together.

Same as Chris, Zee.

I use the 2 Tee Nuts you see, plus the one on the QCTP itself. Makes it easy to rotate the tool post as needed. Before I got my plate made, I put a piece of sand paper under the QCTP, which helped some.

The small rubber feet on the bottom of my bases keep the machines from sliding around just fine.

My bench is 5' and has plenty of room to work.

Jim
Sherline 4400 Lathe
Sherline 5400 Mill
"You can do small things on big machines, but you can do small things on small machines".

Online Hugh Currin

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Re: From Manual to CNC - Sherlines
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2020, 03:23:55 PM »
Zee:

I machined a block with a square recess (#35) matching the base of my QCTP. Made one minimal height and one to match riser blocks on the lathe. The advantage is I didn't have to drill holes into the QCTP. One downside is the tool post can't be rotated.

The T-nuts from Sherline are very short. I made a bunch of T-nuts more along the lines of standard tie down T-nuts. For the QCTP I used a longer T-nut for more holding, spread the load toward the edges of the QCTP. Also use them for general purposes.

Thanks.

What did you all do to prevent the tool post from rotating on the plate?
Have you got a sketch or drawing of the plate?
In your picture, Jim, are you using 3 T-nuts?
Hugh