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  1. #1

    New (2nd) lathe...subtle differences

    I finally had time to put together my second lathe purchase. There are some differences between the two. One purchased less than a year ago. The other received a few weeks ago.

    Both were bare bones, turret lathe with enclosure. If I didn't have to pay for it from Tormach, I didn't buy it.

    New lathe came with a turret that had a build date older than the first. Both look the same.

    New lathe came with a different enclosure. The new enclosure has linear bearings and rods for the door instead of wheels and aluminum extrusions. A bristle like wiper that attaches to the inside of the enclosure that keeps chips from flying out from behind the right side of the door, and sort of wipes the glass when opening the door. Glass is held in a bit better with full length holders along the edges. All of the inner pieces of the panels have built in pressed/formed nuts. (no longer need to reach in and hold wing nuts while tightening the bolts) Right side and rear removable pieces that were slide in/drop in before are now bolted in as well. I'm 99% sure that the left side panel of the enclosure was supposed to be on the inside of the small panel (belt cover attaches to it with the "L" brackets) on the left side of the head stock on the first lathe, but when we downloaded the instructions to assemble this one, it said to place the left panel on the outside of the small one. First lathe came with two rectangular metal pieces that you tightened up on the inside of the enclosure to hold those two panels tight together. This one didn't. Fit to the base was about the same...poor. Buy a tube of caulk and give it a go all around the entire left side. If a panel touches another panel, base, head stock, caulk it. We even caulked both bolt in rear/right removable panels. On the back side of the machine, there is a white piece already installed on the top of the base. To the left/head stock side, is a very big leak area. Goober it up good! Do you remember that vehicle door edge protector that was split on one side? You would put it on the end of your door so if you were to open it against something, it wouldn't scratch/ding the door. Came with a roll of that, but with no instructions on where to put it.

    I remember needing a puller to replace the motor belt pulley on the first lathe. This one slipped off and bigger one slipped on nicely!

    Biggest difference...the controller!

    First lathe came with a full size PC case that fit nicely into the door on the right side. New lathe has a controller that I can hold in my hand. It is about 6"x6"x2" or so. Has a separate parallel port box that attaches to the controller with a short Ethernet/cat cable. Only bad thing about that is both require a power source and there is only one "controller" power outlet on the back of the machine. The power cable for the parallel box is about 3 feet long too. Where is all of this suppose to mount, you might ask? It comes with an "L" shaped bracket that is supposed to attach to the back of your monitor. Attach the controller to that bracket and double sided tape the parallel port box to the top of the controller. (don't pay attention to the "This end up" markings on the controller and you won't think twice about this ) It did come with a (just long enough for our monitor) VGA cable. Controller also has an HDMI output. There are 3 USB ports on the controller, but after reading the installation directions on the website, it looks like a USB hub (attach on the underside of the "L" bracket below controller) was supposed to be included to allow more ports, but I didn't get one. I received a waterproof mouse with first lathe, nothing with the 2nd.

    Everything buttoned up, leak proofed, settings adjusted and the lathe aligned/leveled. Downloaded the latest PP software and installed. Spun the turret around a few times expecting a need to adjust the switch on the inside of it, but all went well there. Started making a few cuts to set the tool offsets when I might have ran into a problem that I haven't seen on lathe #1.

    I was boring out a pocket to make sure the boring tool offsets were correct. I've done this a thousand times on the first lathe, but had an issue with this one. I ran the cut and measured with a pin gauge. It was slightly small. Instead of adjusting the offset, I wanted to run the final pass again. I would normally find the line in the G-Code window that said Final Pass for that tool/operation, left click on the line, right click on the line, select run from here (I'm in bed, so I can't remember everything it says, but it is the third option). Click on the FWD button to spin up the lathe, click on Cycle Start and it would run the final pass again. This lathe would error out, shut down the spindle and the tool number located in the bottom right of the screen (normally T0101 for example) would show T01 (example again). I again can't remember the exact error given, but it said something along the line of the tool would need to move further than it was allowed. I'll check into it more tomorrow to confirm the exact problem. I did however go back to the beginning of that tool change operation and rerun the entire boring operation, with the same left click, right click, run from here, that I did before, and it ran fine.

    More info tomorrow if I get the chance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: New (2nd) lathe...subtle differences

    I wondered what they did for control computer on lathe and its interface. Router come with a gigabyte brix "model" and cat 5 to machine. Sounds like they added a break out box "what I call them" between the small form factor control and lathe. The run from here command should act the same on both machines unless older one has different version of pp. I would assume anyway!

    You will need usb hub and it should have come with the controller. "my brix did anyway" it only has 3 usb ports. But you need 5. One for mouse. keyboard, touchscreen, network and control puck.
    I also needed to buy a usb to Ethernet network adapter to hardwire to my network others would get wireless usb

    Anyway, nice to see someone scaling up with more machines

  3. #3

    Re: New (2nd) lathe...subtle differences

    I didn't get a chance to play with the new lathe today. Needed to catch up on the work I missed this week putting that one together.

    The PP versions are the same. Both 2.6.0. Lathe one was downloaded through PP/internet connection months ago and lathe two was updated VIA USB by downloading from Tormach's website.

    I really don't need the USB hub. I'm only using a mouse, keyboard and leftover port for a USB dongle when needed. The waterproof mouse is what I'll miss.

    I wish I had the power and room for more of them!!

    Picture of the controller and parallel port box.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: New (2nd) lathe...subtle differences

    They should have provided one with the brix unit. It looks same as one i have.
    How do you do setups on a lathe without a puck? Change steps and use arrow keys?
    Asking because with router and mill touch screens, I never use mouse! Only right click menu, for run from here "that's it!" . Wishing I could find a track ball on keyboard that worked. That would free up flat area needed for mouse to work.

    You Could always build a bigger shop with more power line them up with bar feeders and drop bins!
    That said, I have a spot for a sbl still open with power, air and network ready to go. But It keeps moving down the list these days

  5. #5

    Re: New (2nd) lathe...subtle differences

    Probably more then what you asked for...

    Lathe work is pretty easy. Home Z, then X after turning on the machine. Place the bar stock in the chuck, protruding enough for the piece to be made and parted off. Call up tool one (turning/facing in my case). Move the tool to touch the face. Shift key + arrows to move fast, just the arrows to move slow. Zero Z. Back off using Shift + arrows for a safe G30. Set G30. I run a program to remove a desired amount of the O.D. I then measure the O.D., adjust X the difference from what I wanted to what I measured to correct the difference. Run again with a slightly smaller desired O.D. and measure again to confirm final dimensions are correct.

    My Z is correct and X is perfect, Cycle Start.

    I add a line at the end of all of the programs to call T0101 and move it back to Z0 and just under the O.D. of the material needing turned. Loosen chuck and slide the material out enough to contact the tool, lightly tighten chuck, return to G30, tighten chuck, Cycle Start.

    I'm sure I could get away with not using the mouse if I had a touch screen. I'll take the mouse any day of the week though.

    As for the left click/right click/run from here issue I had with lathe two, I still haven't had a chance to get back to it. Some of the parts I make, there is a boring operation that I need a nearly perfect I.D. -0.0/+.001. I have it set up to cut slightly undersize and I check with a gauge pin. 99% of the time, a single "run from here" on the final pass will bring it into spec (although there have been times it was undersized one run, perfect the next) and that is why I use it so much.

    If things keep going good.... Maybe.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: New (2nd) lathe...subtle differences

    I didnt think the touch screens would be very usable. Having dirty wet fingers touching an lcd and not fat finger something was a concern. I picked one up just to try for a while and was hooked. Then you end up trying to use every screen as a touch screen even when you dont have one. Makes you buy more to replace them all.
    I found my overall movements were cut down considerably using a touch screen. Hard to explain in detail but it equals less head, eye and hand movement.

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