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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Benchtop Machines > Replacing a MAXNC 15 mill controller
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  1. #1
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    Question Replacing a MAXNC 15 mill controller

    Hey guys. I'm doing a mini project for the high school in my area. They found a MaxNC 15 covered in dust. I've managed to get it working, it uses an older version of the control box that manually controls the speed of the drill bit using a black knob. It turns on and works, They also have a lathe attachment. I plug it into a pc using a parallel port but it doesn't seem to read it. I tried several programs to no avail. While I was researching throughout the internet people have been saying that I should scrap the controller and build my own. Problem is i have no clue how to. I searched a bit and was wondering if I would be able to use a TinyG as a new controller for it. Any thoughts?

    These are the specs on the website for the mill but the controller seen on these pictures has 8 cables protruding from it while the one at the high school has only 3 cables and a black knob

    MAXNC 15 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

    US
    METRIC

    Overall Width (X) with 16" X-slide

    21.5"

    546 mm

    Overall Depth (Y)

    20.8"

    527 mm

    Overall Height (Z)

    21.9"

    556 mm

    Weight

    54 lb

    24.5 kg

    Dimensional Shipping Weight

    104 lb

    47.2 kg

    X Axis Travel, 12" slide

    N/A

    N/A

    X Axis Travel, 16" slide

    10.0"

    254 mm

    X Axis Travel, 18" slide

    12.0"

    305 mm

    Y Axis Travel

    8.0"

    203 mm

    Z Axis Travel

    9.0"

    229 mm

    X, Y, Z Slides cross section

    4" x 1"

    102 x 25 mm

    X-Y Block dimensions

    4" x 6 " x 1.5"

    102 x 152 x 38 mm

    Z Block dimensions

    4" x 6 " x 1.5"

    102 x 152 x 38 mm

    Gussets dimensions (bxh)

    2.5" x 16.25"

    64 x 413 mm

    Spindle Motor Max RPM (1/5 hp)

    10,000 RPM

    10,000 RPM

    Spindle Max RPM (1/5 hp)

    See RPM Reduction Factor

    4,350 RPM

    4,350 RPM

    Spindle Max RPM (1/2 hp)

    See RPM Reduction Factor

    4,350 RPM

    4,350 RPM

    Spindle Max RPM (1/2 hp)

    See RPM Reduction Factor

    4,350 RPM

    4,350 RPM

    Spindle pulley drive system

    Timing Belt, Timing Pulleys

    Timing Belt, Timing Pulleys

    Pulleys Ratio (Spindle / Motor, 1/5 hp motor)

    Torque Amplification Factor

    2.3

    2.3

    Pulleys Ratio (Spindle / Motor, 1/2 hp motor)

    Torque Amplification Factor

    2.3

    2.3

    Pulleys Ratio (Motor / Spindle, 1/5 hp motor)

    RPM Reduction Factor

    43%

    43%

    Pulleys Ratio (Motor / Spindle, 1/2 hp motor)

    RPM Reduction Factor

    43%

    43%

    Stepper motor bipolar series current (each axis)

    2.1 A

    2.1 A

    Stepper motor bipolar torque (each axis)

    175.0 Oz-In

    1.24 N-m

    Stepper motor degree size

    1.8°

    1.8°

    Max rapid and feed rate

    60.0 I/min

    1,524 mm/min

    Positioning resolution

    0.00025"

    0.0064 mm

    Repeatability

    0.00025"

    0.0064 mm

    Antibacklash nuts in all axes

    Standard

    Standard

    Lead screw diameter

    1/4"

    6.4 mm

    Lead screw lead (advance per turn, 20 TPI)

    0.05"

    1.27mm

    Frame material

    6061 T6 Aluminum



    Frame finish

    MIL-A-8625(1) Type III Class 2 Black anodization

    MIL-A-8625(1) Type III Class 2 Black anodization

    Input voltage (standard)

    110 v

    110 v

    Input voltage (optional)

    220 v

    220 v

  2. #2
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    A Gecko G540 would take care of your problems. You can probably use the original power supply. The 3 cables are most likely each steppers wiring. Are there limit switches? Those wires might be in the bundle too.
    A lazy man does it twice.

  3. #3
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    I looked at a picture of the Gecko you recommended but i'm not sure if the parallel port would work, they only have windows 7 pcs.
    Another thing is with the DB9 connectors, how would i connect the motors without a wiring diagram?

  4. #4
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    Replacing a MAXNC 15 mill controller

    Then I would add an Ethernet SmoothStepper, this would allow you to bypass the PP connection. You will get a much smoother pulse train and possibly faster travel speeds if desired. It will also allow up to 3 ports of inputs and outputs. This would keep the overall electronics sizing very compact.

    You could use a different breakout board like a PMDX-126, the necessary drivers (3) minimum on a mill, still you would need a USB or Ethernet board like the Smoothstepper or Csmio. All of these methods would work but the G540 and Smoothstepper combo would most likely be the most inexpensive, dependable, smallest, and pretty easy to configure (of course this is dependent on your experience with Mach 3 or EMC). The G540 mentioned supplies a max of 3.5 amps per axis. This is plenty for your needs.

    The stepper wiring is a non issue. The wiring diagrams are readily available. It is a matter of determining the desired traits of the stepper, amps available per axis, etc.

    In regards to wiring a db9. Time to learn to solder. Great tutorials on YouTube. You will need this skill to play this game. Simple to do well enough. Practice soldering and desoldering on some old junk electronics.

    There are some great vendors here on the Zone. Gecko, CNC4PC, Automation direct, the list goes on. In my experience most have been very helpful trying to help a noob (me, though I am learning) make sense of the products, wiring and configuration issues. In fact I would go as far as to say, I have never been so impressed by a group of helpful people. I have had them call me personally and walk me thru my problems. More than 1 time. This is a very intricate set of problems. It will require patience, some electrical understanding or the ability to learn and study it til you do, mechanical and other skills. Do not let it deter you.

    Btw, any experience with CAD/CAM? GCode? Machining? Work holding? If not, it will become a learning experience. I say that because I built my first controller from a kit (Hobby CNC PRO) it is a great kit and still works well to this day. After everything was assembled, wired, configured within Mach 3, I had no idea of how to make the machine move. Fortunately someone stepped up and gave me a simple GCode to insert in the MDI. This was after verifying the potential travels of the machine. I was so happy to see movement. The people who understand all of the steps and are proficient at it, are highly skilled professionals. Regardless if they are paid that way.

    There seems to be plenty to learn and it is ongoing. I find it fun and with the internet, YouTube and forums, finding information beats the library and the Dewey Decimal System any day.
    A lazy man does it twice.

  5. #5
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    Also sometimes if it seems like no one is responding to a post. Don't take it personally.

    Either it has been discussed so much a simple search would provide the answer. It will require your studying.

    Check exactly how you asked the question. Is it really asking what you need or merely venting frustration?

    Not knocking you at all, I have just found most of my problems were due to how I asked the question and improving my written communication skills. All of a sudden English and writing skills make sense, I just don't remember them.
    A lazy man does it twice.

  6. #6
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    The cheapest way to get it going would be with an older PC with W98 running in the DOS mode. Do you have the original software? I'm pretty sure all MaxNC machines of that vintage ran on DOS. I have (and still use occasionally) a home-built CNC router that uses the Max controller & software. I run it with an old Toshiba 386 (!) laptop with W98 and it works well considering its age.

    Disregard the above and get out the checkbook if you don't want to stroll down memory lane with W95/98/DOS.

  7. #7
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    If you have some money to spend on this, then sure - get the G540 and Mach3 and either a computer with a parallel port capable of EPP mode or a SmoothStepper. Putting it into an enclosure and hooking it up isn't that hard, and you'd have a motion control system that's a lot more reliable than the old MaxNC controllers ever were.

    If you don't have any money, listen to Dickeybird and get an old PC running Win98 or something even older. They could boot directly into DOS, which is how those machines originally worked (the DOS window in later computers is just an emulation; they don't give you control over the parallel port, so the machine won't run). If you can't find the original software, you can probably get it working with TurboCNC, CNCPro, or another DOS control software. LinuxCNC might also work, if you can figure out how to set it up.

    If you want to experiment, try that TinyG controller. I've never heard of it before (and I doubt many others here have either), but that's not to say it won't work. It says it does G-code interpretation, but it doesn't say how - does it come with a software interface? If you go that route, be sure to report back and tell us how it went.

    By the way, that "lathe" attachment is probably a 4th axis rotary table; MaxNC used a Sherline part for that, so it's better-made than the rest of that machine. So if you give up on the rest of this project, keep that - you can always use it on another mill.

    Andrew Werby
    www.computersculpture.com

  8. #8
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    Come to think about it, Mach3 has a MaxNC wave drive config option. I played around with it a while back & got it to talk to my MaxNC control but the motor tuning was gonna take me a while to sort out so I stayed with the ol' DOS system.

    The Max software comes with a Timeset utility that sets all that up for you during the install. Funny, I came across the original manual online:
    https://engineering.purdue.edu/AAE/A...AXNCmanual.pdf

  9. #9
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    Re: Replacing a MAXNC 15 mill controller

    i Have a max nc 15 as well but the controll board as long as every wire have diconected, would you be willing to post a photo of the wiring insid the metal box so i may put it back together and see if mine works

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