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  1. #1
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    Apr 2014
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    11

    Where do I start?

    This machine is currently on eBay https://www.ebay.com/itm/264477987412 because I am undecided on what to do with it.
    If the link doesn't open it is a 5'x10' Thermwood Model 53.
    A year or so ago I redid a a 4x8 Multicam. This gave me the false confidence that all cnc machines are a lot the same. I am finding out that I do not know where to begin with something this big.
    Below are what I see as my current options. I would like opinions on these or a new suggestion.

    #1 Sell the machine for parts not working and hopefully get a little bit of my money back.

    #2 Change all the electronics motors included. For this option what size of motors do I have to have? Can I use large steppers? Is the only downside of this it will be slow? For my current project requirements it will be cutting .025 aluminum and then I have to cut deep grooves in foam with a .25" bit so it will be running slowly to preserve the bit anyway.

    #3 This is the ideal option. A new Windows based control system and use the current motors and drivers. Will Mach run any control board that will send signals to drive these motors?

    Any thoughts are very welcomed.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_20190925_070754.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Dec 2003
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    388

    Re: Where do I start?

    What you have there is an excellent machine.What makes you want to change it in any way? Those aren't steppers they are high quality servos and the whole machine is built with equally high quality parts.

    Has the Thermwood been powered up since you have owned it?The reason for asking is that I can't think of another way to determine which version of the software it might be running.Thermwood are quite proud of the fact that they can keep their older machines running and unless there is a really severe problem it might pay you to have a tech visit and assess the machine.

    If you can get the controller powered up the built in maintenance video library should help you to do most necessary service operations.I would be surprised if any of the older controllers running OS2/Warp are still producing,but you never know.The Windows based systems can be remotely diagnosed for faults and you may be able to get guidance from the guys in Dale.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2014
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    11

    Re: Where do I start?

    No it has not been powered up since I got it. I have talked briefly to Thermwood and yes they seem to be very helpful. This is an option to get their new control system. #3 is my ideal solution. nothing is changed aside from the user interface being updated to Windows 10. What parts beyond a PC and Mach 4 (or something similar) would I need?

  4. #4
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    Dec 2003
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    388

    Re: Where do I start?

    Can't help you with the conversion.Actually I find it baffling that you are so eager to change things when you already have a machine with a far more sophisticated controller than 99% of the machines in the world and don't even know if it works.I doubt that any of the control software available to hobbyists will have been calibrated to compensate for the gantry sagging due to the weight of the turret and it can be hours of work to get a toolchanger working.Why not just power it up and see what you have got?If it does need updating a Thermwood update will work before the tech leaves the building and you can start producing.If it doesn't need updating you are ready to cut parts.

  5. #5

    Re: Where do I start?

    That looks like a fun project, I used to have a Thermwood 4x8 that I did a complete retrofit on. The good news is that the Thermwood is built like a tank, good bones if it is mechanically OK. I really hope you didn't pay anywhere close to your EBay asking price for that machine, I normally buy machines like that for scrap price or less.

    When you break it all down, the machine is no more complex than your Multicam, with the exception of that turret tool changer. Never seen one like that before, and if a tool changer is not really needed then I would remove it. Too many moving parts, things to go wrong. Other tool change options are available if needed.

    Given that all of the wiring seems to be cut, and a lot of electrical hardware seems to be missing from the cabinet, I would just replace the servos with modern hardware, something that has documentation and support. DMM servos would be my choice. https://store.dmm-tech.com/ Given the size of the machine, maybe 1KW servos on the X & Y drives, and a 1.8KW on the Z.

    Your control options are endless, but I would take a serious look at the Dynomotion product line. https://dynomotion.com/ Inexpensive, robust, and the support is great.

    Really looks like you would be starting from pretty much zero on the control cabinet. For electrical hardware, reuse anything that you can, and you can get the rest from Automation Direct. https://www.automationdirect.com/adc/home/home My preferred vendor for electrical hardware.

    If you have some experience with retrofitting machines, then you shouldn't have too much problem with this one. If it was in my shop, I would have it running in a week or so, but I do this stuff for a living so your mileage may vary.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  6. #6
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    Apr 2014
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    Re: Where do I start?

    routalot: I this would be very nice. I have only a basic knowledge of all this though and due to limited electrical drawings and most of the wiring being cut from the cabinet it looks like a really big deal to get it running as Thermwood shipped it out. If I did manage this I am still using some kind of old system to get files onto a floppy drive so I can cut them and although I agree that electronics were built better then but it is still old. This is why if I could update only the user interface and keep the SIMODRIVE system I would be very enthused about this. The only downside of a Thermwood update is it looks like it could be right around $30K
    Thanks for the product suggestions Jim.
    Does anyone know how I could control the SIMODRIVE?

  7. #7

    Re: Where do I start?

    Best I can see, a +/- 10V analog signal can control them. https://www.industry.usa.siemens.com...ion-manual.pdf

    Dynomotion, Centroid, or CamSoft has systems that can do this.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  8. #8
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    Dec 2003
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    388

    Re: Where do I start?

    Do you have a 3 phase supply to run the machine?It would be helpful to see an image or two showing the control cabinet and the large cable(s) that should go to the machine.The floppy drive for transferring files needn't be a deal breaker as you can very likely add a network card and simplify things greatly.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2010
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    52

    Re: Where do I start?

    I saw it on ebay and the price made me laugh for a not running project. I buy, fix, and sell machines as well. The problem is, older machines need to be single phase, lighter, and easily controlled to sell em to start up shops. Big shops needing big iron machines would not be interested in the old girl. If you want to fix it and keep it for your needs and you have a BIG shop, it might be worth it.

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