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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Novakon > So I bought a Novakon NM-135. What do I have ???
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  1. #1
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    So I bought a Novakon NM-135. What do I have ???

    I bought a Novakon NM-135 and Controller from the local University.

    I got caught up in a bidding war and hope I didn't pay too much...
    I am trying to figure out exactly what I have.

    All it says on the headstock is:

    Novakon NM-135
    Bench Mill Series

    It has what appears to be an Identification Plate on the bottom front of the ways.
    Any printing on it is worn away, but the stamped numbers are:

    3.2 70017 01.2010

    Would that be Version: Serial#: and Manufacture Date?

    I also got the CD-100 Controller and a USB Security device marked "Visual Mill".

    Details are hard to find, but it looks like there were originally sold with a license for Mach-3 and BobCAD-CAM.

    Was that always the case or did they switch to licensing the Visual Mill software?

    The hard drive in the machine is flaky and probably not long for this world.
    That makes figuring out what's installed and licensed a bit tricky.

    Worst Case, it contains:
    4 GECKODRIVE G203V stepper Drives.
    Three are marked X, Y & Z in Pencil.
    The 4th has 1/2 of a round yellow sticker on it with 'Bench' written on it. Any idea what that would mean?

    A cnc4pc C11G Rev 8.2 board with a DB-25 input.
    The cable it had was damaged but had DB-25 connectors on both ends and was about 8 feet long.
    The wires were broken off right at the solder cups on on connector.
    Is it likely to be a straight-through wired cable?
    'Should' it plug into the Parallel Port in the PC Motherboard Printer port, or should it go to some sort of Motion Control Board I do not have?
    It's odd the cable is that long if it only needs to be a foot long, but then again a premade cable that long would probably be hard to find.
    I don't see ANY interconnections between the motherboard and all the other driver and controls built into that combined Blue and Yellow Case.

    Most of the wires connecting the CD-100 and the mill go directly ( Via Wiring Blocks ) to the steppers and what I presume are Hall Sensors and a Temp Sensor.

    In the back of the mill there is what I presume is a 3-phase VFD drive for the spindle.
    The Only markings I can see on it are:

    M&C
    SL-1100-2(5.3)
    2009.05.18

    Is there any wiring and technical info available for these machines in general and that spindle controller particular?

    How is it controlled?

    I know the specs changed over time, what would the Max spindle speed be for this machine?

    Any pointers for specs and details necessary to get this running would be greatly appreciated !!!

    Thanks
    Marc

  2. #2
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    Re: So I bought a Novakon NM-135. What do I have ???

    I have a NM-200 with the CD100 control. The loopback DB25 cable on mine is short (1') and connects the BoB to the parallel port. My mill is 10 years old, and I have Novakon do a refurb of the CD100 5 years ago. One thing he did was replace the CNC4PC board with a newer model as the original one was no longer made.

    I now run PathPilot on a separate computer that sits atop the CD100. The loopback cable now connects the BoB with the card in the new PC, so the CD100 basically is providing power for the non-computer parts. In theory I could still run Mach3 by reconnecting the loopback cable but haven't had a need to do so. PathPilot is a much better system.

    Connections from CD-100 to mill are two cables. One has the 4 axes wires bundled, and the other has the VFD signal.

  3. #3
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    Re: So I bought a Novakon NM-135. What do I have ???

    Thank You.

    I'll look into PathPilot as well.
    I'm still trying to figure out what it is.
    How much of it is Tormach machine specific.
    How much of it is Motion Controller specific.
    And what it'll cost me.
    I have a bad habit of getting into the 'Just more addition or feature,
    Then I'll really get down to using 'it'...
    I already have the mill and PC opened up.
    I have to force myself to just clean it all up, fix the windows 7 install that just crashes and burns when I try to start Mach 3 and see what works first.

    Marc

  4. #4
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    Re: So I bought a Novakon NM-135. What do I have ???

    PP conversion costs were fairly basic PC that I put together from components at Frys, about $250. CD with Path Pilot $90. 5i25 Interface card from Mesa about $90.

    I had to spend some time learning LinuxCNC internals in order to modify the standard Tormach files to remove parts that aren't needed or wanted. I suspect I could give you my files, but I'm on version 1.9 and Tormach has moved on to version 2. Getting the stepper axes to move was fairly straightforward, but the spindle control was not. It took help from Mesa to get the proper firmware load to their card to generate the proper signal.

    Here's the thread on my conversion: https://www.cnczone.com/forums/novak...lot-nm200.html

  5. #5
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    Re: So I bought a Novakon NM-135. What do I have ???

    I also have a novakon. but its a Torus Pro. Many of us here came to the decision that mach 3 is not a good control. It has many ghosts in it. I removed mach 3 and the break out board and replaced it with a Centroid Acorn. The conversion was easy and I am very happy with it. The acorn conversion is more of a hardware change and you don't have to mess with software much. Centroid software is not as feature rich as Mach 3 but it just chugs along flawlessly.

    Cost is about $299 for the board and basic software and you will almost certainly want to upgrade the software to the next level which is another $159. The reason I chose the acorn over pathpilot is that the manufacturer of the acorn actually wants us to use their product. Path pilot requires some hacking skills that would have been frustrating to me. If you go the path pilot route There are some guys here who will assist.

  6. #6
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    Re: So I bought a Novakon NM-135. What do I have ???

    I actually found the guy working in the lab that was actually using this machine previously.
    He filled in some blanks.
    The PC installed in the CD-100 was messed up and had not worked in quite some time.
    He was using another PC running MACH 3 to run it, that explains the 10' cable.
    MACH 3 would not be my first choice to drive this machine, but on the other hand one thing I hope I have
    learned is to START with a Known-Good system before you start messing with it (aka. make it 'Better').
    I Supposedly have all the config files and all the definitions of what's connected where.
    Once I get that set up and figure out what works and what doesn't I'll be in a better position to 'Improve' it.
    If I don't do that, I'd be in a position of trying to get the spindle control to work properly with some other
    motion control system, not knowing if it's my configuration or if the drive board is fried...

    Thanks all...

    Marc

  7. #7

    Re: So I bought a Novakon NM-135. What do I have ???

    if you have the mach 3 configurations then it's likely your best place to start , it'll give you a base to start from in order to figure out whats working or what might not be . Personally I think mach gets a bad rap . I've used it for many yrs on various machines and never had any issues , just stay away from some of the newer versions which are buggy . This is the version I stuck with R3.042.020 .

    At least this way you'll be able to play if all is good , and if you decide to move onto other control softwares later down the road then you can

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