Chapter 3 – Lathe CNC spindle control

Today was one of those days where the amount of actual work accomplished was maybe 45 minutes while the amount of research and prep to do that work was half the day.  But I got ‘er!

Again, through a ton of research I was able to figure out the wiring to my just-installed Lathe CNC spindle control board (from Little Machine Shop).  This board, along with swapping out a chip on the lathe main control board, allows the CNC control software (I’m using Acorn CNC) to start and stop the lathe’s spindle, control the spindle/chuck RPM, and provide directional commands for either forward or reverse.  This comes in real handy not only during normal lathe ops, but especially during creating threads and tapping.

Here’s the lathe side wiring.

The main thing I needed to figure out inside the Lathe CNC control box was wiring up the two relays that control the forward/reverse direction of the spindle.  Here is that wiring.

The main issue I had when I went to test it was not any of the wiring I had just completed, but remembering how to use the darn software.  At first I thought my wiring was wrong but then I realized I wasn’t inputting the right commands… doh!  It’s just been so long working these functions in the Acorn CNC software.

That being said, when I did finally get it fired up, the control was spot on… and that 4″ chuck was very smooth, vibration-free and purred like a kitten.  I still have some final dialing in to do, so I’ll make a short video when it’s operational.

Again, after I do some test lathe ops on some scrap stock, I’ll be chucking up the compression EGT probes’ stainless steel mounting bungs to trim those suckers down a good bit to knock off some weight.  Those bungs are an excellent excuse —while the weather is still fairly chilly— to get the lathe up and running since I’ll need to use it to make a number of other airplane parts as well!

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