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Thread: More on my lathe conversion

  1. #1
    Supporting Member tonyfoale's Avatar
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    More on my lathe conversion

    A bit over a year ago I posted about my lathe conversion to electronic control. Not full CNC because I did not want that but way more than normal ELS conversions. Here is a link to that post
    Ball screw and electronic lathe conversion

    It has worked great since then until it didn't a few weeks back. I traced the problem to a dry joint on my hand wired control board. It looked perfect, even under a microscope, which is about the only way to inspect it. A continuity meter can only tell you if it is working or not at the time of measurement but it may not be tomorrow. Often just putting a probe on a joint can be enough physical effort to change its state. It seems like the modern solder is to blame, it does not tin out like the old leaded stuff. I think that what happened with mine was brought on by the weather. It was very damp over the winter, which would have allowed humidity into anything that was not perfect and caused some corrosion then the hot weather dried it all out. As a result I lost confidence in that board, how many more connections were waiting to cause a problem?. A PCB comes ready tinned on all the connection points and most component leads are tinned or tin easily. Soldering is a piece of cake, with minimal worries about dry joints. So the potential for similar problems is greatly reduced.

    More on my lathe conversion-dsc_4451.jpg More on my lathe conversion-ballscrew_081.jpg More on my lathe conversion-ballscrew_082.jpg Click for full size

    These pix show the original hand wired control board, not tidy but it worked for a year.

    So I sat down and designed a PCB to replace the hand wired board. I have made PCBs in the past on a milling machine but there were a few other people who would like a PCB to help copying my controller, so I decided to design one to get made professionally by one of the myriad of companies offering that service. I used some design software called Diptrace to help design the board. I had not drawn any schematics for the original, I tend to work off the top of my head mostly, so I went directly into manually placing components and then tracing through with the wiring. Here are the front and rear design layouts. Which become the only wiring diagrams that I have.

    More on my lathe conversion-frontside.jpg More on my lathe conversion-backside.jpg

    Once that was done I converted it to a 3D image for a final check

    More on my lathe conversion-frontside3d.jpg More on my lathe conversion-backside3d.jpg

    DipTrace then exported a bunch of "Gerber" files that the PCB companies use and I sent them off to such a company. Four days later I had these, The shipping was 8 times the price of 10 boards.

    More on my lathe conversion-realthing.jpg More on my lathe conversion-pcbrear.jpg

    Which were a pretty good imitation of the 3D model

    Populating the board with components was very fast and the final board looked like this with the original for comparison.

    More on my lathe conversion-pcb-stuff.jpg More on my lathe conversion-insidebox01.jpg More on my lathe conversion-dsc_4452.jpg

    It worked first time but it works no better than the original so what have I gained? Improved reliability and a warm fuzzy feeling whenever I open the cabinet door.

    Here is a link to the inevitable videos https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...JVwwFANxyTc2Kj and another pic.

    More on my lathe conversion-ballscrew_073.jpg

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  2. The Following 18 Users Say Thank You to tonyfoale For This Useful Post:

    asterix (Jul 25, 2022), bruce.desertrat (Jul 23, 2022), Christophe Mineau (Jul 23, 2022), darkoford (Jul 22, 2022), freddo4 (Jul 21, 2022), Home-PC (Jul 21, 2022), Inner (Jul 21, 2022), johncg (Jul 22, 2022), Jon (Jul 20, 2022), metric_taper (Jul 21, 2022), mwmkravchenko (Jul 21, 2022), nova_robotics (Jul 20, 2022), olderdan (Jul 23, 2022), rebuilder1954 (Jul 22, 2022), rlm98253 (Jul 21, 2022), Saltfever (Jul 21, 2022), Tonyg (Jul 22, 2022), Tule (Jul 22, 2022)

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    nova_robotics's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfoale View Post
    It seems like the modern solder is to blame
    I have a local supplier. Tony, shoot me your mailing address and I'll send you a few rolls of the good stuff.

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    mwmkravchenko (Jul 21, 2022)

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    Thanks tonyfoale! We've added your Lathe Controller PCB to our Electronics category,
    as well as to your builder page: tonyfoale's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




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    Supporting Member mwmkravchenko's Avatar
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    Very nicely done Tony.

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    Congratulations tonyfoale - your Lathe Controller PCB is the Homemade Tool of the Week!

    A custom PCB is a rare upgrade to a machine tool, and an even further improvement to your previous Electronic Lathe Controller Conversion.

    Some more nice builds from this week:

    Magnetic Hand Drill Mount by orioncons36
    Roller Bender by Metalgeria
    Remote Control Lawnmower by warsztatOdZera
    Wooden Toolbox by RCTURKA
    Wind Generator by Mr.DK DIY
    Tool Holder by Hill Top Machine Works
    Circular Saw Guide by Didpoolhall
    Plasma CNC by tmate3
    Tube Cross Drilling Method by thevillageinn


    tonyfoale - we've added your tool entry to our All Homemade Tool of the Week winners post. And, you'll be receiving a $25 online gift card, in your choice of Amazon, PayPal, or bitcoin. Please PM me your current email address and gift card choice and I'll get it sent over right away.


    This is your 16th Homemade Tool of the Week win! Here are all of your winning tools:


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    wizard69's Tools
    That is one nice little upgrade!!! I think you did it the hardware without a schematic but proof is in the pudding.

    By the way the answer to all your soldering problems is to revert to lead based solder. One roll will last for a very long time and solve so many DIY soldering problems it isn't even funny.

    I'm not sure what stupidity resulted in a movement to lead free solders, it isn't like people go around licking their PCB.

  9. #7
    Supporting Member tonyfoale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
    That is one nice little upgrade!!! I think you did it the hardware without a schematic but proof is in the pudding.

    By the way the answer to all your soldering problems is to revert to lead based solder. One roll will last for a very long time and solve so many DIY soldering problems it isn't even funny.

    I'm not sure what stupidity resulted in a movement to lead free solders, it isn't like people go around licking their PCB.
    Thanks, glad that you like it. I usually work without drawings for mechanical stuff and without schematics for electronic stuff. If I do need anything then it is usually a very rough and ready sketch.

    I have to make an effort and find some real solder. I ran out a few years back and all I have now is two rolls of "safe" junk.

    About the reasons for removing the lead. Toxicity of everyday items has increased with time. A few decades back it was all safe, we would blow out the asbestos laden dust from brake drums without masked, we do some plumbing with hands grey from lead and eat a sandwich. Now the mere mention of asbestos, lead, mould and other stuff will have people rushing for protective clothing and full ventilation breathing stuff. The only viable explanation is that these materials now come with added toxins.

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    olderdan (Jul 23, 2022)

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    You got me looking for leaded solder wire (plenty on ebay) , one thing I learnt is that lead free solder has a fairly short shelf life as it absorbs oxygen from the atmosphere, certainly not good for electronics, it also has a lower melting point. I am not into electronics but I have had some problems soldering wiring with my old lead free stuff.
    BTW congrats on your TOTW award surprised you did not get that from your original lathe conversion.

  12. #9
    Supporting Member tonyfoale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olderdan View Post
    You got me looking for leaded solder wire (plenty on ebay) , one thing I learnt is that lead free solder has a fairly short shelf life as it absorbs oxygen from the atmosphere, certainly not good for electronics, it also has a lower melting point. I am not into electronics but I have had some problems soldering wiring with my old lead free stuff.
    BTW congrats on your TOTW award surprised you did not get that from your original lathe conversion.
    Alan,

    I knew that the lead free stuff has a lower melting point but I did not know that it had a shelf life, my two rolls are several years old.

  13. #10
    Supporting Member mwmkravchenko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfoale View Post
    Alan,

    I knew that the lead free stuff has a lower melting point but I did not know that it had a shelf life, my two rolls are several years old.
    I have lead free that is over 20 years old. No problems when soldering fresh components on a fresh board. Where I run into trouble is there is Leaded solder. Then I sometimes need flux for a decent joint. Back in the 90's I did a stint as an electronics tech for a company that had proprietary equipment with no manuals. I learned a lot about backwards engineering. Even if my chair was forwards, or spinning even!

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