"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Design Study



I have the design of my Taig CNC mill to CNC lathe conversion further along. I have the few scraps of the non-Taig material in hand and I placed an order for all new Taig components I will be using. I had an eight year old spindle and a 3,000 rpm Dayton motor but I decided to design with current parts and slower motor so there would be no surprises if I put together a kit. I also have a new idea for the tool mount that will be much easier and probably cheaper to implement.

The CNC lathe conversion is ultra easy and low cost if you own the CNC mill. I will dare call it a quick change process. It consists of mounting the Taig lathe bed on the Mill table, removing the mill spindle and motor assembly in one piece, and clamping on the lathe tool holder on the Z axis.  I will be using a standard lathe 3/4 -16 spindle with a 1/5 hp mill 1750rpm motor to power the spindle with standard mill belt drive. I like the fact that the standard Taig tailstock can be used if required. There is plenty of working room above the lathe with the mill head removed.

Lathes should not be spinning at 10,000 rpm so the smaller mill motor will be a good choice rather than using the faster CNC mill motor, at least for the prototype. Of course testing is needed to prove this point, but it only makes good safety sense not to spin too fast.

Future development could be with a geared drive for slower rotation and an rpm reader to allow for thread cutting.

I decided to design and build this conversion mostly because it seems so easy to do. I don’t have any current projects that will need the use of a CNC lathe. Most of my current ideas for round parts will use the 4th axis and milling. But when I do need it, I would like to have it ready to go.

I do see some good applications involving repetitive lathe operations like making a number of scale size bolts or turning wheels when making train car trucks. One fellow asked me to make identical aluminum spinners for a multi-engine model aircraft he was building. I can also use it to turn down wax cylinders for ring making and other lost wax masters. All are perfect jobs for a CNC lathe.

Next report I hope to have pictures,

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