1990's Bridgeport, CNC by Centroid with varidrive j head
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    Default 1990's Bridgeport, CNC by Centroid with varidrive j head

    I'm going to look at/pickup this mill next weekend. It's my first mill so it's pretty exciting. It's got ball screws and stepper motors. The CNC computer starts and the mill will jog with the controls but it's got a floppy drive error code coming up. I talked to Centroid and they said that the computer is ancient tech (and not really supported anymore) but thier ACORN system will hook right up and run with all the hardware on the machine, it's very reasonably priced and I have a computer that meets thier requirements to run it so that is a big plus. The owner of the mill seems super nice and is liquidating his father's shop that was open for 60 years. He says it's in very good shape and was always taken care of properly. Just getting a thread started on my journey with this thing. I'm sure many questions to come.

    Is this the right place for this being there will probably be as many CNC questions as general machine questions.

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    I recently did a Centroid Allinone DC retrofit on a router and it was pretty easy, love the software. Their tech support forum was very helpful and you can check youtube for cncmarty. He has a bunch of videos there on how to do acorn. Start fishing on ebay for a touch screen monitor and an intel NUC pc that meets their specs, you won't need much else (besides a phase converter)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomjelly View Post
    I recently did a Centroid Allinone DC retrofit on a router and it was pretty easy, love the software. Their tech support forum was very helpful and you can check youtube for cncmarty. He has a bunch of videos there on how to do acorn. Start fishing on ebay for a touch screen monitor and an intel NUC pc that meets their specs, you won't need much else (besides a phase converter)
    I've got a touch screen laptop that meets requirements except the SSD which my brother will be installing. You say phase converter for 3 phase power? I have a pretty large shop that actually was a machine shop at one point so that's not a big issue. I've got 240 3 phase up to 7.5hp and I do have a phase converter hooked up on my lift that was already set up to run that way when I bought it.

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    You may be able to get by with that initially or for testing, but you will want a dedicated pc for the machine, and laptops sometimes have a lot of weird stuff going on that might not mix well with centroid. Check out the videos on pc setup and you'll get a detailed explanation.

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    Looks like your mill has DC servo motors with feedback, maybe tachometer/ resolvers or encoders. If so, the Centroid All-in-One will work if you want to keep the motors, but Centroid will probably require that you upgrade the encoders depending on what you have. The Acorn would require you to change out the motors and drives. There are other retrofit options depending on your skillset and budget/ timeline. Don't assume that the $300 Acorn is a bolt-on upgrade.

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    Also, is this a regular varispeed Bridgeport that has had a cnc "kit" attached to what was originally a manual mill?
    There are older purpose-built cnc mills fitted with OEM ball-screws, oilers and vfd drives to the spindles that can be found very inexpensively. These are a much better starting point for retrofits.
    I wouldn't lipstick that pig if its just a bolt-on to a manual mill.

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    Your post says its got ball-screws and steppers. I'd double-check that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalurgent View Post
    Your post says its got ball-screws and steppers. I'd double-check that.
    It does. It's a professionally built by Centroid machine from the 90's. I talked to the tech guy at Centroid and he confirmed that. He said acorn will run the setup perfectly. It is still possibly that the system on it can be saved too. I talked to the owner first and he said it has ball screws and stepper motors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalurgent View Post
    Also, is this a regular varispeed Bridgeport that has had a cnc "kit" attached to what was originally a manual mill?
    There are older purpose-built cnc mills fitted with OEM ball-screws, oilers and vfd drives to the spindles that can be found very inexpensively. These are a much better starting point for retrofits.
    I wouldn't lipstick that pig if its just a bolt-on to a manual mill.
    Yes it was built on a manual bridgeport By Centroid from what I gather. I don't want a CNC only machine that is usuless with a bad operating system. Worst case scenario with this I still have a good bridgeport with a little unconversion. The price is right. My friend is a professional machinist who is willing to help me with it. The owner said it was a very good machine but once they had auto quick change full CNC machines it didn't get used alot anymore. Then the floppy went awol and it was on standby. So it is an add on but a very high quality one. With some updated system bits it should be more than capable of anything I ask of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomjelly View Post
    You may be able to get by with that initially or for testing, but you will want a dedicated pc for the machine, and laptops sometimes have a lot of weird stuff going on that might not mix well with centroid. Check out the videos on pc setup and you'll get a detailed explanation.
    It would be dedicated to the machine,not getting a bunch of stuff installed cluttering it up. But thanks for the suggestion. I will check that out. I saw the list of vids but haven't gotten into them yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rwd4evr View Post
    Yes it was built on a manual bridgeport By Centroid from what I gather. I don't want a CNC only machine that is usuless with a bad operating system. Worst case scenario with this I still have a good bridgeport with a little unconversion. The price is right. My friend is a professional machinist who is willing to help me with it. The owner said it was a very good machine but once they had auto quick change full CNC machines it didn't get used alot anymore. Then the floppy went awol and it was on standby. So it is an add on but a very high quality one. With some updated system bits it should be more than capable of anything I ask of it.

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    THe CNC Bridgeport iron is massively rigid compared to a regular one. Mine took full horsepower side cuts with a 3/4 3 flute for a decade. Try that with a sliding ram rotating head Bridgeport without kicking the head.

    You have at the end of the day, a set of brackets for motors that you must retrofit every other thing. Reversing to manual? Just buy a manual.
    YOu could throw the same Centroid controller on any BOSS machine, or better yet any servo controlled later machine.

    Point is, good luck with the project, but it is cheap because it is supposed to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    THe CNC Bridgeport iron is massively rigid compared to a regular one. Mine took full horsepower side cuts with a 3/4 3 flute for a decade. Try that with a sliding ram rotating head Bridgeport without kicking the head.

    You have at the end of the day, a set of brackets for motors that you must retrofit every other thing. Reversing to manual? Just buy a manual.
    YOu could throw the same Centroid controller on any BOSS machine, or better yet any servo controlled later machine.

    Point is, good luck with the project, but it is cheap because it is supposed to be.
    Ok I understand what you are saying about the rigidity. But why would I have to refit everything else? Centroid said all the hardware will run. They did say that it needs micro 1 drives to run the stepper motors on the machine and it may or may not have them.

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    If someone can point me in the direction of a good used machine they recommend I'm open to it as well. I'm looking at a 2500 ish budget. I'm in Delaware 19803 Withing 5 hrs would be nice.

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    I've been looking at retrofitting an older dedicated cnc mill that's had computer failure and it's far more expensive even if I can get a good machine base. The acorn system and pro mill with digitizing pack software is under $700, and that includes auto g code generator. I can appreciate that this is not a full on production shop machine but I think it will be a very good addition to my shop. I'll be able to do so much more that what I could with a manual bridgeport for not alot more money. And there just isn't the budget for a ready to go cnc machine. I should be able to have a running machine around 3000$ a digitiser probe a a couple hundred. There's a bundle of kwik switch holders for under 300 bucks along with 12 included with the machine. So all in I should be able to make chips under 4000$. I think that's pretty reasonable.

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    I'd go acorn rather than fixing the old version centroid. If you watch all the videos and do one subsystem at a time you'll be able to do it and maybe even be able to sell any old leftover stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    The CNC Bridgeport iron is massively rigid ...
    Umm, gus ? Click here, I promise nothing you couldn't let the kids see :

    You want rigid ? This is rigid

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomjelly View Post
    I'd go acorn rather than fixing the old version centroid. If you watch all the videos and do one subsystem at a time you'll be able to do it and maybe even be able to sell any old leftover stuff.
    Yes that's the plan. Use any and everything already there that will play nice with the acorn. If I can sell off some stuff that would be awesome. There is a dedicated Centroid cnc forum with an acorn sub forum as well so that will be a huge help I'm sure. Man this is exciting and definitely a bit scary. I'm sure I can make it happen with help from some good people though.

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    Get as many tool holders as the guy will part with. It's pretty hard to see the spindle in the photo, but that looks like a Kwik Switch 200 pre-setter sitting on the table (in fact it looks like THE pre-setter I sold a couple years ago) and Kwik Switch stuff isn't very common anymore.

    Dennis

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    Fortunately that is one of the bonuses found today. Massive stack of tooling that's included.

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    And some of the electronics.

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