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  1. #1
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    Default Help with Centroid Bridgeport

    New to the forum...and I could really use some help with a mill I picked up. The prior owner said it was a a Centroid CNC conversion that the PPO used to turn rifle stocks. He pulled the computer and DRO when he sold it the guy I bought from. All the sensors and servos are still there. So...trying to get it rolling again. I need the “brains” and software, but Centroid is stuck without a serial number for the conversion...and there is none on the machine. They place it as 2000 time frame, but are stuck at what to sell me.

    Can anyone out there help identify what is missing, and perhaps point me in a direction to replace the brains and DRO?

    On a side note, I also cannot identify the Mill serial either. On the knee it is stamped “V2E3 274”, with an underlying circle around the number “31”. The head is a 2J.

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    a V2E3 is a Bridgeport CNC, and it looks to be a factory built CNC

    Without the front end I would think the control is useless. I would plan on a recontrol.

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    Yep, you need to refit a new control. This is really the wrong forum for this sort of work.

    I suggest you head over to cnc zone dot com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_T View Post
    Yep, you need to refit a new control. This is really the wrong forum for this sort of work.

    I suggest you head over to cnc zone dot com
    Why do you say that? Have you ever used a centroid control? They are very very capable. I used one on a Bridgeport boss machine, great graphics, tool probing, etc. We programmed it with Inventor HSM and it worked a treat (minus manual tool changes, but even those were handled well in the code/control).

    OP, can't answer your questions, but centroid is a good control, if feasible do what you can to get it running again. Does that machine have the Erickson quick change tooling?

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    Thanks for the replies...It does have pneumatic lock and draw bar, including solenoid control of a lot of it. I am not sure the brand, though.

    From what I’ve read so far, it looks like the motion control is in the box. The fact the Centroid rep is balking tells me the controller may be incompatible with newer computers, though. I didn’t know a thing about Mill CNC until 3 days ago, but the more I learn, the more it sounds like there are many options. Narrowing them down will take a lot more study. My goal is to get the motors in motion quickly, so I can assess the condition of the actual mill. It looks good, but I will be surprised if it doesn’t need some work.

    Another question I am sure you guys can help me with is the head. It’s listed on the plate as a 2J, but all the manuals I find for 2J’s have the motor on the top. This one has the motor on the bottom. Is that just a difference in the year it was made?

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    Its a Bridgeport factory CNC

    All the rigid rams are like that I guess some of the v rams

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    Its a Bridgeport factory CNC

    All the rigid rams are like that I guess some of the v rams

    After your first post, I started looking at factory Bridgeport CNC machines...I think you’re right! The PO was obviously mis-informed thinking this is a Centroid conversion. That also explains why the Centroid rep is so confused. So, now it’s time to shift gears and figure out what I need for a factory controller...

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    Best of luck on this. I am pretty sure EMI doesnt handle this era, maybe Terlecki still does. The only place I knew that used to keep these up was Keith at Versitech, but he passed about a year ago now. If you need Brian's contact information, MSG me and I will send it to ya.

    I am going to agree with the first few comments that its time to look at a retrofit. Most likely gonna be using your own castings and ballscrews and adapting whatever brand you want to do this. With what your control cabinet looks to be missing, itll be a much smaller headache just retrofitting it.

    It is basically a 2J, but the ones for the CNC controls had that funky adapter for the Z axis ballscrew and the motor was upside down. Aside from a few parts regarding that adapter for that Z casting and the motor, alot of he parts are just 2J parts.

    Jon
    H&W Machine Repair

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    I had a knee mill that had the same servo drive, it was from 97. In the cabinet looks like also an older plc than mine was. At this time there will have been a motion control board plugged into a consumer motherboard and a hard drive running dos.
    If the motors and encoders are still good you can get a new control board with servo drive and maybe enough plc on board, and a pendant to replace your buttons from.them for inside $3k iirc.

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    I'll repeat my suggestion. You got good iron, good servos and likely good encoders. Everything inside the cabinet is 20 year old junk, likely broken. certainly not worth attempting find why it died.

    getting this running again is a hobby project, industry scraps and buys another.

    I have refitted a great many machines to an industrial quality control and done a couple hobby grade ones too. I did a Bridgeport similar to this 20 years ago.

    like I already suggested, great help is available elsewhere.

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    i have the same Control mine is a M400 with a CNC10 operating system
    my control is on a CNC series 2 Bridgeport and it works great
    looks like you were well optioned as that pendant is very pricey .
    I have all my documentation so if i can help PM me
    Good luck

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    You have an older incomplete Centroid control. I would sell the control parts you have on ebay and purchase a new allinone control from Centroid.

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    I have the slightly older M-15 control retrofitted to essentially the same mill. That is NOT the original Bridgeport BOSS control, which used to completely fill that enclosure. The boards in the OP's photos look similar to the boards in my M-15. which came with it's own separate enclosure. Just pulled my literature, and mine dates to June of 1998, and runs CNC7 software. It was a $12,000 purchase.

    As I recall at that time Centroid only sold complete controls, that is, the control included it's own motherboard, LCD, and keypad. However, I seem to recall that there was an outfit named Ajax that bought Centroid components and adapted them to run with a customer supplied PC, for several grand cheaper. This may be what the OP has, and would explain why Centroid is having trouble identifying it. It may well be that while they are aware of what it is, they don't want to open the can of worms of claiming to support it.

    Since that time Centroid went to Linux based system, and more recently a Windows based system, and now sell a control that you can add your own computer to.

    I suspect you might have better luck searching Ajax CNC on the hobby forums, It is a capable control, if you can get it running, but you will have to find the software that interfaces between the control and the host computer, which likely will have to be a DOS machine.

    Dennis

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    Thank you all for the responses. It’ll take me a while to digest everything, as I am new to the CNC game and will have to catch up on the industry suppliers and their systems you are talking about. I’ll catch up!

    Here is what I am thinking so far...the mill was originally a factory Bridgeport CNC, but may have been upgraded somewhere along the way. I will try to save the servos, and I am thinking the “real” 24 volt power supply. The modern switching supplies are light weight and nice, but nothing beats a lot of iron in a real transformer.

    Then there is the control. It sounds like the consensus is the motor controllers need to be updated, along with a modern mother board. A little googling showed there are quite a few board options that can be used with a dedicated computer, touch screen and keyboard.

    The current mother board is a 15 input/15 output. Just looking at the options attached to the mill, I think that I will need close to that many ins and outs.

    Another question...I see from many pics of similar hardware online that the feedback sensors are relatively common. Are these basic limit switches, or true encoders on the machine?

    Thanks again for the replies!

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    From what I'm seeing in your pics, NONE of the electrical equipment is original, other than maybe the brake solenoid. Bridgeports of that vintage used all NEMA contactors, two or three times the size of what's in there now. They were also stepper motor machines, with big, fat, Superior stepper motors with ribbed cast iron cases.

    Those servo motors are what Centroid supplied with my retrofit, in fact my motors have Centroid name plates in place of the OEM plates, although they are a common servo, which I was able to cross when one of mine went bad. There is a rotary encoder mounted on each motor under those baby blue end caps. The board that is mounted between the two protected covers is Centroid's servo driver board of the era; the limit switched also wire to this board, and I can see the terminals marked -X, +X, -Y, etc. On my M-15 control that board is mounted in the control case along with the computer motherboard, LCD, and membrane keypads. The contactors are a reversing contactor for the spindle motor and another operated by the emergency stop, IIRC. On my control these are segregated into a Hoffman box that Centroid calls the "magnetics cabinet."

    As I recall the Ajax set-ups, they used a PC for processing, data entry, and the screen display became the DRO; also the .NC program continuously scrolled as it was executed.

    I had a 1990's era Centroid control earlier that drove the original Bridgeport stepper motors, and used a PC for the front end functions, we used a 386 laptop. As I recall they called it their CNC4 control. It was rather limited, but they took it as a trade-in when I upgraded the machine to servo motors.

    Dennis

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    your centroid system is a servo 3 based unit

    transformer in control cabinet steps ac incoming to no greater than 80 vac which is rectifed to dc for input into the servo 3 drive unit which distributes dc power to 3 axis motors which are brushed dc servo with encoders covered by blue end cap--may be labeled SEM of London

    I installed the same control on a Romi lathe 15 years ago--to function you must have a pc computer with installed centroid iso buss card and centroid software--windows based
    centroid toyed with linix and abandoned

    the pendant is referred to as tomahawk style--with pulse generator

    this system was decent in its day--but once you operate a machine with current centroid single ethernet cable and software you will not wish to return to the multitude of wires displayed in your pics

    your machine also includes centroid rtk board which controls peripheral m code functions--relays, motor starters, interlocks

    like others have suggested--it has some value as used components--ebay

    bottom line--if no computer with interface card was included--you will likely need turnkey replacement--consider Centroid Acorn --I have 5 of these --cheap simple continous flow of free software updates

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    Thanks...Acorn sounded like the best hobby option so far.

    Are my current servos useable, or should they be scrapped? Also, if they have encoders, the acorn only has a single encoder input for spindle...so I assume the position senders are going to have to go too?

    CNC is a bit overwhelming when first diving in. We studied all this 35 years ago, but a bit has changed since then!

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    your servo motors are just fine--you need to determine rotary encoder line count--stamped on encoder--multiply the line count by 4 to determine so called pulse count per 360 degree revolution

    strongly advise variable frequency drive for spindle motor--suggest single phase input capability--this removes need for mechanical contactors/motor starter

    the Acorn operating /drive system has an active forum which contains most questions and answers you are likely to experience in a retrofit --

    servo motor drives are lower priced and more user friendly than ever--many still require reduced voltage dc input--which your centroid system components will be able to supply

    Acorn is an open loop system as you correctly referenced--the single encoder input allows threading on lathe --possibly ridge tapping on mill--
    but todays servo drive technology incorporates closed loop feedback even though the control processor does not include the feature--many threads on Acorn forum on this topic

    before removing components from the centroid cabinet--study requirements of your selected control update--

    performing retrofit is on job training and enables troubleshooting at an advanced level

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    Thanks J. Is Acorn the current "proffered" hobby control system? Centroid makes it sound, well, almost simple...especially compared to the previous choices.

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    Acorn is an interesting product--a gateway product into Centroid controls for 300 usd

    and it uses the same software upon which their most expensive controls are based

    it is open loop configured but with smart servo drives loop closure is partial

    here is link to pics I posted for Acorn user group Jan 2018
    test run of Romi lathe with machine temp around 40 F

    I configured two seperate operating systems allowing movement verification as documented by centroid control software
    25 minutes runtime in a cold shop and my dro and Acorn computer agreed perfectly--not even 2 tenths difference


    ROMI LATHE JANUARY 2018 ACORN - Google Photos

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