So Miller Sam is broke. He has used all his credit and available tax returns on this project. It would appear that Miller Sam has effectively gotten himself a working 3 axis (plus and additional fourth axis) CNC mill. Fixing the gantry CNC router is next on the list. 3000 ish U.S. Dollars makes up of what Sam has spent. Not counting the Mach 3 license and DDP engineering parallel to USB port (which as advertised) works very well once the correct parallel pin numbers are instated in Mach 3. Now this post is about getting the Sherline 2000 in working condition. Videos exist that explain assembly and squaring and leveling the thing as standard with most Mills. But trying to get the right connection, right software, and waste a little less time?
Parallel ports in modern computers are hard to come by! Sam Hoped that his old Tough book’s serial port would share data with the Sherline driver box as long as he had a parallel port adapter capable…NOPE so if you are in this situation don’t waste you time. In fact, a USB to Parallel bought strait off Amazon Probably won’t work either!
Of course, Sherline alludes to this while advertising for their full Computer driver set up which includes a computer with a Parallel Port. Miller Sam spoke with one of Sherline’s higher ups. The man admitted that they didn’t even have that many systems left available. He pointed Sam to ordering a special USB to Parallel port directly from one of their suppliers. That also came with the necessary driver on a separate USB. In order to use this though, you must use a windows 10 computer, since that is what the necessary driver matches with. This is a little bit sad since Sherline provides an ample custom Linux CNC with their driver boxes. But if you need an interface you will have to find something else. Preferably Mach 3 or 4, since that’s guaranteed work with the DPP Engineering control software.
The DPP Engineering USB to Parallel has worked wonderfully with Miller Sam’s modern laptop , (MAKE SURE TO READ THE FULL INSTRUCTIONS ON THE PROVIDED USB). I am referring to setting up Mach 3 or 4 specifically, DPP sends a piece of paper with the first page of instructions but this will not get your CNC Mill running. You need to inform the Mach 3 or 4 software of how the Port Pins are situated numerically. Also You need to make sure Its set to Half Pulse in order optimize you motor usage. These values probably change with motor size (thus an appropriate driver box for those motors as well).
Miller Sam has a really nice driver set up for the gantry mill (arduino with drivers for each axes, coolant, and end sensors) but its outfitted for motors that are at least double the horsepower of his Sherline stepper motors, motors are rated for specific amps, and volts so frying something could happen by using the other driver box which is why Miller Sam ordered the driver box from Sherline.
This experience has sort of opened up a new topic for us. Other than actually learning to use the mills and lathes by writing programs for qualified set ups, how much does one need to know to understand the engineering of their machine in order to fix it? Is that comprehensive knowledge with in the reach of the level 1 machinist?