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Thread: Belt Reduction and Z Upgrades

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Cleveland TN

    Default Belt Reduction and Z Upgrades

    While I haven’t been as active posting here as most of you, my day job kept me much busier these last few years than ever before. To be honest, I bought my current Shopbot in August 2014 and it was a good but very used machine. The price was right so I had no issues with doing a few updates to it. I too had the communication issues and after months of dealing with it I was finally able to resolve them and have had no issues since.
    I recently bought a modified Rikon lathe for my indexer, Brady Watson did an excellent job modifying this to work flawlessly as an indexer. I was able to do a few basic rotary items getting my feet wet and they were fairly easy, now looking forward to Jim’s Aspire Camp for the rotary presentations.
    I also contacted Gary Campbell around the same time to inquire about his Reduction drives and “Z”. I was trying to purchase all of this prior to retiring in May. I received the Reduction drives and “Z” about a month ago and began the installation which was very simple and easy to do. The belt reduction units have cleaned up the rest of my issues and along with the new “Z” it is running real smooth.
    The belt reduction units on the X and Y are a 4:1 ratio and use high torque (HTD) belts. The 3/8 aluminum components make for a more rigid assembly than the previous setup with a single plate. With the provided 24T pinion my resolution has almost doubled to over 2100 steps per inch with much more power. These combine to make my cuts very smooth, especially circles and angles.
    My old Z unit was tired and I was not able to keep the V rollers tight enough to eliminate play when the bit was lowered to cutting height. This new ballscrew unit with linear rails and air counterbalance runs smooth as silk and will allow me to add a drill in the future. The improved power and resolution allows me to accomplish 3D cutting at higher speeds and still be very smooth.
    I can’t thank Brady and Gary enough for their help and patience with me during the installations. I have also completed 2 3d carvings which turned out to be my best yet without doing any tweaking which will come later. I just recently retired (May 1st) and will be doing more with my woodworking now that I have the time.
    I failed to take pictures of the installation of my upgrades but I do have post pics which are below, don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    2005 PRT Alpha 48x96
    2013 Colombo 3hp spindle
    Indexer (converted lathe)
    Aspire 9.0

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Marquette, MI


    I have received a few emails regarding the belt transmissions. To clarify, the units shown here are for NEMA 34 NON-geared motors such as the ASM911** that were used for a time. AKA "direct drive" Alpha. They (belt transmissions) are not compatible with any motors that have an attached gearbox. Most of these motors have a number in the model such as "3.6" or "7.2" showing the gear ratio. These motors usually have tens of thousands of "miles" on them and may have developed backlash or noisy bearings.

    I have a smaller transmission for those non-Alpha PR's and PRT's that is shown here: These transmissions will work with most NEMA 23 motors. They are shown in the video with ~500 ozin motors that provide more torque than some of the older cars can withstand. Along with drastic improvements in cut quality, cutting speeds up to 6ips and jogs up to 12ips are achievable, depending on the condition of the Vrails, rollers and rigidity of the cars.

    All transmissions are available as stand alone products, or with any combination of motors, digital drives and/or complete control boxes, tested, ready to wire and run. All complete systems have a minimum 4 hours burn in prior to shipping.

    More info: email in signature
    Gary Campbell
    GCnC Control
    ShopBot Controller Upgrades

    "We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them"
    Albert Einstein

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