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Thread: DIY Indexer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Pro Signs, Coal CIty IL
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    276

    Default DIY Indexer

    I've been looking at the capabilities of an indexer for the ShopBot. (Mine is an older PRT96, recently updated control board). I'm not getting any younger (65) and the thought of investing in a new set up is hard to justify. I thought about buying a used unit if someone has one gathering dust, but is in good shape. I was also wondering about building my own? I'm thinking if I bought a stepper motor matching the size I have on the ShopBot now, in theory I could build my own. Is it that simple or is there more to it than that? I'm a fabricator, by hobby, and have a metal lathe, mill, the ShopBot and a few other tools to get the job done. Just wondering if there are stories of other projects like this and what the results were. Sometimes the tool build can be as fun as using the tool once it's built. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Pasadena, CA
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    Default

    Since the stepper resolution is too coarse and the torque too weak you will need a gearbox. Dependent on the target diameter of the parts you want to make between 1:5 and 1:50.
    There are solutions with belt drive, planetary gears or harmonic drive. Look around on ebay, typically such 4th axis kits are around $300-400 incl. chuck and stepper. Tailstock is usually extra. Try to get one with larger 4-jaw chuck, this is much easier to use for wood blanks.
    Box Joint, Dovetail, Guilloche and MazeMaker Software Here

  3. #3
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    Jan 2004
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    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
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    Default

    As Gert hints, $340 including tailstock via Ebay

    The caveat here is going to be your controller. Are you using the original 3G controls or did you upgrade to a 4G board or RBK? If using the original 3G controls, you need a motor less than 2A or you'll kill the driver. Something like this should bolt right up (check shaft sizes) and be under 2A: NEMA 23 Motor

    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Diamond Lake, WA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Watson View Post
    As Gert hints, $340 including tailstock via Ebay

    The caveat here is going to be your controller. Are you using the original 3G controls or did you upgrade to a 4G board or RBK? If using the original 3G controls, you need a motor less than 2A or you'll kill the driver. Something like this should bolt right up (check shaft sizes) and be under 2A: NEMA 23 Motor

    -B
    Brady, how would the eBay item you linked to work with a 2009 PRSAlpha with 2.2hp spindle?
    Don
    Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks, LLC
    www.dlwoodworks.com
    ***********************************
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece; But to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, bank accounts empty, credit cards maxed out, defiantly shouting "Geronimo"!

    If you make something idiot proof, all they do is create a better idiot.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Pro Signs, Coal CIty IL
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    276

    Default

    The caveat here is going to be your controller. Are you using the original 3G controls or did you upgrade to a 4G board or RBK? If using the original 3G controls, you need a motor less than 2A or you'll kill the driver. Something like this should bolt right up (check shaft sizes) and be under 2A: NEMA 23 Motor
    The old board was DOA and tech support suggested replacing it with a v4g board. I installed it about a year ago.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlcw View Post
    Brady, how would the eBay item you linked to work with a 2009 PRSAlpha with 2.2hp spindle?
    You'd need to adapt an Alpha motor and drive to the mechanicals...not quite as bad as it seems.

    Quote Originally Posted by pro70z28 View Post
    The old board was DOA and tech support suggested replacing it with a v4g board. I installed it about a year ago.
    You are good to go then up to a 3A motor without additional heat sink. You'll need an accessory motor cable, extra matching Gecko drive if your Acc slot is empty and change the current set resistor to match the motor.


    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H54UM8I...v_ov_lig_dp_it

    I found this on Amazon, but I don't se an amperage in the ad. There's others that say 3 amp, but they're 3 jaw chucks. I sent a request to the seller for more info. Where would I find a accessory motor cable? Is that a standard cable or is it propriatorey to ShopBot? I'll have to look to see if the 4th axis slot has a drive. I thought it did when I installed the board, but that's been awhile, might just be wishful thinking.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pro70z28 View Post
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H54UM8I...v_ov_lig_dp_it

    I found this on Amazon, but I don't se an amperage in the ad. There's others that say 3 amp, but they're 3 jaw chucks. I sent a request to the seller for more info. Where would I find a accessory motor cable? Is that a standard cable or is it propriatorey to ShopBot? I'll have to look to see if the 4th axis slot has a drive. I thought it did when I installed the board, but that's been awhile, might just be wishful thinking.
    There's no tailstock included with that...Think about how you are going to mount the indexer, then decide on the hardware. I found that buying a lathe with extension bed was cheaper/better than buying one of those things off Ebay. Then choose the stepper motor you want and belt reduction to the lathe shaft. If there isn't a drive in the 5th slot, just buy another matching Gecko. Same model as the rest of them.

    You can get a PRT style Acc cable from SB. It has the 4-position Wago connectors on each end - plug & play. Get an extra motor side connector.

    There's a little work involved, but nothing too serious. If you just want plug & play then you have to pony up for what SB sells them for. Otherwise you have to educate yourself and then work through it.

    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Delray Beach, FL
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    Default

    Maybe I'm missing something but the ad says you have a choice between 3 tailstocks.
    "We have 3 type of this product, The default Tailstock is Type A , if you need it with Type B or C, please choose the type you need when you place your order.
    Tailstock:Alive,with an axial direction spanner, adjustable travel: 50mm,Center Height: 65mm,Product weight: 2.1kg With K12-100MM 4 Jaw Centring Chuck "

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Rock Hill SC
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    441

    Default

    I did this project last year and it was quite rewarding. I could not find out how to send a link but the thread titled
    first project on cheap indexer
    will have a link to the one that I used.
    I put a bigger motor on it but as it turned out I did not have to. The one supplied with it would have worked just fine. What happened is that my PC board is marked for the resistor that sets the current to the motor. I soldered a resistor on to that not realizing that Shopbot just inserts the resistor into the terminals on the Gecko drive. As a result the drive went to maximum current which overheated the motor and drive both. As a testament to being tough both items survived just fine.
    I fabbed up a mounting, and modified the belt drive just a bit. It was not quite tight enough so I made the holes oblong and tightened the belt.
    It works well and I am currently planning a project that will make use of it.

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