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Thread: Upgrade

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    55

    Default Upgrade

    I'm working with a PRT Standard V4.17 control board.
    Vexta motors
    It seems to be running fine other than the limitations of the bot itself.
    If I were going to upgrade it for better performance what would be some suggestions that the group might have.
    Thanks

    Mark

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Elgin Illinois
    Posts
    696

    Default

    Hello Mark. While I have an old PRT Alpha, I will be interested in following your thread. If you make the upgrade, maybe you can make a video showing what you did, and what improvements it made. Good luck, Chuck
    Chuck Keysor (circa 1956)
    PRT Alpha 60" x 144" (circa 2004)
    Columbo 5HP spindle
    Aspire 9.0, Rhino 5

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
    Posts
    7,952

    Default

    It depends on what your expectations are for that machine.

    Without knowing what you need or want in terms of performance (cutting throughput - speed/torque/resolution), it is difficult to make any kind of recommendation.

    What's your budget for upgrading your machine?

    -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
    Posts
    55

    Default

    Brady
    What I'm looking for is stable. As in losing steps that sort of thing. Better performance overall.
    Im told I cant fire the spindle up from the software because of my older version of control board.
    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
    Posts
    7,952

    Default

    What's your budget to upgrade your machine?
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Rock Hill SC
    Posts
    474

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Rock Hill SC
    Posts
    474

    Default

    I am planning on replacing all of the wiring, motors and controls on my Buddy this Winter. I was ready to order a custom made system and then could not make satisfactory business arrangements so I have decided to do the job myself.

    These control boards look to be pretty successful. They have a forum similar to this one but not nearly as active. They offer two big things from my perspective. They do not rely on a USB connection but rather an Ethernet cable, which is a protocol that really is designed to do the job. Also you can get a touch screen setup, which should be a big step up in a dusty shop.

    Look at a couple of their videos, they have some good hand holding available. Also you can buy a kit with one of their Acorn boards and experiment with it on a table top for less than five hundred bucks. You don't have to take your machine down until you are satisfied that you will be able to do the job.

    BTW spindle control is built in to the board.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
    Posts
    7,952

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tlempicke View Post
    I was ready to order a custom made system and then could not make satisfactory business arrangements so I have decided to do the job myself.
    If you contract to have a custom control box and system made for your specific application, it is customary to either put down a 50% deposit or pay 100% up front. No different than buying a ShopBot or anything else in this world that is custom. So by saying that you 'couldn't make satisfactory business arrangements' with an outstanding member of the CNC community, who would lose major face if they shorted you, is really lame.

    Yes - Centroid is good stuff. I have 3 of them so far. However, if you decide to sell your ShopBot one day, be sure to hold on to your original control box because once you convert to another control system, it won't be worth as much as with the old system when you go to sell it. It would be like trying to explain why you have a Ford engine in a Camaro to a buyer. I think it is in bad taste to have an Acorn spec'd out for you (when you had no clue what it even was at the time) and then to come here shouting how it's the best thing since sliced bread as if you knew from experience.

    There are a number of paths to upgrade a PRT Standard and retain the ShopBot front end (SB3) that you are familiar with or to change to a GCode system such as Centroid. You have to decide what you want and what you are willing to give up. To some, retaining the ability to run SBP code is important, to others it isn't a big deal to learn GCode.

    The question that few are prepared to answer is, What is your budget for upgrading your CNC?

    Some believe it should cost $50 - when the reality of the situation is you could spend $1500 alone for quality motor gearboxes without motors, drives etc just to replicate the ShopBot gearboxes on those Vextas. It's a little cheaper but not a whole lot to do belt reduction. So no matter what path you choose, you can't get around the cost of gear/belt reduction when you replace motors. Just tallying up numbers in my head, it would cost about $3k for ME, just in parts, to build a replacement system for myself that was similar to an Alpha in performance. I get OEM pricing, so plan on it costing more for Joe Sixpack.

    Just so we're clear, I am not selling control systems at the moment, unless they are original ShopBot controls that I get in on trade and test etc.

    Another option would be to sell your PRT and just buy another machine that has the features and performance you want. The newest PRT is about 12 years old now...that's ancient.

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Marietta GA
    Posts
    458

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ccwerks View Post
    Brady
    What I'm looking for is stable. As in losing steps that sort of thing. Better performance overall.
    Im told I cant fire the spindle up from the software because of my older version of control board.
    Mark
    I'm not sure if they're still available, but the resurrection (sp) system looks interesting.

    One of the regulars here makes them I believe.

    Of course by the time you get one of those, update to hardened rails, and put an upgraded Z on an older PRT your looking at almost enough to purchase a much newer model second hand.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Rock Hill SC
    Posts
    474

    Default

    Dear Mr watson

    I owned and operated an FAA certified repair station for avionics for many years. We were certified for everything up to Radar. In addition for nearly forty years I have held a certificate as an FAA designated Airworthiness Inspector. So if I wanted to recommend something electronic I think I have the chops to do so. I was ready to order a setup from your friend but we could not come to terms as far as payment and time for delivery. I felt that paying 100% up front with no specified time for delivery was not something I was willing to do.
    I bow to your knowledge and experience and to that of your friend. Both of you are pretty big fish, but this is a really tiny pond.

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