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Thread: Upgrade

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Delray Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,708

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    As many of the oldtimers here know I started with a PRT 4896 standard w/5HP Spindle bought new shortly before the first Alpha's were introduced. Over the years I owned it I was constantly upgrading it. Started with some hardened rails on the y and echain replacing the bow, Changing the operating system to a Gecko style (Prototype to what became the 4G) then redoing the x rails and entire Y gantry with a modern PRS style gantry and z car, and finally replacing the control box (once again) and motors with Alpha's. As all of this happened over years it was a regular source of amusement (Thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of doing it myself). But, if I had an old standard at this point that had not been seriously upgraded there is no way that I would endeavor to do all, or even any of that to get a modern unit. Between time and cash outlay the efficiency and economics distinctly point to selling it and buying a more up to date mill.

    The problem with increasing motor performance on an older PRT is you still have the limits imposed by the design of the frame and gantry. As an example, when I upgraded from the original control unit to the gecko drive unit I was able to increase my jog speed quite a bit but could only increase cutting speed around 1/2ips or so due to the gantry design and construction not being robust enough to handle anything higher. Same control box and motors and the new gantry and x rails increased cutting to 4ips. (BTW: I rarely went for the absolutely fastest cutting, but rather fast as possible cutting while maintaining high edge quality and accurate part sizing). No load speeds (jogging) did go up hugely.
    Note that if you spindle is the Columbo with Delta VFD some of their older ones will not play nice with speed control regardless of your SB control panel. You don't have to ask me how I know!!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Pro Signs, Coal CIty IL
    Posts
    291

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    I'm about to upgrade my older PRT. I've been accumulating parts as I decide what to do and what to leave alone. I have an e-chain, bought a string of LED lights for the gantry to light up the work area a little more, picked up a 4th axis. I plan to upgrade the VAC system to include a dust separator and a decent dust boot. Over the years I've already made upgrades. It has a 3hp Perske spindle with a, new a couple months ago, FVD. Out of necessity I've upgraded to the latest control board, after the original finally gave up, and the computer is just a few months old. I don't do production work with it so speed really isn't a concern. The rails are original and do show some wear. I may change them at some point, but for what I do, I don't notice it in the finished work. I used to make a lot of aluminum and steel parts. I suppose if I were still doing that I would see issues from the wear. I plan to "semi" retire this winter, so I'm not looking for the latest and greatest, I just want to keep the machine running long enough to outlast me.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Marquette, MI
    Posts
    3,373

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    Rob...
    I do not make REZurrection control system upgrades that run on the ShopBot controller any longer. I make replacement systems that run on other controllers. The difficulties of acquiring SB OEM parts, the cost of those parts and the instability and inconsistencies of the SB controller drove the costs of producing and supporting the product far beyond acceptable boundaries. Other controllers, such as the Acorn that I recommended to TomL are much more robust, have features tenfold over SB3 and are stable. So they just work every day.

    to tlempicke...
    I would take exception to the "could not make satisfactory business arrangements so I have decided to do the job myself." comment made earlier in this thread. I have been a participating member of this forum for almost 12 years. Had I engaged in unscrupulous business tactics on this, or the other handful of forums I participate similarly on it would be more than evident. I will stand by my practice of requiring a 100% deposit on one off, custom control systems that are spec'ed out by the customer. It is the industry standard. My sales are promoted only by recommendations from past users. Having derogatory comments about my business practices will always get a reaction from me as I have worked hard to be fair in both price and practice.

    I find it interesting that you feel the need to list decades of experience and mention the word "chops" when defending your qualifications to post a link to another controller on ShopBot's forum. I am surely not here to question your abilities, nor to give other forum users an opinion. But, when I read back thru your emails and find one from July 3, just 25 days ago, that said:

    "I am using Shopbot 3.8 as the drive program. I see it being used in your videos but it looks like Mach 3 would be a better solution. What is Acorn? is that something you are developing?"

    I feel the best solution would be to simply post the question in your own words and let others draw their own conclusion.



    Gary Campbell
    GCnC Control
    GCnC411(at)gmail(dot)com
    ShopBot Controller Upgrades
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Islaww1


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


  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    83

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Campbell View Post
    .... My sales are promoted only by recommendations from past users....


    I don't post often, but I feel the need to in this instance. Gary has designed, built and provided ongoing support for multiple items I have purchased from him. I have always paid the 100% deposit upfront without hesitation. Gary has always provided 100% of what he promised, without hesitation.
    Jim

    96 x 60 PRSalpha, 5HP Colombo spindle, Custom indexer, Custom vacuum table, Custom Fire Extinguishing System

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norman, Ok
    Posts
    3,251

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    It's good having experts like are Gary making updates and supporting SB users. I've watched him for years and he's the real deal.

    Joe

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    432

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    I'll agree too Jimmy. Gary did a custom system for me and it's absolutely fantastic. He is definitely the real deal.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    55

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    wow step away for a few days and the neighborhood went off the deep end.

    As my original post stated I'm researching the possibilities. as I'm not that familiar with this machine.
    I own an PRT Alpha. This one is owned by the company I work for. Its an older machine that I had to rebuild from the ground up. just back to stock.
    I heard that it had a habit of losing steps. I'm trying to circumvent that issue. and possibly get a little more performance out of it.
    My budget is non existent at this point. but I have no illusions about the cost. I have owned and operated my shop bot for the better part of 14 years.
    I do get it. all that said I thank you all for your input and Ill see where this takes me.

    Mark

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