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New CNC lathe idea

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Over the past year or so*, I've come to the realisation that most of the parts I make would be far better suited a gang tooled lathe, with live tooling and the abilty to use the spindle as A-axis.
At the moment I have a Denford Cyclone with a 6 position tool changer, which does the job, but doesn't allow me to do rigid tapping (could probably be solved by upgrading the VFD, or swapping the whole motor/VFD for a servo), which means I have to 2nd and 3rd ops on some parts.

So I've been mulling over various ideas. I don't have the space or power for a fullsize machine (both are solvable, but at a cost I'm not really willing to pay!), and the only thing that comes close from industrial suppliers is the Haas CL (Chucker) lathe, but they seem very vague in their live tooling option, and it still has a turret.
Modifying my existing Denford Cyclone isn't really an option, as I still need it running to make parts. Buying another to modify would be an option, but they're getting rare(r).

Now while tapping some parts on my much abused Clarke CL500, the flat dovetail bed got me thinking. Machine the surface and add suitable stop strips for mounting a couple linear rails against, make up a carriage assembly with another couple linear rails to carry a suitable cross slide with mounting for gang tooling. Then for live tooling, use VDI holders on the main cross slide, then have another floating carriage assembly behind carrying a motor that slides in and engages when needed.
Then upgrade spindle motor to a big servo via toothed belt, and I have a machine that ticks the boxes I need, without requiring a bigger workshop, or giving Scottish Power lots of money.

However, I can't help but wonder if there would be a more suitable base machine.
I do think the Clarke CL 430/500 bed is a bit narrow, but I can't find anything else that uses a flat top bed. Everything I've looked at seems to use single/double V ways, which could be machined flat, but I can't help think that would be a bit of a waste. I'd be happy to end up with a machine around the same size as a Cyclone (about 4 to 5 foot long), and I need something with a base I could fit on the big milling machine.

Of course, the other option would be to get some castings done, but I have no idea on cost.

This is currently in the idea queue for machines that would make things far more productive, and allow new products, but not with any immediate need.
So any thoughts/suggestions are welcome.

*the final realisation was a product idea I have, could be done with a roller box, but a roller box is far too big to fit in my current Denford Cyclone.

Can't you mount a piece of tooling plate of whatever width you choose onto the bed of your lathe and mount the rails on that? I don't know if the model of lathe you mention will allow you to increase the height of the headstock above the bed to preserve the swing or if it would even be necessary for the parts you intend to make with it. It certainly wouldn't cost much.

So this is still bouncing around my head, and while doing some random youtube watching earlier, a video about building an epoxy base popped up (This vid for anybody interested - I'm sure there are plenty other vids about epoxy casting, but that's the on that happened to popup in my suggested list earlier).

Not sure why I hadn't considered that as an option before, but it would open up the ability to create a wider base. Off course, it opens up various other issues like what to do about a headstock (spindle itself is easy, but not sure I'd want an epoxy headstock casting..), what to use for rail mounting surfaces (alu, steel),  is it better to create a substructure to cast around, or just cast the rails in situ then level, and I'm sure there are plenty further questions that will come up..

As punishment, you must read the entire epoxy granite thread on cnczone  :ddb:


--- Quote from: efrench on July 25, 2019, 08:28:54 PM ---As punishment, you must read the entire epoxy granite thread on cnczone  :ddb:

--- End quote ---

I should have guessed such a thing exists, but I can already sense I'm starting to circle a black hole..


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