SMITHY 1220LTD CNC CONVERSION
By Chris Krstanovic
I always wanted to have a fully equipped machine shop. I
always thought that having the machine under computer control would enable me
to easily make complex things. With advent of CAD software tools, it is
possible to design a part on the CAD, use the CAM to generate the code to drive
the machine, and leave making things to CNC. Recently, it has become possible
to implement a fully blown CNC mill/lathe at relatively low cost. I am an
electrical engineer, and own my own product design firm, so it would be a very
useful (and 100% tax deductible) tool. Now, that it is done, I can summarize it
in 5 words: I CAN MAKE ANYTHING NOW!
This page is dedicated to describing a
"ground-up" conversion of Smithy 1220LTD, 3-in-1 machine. It shows a
complete process of the conversion. This has taken about 6 months of calendar
time (not 100% effort), and should you decide to do something similar, expect
to spend $2000-$2500 for CNC portion. I have selected Smithy, but you can
easily accommodate this process to Harbor Freight and other machines.
It is my hope that this page will help you with your
conversion. I had not found anything very detailed on the web. I invite your
comments, be it praise or criticism, but please, do withhold the ridicule J.
MOVIE: CNC in Action.
This movie has not been rated by the motion picture association of
In the Beginning, there was Darků: About
Smithy1220LTD, its pros and cons, and initial non-CNC modifications.
Mechanical aspects of the conversion:
Briefly, what and how I did things, with some pointers. I could easily write a
paper on this, but I have no time, so I hope this will suffice.
"first light" test, and the results: For many people, this is
the hardest part. I am an electrical engineer, so no biggie to me. This page
shows, the key components of the system.
FINAL EVALUATION: Finally, it is all
there, and working. How well? Read here.
Mist Unit: I tried many. Not wanting to
sacrifice future generations to the corporate altar, I decided to make my own
mouse trap - better than theirs.
MILLING VICE ENCLOSURE: I am sure
you hate flying chips as much as I do! This is how I solved the problem for my
QCT: If you are using my "Chuck Referencing" approach, this
is very handy, and easy mod for your tool-post.
CNC TOOL ISSUES: How to hold, organize and keep CNC tools.
Software: I selected MACH3 from ArtSoft. This page contains new
screens, post-processor files (MC9), and other software related files.
ABOUT ME: A must reading
before you start your own CNC! Seriously, this is a link to my bio on my
to my Corporate Website.