manual milling machine control, not cnc, total noobie !!!!!

Thought this may be the best place to ask this.

I have a big heavy duty milling machine in the workshop, it operates in manual control or in automatic mode using a 1970`s pegboard Cmos based controller, I never use the automatic mode, as I also have a cnc machine that I built running mach3 to do that kind of work.

Unfortunately in manual mode, all the switching is still done through the two Cmos boards and I keep having trouble with them, a few years ago I lost drive, clutches, brakes and direction to all axis and could not fix the board, I ended up fitting a bank of relays to control all the movement. now I have lost spindle forward, and the fault is again on the board.

I can start working everything out and fit more relays to control the spindle, spindle brake and clutch, but would still have to figure out a timer for the sideway lubricator and a delay for motor forward/reverse

I have zero experience with arduino, but have heard it mentioned quite a bit recently, and was wondering if an arduino could run everything for me ?

This is not a cnc machine, so all axis are driven from one single 3 phase motor, with contactors for forward and reverse, it does however have a 24v brake and clutch on each axis to hold or drive, and on the drive motor it has a high speed and low speed clutch to select drive or jog, the machine can only move in one direction at any one time, ie, up or down, in or out and left or right.

currently i have a mechanical joystick which operates a micro switch for the above mentioned movements, once I select the direction, say "left" the micro switch triggers a relay (used to be cmos board) this puts the brake on for up/down and in/out, keeping them locked,and powers up the axis drive motor contactor, then I push the start feed button and this supplies power to the low speed clutch on the axis drive motor, or if I push the jog button, it supplies power to the high speed clutch

the spindle is basically the same, it has a brake for locking, and a clutch for driving

Could an Arduino be programmed as a standalone device ( without having a pc on the machine) to control all the switching and incorporate a delay say of 4 seconds, when I select direction of the two large drive motor contactors, switch the brakes and clutches, and operate the lube pump ?

Anything that you currently control with a switch could be controlled by an Arduino. You will need extra circuits between an Arduino and your relays because the Arduino cannot provide enough current to operate a relay. A simple single transistor circuit may be sufficient for each relay.

The complicated part will be figuring out what you want the Arduino to do and subsequently proving that it does it properly without risk of injury or damage.

Whether you like it or not it will be a CNC machine when the Arduino is in control.

You need a PC to program an Arduino but you don't need the PC when the Arduino is running if you have some other way to control the Arduino - for example a keypad and an LCD display. At the start it would be much easier if you use the PC for input and display purposes and add the keypad and LCD only when everything else works properly.



Thanks for the reply Robin, so I need to have a key pad and LCD ?

I had hoped that once the arduino is programmed it could boot up and run as a permanent fixture inside the machine cabinet, and I was hoping to switch some SSRs with the Arduino to control the clutchs, brakes and motor contactors, all input to the arduino using the control buttons already on the machine.

I dont need any analogue or PWM signals, everything will just be on or off, but things need to happen in a specific order

GT390: Thanks for the reply Robin, so I need to have a key pad and LCD ?

If you only want to start the Arduino and have it do exactly the same thing every time you don't need either. But I can't conceive of how you could use the Arduino like that without any user input, even if it is only to say "start now".

If you don't need to display messages for the user you could just use leds as indicators.

Can you describe what you want the Arduino to make the machine do? (step by step)