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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Holbrook, NSW

    Default cnc'ed hercus 9 or 260 lathe

    If anyone has successfully done a cnc retrofit on a hercus lathe or milling machine. I would be interested in how and what parts they used to do it. I have a lot of unused machines that could be useful to increase my manufacturing capacity, if they could be automated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Sydney, Australia

    Default not yet, but...

    1) when I first about metric screw-cutting, I considered mounting a beefy motor in place of all the gears.
    As long as it is synchronised to the cutting RPM, easy to key a pitch into a computer and press the go button!

    2) Looking at the back of the saddle, I was considering adding a DRO!
    The horizontal axis looks dead-easy as long as you don't have any extra tooling bolted down there?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012


    Yes I had Hercus 9” that I’d did a few years ago, and sorry no photos , removed the lead screw and apron put a ballscrew in there for the Z , used the original acme for the X but put roller bearings in for thrust and to support the tooth belt pulley, I used Chinese stepper motors and Chinese stepper drives and a Chinese brakeout board generic Chinese electronics, Mach 3 software and a treadmill motor for the spindle, did it work yes ,had all the usual Mach 3 problems, could not cut a thread properly, if you pushed the steppers to hard they lost steps, etc, could you make parts yes , could you make good parts , that depended on what you were after, i Learned a lot from this one

    I then got hold of a Hercus PC160 that had had all the electronics and electrical removed , a failed retrofit I then put the steppers and electronics I had on to that ,a much smaller machine but designed as a cnc eg the Z axis screw runs down the middle of the machine so it doesn’t put a twisting force on to the saddle, same issues Mach3 and steppers , but a better machine

    i the started collecting parts for a servo conversion and Linux cnc and Mesa boards for a closed loop control , i then found a PC 200 with turned tool changer that looked like it had been stored in a chook shed cleaned that up and rebuilt a Pentium 3 computer using all original Hercus electronics and software , as you can expect as a factory built machine that one works the best, limitations are spindle power and working envelope

    also so a few adventures with milling machines with Mach 3 , Linux CNC and Hercus control

    in the intervening time company’s like Masso, Acorn and also stand alone Chinese controlers have come around

    I know of a couple of companies using Hercus CNC’s ( PC 200 lathes and PC300 Mills) making parts commercial basis

    It all comes down to the parts you want to make, I don’t think a turret is an absolute necessity ganged tooling can be very fast if you can fit it around your work

    i think a closed loop control is necessary so that leaves out most of the cheap retrofits
    ( I have noticed that Tormach has gone to closed loop servo motors)

    just my experience over the last few years

    Edit as an obsivation Hercus had accesss to 9’s and 260’s , when they went don the CNC path ( early 1970’s I think ) they chose to make a completely different machine ,the Computer Lathe with an ANCA controler then the PC200, and the PC 160 came after ,once again no legacy parts from the 9’s or 260’s maybe there is a message there

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