Author Topic: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe  (Read 10788 times)

Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2018, 02:27:18 AM »
Interesting Milton.. Is that a 'floppy to usb stick' adapter Milton or what? Have you a link to the reference?
Andrew Mawson
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Online seadog

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2018, 05:24:49 AM »
I think this is what is being referred to, Andrew.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/floppy-to-usb

Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2018, 05:35:55 AM »
Thanks for the link Seadog  :thumbup:

So this morning I actually made parts with the lathe :ddb: This bit is I presume supposed to be a countersunk rivet - it's made using the program running on the Youtube video I put up in a previous post - two in brass and one in steel. Watching it I reckon the feeds and speeds were intended for brass as although the steel part has a very good finish I cringed a bit as it was cutting !
Andrew Mawson
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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2018, 05:56:16 AM »
I'm a little disappointed with that. The last CNC rebuild you did was such a tour de force. I was getting ready to enjoy the follow up, but it only needs a coat of paint  :D

Offline DICKEYBIRD

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2018, 10:04:56 AM »
Interesting Milton.. Is that a 'floppy to usb stick' adapter Milton or what? Have you a link to the reference?
Couldn't find the thread I was thinking of but you've probably already found one but here's one that looks just like I remember...sorta.

https://www.amazon.com/Floppy-Emulator-WireCut-Brother-machine/dp/B01N4ILYEG/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1518188365&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=usb+floppy+emulator&psc=1

ps: Set that parting tool on center!;)
Milton in Tennesee

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Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2018, 02:56:06 PM »
Well today after a lot of faffing about I've cloned the PC that came with the MIRAC onto a Compac DC7600 SFF (small form factor) that I had kicking about. I chose one off the pile that already had the correct moulded front panel incorporating a floppy as well as as a CD/DVD player and loaded it up with DOS 6.22 as I had the original installation disks.

The PC that came with the MIRAC (a Viglen Genie) was running DOS 6.2 and it turns out that MSBACKUP in DOS 6.22 cannot restore disks created under DOS 6.2 without a different compression algorithm (DBLSPACE) being loaded  as a system device - fortunately I found a copy and it worked  :ddb:

Now I just need to sort out a second serial port on this PC :ddb: - it uses one to talk to the operator panel keyboard and one for the LCB3 CNC driver board. Needs to be a low profile PCI card and i think I've sourced one on eBay arriving Thursday.

The power interlock for the electronics cabinet has been smashed - long square shaft from DIN rail isolator at the back of the cabinet should engage a door mounted handle, and has obviously been slammed shut a few times out of alignment smashing the external activator beyond repair - one on order should arrive Monday.

The open slot trunking in this cabinet is missing much of it's capping cover - again some should arrive Monday

Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline DICKEYBIRD

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2018, 05:20:56 PM »
I'm really liking this Andrew!  Just think of the pi$$ you can take out of the Windoze & Linux crowd.  No ethernets,  internets or clouds needed with this machine.  Ahh, the memories! :thumbup:
Milton in Tennesee

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Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2018, 03:10:59 AM »
Glad you are still there for the ride, Milton  :thumbup:

Today's task: work out how to get MSDOS 6.22 to talk to a CD/DVD drive, and get a floppy installed into one of my other PCs to transfer files Internet > Other PC > Floppy > COMPAC DC7600, as the various CD drivers need sucking off the net and currently the only means of input to the DC7600 is floppy.

Andrew Mawson
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Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2018, 07:17:05 AM »
Haven't got the CD talking to DOS 6.22 yet, but have a special CD & Mouse extension program arriving later in the week.

This morning Adrian the Parcel Force man delivered the new panel isolator switch from RS Components - though I sent him into a flurry when I told him there was supposed to be a second parcel with the trunking capping in it - probably come tomorrow.

Assembling the DIN rail isolator on the bench it was obvious that the extension rod and its fittings weren't quite right - one female plastic socket thingy had a pair of projections preventing the male sliding in. A quick call to their help desk revealed it was the wrong extension despite being referenced in the isolator illustration  :bang: Solution - another 25 for a different isolator OR a bit of vertical paring with a small wood chisel - I'll let you guess which I did  :lol:

As the rear panel on this machine is double skin and this switch assembly requires more hardware on the door than the previous one, I had to do a bit of butchery and cut a square hole for an escutcheon, then get it all lined up and the shaft cut to length. Got there in the end  :thumbup:
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline David Jupp

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2018, 10:34:28 AM »
RS are sometimes a bit careless with the illustrations - often just a generic image rather than the actual part number you have called up.  If the data sheet isn't clear it can be pot luck what you end up ordering.

Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #35 on: February 13, 2018, 07:12:09 AM »
The trunking got delivered this morning, so I was able to steal it's capping and make good the missing bits that have been lost over the years.

One step forwards and two back as far as the replacement PC is concerned. The "automatic add CD support CD" arrived and the end result is an un-bootable system with a CD drive appearing as R: and as a network drive  :bang:

I have ways back to where I was but it's a pain. I'll probably re-partition the drive before I re-do it as it's far bigger than DOS can handle anyway.

The extra serial port card has arrived but I can't do anything with that until the PC will at least boot.

A nice man at Baruffaldi has sent me a PDF of the turret manual - 6 MB so too large to attach - in Italian of course but it's mostly drawings none of which seem to offer any means of adding lubrication  :scratch:
Andrew Mawson
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Offline David Jupp

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #36 on: February 13, 2018, 07:37:24 AM »
Andrew - English manual for the turret

http://www.denfordata.com/bb/download/file.php?id=2694

Not sure if you have to be logged in to get the file.

Offline Will_D

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2018, 08:50:49 AM »
Not sure if you have to be logged in to get the file.
Nope. Downloaded straight away!
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Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2018, 10:29:44 AM »
David thank you but that is the TOE turret not the RH80.

Just re-partitioned the HDD in the target DC7600 SFF PC, formatted it, loaded DOS 6.22 from original Microsoft floppies, loaded the DOS 6.2 version (*) of MSBACKUP into it's own directory and restored 13 floppies to bring the MIRAC original PC's software onto the new one.

I'll now manually update the autoexec.bat and config.sys to get the CD drive online hopefully.


(* MSBACKUP 6.22 will not recognize backups performed under DOS 6.2  :bang: )
Andrew Mawson
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Offline Will_D

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2018, 05:11:43 PM »
All these skills and you can even make bacon!!
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Offline David Jupp

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2018, 12:14:22 PM »
Andrew - Spares price list (vintage 1990) from UK distributor for the RH80
 http://www.denfordata.com/bb/download/file.php?id=1120

Not sure if it is any use to you.


Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2018, 12:35:12 PM »
Thanks David - already downloaded - massive prices aren't they  :bugeye:

So a bit of progress. After advice given by 'Tim' on the UK DIY  newsgroup (remember newsgroups !!!) I have loaded LINUX-MINT-MATE onto a USB stick and successfully booted from it on the target PC that is going into the lathe. Then again successfully connected it to my home network and copied files onto my desktop PC.

The USB stick is painfully slow to load but it works  :ddb:

Now need to see if there is some Linux software to burn CD's that I can load onto the stick and if so I probably have all bases covered. The USB stick is a USB-2 Cruzer Blade Flash Drive - 16 GB. I don't think that the PC will do USB-3 to speed things up but there is probably a newer faster stick out there as I've had this one a few years now  :coffee:

Odd seeing a Mint UNIX screen in the workshop - not my native operating system that's for sure  :scratch:
Andrew Mawson
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Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2018, 03:28:46 PM »
So a bit more progress. I've loaded Kb3 cd/dvd writer to the USB stick, and generated a CD copy of the current target PC hard drive, which I can read spiffingly under WIN7 on my desktop PC - oddly under DOS on the target PC it has difficulty reading despite being in the drive it was written in  :scratch:

However the written CD reads fine under MINT in the target PC - presumably different drivers under DOS and UNIX so another issue to bottom out.


Bit complicated these compatibility issues on operating systems  :bang:
Andrew Mawson
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Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2018, 05:32:09 PM »
Elsewhere I've been asked why and how did I clone the original Viglen PC - as I wrote it up for them I thought I'd paste it in here as well:

A/ The original Viglen is fully functional but mechanically a write off

B/ The Viglen runs DOS 6.2 and has a floppy drive and HDD and two serial
ports

C/ One serial port is for an operators panel, the other is for the machine
CNC controller

D/ I took an MSBACKUP of the VIGLEN HDD under DOS6.2 on 13 floppies

E/ The COMPAC DC7600 SFF was running Windows 7 and has floppy, SATA HDD and
CD/DVD writer, one serial port and a network 10/100 port and 4 Gb RAM

F/ I Repartitioned and formatted its HDD and loaded DOS 6.22 from the three
original Microsoft disks

G/ I copied the full DOS 6.2 MSBACKUP suite to a folder on the DC7600

H/ I ran DOS 6.2 MSBACKUP under DOS 6.22 and restored all the VIGLEN files
to the DC7600 EXCEPT the DOS folder

I/ (You need to know the MSBACKUP 6.22 cannot read MSBACKUP 6.2 floppies)

J/ At this stage I had a fully functional DC7600 running DOS 6.22 and the
original controller software from the VIGLEN (except it only had one serial
port)

K/ Being an SFF I needed a small form factor PCI serial card - the only one
I could source with DOS drivers was a StarTech PEX2S5521P

L/ The machine now has three serial ports and I just need to configure the
IRQ to match the original

M/ I sourced some DOS drivers for the CR/DVD which allowed me to read but
not write CDs

N/ This is when I posted asking for assistance for DOS software to WRITE CDs
so that the machine files can easily be transferred in future

O/ I have (Thanks to TIM) loaded a USB stick with Linux MINT and K3B CD
software allowing me not only to boot up MINT and generate CD's but also
connect to my network and transfer files that way !!!

P/ The only oddity left is that the CDs generated read properly under MINT
in the DC7600 and also und WIN7 on another machine but under DOS 6.22 in the
DC7600 are rather flaky and rarely read ok.

Q/ I am assuming this is due to the DOS drivers I'm using (can't name them
at the moment as I'm on a different PC)



Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline Pete.

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2018, 03:27:30 PM »
Did you order the Acorn controller Andrew, or are you holding off to see what the original controller works like?

This guy seems to be having some trouble getting his order in:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/75744-Any-news-on-the-Acorn-CNC-board

Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #45 on: February 18, 2018, 04:56:48 PM »
I was all set to order not only the controller, but also the pre-loaded PC with Win10 and touch screen monitor. Couldn't find a spec on their web site for it. Couldn't ask a question on the forum as not yet a customer so couldn't register  :bang: So I sent an email and even now three weeks later haven't had a reply. So no, not bought the Acorn controller !

Meanwhile I have the original controller working quite nicely thank you and am working on replacing the internal PC and re-learning all I've forgotten about Dos 6.22  :lol:
Andrew Mawson
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Offline DICKEYBIRD

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #46 on: February 18, 2018, 09:10:57 PM »
Couldn't ask a question on the forum as not yet a customer so couldn't register
WOW!  I'm completely flabbergasted by that Andrew.  There's a forum member that continually whinged about Acorn not doing this or that that he thought it should do who hasn't even purchased one so I can't fathom why someone like you has been denied registration.  Maybe the Centroid staff got tired of defending their product from non-owner back biters & now refuse admission unless one buys one...wko knows???  I do know that they've now sold a bunch of them & the support volume has increased.  They are a dedicated bunch of folks and work very hard to respond to their customers' questions.  I'm positive that a person such as yourself would be a welcome addition to the group, Acorn owner or not.

If there's something you need an answer to I'd be happy to ask it for you although it looks like you've just about made the original system your slave & may not want spend the money on a new control yet. 
Milton in Tennesee

"Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

Offline awemawson

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #47 on: February 19, 2018, 02:52:48 AM »
The registration form requires, iirc, a product number / serial number and if not completed you cannot proceed.  :bang:

I wanted to know basic things about the PC such as how much memory, what sort of disk drive etc and also dimensions of it and the touch monitor along with mounting details. Basic details to see if it would fit ! I'd have expected such detail to be on their web site but couldn't find it so asked if it was there somewhere

But no reply so no purchase  :scratch:
Andrew Mawson
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Offline DICKEYBIRD

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #48 on: February 19, 2018, 08:20:40 AM »
The registration form requires, iirc, a product number / serial number and if not completed you cannot proceed.
Unless they've changed, it only asks for numbers so support can see exactly what they're dealing with if there's a product problem/question.  AFAIK they don't exclude prospective customers from the forum.  They have always answered questions from everyone since I've been there, owner  or not.  They did ban one particularly unpleasant fellow that fancied himself the know-all grand poobah/big kahuna of the internet CNC world that constantly dissed them & their product.  He deserved being banned.

Try again if you're still interested...your participation would be great whether you end up buying one or not. :thumbup:
Milton in Tennesee

"Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

Offline DICKEYBIRD

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Re: Rebirth of a Denford MIRAC CNC Lathe
« Reply #49 on: February 19, 2018, 09:51:25 AM »
I wanted to know basic things about the PC such as how much memory, what sort of disk drive etc and also dimensions of it and the touch monitor along with mounting details. Basic details to see if it would fit!
The one they sell on the Centroid site is an Intel NUC which is 4"x4" (100x100mm) so you'd have room left for your lunch pail & a thermos.  The monitor they sell is a 19.5".  You can use any size monitor you want (touchscreen or not) as long as it is a 16:9 AR (or have that AR display resolution available).  As to PC req. anything that runs W10 will be fine as long as the single core minimum benchmark is at least 1500, Ethernet available & has 4 GB RAM.  They recommend an SSD but to me that would be nice but is a bit of overkill.
Milton in Tennesee

"Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."