Q about Lab Volt 5300 CNC lathe

Anyone familiar with this?
http://dallas.craigslist.org/mdf/tls/2126003075.html
Is it obsolete?
Is it capable of doing anything worthwhile?
Can it be run from a PC with MACH3 or other standard software?
--
I can see 2012 from my front porch

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The simple answer is that any machine that will accept g-code can be run "from a PC". Most any competent CAM package could be configured to output the correct g-codes for it. But the pc doesn't _control_ the machine, it merely sends the list of machining operations to the machine's own control. The internal controller on the machine does the "running" of the lathe.
Mach3 is a control, not a g-code generator, per se. This machine already has its own control, but the seller doesn't know (or won't say) if it works.
LLoyd
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RBnDFW wrote:

It looks a bit like a Sherline lathe in that package. As a simple stepper driven mini lathe it certainly could be converted to run from Mach3 or EMC2. You may need to scrap most of the rest of the controls on it though.
The manufacturer's site lists it as a current product. I expect it's capable of doing worthwhile things if you're into model work or other things within it's small work envelope. I don't think it's worth the price they're asking. You could buy a mini lathe and add steppers to it for half of what they're asking.
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I would say, give labvolt a phone call at 1-800-LAB-VOLT and find out for sure.
i
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On 12/23/2010 8:19 AM, RBnDFW wrote:

It's a Sherline in a nice cabinet. There's more than a few companies selling Sherline mills and lathes in cabinets as CNC trainers. I see nothing in the listing to indicate it has a 'control'. It most likely has stepper drivers and power supply within the cabinet, and any CNC control program such as Mach3 or EMC that outputs step/dir via parallel port can be adapted. Assuming you can get pinouts or reverse engineer the connections... Lacking documentation, that could be difficult if they are using circuit board level stepper drivers, which may not have the pinouts labeled. Hmm, just looked it up on the Lab Volt site, and it appears the current version has some sort of on board control, there is a small LCD panel, E-stop, and jog buttons. That makes this one an older version. Maybe it does have an on board control, with the interface entirely through a PC. Unless the hardware is extremely proprietary, it would still boil down to a power supply and stepper drivers, should be able to strip everything else out.
If it's condition mechanically is as good as appearances indicate, it certainly should do good work, -within it's work range-. You have to decide what you want to do with it before anyone can address if it will meet your needs. One advantage of the Sherline based trainers is virtually any Sherline accessory will work, and there's a lot of them.
But I'd suggest looking on eBay for CNC Sherline lathes before buying. Might well find one turn key ready for around the same.
Spectralight is another rebrander of Sherlines in CNC: <http://cgi.ebay.com/Sherline-spectral-light-CNC-lathe-laptop-computer-/190482778428?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c59a8893c
Here's an Emco with probably twice the capacity of the Sherline: <http://cgi.ebay.com/Emco-Compact-5-PC-CNC-Lathe-/220711179034?pt=BI_Lathes&hash=item336369531a
Jon
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On 12/23/2010 1:04 PM, Jon Anderson wrote:

<http://cgi.ebay.com/Sherline-spectral-light-CNC-lathe-laptop-computer-/190482778428?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c59a8893c
I thought it looked like Sherline hardware in there. If so, I think I'll hold out for a slightly bigger machine.

<http://cgi.ebay.com/Emco-Compact-5-PC-CNC-Lathe-/220711179034?pt=BI_Lathes&hash=item336369531a
I sold a nice Emco 5 CNC just a few months ago. I think that was more machine than this one.
Good advice, thank you
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Jon Anderson wrote:

It definitely does have a control of some sort onboard. It has an LCD display, and the limited documentation available indicates it does indeed operate standalone, only downloading code via serial or Ethernet connection. What is not clear is whether the download consists of standard G-code, and whether that download capability is married in some way to their software, or you can load standard G-code from any software.
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On 12/23/2010 11:41 AM, Pete C. wrote:

Oops, you're right. That black panel is so dark, I didn't realize it's the same panel I saw in an image on the Lab-Volt site. Yeah, being a stand alone unit with no docs, no telling how much work it'll be to run under anything but Lab Volt software.
Jon
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wrote:

http://www.labvolt.com/downloads/datasheet/dsa5300.pdf
Price sounds a bit high if it doesn't work.
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On 12/23/2010 10:19 AM, RBnDFW wrote:

Haven't had a chance to lay hands on it, but I've about decided it's too light-duty for me to have interest.
thanks for all the input.
Rex
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