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
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
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.
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:
Here's an Emco with probably twice the capacity of the Sherline:
I thought it looked like Sherline hardware in there.
If so, I think I'll hold out for a slightly bigger machine.
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
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
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.
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