Vertical Mill - $300 Craigslist

If you look carefully at the one photo, I think the badge on the machine head says Index. It's in Reading, PA. They're selling it at
about the scrap price.
http://reading.craigslist.org/tls/2855148590.html
RWL
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On 2012-02-17, GeoLane at PTD dot NET <GeoLane> wrote:

I am not sure where it is, but it is a hell of a deal.
I bought a similar, but a little better built Bridgeport Interact for $500, in the same condition (nonrowking control).
Scrap value of this machine is more than 300. BL Duke scrap yard gives $285 per ton, paid by check.
If propertly parted out and scrapped, it can easily fetch a thousand.
If converted to EMC2, it would be a good workhorse, provided that it is not too worn.
i
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On 2/16/2012 6:13 PM, GeoLane at PTD dot NET wrote:

Yes, it is probably less than scrap price. But they would have to pay someone to break it down, and then to load it and move it to the scrap dealer. I have scrapped out machines from my electronic assembly business, but I certainly could never pay an employee to do it.
After 33 years, sometimes you just get tired of the junk just taking up space.
Paul
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I just bought three machines, parted two and scrapped them. After all payments, including paying the tow truck, I now have two valuable parts and one whole machine (16x54 Axelson lathe) that cost me nothing, in fact, I am already in the black.
Scrapping isn't such a nightmare as some people think. And I am just beginning to learn about it, I used to not be able to do it.
i
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Also, this machine should be very easy to retrofit, with the cabinet to be used to host a computer. I would bet that cables are laid out very accessibly.
i
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On 2012-02-17, GeoLane at PTD dot NET <GeoLane> wrote:

    Hmm ... a nice machine -- certainly for that price.
    The "Level 11 Programming Manual", in combination with the 1979 original purchase date suggests that it is run from a LSI-11 CPU. Not sure whether those are steppers or servos on it -- the images are not that good. :-)
    If I had room, I would be very tempted.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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"DoN. Nichols" wrote:

If it was closer, I'd take it, but I'm about 1000 miles away.. I have a stash of memeory borads, and possibly some other PDP-11 boards in storage.
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If I bought it, I would junk the old control even if it was not yet broken.
First, electronics that is that old would not be reliable. Second, this is a very old and obsolete control, compared to the PC based controls (Mach3 and especially EMC2).
i
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wrote:

That is an early bandit controller.
If I recall correctly it was made by Summit at about that time and the line traded hands maybe several times then eventually went into the hands of Allen Bradley from which it eventually evolved into the T8xx series.
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On Thu, 16 Feb 2012 23:28:41 -0600, Ignoramus23626

Yup. The controller needs to be scrapped, but the machine itself looks to be a pretty nice deal for the price.
Apparently, Ontelaunee Township is in Pennsylvania. That's not TOO far from Chicago. Dave
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Ignoramus23626 wrote:

That is your choice, but you can't repair the electronics without step by step instructions. There are 80 year old pieces of electronics still in use, and a good tech can keep them working.
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It may make sense for other types of devices, but old CNC controls, I think, are not worth the effort. I am beyond happy with my EMC2 setup.
i
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Ignoramus23204 wrote:

Good for you, but not everyone gives up that easy. Some take pride in workmanship and their ability to do 'what can't be done'.

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And I take pride in having built a well working CNC control.
i
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Ignoramus15653 wrote:

Yet you can't repair it without buying modules from other people.
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I do not smelt my own iron, either. Ultimately, you have to buy something.
What I can do now, and the old control could not, is
1) Watch youtube on the control, while milling. 2) I have rigid tapping and can tap holes accurately. 3) I have a big and well working 4th axis. 4) I have a servo controlled knee and now have a much bigger work envelope.
I can write programs in a great G code language with subroutines, closures etc.
i
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Ignoramus15653 wrote:

A 30 cent IC VS how many hundred dollars for a conversion? How much time spent rewiring it? Lost income from that time spent doing the conversion?

Who gives a shit about You tube? I would be doing other work in the shop while it was running. That is why the computer in the shop isn't online. It stores schematics and parts inventory.

Yawn. I don't need that.

I'd rather be writing code for embedded applications, and have no desire to go into the junk business. A computer of that age is very cheap to fix, if it is repairable, and I would likely have the ICs or other parts in stock so I would save all the time and money of converting it. Also, there are floppy interface to USB stick units to allow you to store 100 different programs on a machine, and you don't need another computer in the shop to run the machine.
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Michael A. Terrell wrote:

Before EMC (the original one) or Mach, I bought an Allen-Bradley 7320 control from a guy in California and got it running, with great difficulty. It didn't come with the executive tape or servo amps, which were supposed to be part of the package. I had to make my own servo amps (this was before eBay, too), get an executive tape from a guy who repaired these, and then patch the executive for the encoder resolution I had. I built my own BTR also, using an old laptop for storage of G-code.
I COULD repair it, and had to do so on a regular basis. This was a 1978-vintage control, and I was trying to use it in 1996-1998. So, it was roughly 20 years old at the time. EMC came along just as I was getting seriously frustrated by unreliability of the thing. There were some problems with the original EMC, and so I went back and forth a couple of times (I had rigged some connectors so I could switch between the two pretty quickly.) Well, after the 3rd swap, EMC was good enough that I never powered the A-B control on again.
Besides the reliability issue, EMC stored G-code on a computer with a hard drive, you could edit the G-code on the EMC PC, the PC was on the local network, You could run primitive diagnostics on the machine, and the servo response was a lot "snappier". I'm probably missing a bunch of other features.
A PDP-11 based control is probably a few years newer, but many of those controls had a VERY limited user interface. Not too bad for selecting a stock program and running it, but pretty primitive for editing programs at the machine, for instance.
Oh, and finally, if you look at what the vultures charge for a board out of a 30 year old control, you could replace the entire electronics of a modern Pico Systems or Mesa interface from computer through the servo amps for what one replacement board would cost.
Jon
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Jon Elson wrote:

Jon, I have repaired electronics for over 45 years. That's how I made my living, and a lot of that work was to repair digital circuits. My computer work has ranged from the KIM and the 4004 processor, to embedded controllers aboard the space station. I have a copy of 'Linux CNC' and most of the parts on hand to build a mini mill but a machine that size would get very little use in my shop. I should still have a full set of the manuals from Heathkit for their LSI-11 based computer which basically kitted the DEC system, under license. I have repaired a lot of equipment without manuals. I have a dozen National Semiconductor memory boards for that series that were pulled from working DEC systems. I could probably design and build a replacement for any bad board for less than the vultures want. Or just buy the non working stuff for salvage from someone else guts when doing a conversion.
Most of the parts I would be making would be to repair existing tools, or to prototype a design project. I am 100% disabled and no longer have access to the machine shop where I worked, so I am trying to piece together what I want, for whatever time I have left. It's the only way I can work, given my health and my budget.
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"Michael A. Terrell" wrote:

It's not a function of "giving up", and it is indeed a function of knowing "what can be done". Old CNC controls were good in their day, but a modern PC based control is vastly better in performance and function.
Old controls had very limited memory that can't keep up with modern CAD generated G-code, had user interfaces that are atrocious by today's standards, and lack the modern featured for quick at-the-control programming of simple jobs. They also usually can't handle a 4th axis, rigid tapping, or many other features of modern PC based controls.
If the old iron is good, it deserves a new productive life with a better control.
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