Bridgeport Interact Gurus ????

I've come to the conclusion I need (well ok WANT !) a bigger CNC
mill - my converted Denford Triac is excellent but the working
envelope is too small for me.
I've been looking at various varieties of Bridgeport Interact
(virtually - not in the flesh) and there seems to be quite a family of
them. Does anyone have a straightforward pointer to the evolution of
this animal in terms of models and capability and their working
footprints? Was one made with a tool changer? Were they all servo
motor driven or are some stepper motors?
Ideally I'd be looking for one with good ways and ballscrews but an
antique controller as I would intend to retrofit a PC based controller
running TurboCNC and probably Gecko drivers.
If you happen to know of an Interect about to be retired please let me
know !!!!
AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
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They were all servo drives, and I don't believe any had a tool changer as standard. Why on earth would you want to retrofit a new controller?, as long as the machine has at least a TNC151 control on it you should have no problems with it. The older controls were a bit limited, but from the 151 onwards they could drip feed programs so you aren't limited to program size. You just need to connect a PC to the control via a serial cable and it acts as a program storage device, feeding it to the machine as it needs it.
Having been inside these machines many times I would have thought retrofitting a PC control yourself would be a major undertaking (asuming yoyu wanted to retain the original servo drives).
Regards
Kevin
PS a chap round the corner from me has a late interact for sale, but he wants a lot for it (£15K) -but it is in mint condition.
Reply to
Kevin Steele
controller
changer
Kevin,
Thanks for the respose - no particular desire to replace the control, it's just that most seem to have their viability reviewed when the controller dies and the repairs are found to be very expensive and then are swapped out for the new machine they really wanted anyway !
Do you have any online links to tech data on the Interacts and Series 1&2 CNC's ?
AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
Andrew, Do you have your description correct? The Interact was based on the Series II CNC and is a big brute, as kevin has said most were turned out with heidenhain controllers which are usually good, even a bad one is worth repairing as Heidenhain is very good to deal with and not that expensive.
The earlier series I's were usually called BOSS machines after the dedicated controller Bridgeport Operating System ??
Early Boss model 1 to 6 - 7 were stepper powered, later models were servo, No hard and fast cut off point. Series II's were servo powered.
Most of the machine available here were made either by Bridgeport, later Textron of Adcock and Shipley and followed a UK design as we operated independent of the US.
There are some spurious US models here that don't follow the UK line. UK design was to always have the fixed head model, but the Us had some series I CNC's that had a variation of the J head on them. I could never understand why you would want to tilt a CNC head? OK in one direction but the cutter would make a right mess if it had to go in another direction.
The BOSS 1's are smaller than the II's and you stand more chance of getting a decent series I as many schools and colleges had these and the electronics failed long before the iron wore out. Expect to pay from free for a clunker to £800 for a good working model. -- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
Reply to
John Stevenson
controller
operated
line.
John,
Many thanks for that concise description - very useful.
I've been looking at both Series 1 CNC's and Series 2 and your description certainly helps to sort out the evolution! Many of the earlier ones seem to be fitted with the Heidenhain 145 TNC which I understand cannot be drip fed so are obviously less desirable. These must be arround 1985 machines I think. Some seem to call themselves Interact 4's and some Interact 1's but Interact 2 & 3 don't seem to feature oddly !
I think the rigid head varitities are certainly what I want but which is very much opportunity and price driven.
Am I right in thinking that the Bridgeport steppers were some sort of oddball 5 phase so difficult to drive. Are there similar peculiarites with their servo motors?
. . . just swimming awash in a sea of model numbers at the moment
AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
Andrew
I don't know about the Interacts, but my SeriesI Boss (maybe 4or 5 - dunno) has 8-wire steppers which run quite happily from Gecko 201's
Not sure why you're set on an Interact, as John says you may get a better deal with a BOSS seriesI if you intend replacing the control. I think the basic iron is pretty much the same on both.
Cheers Tim
Reply to
Tim Leech
Can't comment on the 145TNC as I have never used one. One problem in doing a conversion from Heidenhain to PC is the Heidenhain uses the glass scales for position feedback. A PC conversion will need encoders fitting to the motors / ball screws.
No the steppers are 8 wire motors made either by Superior or Sigma, advertised at 1100 oz in but I have recently found that they could even have 850 oz in models on them.
Ignore the fancy finned motors they are just heat sinks, a normal type 42 motor lurks within !
Servo's are standard, Usually SEM's, to run from a PC with the original drives you will need a converter from step and direction to 0 - 10 volt analog Or new servo drivers that take step and direction like the Gecko 320's although these are limited in power as most servo's are 140v. Rutex do a range of step and direction input drivers that can handle these. I believe they now go up to 200 volts at 40 amps.
formatting link
-- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
Reply to
John Stevenson
If anything I'd say the earlier BOSS machines are a little more sturdy than the ones that came next -more built to last. This isn't based on anything scientific, they just look sturdier. The later (series 3 and 4 ?) Interacts seem more sturdy as well. But compared to your current machine any of these will seem like it is hewn from solid granite, as they were all serious industrial bits of kit. I've always had a soft spot for the interacts as I learnt 3D programming using an interact with a 151 control and Duct. Quite good machines are available for relatively little money as not many industrial users want machines without tool changers these days.
Regards
Kevin
Reply to
Kevin Steele
Bridgeport,
These
peculiarites
Tim,
By NO means stuck on an Interact - it's just what a few localish dealer are currently touting on their web pages. If someone dumped a Boss / Series 1 outside the house and fled I wouldn't complain
AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson

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