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Thread: Centroid Launches ShopBot Retrofit Webpage

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Marquette, MI USA
    Posts
    450

    Centroid Launches ShopBot Retrofit Webpage

    Centroid CNC, developers of retrofit hardware and software for the CNC world has added a webpage for those interested in installing a control upgrade on ShopBot branded CNC machines. A perfect fit for budget minded users looking to replace existing aging controllers with up to date more modern components and communication methods, the Centroid Acorn controller is $299. Complete plug and play replacement controllers start at $1795 including a CNC-PC.

    For more info look here: http://www.centroidcnc.com/ and click on: "CNC RETROFITS"

    A side by side comparison at same cutting and rapid speeds in this video: https://youtu.be/ZXWOoKvPytc

    More videos here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Islaww1/videos


    Centroid Web page sm.jpg
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 03-03-2019 at 10:59 AM. Reason: Removed link to forum
    Gary Campbell
    CNC Technology & Training

  2. #2
    Hi Gary, I have been looking for an older shopbot benchtop PRT unit from around 2005. A lot of the local school districts seem to be getting rid of those and the 4 by 8 and 5 by 10 models from the same era, although most seem to have not been used. I think it is a case where they were too hard to setup and use than they are being removed from shops because they were used so much that they were worn out. My original idea was to get one of these, replace the 4 motors with modern, good servo motors of some kind, get a new USB controller and go to work, essentially ditching all of the original electronics and just keeping the frame and axes. Is there a reason why this would be a bad idea, impossible, or impractical? I was under the impression that there were some kind of universal CNC usb drivers that would connect to a modern PC and drive the axies motors to turn a frame like this into a functional CNC, but I feel like I may be completely wrong about the difficulty, cost, or complexity involved in upgrading a frame like this.

    Can you explain a bit to me about how easy ro hard this would be and if $2,000 sounds about right for a retro shopbot upgrade whether I do it myself or get the centroid products? Also, if I am replacing all of the motors and electronics, does it matter if the unit were originally a PRT Alpha or standard? In other words, perhaps if it were an alpha I would have no need to upgrade the servos? OR vice versa, maybe the PRT basic stepper motors are still perfectly viable?

    Thank you very much,

    Andy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Marquette, MI USA
    Posts
    450
    Andy...
    A bunch of questions, but I will try to get them all.

    "
    Is there a reason why this would be a bad idea, impossible, or impractical?"

    No, in fact that is the reason that my replacement controllers for the ShopBot exist. I used to provide a version that was approved by ShopBot, and listed on their website for sale, but the connection difficulty with that legacy USB system proved to be much more problematic than I could have imagined. So, the only thing that I feel would be impractical, would be the search for a USB based controller. Virtually all that have offered them in the past, have offered a replacement. Except for ShopBot, of course.

    "
    Can you explain a bit to me about how easy or hard this would be and if $2,000 sounds about right for a retro shopbot upgrade whether I do it myself or get the centroid products?"

    Currently I offer 2 "standard" packages. One is the "Acorn Basic". It is designed to replace any and all "Standard" controllers and allows use of the original motors and includes a complete controller, a CNC-PC with Centroids Pro software and is pre-setup for the motors on the machine. Just add keyboard mouse and monitor of your choice. $1795 + shipping. For a ~couple hundred you can upgrade to higher output drives that will allow upgrading to modern higher amperage motors in the future, if desired. I also sell motors, planetary gearboxes and mounting plates that take the pain out of motor upgrades.


    The other package is a closed loop version that even tho designed to be an alpha replacement, has been used on standard machines. It has closed loop steppers, planetary gearboxes and adapter plates for the PRT and PRS, also includes the PC and setup and runs in the $4500 range depending on whether the adapters are for PRS or PRT.


    "
    Also, if I am replacing all of the motors and electronics, does it matter if the unit were originally a PRT Alpha or standard?"

    Not really, with one exception... the resale value of the existing controller. The alpha controllers that have been sold recently have fetched between $3500 and $4000 and the standards, no where near that much

    Whether you want to reuse the motors is totally up to you. Many of those older units are plagued with severe backlash in the gear reduction as they aged. And, they surely don't run like motors a decade or two newer. I cant post a link here, but I suggest that you look at the uuu.centroidcncforum.com (replace "u's" with "w's") in the "Items for Sale" section for pictures, videos and full pricing of options, along with a number of testimonials of bothcomplete system buyers and those that purchased DIY parts.

    Of course there are a good number of conversions shown running on my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/Islaww1/videos or contact me at gcnc411@gmail.com for more info.

    Gary Campbell
    CNC Technology & Training

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Marquette, MI USA
    Posts
    450
    Now that ShopBot has completed their open house and are fully admitting that the general release of the highly acclaimed "FabMo Controller" is no where in sight, I thought I would put a bump on this thread and show how numerous users, both DIY and purchasers of turnkey systems, are enjoying the fruits of their replacements.

    No links, so cut and paste this into your browser: http://centroidcncforum.com/viewforum.php?f=57

    If you look at videos the company puts on their website (especially showing their "floppy copy" of my 2017 Sliding Tool Bar on their DT Max ATC) and the videos taken at the open house itself that are current examples of a "past it's time" controller struggling with both 2D and 3D motion, especially on their indexer, it should be perfectly clear that, should you depend on your machine, it is time for a controller upgrade.

    So whether you wish to take on the project yourself, or purchase a plug and play system, always know that there are lots of helpful folks on the Acorn Forum: http://centroidcncforum.com/viewforum.php?f=60 (copy & paste)

    IF you look around you can see nemerous videos of SB machines running side by side on SB and Acorn controllers and read the comments from those users of their experience.

    What makes this forum so great is the participation of both Centroid staff, (techs, programmers and mgmt) and a half dozen or more of highly experienced SB'ers, most of which were SB3 beta testers for years. Even the least experienced of users have succeeded in making the transition in a short time.

    Gary Campbell
    CNC Technology & Training

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