Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Cool Adafruit switches give new life to vintage industrial lathe.

Adafruit water proof lighted switches for VFD lathe conversion
 Friends, our Boxford 3-phase lathe controls recently packed it in. I'm assuming the oddball British 220VAC to 50VAC control transformer didn't like the Variable Frequency Drive. Notoriously poor English electrics are the easy target. Full disclosure: I haven't actually checked to see what failed.

Fortuitously, these lovely Adafruit water proof lighted switches were in the "future projects/can't remember what I bought these for" bin. http://www.adafruit.com/products/482
The switches are coolant proof, perfect for industrial style control panels!
I machined an aluminum cover for the VFD panel and added buttons for functions that the lathe didn't have, but really needed.

Now the old girl is better than new; reverse and forward  adjustable speed jog, emergency stop and dual switches for run enable safety.
For metric threading; forward/reverse selection with smooth deceleration instead of ZAP-WHAM-OZONE-SMELL style direction change.

Industrial 3 phase lathe converted for home use
The Adafruit switches are nice looking and feel great, with a solid snap-action and positive latching. They're so sweet, I even made a movie!

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