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Need help: Modern methods for two-axis Bridgeport CNC control?

Deude-Mann

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 27, 2021
I have a functioning Alliant mill, Bridgeport knee style, I purchased from an auction. The mill came equipped with an 30 year old Proto Track Plus unit and servos. The DMM works on all three axes. This is an old unit, so old that it runs from tape (cassette) memory and does not have a display, only segmented digital readouts. It has a DB25 serial port.

I have spoken with Southwest Industries and have been told that basically the system is not compatible with any of the newer CNC controllers, and would need a complete retrofit. That is out of my budget especially for this mill.

I have some familiarity with generating g-code (from 3D printing) but have no idea how to try to get this machine to work with a more modern CAD-CAM solution, say like Fusion 360. I have searched and seen some discussion on using serial adapters, PCs running Windows XP, and other methods to make these old controllers work but they are usually either very old posts, or are describing details in another context, like different software. So I am not certain they are still applicable.

I could use some help figuring out how to get a PC to store and send g-code files to the Proto Track Plus and be able to generate and execute g-code for this machine. This is not for production work, only prototyping, so slow speeds or whatever other downsides may be OK for what I need:
- I can set up a stand-alone PC for the Proto Track and connect it via DB25 to USB adapters (?) or whatever connection type is needed.
- I will also need to choose and configure a g-code generator to take my 2D models and turn them into g-code I can run on the Proto Track. I would like to be able to have it cut curves and other shapes.

Can anyone point me in the right direction? I'll include photos in the next post.
 
I have a functioning Alliant mill, Bridgeport knee style, I purchased from an auction. The mill came equipped with an 30 year old Proto Track Plus unit and servos. The DMM works on all three axes. This is an old unit, so old that it runs from tape (cassette) memory and does not have a display, only segmented digital readouts. It has a DB25 serial port.

I have spoken with Southwest Industries and have been told that basically the system is not compatible with any of the newer CNC controllers, and would need a complete retrofit. That is out of my budget especially for this mill.

I have some familiarity with generating g-code (from 3D printing) but have no idea how to try to get this machine to work with a more modern CAD-CAM solution, say like Fusion 360. I have searched and seen some discussion on using serial adapters, PCs running Windows XP, and other methods to make these old controllers work but they are usually either very old posts, or are describing details in another context, like different software. So I am not certain they are still applicable.

I could use some help figuring out how to get a PC to store and send g-code files to the Proto Track Plus and be able to generate and execute g-code for this machine. This is not for production work, only prototyping, so slow speeds or whatever other downsides may be OK for what I need:
- I can set up a stand-alone PC for the Proto Track and connect it via DB25 to USB adapters (?) or whatever connection type is needed.
- I will also need to choose and configure a g-code generator to take my 2D models and turn them into g-code I can run on the Proto Track. I would like to be able to have it cut curves and other shapes.

Can anyone point me in the right direction? I'll include photos in the next post.
I have a BridgePort Ez Trak I was able to send in a sample code file to my CAMWorks reseller and they built me a post, I can program off a 3D model and post out the code. My Ez Trak is 3 axis but they could of easily built the post for a 2 axis.

Whatever software you decided to use or have, you'll have to build a post or have someone do it for you depending on the code the machine takes.
 








 
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