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Emco Unimat SL1000 & DB200 Lathe
Computer Control
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For some time now there has been an increasing interest in fitting small machine tools with computer control; whilst it is possible to buy a ready-to-run unit these tend to be relatively expensive and many readers have asked about the possibility of adapting or converting a Unimat SL1000 or DB200, both of which are about in considerable numbers and available at low cost. The following was submitted by Staley Cocking in England:
Computer control of a Unimat
You may be interested to know that over the past several years I have fitted my Unimat SL with stepper motors on both main feed and cross feed; these are controlled by an ordinary computer (PC). This, apart from being great fun to develop, is quite time saving for making small components.
I fitted commonly available stepping motors to both main & cross feeds. The speed and number of rotations of these motors is easily controlled using a specialised IC or, more flexibly, using output signals from the printer port of a PC. My software allows speed, direction and number of rotational steps to be set up on-screen. Further, a sequence of movements such as facing off or reducing the workpiece diameter in a chosen number of repeated cuts can be set up for hands' free operation.
The present software is portable and has been tested on PC's running Windows 95/98 as well as 3.1. The software will also operate without motors attached.  For more data on this type of home-made conversion there are several interesting User Groups on Yahoo.
Unfortunately, having developed the system to working capability, Stanley Cocking died in late 2003 and no more details of the system are available.