Add (NON CNC DEPOT) ATC Spindle to Avid - How difficult?

I have a chance to get a 4HP ATC spindle for a great price. Has anyone added one to an Avid? How difficult was it, or would it be. I about the CNC Depot one, but I can get a great deal on one from a friend.

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I would put the difficulty of adding an ATC at intermediate to advanced. You should be or will need to become very comfortable writing your own LUA scripts. The difficulty comes from doing this safely. You need to add the sensors and logic to make sure the tool change occurs as it should when it should. It took me somewhere between 30-40 hours to set up ours. Most of this was spent on design, software and testing. The actual build and install only took a couple hours.

I agree with ThinkBox. There’s no reason you can’t do it technically but it is a lot of work. I’ve done a few adaptations like that in my past on other machines. Off the top of my head you’ll need to fabricate a mount to put the spindle on our Z axis. That’s probably the easiest part.

Mach 4 can handle an ATC. As thinkbox correctly said you’ll need sensors for various things like air pressure, spindle speed (up to speed or at zero speed) tool measure switch, etc.

You could probably follow a lot of the S30 builds pretty closely and replicate them. A large amount of it is likely very similar.

Don’t forget you may need a VFD as well.

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Although, depending on how good the deal is, it would be much easier to grab it now, install it on your machine and just treat it as a standard spindle with manual tool change. I can see a lot of advantages to having that spindle and manually tool changing. For one, having actual tool holders loaded with various tools with established gauge lengths all set up would be awesome. Then you could grow into it as time, money and bandwidth allow. Sure, it wouldn’t be as impactful to workflow as having a true ATC, but manually changing tool holders would be much faster than swapping tools in and out of a collet and touch them off every time.

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Yes, this is exactly what I was thinking I can do for now and build up as I have the time. Thanks!

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Adding I tool changer is fairly easy with Acorn control The ATC macro is included and Here is an example of it on AVID type machine

ATC Set up and test