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How many CNC lathes fit in a Fit?

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
One, but I probably could have got another one in there if he had one.

Was a bit of a struggle getting it out on my end, but eventually got it onto a hand truck, and into it's new temporary home.


came with a bit of tooling too. That is a dickson toolpost, and 5 holders.

And the cutest little boring head I've ever seen. That little grinding vise is aluminum.



It will power on, and the RPM gauge will read the encoder if you spin the chuck by hand in manual mode, but there are no combinations of buttons, and switch presses that will make it move or home. No manual with it, but have found some info online. I figured on a complete retrofit anyway even before I bought it, but will give it a good shot to try and get it running with what's there. Not sure if it needs a computer connection and software to home and run, but it looks like it. I will look into it a bit more tonight to see what I can find.

Not expecting much out of it as far as being a lathe, it's pretty light duty, but it should be a fun project to play around with.


Premium Member
Cool Dan. I have a Rockford similar size. I spent a lot replacing the electronics & servos and getting an acorn centroid working with it. The original control electronics were on an ISA board with a pentium computer. No fusion360 post for that! Keep posting that should be interesting.

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
An Acorn was my first thought. I was looking into them a few months ago while contemplating a hardinge retrofit, but that's not coming together anytime soon. This is my first foray into home DIY CNC, and I'm looking forward to it.

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
So Linux CNC?

Poking around the net a bit the past couple days seems like Linux CNC is probably the way I'm going to lean now, instead of the acorn. Anybody been down this road? Any Canuck friendly preferred vendors for breakout boards, or highly recommenced ones. Ones to stay away from?

Would be nice to setup an interface similar to the pathpilot on my Tormach (which is just linux CNC behind the screen). Would be easier for the kids to learn on eventually too if they're similar. I know my Son really wants to learn, and this lathe seems like a perfect oportunity.

I'm also wanting to build a CNC plasma table in the near future so the experience would be nice to gain with this project, which is already over half way there.

Something I've always wanted to do is build/retrofit a CNC machine, and I now have a reason sitting on my bench. When I get started I will fully document and post everything here.


If you can work with Linux then that probably is the way to go. Myself, I would go Acorn. In the end they are pretty even cost wise. Good luck.

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
I have never worked with Linux, and don't consider myself all that computer savvy.......I don't play or tinker with computers at all, but I would love to learn though, and will force myself to do so for this project so it opens the doors for other motion control projects and ideas I have. I've wanted to tinker with a home CNC project for a long time, so this is the perfect foundation to build and learn from and hopefully have a functioning lathe in the end. My struggles as a windows "user" learning linux might serve as a good benchmark for others considering this path, and I'll document all my struggles and hopefully successes. If I abandon ship, and get an acorn in the end I'm alright with that too.

I probably won't do much with it until next winter though, as I've got a few more pressing projects I need to get through before playing around with this so if I don't post on it for a while, that's why. I'll bring it into the basement closer to all my electronics stuff, order the parts I need, and pile some stuff on it for a few months to let it acclimatize like the rest of my projects lol. I eventually get around to them......


Well-Known Member
I would recommend going the acorn route. I put one on a mill, router and the latest project is a lathe. What I like about them is they have a very active support forum. Some great people on there who can get you pointed in the right direction.

The acorn also has lots of premade circuits and programs in the PLC. They may not do exactly what you want but are close so you can get things almost working. From there they can be edited to do exactly what you want. In my case I had an obscure turret powered by a dc motor and positioned by microswitches, controlled by two relays in a custom way. Centroid will do the final editing for a price. It's a bit expensive but in my case I got it close enough so I only had to hire them for one hour of editing. If you have a common machine they often have a premade wizard selectable setup that will do exactly what you want.

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
Still haven't made a final decision and started ordering stuff but will in the next month or 2 once I get some time ot look at it and do some research, but I'm at least going to give linux CNC a try first. This project is more about the journey of learning, than it is the destination of a working CNC lathe at the end. Acorn is the easy way out, and I have no doubt it's the path of least resistance. Especially for someone like me with limited computer coding knowledge, but that's not what this is about, or has grown into.

I want to force myself to learn Linux. Ending up with a working CNC lathe to play with at the end is just the carrot on the stick. I also want my kids to learn along with me. They don't get exposed to this kind of stuff in school. Especially our small town schools, so I want to expose them to as much as possible, and give them opportunities I never had access to.