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Quick and Easy Waterproof LED Lighting For My Tormach CNC Lathe

May 1, 2016   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, DIY CNC  //  8 Comments

I got tired of it being so dark in the enclosure of my Tormach CNC Lathe, so got talking about lighting with my friend John Bower, who is the local Tormach dealer in Northern California.  His store is called Santa Cruz Electronics, and he has all sorts of nifty electronic stuff on hand for projects liked this.  Before I knew it, John had whipped up a neat and inexpensive LED lighting solution to go inside the lathe enclosure.  It works great.  Here’ s few photos that show what he did:

Lights3

Take 4 LED strips, sandwich them in acrylic with a foam tape barrier, some aluminum channel, and silicone cement to seal it up against coolant…

Lights1

Bolt to top of enclosure, up out of the way.  Wiring for the LEDs is low voltage, so even if there is a link we won’t have line voltage running around inside the enclosure…

Lights2

Now we have a nice well-lit lathe: thanks John!

BTW, if you’re wondering why there is an endmill chucked up in the lathe, I was boring another toolholder to take an ER collet chuck.  Only had 1 on the turret and needed a 2nd for a project I’m doing.  One will hold a twist drill and the other a tap.  Boring them this way ensures they’re accurately aligned on the spindle axis.  It’d be even better to ream the hole, but I didn’t want to spend the money for a 3/4″ reamer and this will be good enough for my purposes.

 

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8 Comments

  • Hi,
    I’ve met the owner of SC Electronics. Great guy, and very knowledgeable.
    I shop at his place about 1-2 month, good store and helpful staff.
    I had them build a CAD workstation for me.
    I got as good a price as I could have anywhere, even cherry picking off the web, but also assembled for a few dollars more.
    Very worth it for me.

  • I really like the idea of sandwiching the led strips in clear plastic. I’ve avoided using the LED light strips due to them being so exposed and only mounted with a thin layer of double sided tape.

    • Mike, we played with the idea of just using the double sided tape and decided it was too cheezy. That’s what led to this method. FWIW, the tape doesn’t stick very well to the enclosure paint either. Having the lights come down into the whirling dervish of a lathe chuck seemed like a bad idea for some reason, LOL.

      I’m really happy with this improved approach John cooked up.

  • Got a pair of cheap import LED floods for the front corners of the enclosure of a Cincinnati Sabre mill that I brought back online last year. Same idea, but about $23 each off ebay ( http://r.ebay.com/HRtdw8 ). They wanted 110V, but easy to drill through enclosure and wire in to the mains. Did put a switch on the line so I could turn them off in case they interfere with the IR output of the renishaw. Huge improvement over the old incandescent work lamp on a gooseneck!

  • To bore your tool holders, and control size better than what might happen with a 3/4″ end mill, just chuck a boring head into the chuck and then you can adjust the size a little bit at a time to get right on size.

    I did this back in the early 90’s on a Hardinge Conquest 42 to build a bunch of 5C collet holders using the turret tool holders. Once the Hardinge rep saw them, they decided to build and sell them direct.

    • A boring head would work too, though more trouble than a reamer. As I said, the end mill has worked out fine for my application.

      Best,

      BW

  • Where is the machined billet enclosure? lol

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