These awesome, somewhat aged, industrial arms are out there, and most of us have seen them floating around on ebay or other various auction sites. However, when you look at the details you see that the cnc “brains” are machines from the 90s with floppy drives and antequated hardware, and more often than not, simply dead.
Brian Brocken saw this as a challenge and decided he was going to resurrect one of these machines. After plugging in all the old hardware and wading through the error codes, he tracked down all the issues this thing had, and slowly chipped away at resolving them.
Just getting the arm “alive” again isn’t enough. These old machines weren’t built for modern cnc programming. Often there’s a hard limit on the amount of code they can hold! In this case, it was limited to the size of a floppy disk, or 1.4Mb! That simply won’t do for any kind of fun cnc work. To fix this, Brian built an application called Rapid2Serial which allows him to pour whatever size file into the machine he wants!
Watch the video above and go read the whole story on Hackaday.io