Accidental Acquisition

User avatar
John Bateson
Posts: 666
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:39 pm

Accidental Acquisition

Postby John Bateson » Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:09 pm

It seems that I am now the proud, but very confused, owner of an Emco Unimat 4 PC. The condition of the basic lathe seems almost brand new, still has grease on it, but the PC and glass VDU plus all the videos are from the late 1990s.
Well, that's the next 3 months taken care of, trying to get it to work and understand the programming. Must get a heater for the shed...
John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
http://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

User avatar
Tim V
Posts: 2204
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby Tim V » Thu Oct 01, 2015 6:48 pm

I think you are referring to the Unimat PC http://www.lathes.co.uk/emco/page9.html , the 4 was a different machine. Good luck though!
Tim V

User avatar
John Bateson
Posts: 666
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:39 pm

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby John Bateson » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:18 am

I think I misdescribed the beast, Tim.
IMG_0031.JPG
The main machine - seems to have been in store for quite a while

IMG_0032.JPG
And this shows that I can't read and remember

IMG_0033.JPG
The machine seems to be a 90s PC/AT with 640K. At the moment I can't even boot it up and the likelyhood of getting the original discs is extremely remote


From the limited time I have spent so far on trying to trace the software, it seems I may be disappointed. I guess the only option I have will be to try to find a modern version and load it onto a modern PC

John

Of course there is the option of just running it as a basic machine ...
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
http://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

Winander
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby Winander » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:32 am

John,

It should be possible to remove the hard disk and install it in a more modern machine although you will probably need a different cable to connect it. It may even work!!

HTH
Richard

Alan Turner
Posts: 535
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:24 pm

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby Alan Turner » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:09 am

There is a yahoo group dedicated to unimat lathes. Why not try that for guidance?

Regards

Aln

User avatar
jayell
Posts: 500
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 8:20 am

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby jayell » Sat Oct 03, 2015 6:59 am

You might do better forgetting the computer controlled aspect and just use it manually, no screwcutting would be possible that way but no great loss. It seems the drive is a bit feeble so all the more reason to go manual

Have fun

John

User avatar
jayell
Posts: 500
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 8:20 am

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby jayell » Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:53 pm

I expect you have already found there are a couple of videos describing the Unimat PC and how to program it.

I think it unlikely you will find the original software but it woukd be possible to modify it to use modern stepper motors and the associated software for them but that is way beyond my capabilities. The original PC used MSDOS as the operating system and this would have been supplied on floppy discs. I no longer have any floppies, so not even an MSDOS boot disk but there is currently an original MS version on ebay.

If you can get hold of a boot floppy you may be able to boot the PC from that and see what is on the hard drive. One of the problems with trying to replace the PC with a more modern one is that the CAD software will not run on a modern OS unless you can get MSDos emulation software such as dosemu for linux

John Lewis
Last edited by jayell on Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
John Bateson
Posts: 666
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:39 pm

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby John Bateson » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:48 pm

John,
I have found the videos on YouTube, the ones given to me on the CD are corrupted. I also have a fulll set of manuals.
The resurrection of the old pc machine is not going well. I have found out how to get into the BIOS but the only thing I can work out from there is that the hard drive is dead so all the programs are lost - might take it into PCWorld and see if they can recover anything.
I am of the view now that I must bite the bullet and get a new driver box and the software, I already have a good computer doing nothing else. For interest there is an EMCO place just south of Shrewsbury http://www.emcomachinetools.co.uk/
and they seem to have a version of the original software that will run under Windows. The driver card in the original PC is apparently an ISA card and ISA slots have not been fitted to computers for a long time since, which is why a new driver box seems to be needed - it may also mean that new steppers are needed but I will see how that one goes.
The Yahoo group have been quite helpful in suggesting outline solutions ...
John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
http://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

User avatar
jayell
Posts: 500
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 8:20 am

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby jayell » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:34 pm

a
John Bateson wrote:John,

The driver card in the original PC is apparently an ISA card and ISA slots have not been fitted to computers for a long time since, which is why a new driver box seems to be needed - it may also mean that new steppers are needed but I will see how that one goes.
The Yahoo group have been quite helpful in suggesting outline solutions ...
John


i think you will need a modern driver card and stepper motors as the ISA card had sockets that the original stepper motors plugged into

To be honest though I'm not sure what repetative turning you will be doing to justify the effort of getting the CNC aspect working, about the only thing I can think of are things like buffer stocks/heads. I can't imagine you wanting to turn out P4 wheels to EM standards :twisted:

The lathe on its own seems well worth having as apart from a suggestion that the drive motor may be underpowered it is a actually a better lathe than the Unimat 3s and 4s

John L

User avatar
John Bateson
Posts: 666
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:39 pm

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby John Bateson » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:34 am

One of the reasons for doing this is the challenge - I have always been enthusiastic about trying new things and this seemed a good chance to take. Being of slightly advanced years should be no grounds to stop being curious and inquisitive. And, most importantly, it means I get away from the interminable soaps on the TV.
However, this is the last day of free time before "The Lady in the Big House" comes home after visiting some old (very old) friends, so unless I can make some definite progress today on suitable parts and software then this particular project will go on the back burner.
I agree with your thoughts that it is a better lathe than the '3 and '4. Not as good as my Chester Conquest though, although obviously a lot smaller (and lighter). There were a couple of comments on the Yahoo group about motor power so that is something that must be looked at as well.
The fallback position is that I will end up with a very usable small non-lathe probably worth between £300-£500.
John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
http://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

User avatar
John Bateson
Posts: 666
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:39 pm

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby John Bateson » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:07 pm

After quite a bit of work and resurrecting long distant memories I now have the system almost working, the computer and the UNIMAT program are bootable, all I have to do next is connectup the ISA board to the mains and then try to do something.
This has taken quite a bit longer than I had planned but maybe I can get enough working for an evaluation.
Or I could triage the system?
John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
http://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

User avatar
jayell
Posts: 500
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 8:20 am

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby jayell » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:11 pm

Well done John

User avatar
John Bateson
Posts: 666
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:39 pm

Re: Accidental Acquisition

Postby John Bateson » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:12 pm

Well, having achieved almost zero work since last October, I now have another 'accidental acquisition'.

This time, it was my main lathe that went "phttt". I could not make any sense of the electronics even though my apprentice training was in that. The control box was returned to the agents for repair.
After quite a few weeks, they discovered that could not discover where the control box had disappeared to.
So they made me an offer, an ex-demo machine, 2 months old, which I have now collected. After covering much of it in oil and grease since it was quite dry, it now runs fairly quietly - so it was a good deal, for them and for me since the cost of a control box and all the electronics is over £150 list price.

I now have for disposal
a Chester Conquest without a control box - Chester Conquest, Warco, and Clarke distributed by Machine Mart. all are identical as with several others,
a Unimat PC (with computer and software)

If anybody is feeling brave and would like to express an interest we can come to some agreeable conclusion and I will get some space back in my hobby room ...
Of course the Unimat may be stripped of its CAM stuff and used as a basic lathe.

John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
http://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk


Return to “Lathe Work”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest