Sunday, January 14, 2018

CNC Laptop Went Splat

I suspect the generally harsh conditions of the shop or aluminum dust flying around killed it.  It starts just enough to show the boot screen then goes blank.  Likely bad mother board or display.  I was able to buy a used one for $90 on eBay.  Unfortunately, I have to have a real parallel port to control the CNC mill.  The new one has a 40GB hard drive, but I suspect that I can move the current drive over easily enough.

It was only the display that went bad, which I suspected from watching the flash of the boot screen.  An external monitor, thanks to my reader Jim Horn, who has kept this antique Viewsonic running, and I am back in business.  The Compaq NC6000, I ordered: a good backup for when this one goes belly up.  The keyboard is slowly going bad anyway.  and I doubt that I can get the built-in display repaired for $90.

So what was I trying to do, when I discovered this?  Leveling the mill.  I had a piece of wood under the mill as part of a now obsolete chaff confinement structure, which was distinctly leaning to right of level.  Removing it helped but even though the table on which the mill sits is just about level, the mill table was leaning right and forward.  Not much.  Copy paper is .003" thick.  A couple sheets folded eight times near the front of the base, and the mil table is now level.  The mill column may or may not be square to the table.  It seemed okay when it arrived; there are some adjustments you can make at some effort because you have to lay the mil on its back, which requires disconnecting cables and unscrewing bolts that hold the column to the base.

There are two mil vises that |I use.  One is a very small, precise Sherline mill.  The other is a large drill press vise that I milled to be as flat and square as I could.  There is still room for improvement; I can measure that the left side of the jaws is .027" higher from the bottom than the right side.


  1. Keyboard and Mouse with a usb dongle Model MK270 is listed as 48 dollars at Walmart.
    I paid 27 last month at Walmart. They make lots of different kinds but I found this one to be the right size and price.

    I have two of them for our laptops here in the living room.
    Rich in NC

  2. Rich: Doesn't help. The display is bad.