Electronics - Hacking the SX2 Mini Mill - (Adding a reverse switch and reverse engineering the tachometer port protocol)

V2 Enclosures:
Below are some creative techniques folks have used to enclose their V2 tachometer kits. If you have a tachometer enclosure you are proud of, feel free to email it to me and I'll post it here. For those who are preparing to make their own enclosures, the following dxf file of the board and hole positions may be useful (The units are in millimeters and the outer dimensions should be (53.5x35mm):


My Mill:

I used my CNC mill to machine out a hole in the abs control box as well as two holes appropriate for 4-40 screws. Next I purchased a sheet of 3/16" thick "2069 transparent blue cell cast acrylic" and machined portions of it down by 1/8" to form a window which sits flush with the surface of the control box. Two 4-40 lock nuts, two 3/8" 4-40 standoffs (these are the exact same height as the digits), and two 3/8" 4-40 socket cap screws plus some blue locktite were used for mounting.
I still haven't figured out the best way to take a picture of blue LEDs. In person the display digits look even better.



Bill tested out his new 4190 Deluxe Mini Mill by machining down and hollowing out a Delrin disc. He then mounted the tachometer guts inside of this. An excellent write up of this can be found here!



Brian tried a spin on the reference design present on the v2 tachometer page. He cut the acrylic lens and bezel with a laser cutter then milled the bezel to seat the acrylic window. You can find pictures of their display here!



Chris is luckly enough to have access to a laser cutter at work. He used this to make a panel to hide the rough-cut hole in the cut into the control box. The translucent blue plastic was sourced from a 1$ Walmart clipboard. The translucent white bezel is clear plexiglass from Lowes which has been sanded. To affix the V2 tachometer to the inside of the control box he used 4 4-40 standoffs, nuts, and bolts.

I think this came out pretty sharp and negates the need for any 2.5d milling. If you would like to copy this look but don't have a laser cutter, try searching your area for a local hackerspace. Many have one nowadays and will be happy to help you use it.


Craig from Lone Tree Colorado:

Craig mounted his tachometer on his LMS510 Mini-Late in place of where the normal external tachometer port is located. A great improvement if I may comment! He plans to place a piece of plastic atop of the screen next.


Doug from Princeton, NJ:

Doug drilled and tapped 4 holes in a piece of blue plexiglass which he then glued inside of his mill control box. The tapped holes allowed for the tachometer to then be mounted easily using 4-40 hardware. Doug also added a forwards/reverse switch to his mill on the side.



Drew grabbed a blue plastic clipboard from Walmart and used this to make the tachometer display cover. The plastic was originally clear so he used 2000 grit and a buffing to achieve the smoked plastic look. Drew affixed his tachometer from the inside which results in a very clean look!


Fred from Florida:

Fred mounted his tachometer inside the control panel and elected to replace the power-on light with a reverse switch. In addition he made a block/holder for the spindle lock pin and used the two protection shield bolts to affix adjustable led worklights.



Iven epoxied his V2 tachometer behind a piece of smoked blue plexiglass to make the digits really stand out. Since he wasn't using the 7-pin din port for an external tachometer anymore he removed the cable and replaced it with a spindle forwards/reverse switch.



Kelly cleanly mounted their tachometer kit in a separate enclosure that sits atop of the standard control box assembly. A full writeup of the proccess is available on their blog!



Kurt has made several modifications to his mill to include a custom-milled spindle lock, metal handle knobs to replace the plastic z-axis course feed knobs, a forwards/reverse spindle direction switch, and tachometer. To obtain the sharp square edges around the display Kurt used a fein tool and to tie everything together he designed and had a friend print out a custom faceplate sticker.



Matt installed his tachometer in the stock enclosure on his lathe. He kindly provided me this picture of it before they had a chance of installing an acrylic front plate.



Rick designed and 3d-printed an enclosure for his tacometer that sits atop the standard control box. He was also enough to to share his design on Thingaverse. Thanks Rick!


Satisfied Customer:

This satisfied customer who wishes to remain anonymous cut a clean rectangular hole in his mill's control box and mounted the tachometer without a cover. They did not have any standard size nuts/bolts on hand but did want to comment that m3x.5 bolts will work in a pinch too!


Spencer C.:

Spencer converted his manual mill to a CNC mill using CNCFusion's SX2 Kit. He then whipped this faceplate up with some spare 1/4" aluminum plating, 1/8" plexiglass, and some blue vinyl tinting they had lying around.



Vlad has the honor of being the first person to make a faceplate using a 3d-printer! I really like how the beveled front edge came out.



Zogbaker added a tachometer to his already impressive mill setup (which includes a way oiler!) and lathe using the basic template design. Instead of acrylic, he used a piece of 1x2" pre-cut borosilicate glass from Mcmaster. The gold 3mm countersunk washers add a nice visual touch!



V1 Enclosures:
Here are some clever enclosures folks have made for the V1 tachometer kit. For those who are preparing to make their own enclosures, the following dxf file of the board and hole positions may be useful:


Frank Hoose:
Frank of mini-lathe.com did a review of the SX2/CN2 tachometer. He also shows how he built a tachometer case for his lathe. It looks like it's part of the machine!



Colin used a translucent blue Hammond box for their enclosure. This should really make the RPM digits stand out.


Mr. T:

Mr T. wanted an industrial look for his tachometer enclosure and came up with this carbon-fiber setup. He came up with a very cool hinge idea too!


Mark B. from Spring, Texas:

Mark B. found some enclosures at Frys (LMB Heeger LMB#650 - width 2-1/8, length 6-1/2, height 1-5/8) that were painted the same color as his machines. To cut out the display windows he used a nibbler and to make the digits stand out, he cut out sections of some inexpensive plastic boxes.


Eric of Rhema Machine Shop/WhiteStone USA:

Even made enclosures for their Lathe and Mill tachometers using a .308 cal ammo box and rifle ammo box (Case-Guard M/N-RM-50; 50 RND Rifle Flip Top; RM-50-24) respectively. Both enclosures can be had for under 3$!



Matt took a completely different enclosure approach by mounting the 7-segment modules on a daughterboard and installing it in the mill speed/power control box. The result is something that looks factory made!
He suggested that I make a new kit to make this mod easier and now one is available!


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