Upgrades to Light Machines, LabVolt, D&M4 Sherline Mills and Lathes
Light Machines (Benchmill Intelitek), Labvolt, D&M all used Sherline mills or lathes to create their end products. They were sold to schools to help students learn CNC machine use. You’ll occasionally see these come up for sale as schools sell them or from private individuals. The electronics are often different from Sherline electronics, but the base mill or lathe is the same. Most of these machines will be older. Labvolt looks like the only company that still uses Sherline. It also appears Light Machines as a brand is no longer around and D&M appears to be out of business (shoot me a message if you know differently). The nice thing about these machines is; they usually have a nice enclosure. Other than that, the electronics are probably going to be old unless you bought one that’s been updated or a newer LabVolt. If you can buy one at the right price, they are worth updating. However, they will still have the same Sherline weaknesses. Weak motor, very limited tooling capacity headstock, small spindle bearings and so on.
For that those reasons, people with those machines often come to us to upgrade their motor and headstocks. Upgrading those core componets will give you a good little machine. If the motion control electronics and software work, then you might not want to upgrade it. However, if you do want upgrade the electronics and software, here’s our recommendation; Handsdown, the best choice, in our opinion, is the Centroid Acorn controller (both the controller board and software. We will be adding those parts to our webstore shortly). Once you combine the new headstock, motor and Centroid Acorn products, you’ll have a great little benchtop mill or lathe!
Below are some pictures to help identifiy what you might have or are looking at buying. (These are images from people who had them for sale, but I’m not sure if they are still available or where you would find them for sale) – James, GlockCNC.com