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That's really cool!  

 

 

I'm guessing the machines connect to the Mac with a Nubus expansion card?

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8 hours ago, Mr SN said:

Wow, I'm amazed some older macs are still doing duty in CNC shops! So cool to see!  Now I understand the comments about dongles and PAC software. 

It's not the easiest road to travel. It's a completely foreign world to what most Mac users know. THE SCSI2SD adapters we bought last year saved our butts when a heat wave (like we are having now in Ohio) hit and our old SCSI drives started failing one by one.  Once I got the first SCSI2SD working, I literally cried.  The operators love them, because the seek and load times are drastically reduced.  The Macs fly.  The SD cards are so much less susceptible to damage from the heat and dirt, it was a no-brainer to set up all of the machines to use SCSI2SD.

 

Before I got another question as to why we don't try to do this with emulation, I thought I would show the set-up.  There is a Nubus Comm card inside the Mac that communicates with another card inside the console.  They are connected by a ribbon cable.  I finally got a picture of the the screen to upload to show what it looks like when then PAC software is loaded.  My boss is very happy that the electronics will probably last us another 30 years!

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8 hours ago, Torbar said:

I'm guessing the machines connect to the Mac with a Nubus expansion card?

Absolutely!  See my response to Mr SN for more info.  I can try to get some photos of the inside of a console if anyone is interested in seeing it.

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8 hours ago, PotatoFi said:

Wow, this is the only post I've ever seen on these forums of a machine being used in production. That is just awesome.

Thanks! We bought several of these machines used so we could keep doing what we are doing and expand our capacity.  We even purchased a Laser/turret press hybrid made by the same company so we could keep using the same programming software.

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8 hours ago, cheesestraws said:

This is really interesting.  Thankyou for sharing the pictures with us.  I think your use case is one of the most interesting of anyone on these forums.

You're welcome!  Interesting is one way of putting it, haha.

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8 hours ago, superjer2000 said:

That’s the biggest can opener I’ve ever seen!!

Snort! That's the first time I've ever heard it called a can opener! We make all kinds of crazy things on those.  I've attached some interesting photos of big things and little things that we've used those machine to punch out almost if not everything you see in the picture.

CDSide.JPG

Control0877.JPG

DSCN1944.JPG

DSCN3203.JPG

SmRounds3.JPG

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That's great stuff you're making with those old macs. You came to the right place to keep them running and ask questions.  I'm happy to do whatever you might need in terms of help to keep those old macs in business :)

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Don’t have anything to contribute to the actual topic of the IIci but damn... this is absolutely amazing.

Awesome to see those old Macs still being in duty and also good to see they are taken care of by people who are aware that those are 30 years old and need special treatment (which they obviously got) to run another 30 years.

 

Keep them going and keep coming back here for any help you might need with the Macs. Also I‘d love to see more about the actual cards/interfacing setup if that’s possible.

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That’s really awesome! So cool to see 30+ year-old computers still in-service! 
 

SCSI2SDs are absolutely perfect for applications like this where the machine is relied upon. I’m usually a stickler for mechanical drives, but maximum reliability is absolutely crucial in situations like this.

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This is just outstanding. I've seen your posts about your shop before and been intrigued (and maybe a little confused lol).  To see something that I've considered a 'hobby' for a whole bunch of years actually being *used* in production makes my day.

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On 7/10/2020 at 8:51 AM, Mr SN said:

I'm happy to do whatever you might need in terms of help to keep those old macs in business :)

I will keep that in mind, thanks!

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On 7/10/2020 at 9:07 AM, Bolle said:

Also I‘d love to see more about the actual cards/interfacing setup if that’s possible.

I am working on that.  

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On 7/10/2020 at 9:24 AM, PB145B said:

’m usually a stickler for mechanical drives, but maximum reliability is absolutely crucial in situations like this.

I prefer the mechanical hard drives too.  Less trouble to configure.  Unfortunately, they are very difficult to procure now. The SCSI2SD should be able to withstand 90°+ shop temperatures with 95% humidity and the pervasive grit and grime of metal fabricating (Did you SEE the keyboard pic?) a little better since it has no moving parts.  The boys love the speed boost, so that's a plus as well.

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On 7/10/2020 at 9:59 AM, MJ313 said:

This is just outstanding. I've seen your posts about your shop before and been intrigued (and maybe a little confused lol).  To see something that I've considered a 'hobby' for a whole bunch of years actually being *used* in production makes my day.

Due to a lot of the responses I was getting from people and the full knowledge that we have always been a bit unique both the manufacturing industry and the Apple community, I figured I was confusing quite a few people.  You are in good company.  It occurred to me that posting a bunch of pics with some short explanations would probably do more to clear things up than trying to post a very long detailed text explanation.  It seems that was a very good idea, because this community appears to be really excited about what we're doing, and I've had members respond OH, now I get it! 

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A picture is worth a thousand words IRL for most folks, but in your case that increases by an order of magnitude. Is that Hardi Panel sheet covering that booth?

 

I come from the world of late 80s - early 2,000s use of dongled software and proprietary interface cards for CAD-CAM in signmaking. I'm more interested in the fact  that you're still buying production equipment for that production environment! I take it your production software was never made PowerPC compatible? If it had been, I'd suggest looking first gen NuBus PPC machines for future use. Rock on!

 

edit: second thought, BMOW has developed the USB Wombat for converting modern KBDs to ADB for your Macs. Buy a few of those and replace the ADB KBDs with current boards hardened for industrial use or far less expensive consumer KBDs for which you can stockpile clear vinyl(?) KBD protectors to seal out the oil, grime and dust.

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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8 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

edit: second thought, BMOW has developed the USB Wombat for converting modern KBDs to ADB for your Macs. Buy a few of those and replace the ADB KBDs with current boards hardened for industrial use or far less expensive consumer KBDs for which you can stockpile clear vinyl(?) KBD protectors to seal out the oil, grime and dust.

It almost looks like that AEK does have a clear cover over it.(like, the area between the F12 and F13 key)

Or just a nice thick layer of grase/warped plastic from over the years

 

 

(no to say having a backup plan is a bad idea or anything)

Edited by Torbar

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Awesome to see such old machines still in a production environment.

 

Regarding the contamination on the CPU - looks like residue from a heatsink someone added. Was probably because of that hot environment you mentioned.

 

Thanks for keeping them alive :)

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8 hours ago, Torbar said:

It almost looks like that AEK does have a clear cover over it.(like, the area between the F12 and F13 key)

Or just a nice thick layer of grase/warped plastic from over the years

Looked at the pic full size and I think you're right about the KBD protector.

 

Nobody's mentioned running the boards through a dishwasher (no soap) for cleaning. Your computer preservation budget should probably include a sonic cleaner tank made specifically for the task, if not I'd buy a beat up used dishwasher dedicated to cleaning that kind of industrial crud! :approve:

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10 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

I take it your production software was never made PowerPC compatible? If it had been, I'd suggest looking first gen NuBus PPC machines for future use. Rock on!

 

Nope, it's only compatible through OS 7.1, and was never made for any PPC.  There is a NuBus Comm card inside the IIci/IIsi that connects to a motion board inside the console.  We were told we couldn't update the Mac to a newer model due to the way the comm card and the motion board communicate to the servos on the machine.  Strippit did make a model that was compatible with a Quadra 650, but that machine came with different servos, therefor a different communication card that wasn't compatible with the servos on our machines.

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10 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

BMOW has developed the USB Wombat for converting modern KBDs to ADB for your Macs.

That is an excellent tip.  Finding KB skins for the old keyboards is extremely difficult, and we wear right through them anyway.  It is much easier to get skins for USB keyboards.

10 hours ago, Torbar said:

It almost looks like that AEK does have a clear cover over it.(like, the area between the F12 and F13 key)

Or just a nice thick layer of grase/warped plastic from over the years

Yes it most certainly does.  The guys have worn right through the vinyl in spots.  What you see isn't really grease. it's grit and oil.  Welding and grinding are dirty jobs, and even though the welding stations are a in a different part of the shop, the grit gets everywhere.  We use a lot of pickled and oiled mild steel, and the oil gets all over everything as well.

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10 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

Is that Hardi Panel sheet covering that booth?

 

Everything you see in the pics is sheet metal, mostly stainless and Hot-rolled Pickled and Oiled steel.  There is a little copper medallion as well.  The big booth is just a lot of steel panels welded together.

 

Since I didn't know what hardi panel was, I went and looked it up.  No, we don't use that at all. All of the paneling on the Strippit machines and their consoles is fiberglass.

Edited by Iamanamma
more detail

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Wow this is neat. Our CNC machine isnt quite as old, but its still fairly old by todays standards. it uses a Pentium 166 with QNX, and a software package called Precix, and I have to do similar things to keep it running. I just got done rebuilding the servo amplifier not too long ago as the capacitors had started leaking and kept getting Z axis errors. 

Edited by techknight

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8 hours ago, techknight said:

I just got done rebuilding the servo amplifier not too long ago as the capacitors had started leaking and kept getting Z axis errors. 

A couple of years ago we started getting all kinds of crazy referencing errors and discovered the bulging capacitors in our Macs. We found a guy in Michigan who does recaps for a living.  One by one we sent our on duty Macs and our spares to him.  He cleaned the boards, recapped them. and tested them, and only found one he couldn't completely repair.  He was a life saver! 

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9 hours ago, Iamanamma said:

Since I didn't know what hardi panel was, I went and looked it up.  No, we don't use that at all. All of the paneling on the Strippit machines and their consoles is fiberglass.

Aha! That's for shop use, I thought it was for a customer and you were putting Hardi Plank or vinyl siding over it.

 

I'm glad you liked the USB/skins suggestion, have at it, it'll probably save you money over the long haul just on the price of skins. How many consoles are you running? If ambient temperatures + shop temps are too high for the production machines, I'd think about putting an addition on the console for one of those cute little Pinguino room air conditioners and a big multi-layer house filter system to add to what's built into the console. You wouldn't need to run the A.C. all that much. ISTR they're really efficient if you add water rather than having them depend on just the moisture they collect in operation.

 

So much cool stuff! I so miss my full set of Whitney cold iron working tools and the brakes for sheet metal fab. :mellow:

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