Light Machines proLIGHT 3000 Turning Center Tool Turret


So, I've been working on converting over a Light Machines proLIGHT 3000 Turning Center to use a G3 Touch interface for the past couple of weeks in little hour or two sessions. So far the documentation, form posts from other users (lots of credit to @agoodevans for his work a couple of years back), and probing with the multimeter have gotten me through each issue. Right now I only have the tool turret left to figure out (which unfortunately for me @agoodevans didn't seem to have on his conversion, so I'm going to have to work through that). I see the total value of what has been posted by other users and will be doing a full summary write up for the conversions forum once I get through this, especially as the proLIGHT lathes and mills see to have been very well marketed toward high schools and seem to not have moved past Windows 95 very gracefully (I'm a volunteer coach for a robotics team at a local high school that will be using this machine when I get it up and going).

Here's what I'm looking at for the turret on this thing (pictures attached so you can look at it too):
  1. Turret has 8 positions
  2. Driven by a 200 step per spindle rotation stepper motor
  3. A single switch that identifies tool 1 position.
  4. Turret has an 8 splined cam that locks a tool in place when the stepper is driven in reverse
    1. It looks as though 150 steps in reverse is plenty

  5. The gearing of the turret is 30:1 from the stepper to the turret, which maths out to:
    1. 6000 steps is one full rotation
    2. 750 steps per tool change

I first confirmed that the tool turret is functional using an Arduino and a L293D H-Bridge directly to the stepper and that the location switch works with a multimeter. Next I'm looking at if there is a tool turret profile on the Masso G3 that would work straight away, and was very excited by reading about the Wabeco 8 tool turret ( as this seem very similar to the tool turret that I have (I have also reviewed the manual for the Wabeco to confirm that they appear to be very functionally similar D6000-D6000-C-CC-D6000 10-2014.pdf section 18.28).

I now have wired the step+ and direction+ from the turret motor controller to the y-axis on the G3, and the turret location switch to an input designated as tool changer - input 1 in the Masso F1 configuration screen (and yes it shows as low when not in the turret home location) as detailed in the Masso documentation for the Wabeco 8 tool turret. While I still hold out hope that eventually something is going to work on the first try for me, this was yet again not that time. I have tried adjusting the settings for the Wabeco configuration to match the above step counts, but when I save and move over t0 the F3 screen to run the Home operation, Z and X home successfully, but I get only a scream from the tool changer stepper (going the wrong direction for this tool turret maybe, and just hitting the cam stop?), then a homing error alarm. So, I'm looking for next steps to see if there is hope of this working (or I can program a custom tool turret controller on an arduino, but it seems like I'm really close here). Anyone have any ideas or experience with this that they could share?




  • IMG_1708.jpg
    2.9 MB · Views: 38
  • IMG_1709.jpg
    2 MB · Views: 38
  • IMG_1711.jpg
    2.4 MB · Views: 41
  • IMG_1712.jpg
    2.3 MB · Views: 42


Staff member

MASSO lathe software is 2 axes only, so doesn't contain firmware code to drive the Y axis outputs.

You need to use the Arduino to drive the stepper when the various TC outputs are activated.





First, thanks for the quick response and all the post that you ve made on here, they ve really helped me get this far without having to contact support and have answered a lot of my questions before I had to post something!

Yeah, that s exactly what I thought too, but as I was going through the different tool turret options for the G3 lathe software to see which one was going to look like it would be easiest to emulate with an Arduino, I saw the wabeco which showed up in v4.0 and newer software on the G3; so yeah the lathe software is really only 2 axes, but they ve seemingly allowed the third to now be used for turret control in this case. It looks so close to what I need too! And it does connect to the y-axis according to the Masso documentation.

I fiddled around with the settings a bit more tonight and it is moving the stepper on this tool changer when connected to the y-axis during homing (just in the opposite direction to what I desire, which I was able to confirm by disengaging the stop on the tool changer lock with a little gentle prying and watching it go backwards one tool location when the lock re-engages, instead of going forward looking for the tool home signal).

It looks like I need an invert axis option like the x and z have in their config options, but I don t see that option in the turret config. I did try giving negative step count values for the steps per tool options in the wabeco turret setting, but Masso doesn t seem to like those values (it converts -750 to 1600 on save).

I m wondering about switching the a and a- wires between the stepper and motor controller (which should make it run in the opposite direction, I think) or looking into logic that will invert the y-axis d+ output between the Masso and the motor controller (telling the motor controller to do the opposite of whatever the Masso sent.) I d prefer a software configuration option if it exists, but will experiment with stepper motor behavior for switching the a and a- signal lines with a littler (cheaper) stepper tomorrow. Then I can always fail back to the original Arduino plan if this doesn t work out, but it s just so close!



Staff member


As I don't use a lathe I'm not uptodate on the changes made to the tool changers.

To reverse the direction of the tool changer stepper motor reverse the D+/- wires, not the S+/- that is only inverting the step pulses.

Just checked settings for TC (Y) there is no setting to invert the direction of motor.





Thanks for the tip on using D-, I had thought that D- was only for use in deferential configuration, which my motor controller doesn't support, so I only had ground, S+, and D+ connected. I decided to try switching the direction signal for the tool turret from D+ to D- first (as it was the simplest change, and didn't require me pulling pins on the DB-9 connectors or hacking wires between the stepper and the motor controller, as switching a+ and a- would have.) I'm very happy to report that after moving the Direction line from D+ to D- on the Y axis and some adjustments to the wabeco tool turret settings on the Masso, I now have a fully functional (but partially disassembled) tool turret! I've run it through dozens of tool change and homing operations and everything seems great! I'll move on to getting all of my tool offsets dialed in now, then maybe even be able to run some gcode and make some test parts, very exciting!

Incase someone else comes along with this machine and wants to know, the settings that I'm using on the Wabeco tool turret on a G3 lathe Masso running v4.01 software for this proLIGHT 3000 tool turret are (in addition to using D- rather than D+, my machine is configured for inches, so you'll need to do some conversion if you're running mm):

Feedrate: 5.000

Acceleration: 1.000

Motor: Steps per a single tool move: 750

Motor: Extra steps for tool change: 0

Motor: Reverse steps for locking: 450

@evermech Thanks for confirming that switching a+ and a- would reverse the stepper direction, I didn't use that here but who knows what'll come up in the future.



Well done Brent along with others contributions. I have the same machine but no tool turret. Great investigating and problem solving.


New member

I "lucked" into a ProLight 3000 Turning Center w/ Tool Changer and ProLight 1000 Mill that were up for auction by a school system decommissioning them from their metal arts shop program.

So I'm glad to find your post concerning the 3000, which has tripled the information I have. Both of my units were pretty chowdered up, but I'm just a few hours away from bringing the mill to life with electronics from OpenBuilds. I am using their BlackBox drive electronics and Touch Interface controller.

I got both the lathe and mill controller boxes with the units, but the cabling and connectors are not usable. I also am not interested in purchasing PCs with parallel port boards, and am hoping to use modern controllers and drivers. (I'm willing to sell the control boxes, for anyone interested).

The info you provided on the tool changer has increased my knowledge by a factor of 100. Please keep posting your progress.

Any coaching you would offer is greatly appreciated.