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1  General CNC Chat / Building or Buying a Wood routing table.. Beginnners guide.. / Re: Help with ports on mach3 on: February 09, 2015, 06:35:28 PM
If the PC can run Windows XP, and if the PC is equipped with it's own (built-in to the mother board) Parallel Port, then I would recommend purchasing a G540 controller card from Gecko. It will be neccessary to do some of your own wiring, but you should be able to get it running under Mach 3 control.
Things you will need to know:
Motor type (Stepper or Servo)
Voltage ratings for each motor
Ohm readings for each coil of each motor (stepper type motors)
Whether the motors are Unipolar or Bipolar motors.
If you can obtain all of this information, and post it here, you may find that others can help you to get things going. For this is the very first information they will need to help you along your path. Unfortunately, there are just so many variables to all of this, that it does require a certain "Process of elimination" to even begin to help someone.
2  General CNC Chat / Building or Buying a Wood routing table.. Beginnners guide.. / Re: need help please on: February 09, 2015, 06:26:44 PM
I can't comment about the PC, or operating system you are using. I am using an older Dell model running the XP operating system. The motor controller I am using is a Gecko G540 (supports up to 4 axis's of stepper motors). I am not at all familiar with the chinese router you are referring to. But it may help you to obtain help from the user group, if you could list some of the particulars about the chinese router. (Stepper, or Servo, number of wires to each motor, voltage rating, etc.)
3  General CNC Chat / Building or Buying a Wood routing table.. Beginnners guide.. / Re: shared home and limit switches on: February 09, 2015, 06:18:56 PM
I actually wired all limit switches in series, (and like you, the negative X, and negative Y limits also serve as the Home switches for each). I never could get it to work with Mach. I ended up disabling the negative limit switch for each in Mach, (although they are still physically wired and positioned to function as limits). As you gain experience with your machine, you will quickly learn WHERE it's limits are physically located. The only real benefit of the limit switches, are the Home switches. So that you can establish WHERE the machine is actually located each time you start it up (and Re-Home the machine). During a Homing Cycle, the axis's are homed ONE AT A TIME. (Z first, then Y, and then X). Mach will move toward the home limit switch, until it strikes it, then back off just enough to un-trigger the switch on Each of the axis. Once homing is complete, subsequent limit switch strikes are interpreted by Mach to be a limit switch as being triggered, which causes Mach to STOP and trigger an error. I know how confusing it all can be, hope this helps you to get your machine up and running!
4  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: KNIFE SHARPENER on: July 12, 2014, 10:20:15 PM
Nice looking knives you've got going there! (And some beautiful wood to work with).
5  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Marines Emblem 1st Carve on: June 16, 2014, 04:41:32 PM
The software puts some sort of tool change code in when it creates the code but I have figured out how to select and delete it since I don't have a tool changer.

The tool change g-code is probably needed, (Even if you don't have an automatic tool changer). The process is generally to begin with a roughing tool, to remove the bulk of the material, then do a tool change to a smaller, (finishing) tool for the finer details needed on the finishing cut. You can set up Mach3 to "Stop spindle, wait for Cycle Start" on tool changes from within the General Menu. When Mach3 encounters a tool change, it will stop the program and the machine from running, and wait for you to click Cycle Start (after completing the actual tool change manually). If you are not using a macro to automate the process, then you will want to set the new tool's Z zero depth using a feeler guage such as a sheet of paper (simply jog the Z down until it just "touches" the sheet of paper, click on Z Zero) THEN click on Cycle Start to continue the program's execution. Also, it is important to note, that even if the Stop Spindle, Wait for Cycle Start is checked, if you have not yet assigned unique tool NUMBERS to the various tooling (I.E. IF your Roughing Tool is tool NUMBER 1, AND your Finishing Tool is also tool NUMBER 1, then Mach3 will ignore the tool change, and continue running the program). I would recommend, that you create a table for your tooling. An actual LIST of tools, so that you can refer to it, when creating g-code. This will help save you a lot of frustration, since you can simply read your list, to obtain the index number of the desired tool.
6  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Marines Emblem 1st Carve on: June 15, 2014, 11:55:53 PM
The software I use for my carvings is called MeshCAM Art. It is really easy to use, once you gain a comprehension on how to use it. It will create tool paths from simple bitmap files such as JPG's, PNG's, BMP's etc. As for the feed rate used in a g-code file, it is not quite as difficult to change (WITHOUT altering the Z axis in Mach's Motor Tuning screen). In fact, you can edit the g-code file using a simple text editor (such as the Notepad program that comes with the Windows operating system). To change the feed rate using Notepad, simply open the g-code file desired, then click on Edit (at the top of the Notepad window), and select Find and type in F then press the Return or Enter key, Notepad will find every occurence of the letter F contained in the file (beginning with the first one it finds, it will stop and wait for you to type something, before continuing to the next F that it finds).
For example, if the feedrate of your current g-code file is 50, then the first (and possibly ONLY occurrence of the letter F contained in your g-code file) will say F50. To change to a different feedrate, simply highlight the 50, and type in your desired feed rate, then press the Enter or Return key. Make sure you save the file, after making this change. And then regenerate tool path in Mach3 (so that Mach will read the new feedrate).
For more info on using MeshCAM Art, please see my article in the Winter 2013 edition of Digital Machinist Magazine on Digital Sculpting. It goes into a lot more detail on the process of creating 3D g-code files using Corel DRAW, and MeshCAM Art. Hope this helps you, I know how confusing it all can be, when first starting out in CNC.
7  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Marines Emblem 1st Carve on: June 14, 2014, 06:46:03 AM
Nice work, Artcarver!
Mine took considerably longer to cut (about 7 hours), and entailed quite a bit of Dremel work by hand to finish it up.
I really like the sunburst background on your medallion. I will have to give that a try later on.
8  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Small project not going well on: May 30, 2014, 10:14:18 PM
9  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / Re: Vise for wood carving on: May 28, 2014, 10:04:43 PM
Why not just do your "Signature" engraving on the back before you start on the front ? while the blank is parallel.
(something tells me you've considered this already, just wanted to mention it) Wink
I can see other uses for the vise though, maybe a log slab, barn board or any irregular stock.

Yes, I have "considered" engraving the back, before the front. And actually have done it that way a few times. However, the time investment of drilling the guide holes, and then the jogging of the machine to align it in relation to the guide holes, (for properly aligning the back side to the front side of the carving for the engraving placement) is completely eliminated by use of the vise. Simply carve the piece, cut it out from the stock, pop it into the vise, jog the bit down to maybe 5 thou from the surface, turn the knobs of the vise to level it, lock the bolts. Jog the machine to the lower left corner of the piece, and re-zero. Click Cycle Start. Have a cup of coffee.
10  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / Re: Vise for wood carving on: May 28, 2014, 09:53:22 PM
Well, I cut the overall height down to less than 4 inches tall. However, try as I might, it's just not gonna be tool-free. I mean it is, as far as adjusting the vise to be level. But once the adjustments have been made, wrenches are neccessary to Lock everything in place. The knobs still make it very easy to "Dial everything in" with fine-tune adjustments. However, for the vise assembly to be absolutely rigid, nuts and bolts at key pivot points MUST be locked to hold everything in place. Which is a bit of a pain, but still not nearly as big a pain as trying to shim, twist, and warp pieces into a state of being level which was the alternative previous to construction of this vise.
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