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Mach4 General Discussion / Can Mach4 Do This? (Mach3 Can't)
« on: March 06, 2021, 01:10:59 PM »

I have a problem that Mach3 cannot address.  I am wondering if Mach4 can provide a solution.

My gantry is driven by two motors, one for the Y axis (left) and one the A axis (right).  A is slaved to Y, and thus, shares Y motor tuning settings in Mach3.

The two motors (or other hardware) apparently drive the gantry at slightly different speeds.  If both Y and A are perfectly square to start, they will drift by about 0.03" over a 40" travel as measured by glass scales on each side of the gantry.

I read that Mach4 will allow using two motors for a single axis and will also allow independent steps per inch for each motor.  I believe this will solve this particular problem by eliminating the A axis and separately tuning both motors now assigned to Y.

However, will this also prevent me from independently homing the left and right sides of the gantry (since both motors are now a single axis)?  Is there any way to home each motor separately if they are assigned to the same axis?

Alternately, if I slave A to Y in Mach4, is there any way to adjust the steps per inch on the slaved A axis independently from the master Y?

Basically, I'm looking for a way to effectively synchronize one side of the gantry to the other (ether as a slave or treating both as a single axis), but still be able to set independent steps per inch and independently home each side.

Thanks in advance for any advice,


General Mach Discussion / Re: Steps per Inch Question with Slaved Axes
« on: March 04, 2021, 11:29:06 PM »
Thanks.  I'm going with Mach4.  From what I've read, it can do what I described above.  But I need to finish my Smooth Stepper system and cut the enclosure with Mach3 first.  I can't believe that any software could be more frustrating and clunky than Mach3, and I figured it out ok.  I just hope that Mach4 releases are more stable.  Each new Mach3 release seemed to introduce new problems.  I'm also looking forward to ditching the parallel port.

General Mach Discussion / Re: Steps per Inch Question with Slaved Axes
« on: March 04, 2021, 10:53:22 PM »
I just read the Mach4 manual, which explicitly states that you can set multiple motors to a single axis, and set each motor to have a different settings, including steps per inch.

This leads me to believe that Mach3 cannot do what I need it to do.

General Mach Discussion / Re: Steps per Inch Question with Slaved Axes
« on: March 04, 2021, 08:17:26 PM »
to my knowledge a slave axis must have identical 'steps per unit', max velocity and acceleration as the main axis.

Is there a mechanical reason one motor should not move as far as the other despite turning the same angular amount?

Thank you for the reply.  I assume the slave should have identical settings for identical operation as the master, but this isn't the case.  Both sides use the same hardware.  Measurements on both sides are repeatable, but slightly different.  Upon further reading, I encountered information indicating that the real-world non-ideal characteristics of the components can lead to errors like this.  I can think of no other reason for the discrepancy.  Nor can I find a method to correct it.

General Mach Discussion / Steps per Inch Question with Slaved Axes
« on: March 04, 2021, 08:00:13 PM »

This is my first post, and I'm happy to be here.

I have a larger gantry machine with two motors, one for each side of the gantry.  The left is set to the Y axis, and the right is set to the A axis slaved to the Y.

My problem is that the A axis moves slightly less than the Y.  Over a 40" travel, they differ by about 0.03" (measured by linear glass scales).

I attempted to adjust the steps per inch of the A axis independently of the Y to compensate, but the changes I make to the A axis motor tuning have no effect.  The Y axis motor tuning settings apparently affect both Y and A.

Is there a way to independently adjust the steps per inch of a slave axis in Mach3?  Or is there another way to compensate that I haven't thought of?

Thanks in advance, and looking forward to future discussions.


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