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Topics - Waynec

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1
General Mach Discussion / Notes in GCode files
« on: August 31, 2009, 08:57:31 PM »
I use a CAM program to create my GCode files, but I often want to put a note or two at the beginning of the file, or in the file before tool changes.  I'd like to put the name of the file, its revision, and what tool and material to use, for example.  And on tool changes, I'd like to put the tool name, diameter etc. 

How do you do this in GCode so that Mach doesn't read it or trip over it?  Is it just a semicolon in front of the comment, like in other programming languages?

Alternately, can I get Mach 3 to display info based on what it reads in GCode?  Nah.  It would be best to just read the line or two in the GCode header.

Thanks so much for the help.

Wayne C

2
General Mach Discussion / Gantry Jerk at Reset
« on: January 14, 2009, 10:55:17 AM »
I'm doing so well with Mach 3 now- learning Screen 4, getting things dialed in- its good!

Today's little issue is a problem when I shut down the machine or click the reset button to take it offline.  I get a half inch or so of jerk on the X axis.  It doesn't seem to happen on Y or Z axis.    I can't tell if the DRO is showing the change in position, but I suspect not.  Its just a sort of one time jerk when I release the gantry from motor control.  There is no similar jerk when I turn the Reset ON. Only when I switch if OFF.

I'm sure I read something about this, but I can't seem to find it now.    I'm using Gecko controllers on a crudely modified ShopBot if that makes a dif.

Thanks to all.

Wayne C

3
General Mach Discussion / Mech Home before Go To
« on: January 10, 2009, 04:23:21 PM »
A couple times now when I first start my Router (a modified Shopbot) I have forgotten to home the machine to mechanical zero, and pushed the GoTo button, expecting the machine to move to the Zero xyz work position that I had last time I worked.  Always, the Z axis is WAY OFF and I proceed to bury my spindle into the spoilboard.  In my case this means I lift the gantry off its rails.  No permanent damage yet, but I know this is not good for my spindle bearings at a minimum. 

So my question is, can I set up some sort of routine that forces me to mechanically zero my axis BEFORE I can do something stupid like push the GoTo button?  I only need this to happen on start up, not every time I use the GoTo button. 

Along that line, if I could set up a start up routine that engaged the mechanical home to limit switches routine, and then moved to a preset work zero location, and maybe poured me a cup of coffee? 

Would this require a VB script? 

Thanks as always.  As much as I love the flexibility, interface, and features of Mach 3, its this support forum that is really the best part.

Wayne C



4
General Mach Discussion / Spindle Warm Up program help
« on: December 26, 2008, 03:47:57 PM »
I'm not a GCode guy, but I can see now how I could use some basic knowledge.  Because I need to write a simple GCode program that turns on my spindle, runs it at a particular RPM for a set amount of time, and then changes that RPM and runs for that same amount of time.  Basically, I'm wanting a simple program to warm up my water cooled spindle for say 12 minutes. 

I'd like to run the spindle at about 6000 rpm for 4 minutes, then run at 12,000 rpm for another 4 minutes, and finally at 18000 rpm for a final 4 minutes.  Then I'd like it to shut off.  Maybe it would also be good to have it go to a particular safe position before I start this warmup.   

My problem is that I'm so used to running ALL my programs thru my CadCam software that I NEVER write any GCode.  I'd like to start learning some basics, and this seems like a good place to start.

Can someone here get me going in the right direction, or write a simple program and maybe explain some of it? 

Thanks so much! 

Wayne from White Salmon

5
General Mach Discussion / Mouse movements change spindle speed
« on: October 13, 2008, 09:16:20 AM »
I know, its wierd.  But its happening.  I now have Mach 3 controlling my water cooled spindle thru a CNC4PC C6 speed control board and a Chinese VFD.  It works now.  I can change speed in Mach 3 and the spindle responds.  I can change Gcode, and I can use the spindle on button in Mach.  All good.  But when I change speed with the override, using the mouse to click on plus or minus buttons, or when I just move the mouse around the screen, I get CHANGES IN SPINDLE SPEED. 

Nothing drastic, just enough to be an audible difference, and maybe a spike of 100 cycles or so.  Its too fast to get an accurate readout, and it is spikey, and comes and goes with mouse motion.

So, what can cause the mouse motion to change spindle speed?  My mouse is not wireless, BTW. 

Thanks for any help. 
Wayne C

6
General Mach Discussion / Configuring Mach 3 for a VFD and Spindle
« on: October 04, 2008, 06:06:27 PM »
I'm trying to connect my fancy new spindle and VFD to Mach 3 and I'm not getting something right. 

I have Mach 3 running an Ascension 1000 breakout box that runs Gecko 201s.    I'm trying to connect the Step and Direction output for spindle speed control to the CNC4PC speed control board.  I'm also using a DB25 Dual Breakout board from Winford Engineering that lets me connect to pinouts of the parallel port, making wiring much easier than trying to find pin out locations inside the Ascension box.  At this point, I just want to verify that I'm getting voltage at the pins I select that varies as I adjust the spindle speed in Mach3.   

So, I'm not sure how to set the pinouts to send Spindle Step and Direction signals to the parallel port, and then on to the CNC4PC speed controller. 
On the Spindle Setup tab I set the Motor control to Use Spindle Motor output and checked step and direction.  This is what the CNC4PC needs as input.   On the Motor Output tab I enabled the Spindle motor, and set the Step Pin to Pin 1, and Direction to Pin 14.  Step and Direction ports are both left at 1. 

With this configuration I get no voltage at between pin 1 and 14 when I turn the spindle on in Mach 3. 

I'm not sure what else to check.  I know that the Ascension controller iis turning on my Porter Cable Router right now when I turn on the spindle or run a file.  It simply switches power to an outlet on the back of the box, but does not control speed.  I'm not sure if this is related or not.

I'd appreciate any help.  Right now, I have a fancy new spindle, VFD controller, speed control interface and so forth all sitting in a pile.  Arggh.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Wayne from White Salmon


7
General Mach Discussion / E Stop and my new VFC and Spindle
« on: September 27, 2008, 09:51:43 PM »
I'm in the process of wiring up my new VFD and Spindle.  I'll be using a CNC4PC speed control board to provide control voltage to my Chinese VFD.  I think I get how to wire this from the instructions. 

My question is How do I wire an Emergency Stop button so that when I hit the button it stops the steppers AND the spindle at the same time?  The VFD suggests that I E Stop the control voltage on the lead that controls direction/stop.  But if I put the Estop on this, what stops the steppers? 

I'm hoping that Mach 3 has a port or some way of sending stop signal to the VFD stop input as it also stops the steppers. 

Thanks for any help.  Setting up the spindle is a bit of a challenge for me, but I'm leanring alot about Mach, and what options I have to control things. 

Wayne from White Salmon

8
I'm trying to make sure I understand how FEEDHOLD works. 

Sometimes when I"m cutting a sign, I'll run a second file with a smaller bit.  Even though I zero the Z before running the file, sometimes I need to stop the file, adjust the Z depth, and then resume. 
To do this, I should
1) Click FEEDHOLD
2) Move the Z axis to some piece of material surface that is at start, or Zero height.
3) Jog the Z axis down to the surface or deeper as needed (router still spinning)
4) Push the Z axis DRO to re-zero at the new corrected depth
5) Push Cycle Start and watch the  Z axis return to the point stored by the Feedhold click and resume cutting, but this time from the new Z Zero reference point.

Is this correct?  Is there an easier way?   Thinking out loud,  can I input a Gcode depth correction as an MDI and then resume?  And what is that proceed from box for? 

Lot of questions for someone from Washington State.

Thanks in advance

WayneC
Mach 3 on an upgraded Shopbot with Ascension controller. 

9
General Mach Discussion / ArtCam Tool Changes
« on: January 09, 2008, 01:13:00 PM »
I'm working with Brad from Artcam to get a post processor for Mach 3.  He needs me to send him a file with a sample of what the code for a tool change looks like in Mach 3.   Is there sample or can I create a simple file that has the tool change code in it? 

When he has this he can write a post for Mach that lets Artcam create toolpath files for Mach 3 that allow a tool change.

In my case, I'll be using a manual tool change- I just want to be able to have the machine stop at the end of one tool use, move to the tool change position and let me zero the new tool, then restart the file with the new tool using cycle start.

What would this code look like?

Thanks for your help. 

Wayne C

10
G-Code, CAD, and CAM discussions / Tool Changes in Artcam Post
« on: November 21, 2007, 12:13:34 AM »
I just tried to run a file created in Artcam Pro v 9 that used two tools.  When I tried to save the toolpath Artcam gave a notice that the file required 2 tools, and the machine did not support tool changing. 

I'm using a Mach 3 inch post processor.  My machine does not have a tool changer, but I'd like to write the file with the tool change macro in Mach . 

I found a line in the post processor that is commented out that appears to enable the M6 tool changer macros.   I removed the comment semicolon and saved the post, but when I try it, I get the same message from Artcam that the file requires two tools but the machine I"m using doesn't have a tool changer.

Any ideas on how to get the tool changer macro to work with Artcam?

Thanks!

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