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Topics - CHUFF

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1
General Mach Discussion / BobCAM generating unusable g code...
« on: August 24, 2008, 02:19:29 PM »
I looked through a lot of posts but could not find an answer on this one. I'm just trying to cut a simple circle, and have drawn it up in BobCAD, then creating the gcode with BobCAM.  It all looks fine, and even simulates perfect... IN BOBCAM.

As soon as I load the gcode into Mach 3, it won't run. It gives an error saying "Cannot use two g codes that both use axis valuesLine 17"

Seriously, do I have to just learn to type g code just to run this machine?? I've had TONS of trouble with cam software. LazyCam is just a joke, and BobCAM generates bad g code.  The line it stops on reads:

N02 G00 G91 G28 Z0

I'm REALLY confused here.

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General Mach Discussion / Motors are jerky and whine a lot...
« on: August 06, 2008, 03:26:07 AM »
Ok.. Yet another saga in the trouble of setting up a CNC machine. I have a Xylotex board and three steppers, 4 wires, bipolar, 425 oz in.  It's the 'kit' they sell on their web site, XS 3525/8s-3.  I'm running Mach three on a Compaq laptop using windoze XP (I know, laptops aren't recommended, but they don't tell you that until AFTER you get Mach 3!)  Anyway.. my comp is actually pretty stable. I've done all the tweaks in that setup doc on the Artsoft website.

Now the problem. I can get the motors to move, but they only move at VERY low speeds. If I increase the jog rate, they just whine and get really jerky or just stop altogether. I have 5/16 lead screws, and have done the math for my steps per making it 25,600. (8 microsteps*200 steps per revolution*16-screw pitch).

I've played with the Veloc and Accel sliders to try and get 'em smoother, but to no avail. ANY advice?

... as a side note, is there a way to reverse a motor's direction in Mach, or should I just switch the wires around?

3
General Mach Discussion / General newbie set ups....
« on: August 03, 2008, 05:14:34 PM »
Ok.. I've read the entire PDF from Artsoft's website and watch most of the video's. I sorta get it now, but there are still MANY questions.

One... Is there a more comprehensive g code generator that lazycam that someone can recommend? I've found that LazyCam has a lot of options that simply don't work or do anything when I apply them.. :/

Two: There a few buttons and functions outlined in the literature that are NOT in my system. A "Touch" button for example, is not in my system anywhere. As well... My JOG LED's do not light up.

Finally.. I'm using TurboCAD as my drafting software, and I was wondering if anyone else uses that? How can I define cutting offsets within IT, as the Mach literature suggests that be the case.

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General Mach Discussion / General frustrations in Mach 3 setup...
« on: July 15, 2008, 02:42:14 PM »
Setting something as simple as the Z axis depth. I can zero it in the DRO's, and can jog it if a project is not running, but can't 'tell' it to start and stop at a specific position unless I want to dig through lines of gcode and manually change them. I've loaded a VERY simple shape into LazyCam, and of all the options there, the only one that actually does anything is exporting the gcode.. which sounds great, IF LazyCam happened to pick the right paths and Z starting points, but there's no way to set them.  So in the end, you just "get what you get" with out the ability to modify either the tool path, or anything for that matter.

As well.. NOBODY has answered why I ended up with FIVE shortcuts on my desktop for ONE program.  If these are all to be configured for different types of tooling, grand, but they each behave differently and I can't seem to configure them.

Originally, I just wanted a three axis machine that I could attach a router to and let it cut wood or plastics.  I own a plasma cutter, and entertained the idea of making an attachment that I could mount the torch to so the machine could use it as well and I would then be able to cut mild steel as well. Mach 3 seemed the perfect solution along with Xylotex 425 steppers, and their three axis controller. I've watched several of the videos and OFTEN the narrator refers to something then says "We'll get to that in another video" and I never hear about it again.. even in other videos. As well, I'm watching these videos with the computer running Mach RIGHT next to the computer with the videos.. so I can copy all that the video does.. and often my program is either differently configured (old videos I suspect), or my program wont do what the one in the video is doing.

I admit, I AM using a laptop. I saw the minimum requirements for running Mach on the site and got a comp that met those requirements. I didn't see ANY warning about laptops before I acquired the comp for this purpose. This laptop is dedicated to JUST this. It doesn't go online or anything else and I've done the optimization suggestions listed. Well... all but the big starting in a different mode as I'm not very "Windoze" savvy (I'm a Mac user).  To be honest, the only thing I've seen that is buggy on a laptop is the actual control of the steppers, which seems to be ok here. The three motors on my counter all move when I jog them and such. I've not yet hooked my motors to the cutting machine though, as I wanted to make sure everything worked.

As I stated... I can jog motors. It will even run my little shape I've loaded.. but I can't modify tool paths, or configure starting Z axis, and LazyCam started my Z at +60 inches!! I only have a 9 inch travel for Z axis!  I haven't even looked into limit switches and such because nothing is on a physical machine yet. Xylotex and Mach haven't really shaken hands on how all that would be wired up anyway. I'm anticipating a whole new headache on that one.

I've looked through the forums, and even posted a couple times. I HAVE received answers and some were useful. I just don't want to have to keep asking questions that should have been answered in initial set ups, and typically that is the programmer's responsibility to explain basic set ups. As I've mentioned, the videos are either old or don't work so... now what?

If I can get the thing to configure, and cut a simple shape with a tool path that I choose, I suspect I can dig slowly into other possibilities. From what I've seen in the videos, this program is capable of FAR more complexity than I would ever need... but running three simple axis'? That SHOULD be simple. Any ideas on where I have to start???

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