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Topics - HimyKabibble

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General Mach Discussion / Changes In Macro Execution?
« on: July 14, 2015, 10:03:14 PM »
I've been away from Mach3 for several years, but now have to get back into, and write some relatively simple macros to operate my old power drawbar and toolchanger, which had been running under KFlop.  I've translated the KFlop C driver to CB, and it's sorta-kinda working, but I'm getting some really odd results.  Under various error conditions, I pop-up an error dialog using MachMsg, and I sometimes see these dialogs appear from portions of code that should never have run, and this invariably happens LONG after the macro, by all appearances, has completed execution.  

So, I am confused.  I notice in the Programmer Reference Manual, which I originally wrote many years ago, has been significantly updated.  In particular, I notice the new "RunScript" function, for which the manual seems to recommend NOT using M-macros, due to the need to "invent and handle semaphores".  WTF??

Anyway, my PDB/ATC macro is attached.  Does anyone see anything in there that could explain the bizarre behavior I'm seeing, or explain what I'm doing wrong?  It appears to me almost as though some subroutine calls are going off and running asynchronously in separate threads, so I end up with several threads running in parallel for what MUST be a linear sequence of operations.

Ray L.

Mach SDK plugin questions and answers. / Where Is The Actual Plug-In SDK?
« on: February 22, 2015, 04:48:49 PM »
I've looked, and can't find it....  I know at one point I have a ZIP file with all the documentation, include files, samples, etc.  Where is that now?

Ray L.

General Mach Discussion / Position Errors Only on Diagonal Moves
« on: January 14, 2015, 12:55:08 AM »
Someone I know is having a strange problem that really has me stumped.  The machine is a bed mill, with AC servos.  It will do unlimited, perfect, single-axis moves, cutting exactly to correct dimension every time.  But when cutting a square, rotated 45 degrees so diagonals drawn between opposite corners would be parallel to the X and Y axes, the square becomes a rectangle, with on pair of sides about 0.04" too close, and the other pair of sides about 0.040" too far apart.  There is NEVER any position loss.  It returns to exactly X0, Y0 perfectly, every time.  A square cut so the sides are parallel to X/Y will come out exactly on dimension every time.  Steps per is set correctly, and confirmed by measurement.  Backlash is well under 0.001" on all axes.

As I said, I am stumped.  We've tried it running with a UC100 motion controller, and with the PP, and results are exactly the same.  Reducing velocity and acceleration, even dramatically, makes no difference whatsoever.  Running exactly stop makes no difference.  DROs always show the "correct" position (i.e. - where the machine should be, as opposed to where it actually is).  We've tried several different versions of Mach3 from 3.043.066 down to somewhere in the 050s, and get the same result with all of them.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Ray L.

General Mach Discussion / Ethernet Communication From CB?
« on: December 19, 2014, 11:45:16 AM »
Is it possible to do Ethernet communications from within a CB macro?  I've built a new toolchanger that uses Ethernet to communicate with the host PC.  If I could communicate with it using a CB macro, it would save me the hassle of writing a plug-in.  Can it be done?  Even a simple telnet connection would do it.

Ray L.

General Mach Discussion / Slaved Axis Moves Wrong Direction When Homing
« on: August 03, 2014, 10:48:21 PM »
A friend of mine just bought a CNC router, which has a slaved axis on the gantry.  All works perfectly when jogging, but when homing, the two slaved motors move opposite directions.  What settings can cause that?

Ray L.

General Mach Discussion / Toggling Spindle DIR Pin From CB Macro?
« on: March 26, 2014, 02:19:51 AM »
Okay, I realize this sounds crazy, but....  I would like to be able to toggle the Spindle DIR pin from a CB macro, using ActivateSignal/Deactivate.  Is this possible?  There is no CB constant defined for that I/O, but I'm wondering if there might be a way to "trick" it into working, perhaps by mapping another signal (like an OUTPUTx) to the same pin.

Ray L.

General Mach Discussion / Using Soft Limits....
« on: November 14, 2013, 08:48:13 PM »
I've never used soft limits in Mach3.  Today I tried to set them up on my new Novakon Pulsar mill, and could not get them working.  First, the units and reference are not clear.  I'm assuming soft limits are specified in machine coordinates?  Is there some enable somewhere I'm missing?  I set the Z limits to -0.5, and -11.5, but could still run unimpeded into the hard limits.

Ray L.

General Mach Discussion / G-code Question
« on: January 21, 2013, 06:55:58 PM »
It has long been my understanding that G-code blocks should always execute in-sequence.  For example:

G0 X0
G1 X1 F10

This should turn on the coolant when X passes by 1.0.  However, on one machine, I see the coolant not turning on until X=2.  Is this correct or not?

Ray L.

General Mach Discussion / A Power Drawbar Like No Other....
« on: May 12, 2012, 09:27:13 PM »
I had a crazy idea for a completely different kind of power drawbar a couple of years back, and yesterday I finally had the time to build one. I specifically wanted to be able to use both TTS tooling, as well as R8. This meant Belleville spring designs were out, as it is very difficult to provide enough drawbar tension to properly retain TTS tooling under worst-case conditions (about 2500+ pounds drawbar tension, or 25+ ft-lbs drawbar torque is required). To change out a TTS tool, the drawbar only needs to be backed off about one turn, while for R8 tooling it needs to be backed out 8-10 turns.

So, here's my crazy idea - use a stepper or servo motor, driving through a high-ratio planetary gearbox. This provides very high torque capability, and makes it easy to control how much the drawbar is turned, by driving the stepper as another axis from the CNC controller. A little E-Baying got me a 55:1 NEMA34 gearbox capable of 75 ft-lbs. I picked up a 400 oz-in NEMA34 stepper, which lets me use the whole 75 ft-lbs if necessary. Mechanically, the thing is dead simple - The stepper and gearbox are mounted to a floating plate which is moved up and down by air cylinders. A 3/4" socket is attached to the gearbox output shaft by by a simple home-made coupling, and either a mechanical or pneumatic mechanism is used to actuate the spindle brake. I got a dual-shaft stepper so I can put a rotary encoder on the shaft, to monitor actual movement, if needed. Everything can be controlled by a simple macro (or, in my case, a simple KFlop C program).

Here's how it will operate:

1) Spindle stops, spindle brake is applied
2) The PDB is dropped down, with low air pressure, and the stepper is rotated slowly, until the socket and drawbar hexes align and engage. A micro-switch will signal that the socket is fully engaged.
3) The stepper is turned at high current/torque to loosen the drawbar by the required amount - one turn for TTS tools, 8-10 turns for R8 tools.
4) Once the new tool is mounted, the stepper is turned at reduced current/torque (corresponding to 25 ft-lbs drawbar torque), until motion stops.
5) The PDB is raise up, and the spindle brake is released.

The photos below show the complete mechanical assembly, missing only the engagement microswitch and spindle brake actuator. Here's a short video showing the PDB moving up and down while mounted to the mill:


I just spun up the stepper for the first time. On Monday, I hope to get the software going, and be able to "use it in anger" for the first time.

Ray L.

General Mach Discussion / Where Can I Buy Some C4....
« on: January 08, 2012, 07:12:43 PM »
I'm about ready to take a big hammer to my mill.....

I'm about at the end of my rope.  I've been plagued for many months with flaky behavior - spontaneous changes in fixture offsets, and other equally unpleasant random events.  These are real, verifiable bugs in Mach3 and/or the SmoothStepper.  I've been working with Brian and Greg off and on for months, tracking down and fixing one issue after another, but the last few issues are still eluding us.  At this point, I've installed so many different special debug versions of Mach3 and the SS and ESS plug-ins, I don't even know what I have any more.  Today, I decided to try something drastic, in the hopes of restoring some semblence of sanity to things - I decided to wipe the existing install, and start over from scratch.  So, I spent about a half hour writing down every single setting, moved the old install aside, did a fresh install of the latest Dev release, and the latest ESS plug-in, then manually re-entered all the configuration settings.  When I got done, things are actually worse!

Now I can't get the spindle to come on at all.  With all the same settings, the PWM seems to come on, but the FWD/REV relays don't seem to be working.  Even stranger, the Z axis moves backwards!  I have to flip the polarity of the DIR to make it work correctly!  If I use the XML from the old install, all is well.  How is this even possible??? 

The two XMLs are attached.  There will be some minor differences, as the old one has a lot of "cruft" in it, which I've tried to remove.  But all the settings that are actually needed are, at least visually in the GUI, identical, unless I'm completely losing my mind (which, at this point, should not be ruled out....).

Ray L.

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