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Topics - TunerTom

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General Mach Discussion / Jogging question
« on: October 19, 2011, 04:21:57 PM »
I installed Mach3 (turn profile), complete with the license file in a newer "XP" box to replace an older system which has become inreliable.  I have been busy entering "ports & Pins" data as well as motor tuning, etc... from written notes written down from an earlier installation.

I have a new "situation" I have never seen before.  My hope is that this condition is an obvoius one that others have seen before...

First of all, the main working screen the Axis Position DROs cannot be "zero-ed" by clicking on either [Zero] button. Furthermore, even though I can click on the display boxes and they will highlight slightly, I cannot overtype the values in either DRO.

Fast & slow JOG functions works using the cursor keys, and the "X" & "Z"  DROS will increment/decrement as expected, also the toolpost moves as expected
When I engage Jog Mode to "Jog Inc" (single-step) the stepper motors do not move and the DROs do not change value.
It is nearly impossible to properly place the cutting tool at the correct starting point and have the DROs reflect the proper coordinates.

Any suggestions from anyone?  (I have attached a screen shot on the primary screen)

SmoothStepper USB / G-Code execution halts
« on: September 03, 2009, 09:36:16 AM »
I have just installed a Smooth Stepper interface. All seems to be working, but my code hangs after it encounters a user-written macro.  It used to work when connected to the PP. 

I added a button & LED to toggle the Tailstock extend/retract function...  (see image 1)

I wrote a VB macro to toggle LED on/off...  (see image 2)

I wrote 2 macros to operate the tailstock on Output(4) so I could manage the tailstock in G-Code
(see image 3)
(see image 4)

Now, take a look at the following code...

N10    %(DIAMETER Mode)
N20    %(Complete profile for KEGGOBLQ in G-Code)
N30    T0101                           %(Set Tool #1)
N40           M801          %(Be sure Tailstock is retracted)
...      Note Line N40 executes just fine and program execution continues on. If the tailstock is extended, it will retract.
N50    G0 Z-69.4   X40.0           %(Go to 'Home')
N60    M3                                  %(Spindle On)
N70    M800                            %(extend Tailstock)
...     The line N70 executes and the tailstock extends
...     At this point the program executions halts and the
...     only way to continue on, is to click the [Cycle Start] button
N80     G04    P1000       %(Dwell 1000 milliseconds)
...     From here, the bulk of the profile runs just fine
...     Then when the program reaches line N710  (see below)
...     the M801 executes and the tailstock retracts
...     At this point program execution stops and  the
...     only way to continue on, is to click the [Cycle Start] button just like line N70
N690    G0  Z-68.48 X17.44
N700    G0  Z-69.4  X40.0
N710    M801                                  
N720    G04 P1000           %(Dwell 1000 milliseconds)
N730    M5                      %(Spindle Stop)
N740    M30                    %(Reset program)

Although this is sort of 'livable', it is a nusiance to have to 'continue' program execution twice for each run.
Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

General Mach Discussion / Really need help
« on: August 12, 2009, 03:57:58 PM »
I see the Smooth Stepper discussion area is not taking new posts.

I have been working with Mach3 for about three months now and am convinced that this application is working well for most of you, but I continue to have problems with instability (losing steps) and am curious if anybody thinks adding a Smooth Stepper card might help me.

Right now I have a PC running Windows XP dedicated to this project.  I have run the System Test and it reports the system tests OK, and the "spikes" are nice & short... I have also uninstalled all programs from that PC except for Mach3 a G-Code editor, a file comparison utility, and a Parallel port monitor (none of which which are running when Mach3 is running) I have the graphic toolpath display turned off.

My PC inputs data from LPT1 to a Probotix PBX-RF RF Isolated CNC Breakout Board (and a Probotix relay board for spindle on/off) and tailstock (extend/retract).  The oputput ot the RF isolator is wired into a Slo-Syn SS2000-DP4 drive and two Slo-Syn KML092F07 Stepper motors.  I'm using Mach3 Turn. Everything works, except that the stepper motors (particularly the Z-Axis) fail to return exactly to their starting points, as My g-code calls for at the end of a run.

I have shielded cable from the output of the Probotix card, but the card itself is not installed inside a grounded metal enclosure. The output of the drive connects to the stepper motors using shielded cable. The shield is tied to earth ground. There is a splice at each stepper motor, and from there the wiring is exposed. The shield is tied to earth ground. The exposed leads are about 3" long at each motor. The Z-Axis motor is particularly unstable; it misses the home position most of the time and the error ranges from (say) three or four pulses to maybe 25 pulses. Once in a "blue moon", Z will return to zero. X is the other way. X might miss 1 or two steps "once in a blue moon" but returns exactly to zero, most of the time.

I have tried numerous settings of maximum speed settings in Motor Tuning; I have tried numerous settings of Accel/Decel to no avail.  I have tried using the Sherline 1/2 step mode, which helps occasionally. I have turned Sherline off and tried pulse widths as high as 14. (I read that 15 or higher can cause the system to lock up). A max speed of 300 mm/min would be nice to obtain.

I wrote a simple G-code program that exercises the saddle in the Z-Axis back & forth at full speed (G0) for 50mm four times... then the X-Axis in/out 50mm four times at full speed (G0) four times.  This profile NEVER MISSES! The problem seems to show up when curring curves and both motors are running simultaneously at varying rates...

There has to be an answer to this problem.
Is there anything wrong with my choice of the Probotix RF isolator?
Would getting a Smooth-stepper card help?  If so, does the Smooth Stepper provide the necessary isolation? Should I then install a simple breakout board on the Probotix's place?
I'm going to go to the shop tomorrow and run through the procedures in your report to optimixe Windows... Maybe that will help.

Any suggestions or answers would be greatly appreciated.
I like the idea of the Smooth Stepper using the USB port and that it's parallel pouts are probably more stable than the PCs LPT1 port.
It even suggests that we might be able to use a laptop at the lathe... Another plus for us...

My sincere thanks for any advice you might be able to share...

I have a "Home-Brew" lathe fitted with SloSyn SS2000-DP4 drive and a Probotix PBK-RF isolator.  The Mach-3 software is licensed. I also have an XY plotter at home, I use for debugging profiles.  I have been running profiles on the lathe that consist entirely of straight lines and the lathe will return to its starting point, precisely and exactly... ready to start another piece without any compensation, over and over...

I am running Mach-3 Turn, in the Diameter mode.

I am having trouble running profiles that contain arcs.  At the end of a run, the X-Axis returns short of its starting point by two pulses, repeatedly. Motors are 200 pulses/revolution... 50 pulses/mm. In Diameter mode, the X-Axis in incrementing in 0.04mm steps; the Z-Axis (of course) increments at 0.02mm/step. So my "Return to Zero" is "dead on" for the Z-Axis, but 0.08mm shy for the X-Axis.  If I remove the "curves", thus skipping over them, the cutting point returns to zero, every time.

My question is...  Do you think the intermediate calculations for the curves seek points beyond the resolution of my stepper motors? Could this be the source of my problem?  I can control the end points of each line in the G-Code, to make sure the value for X divides evenly by 0.04mm, but I have no control over internally-calculated values for X when the curves are plotted.

I DO have "Steps Per" set to 50 in the X-Axis motor Tuning.  Could there be something else I am missing?

I was told on an earlier post that Mach-3 Turn has some bugs in the Front-Tool/Rear-Tool definitions, and tht I should list both tools as (say) Front-Tools and use the X-Offset for the Rear-Tool to declare the distance between them.

OK... I have a turning stock chucked up...
   Diameter  27.92 mm
   Radius    13.96 ..

Start the spindle...
Select Tool #1 (front)
Jog the front tool forward until is just touches the turning stock
Set the "X"=DRO at 13.96
without changing anything, Jog back until the rear tool just touches the back side
Make note of the "X"-DRO...  72.28 and we are at -13.96 for Tool #1 (we still have Tool #1 selected)
So add 13.96 to 72.28... The X=Offset between the tools should be 86.24
Set the X-Ofset for Tool #3, (my "Rear-Tool") at 86.24  (see attached screen shot)

Now with Tool #1 selected...
G01 X13.96  F150.0
should position the front tool, just touching the front surface, which it does.

Then enter...
G01 X-13.96  F150.0
should position the rear tool, just touching the rear surface of the turning stock, but it does not.
There must ba a 20 mm gap between the Rear-Tool and the Turning Stock.

Am I doing this incorrectly?

General Mach Discussion / Problem with Jog Step Mode
« on: May 31, 2009, 06:23:18 AM »
This is probably a stupid question.  I've hunted around and cannot find another example of it, so here goes...

When I engage the Jog Step Mode, I have to press the cursor keys twice for each step advance. It would be a lot more convenient, if I could get the steppers to move each time a cursor key is pressed. 

I've tried the <Tab> key and experimented around with settings there to no avail.

Is there a simple way to address this matter?


General Mach Discussion / Pause & Resume Buttons
« on: March 09, 2009, 04:53:11 PM »
I have wired 2 push-buttons to Input Pins #12 & #13 respectively and have configured then as "Input1" and "Input2", "Active Low"

Is there a way to tie these switches to System Function "Stop File" (to pause) and "Run" (to resume operation)?


General Mach Discussion / Tailstock Macros
« on: March 01, 2009, 06:43:50 AM »
I asked about this earlier and I did get some help, but there are some matters here that still don't make sense to me. I am using Turn.  I have placed two buttons and an LED on my Cycle Screen (Image included with this post)... One button to extend the tailstock and another to retract it.  I have set the buttons to use vbscript. I have the following two vbscript files in my C:\Mach3\macros\JRowlandLathe\ folder
I am using Output 4 to operate the tailstock.

The LED is associated with OEM Function 77, which is supposed to be 'Output 4 Active LED'

How to I tie the two buttons to the two scripts?
Nothing seems to be working...

General Mach Discussion / Trouble with tool changes...
« on: February 24, 2009, 10:44:16 AM »
I am having unpredictable results using the "Tool Change" feature. I have an X/Y plotter which emulates our lathe. I use this device to work out cutting paths to scale before applying the G-Code to the actual lathe.

Tool #1 is a pointed tool in the front tool post with an X-Offset of 0.0 and a Z-Offset of 0.0.  (ignoring tool #2...)  Tool #3 is also a pointed tool, with a front/rear tool post distance of -1.0 and a Z-Offset of -1.0... The small offset is to keep the trace on the paper.

I load in a test G-Code profile which I have written. The plot begins with tool #1 and the tool path is drawn exactly as I have entered. Then a tool change (T1301) is executed and the plotter goes bezerk. The pen runs off the paper and I have to stop the stepper motors on the plotter to prevent a collision. When the plot completes (returning to 0/0) and I look at the settings for Tool #1, Tool #1 is exactly as I set it.  Tool #3, however... the settings for the Z-Offset have changed radically.

Put the tool settings back the way they were, and at the moment when the change to tool #3 is executed, the plotter goes bezerk again,  Z-Offset for tool #3 ends getting changed again... this time, sometimes by a different amount.  Also, if I pause the process while Tool #3 is active The Z-Axis Jog is backwards from what it should be. Select Tool #1 manually, and the Z-Axis jog returns to normal.

N100 T0101                           %(Tool Change)
N110 M3                              %(Start Spindle)
N120 G0  Z0.0    X20.0
N320 G01 Z0.0    X16.7        F150.0 %(Ready to begin the curves)
N330 G01 Z-0.01  X16.7        F150.0
N340 G03 Z-14.1  X15.5 R9.4   F150.0 %(Cut the curve)
N350 G01 Z-14.1  X14.5        F150.0 %(Short straight before back curve)
N360 G02 Z-18.1  X10.4 R3.9   F150.0 %(Back Curve)
N400 G01 Z-28.1  X10.4        F150.0
N405 G01 Z-28.1  X12.0        F150.0
N410 G01 Z-36.3  X12.0        F150.0
N420 G01 Z-36.3  X10.4        F150.0
N430 G01 Z-38.6  X10.4        F150.0
N435 T0301                           %(Tool Change)
N436 G04 P1000
N440 G01 Z-38.6  X10.4        F150.0
N450 T0101
N460 G01 Z-38.6  X10.4        F150.0
N470 G0  Z-38.6  X20.0       
N480 G0  Z0.0    X20.0
N490 G0  Z0.0    X0.0

General Mach Discussion / Help with G-Code?
« on: January 25, 2009, 06:25:44 PM »
I am haiving difficulty tracing arcs with G2 and G3. It seems that these arc commands are tracing the portion of the circle I don't want instead of the short arc I wish to follow. This is a turning profile for a lathe.

Here are the two examples I have tried...
G02 Z-2.23 X18.28 R9.400 F150.0
G03 Z-2.23 X18.28 R9.400 F150.0

I am attaching two JPGs to show the results.  The blue lines are my "hogging out" cuts
The arcs are obvious.

Am I missing something?

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