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Topics - bill-the-cat

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XML files / XML file for MaxNC MAXPATH42
« on: March 22, 2014, 04:42:22 AM »
I just finished converting a MAXPATH42 from MAXNC control to MACH3.

I thought others might find the XML file I created useful.

General Mach Discussion / XML file for MaxNC MAXPATH42
« on: February 10, 2014, 12:57:54 PM »
Just wondering if anyone out there has an XML file for MaxNC's MAXPATH42.

General Mach Discussion / Problems with screen size after update
« on: June 05, 2013, 03:44:06 PM »
I just updated from 3.042.020 to 3.043.066 and the Mach screen no longer fills my monitor.  I am using the same XML that I was using with the old version and Auto Screen Enlarge is checked on the General Config page, but the Mach screen is no longer filling my monitor screen.  I copied the Mach folder before the update and if I run the old version of Mach, the auto enlarge works.   Can anyone help?

General Mach Discussion / Strange feedrate problem!
« on: June 01, 2013, 06:03:13 PM »
I've run into a feedrate problem that I just can't figure out.  I used BobCAD to generate a pocketing program for a 1/4" diameter pocket.  I plunge in at 4IPM and then cut at 11IPM.  The code looks good, but when I run the program the G02/03 cutting sequences crawl. For example:

G01  Z-0.1 F4.0                                                 Plunge to depth
G02 X-0.0003 I0. J-0.0177 F11.0                      Cut full circle

When I run the program, the Feedrate box on the Program Run screen show the programmed feedrate and the actual Units/Min.

As the plunge line is run, it shows the 4IPM programmed rate and an actual IPM of 3.64.
When the G02 line is executed, it shows the correct 11IPM programmed feedrate, but the actual IPM is crawling at 1.40IPM

Now the strange part.

If I run the program is Single Block Mode, the G02 line again shows the 11IPM programmed rate, but the actual is 10.64IPM which is what I would expect.

I am running CV mode and this could have something to do with it, but it's working fine on all my other programs.  I don't want to start blindly changing settings and was wondering if this behavior rings a bell with anyone.

General Mach Discussion / Elapsed Time output stopping during run
« on: October 14, 2010, 06:19:59 PM »
I've recently noticed that, sometimes during the run of a program, the Elapsed Time counter will be stopped.  It will have a value, like it counted up to a certain point and then stopped.  It's no big deal, but it makes me wonder what's causing it.

I'm using Version 3.042.020

Anybody got any ideas?

I've just recently started playing with cutter radius compensation in MACH3 Mill.  (R3.042.020)

The first thing I found was a bug, but I forget where to file a bug report.

At the top of each screen (to the right of the page tabs) is a display of the currently active modal G codes.  The display of cutter compensation codes (G41/42) appears to be reversed.  When my program calls for G42, the display shows G41.  Conversely, when my program calls for G41, the display shows G42.  Can someone tell me if this has been fixed in a more recent version or if I should file a bug report for this?

One other thing I noticed is more of an annoyance than a bug.  In the active G code display, the state of the various modal G codes that are being displayed does not reflect the current line of code being executed.  Instead, it displays the upcoming state based on the General Config value for Lookahead Lines.  For example, if line 50 in my program contains a G42 and my Lookahead Lines value is 20, the display will change to show G42 (actually G41 because of the bug) when line 30 in the program is executed.  I verified this by changing the Lookahead Lines value. I did find through testing that the Cutter diameter compensation is not actually activated until the code is executed, but it's somewhat misleading when the display is updated early.

Now for the questions.

I can take care of the annoying display problem by changing the Lookahead Lines value to 1 or 2, but should I?  The only things I've been able to find about the Lookahead Lines setting are rather vague.  Can someone give me a better explanation of this setting?

One other setting that I'd like more information on is the Advanced Compensation Analysis setting under the Mill Options tab on the Ports and Pins screen.  What exactly does it do?  What would the reason be to NOT have it set?

Thanks to anyone who can help!

General Mach Discussion / Curious problem with arc error
« on: August 21, 2010, 02:19:50 PM »
I'm using BOBCAD V19 to created my geometry and gcode.  I'm using MACH3 V3.042.020 to drive a Gecko 540 controller connected to my Taig CNC mill.

I've run into a curious situation that I just can't figure out.  I recently started programming various patterns for my pool cue inlays. On the pocket program for one design (basically a diamond shape with curved sides), I got the error "Radius to end of arc differs from radius to start" when I tried to load the gcode in MACH3.  I searched the forum for this error and found two likely causes.  Wrong mode for arcs (abs. vs. inc) or rounding problems between my CAD program and MACH.  Since I knew that my arc mode was correct, I assumed that it was a rounding problem, so I tried all sorts of modifications to the design in an attempt to counter this presumed problem. 

After driving myself nuts and always getting the same error when the program was loaded into MACH, I realized that I had programmed a similar design previously and did not have a problem.  To my surprise, when I loaded that program (that had worked fine in the past), I got the same error.  Since I had run out of ideas, I tried something that I thought was stupid.  I went into the General Config and changed my arc mode from incremental to absolute (even though I knew that incremental was correct).  Surprised again.  Both programs would now load without the error (although the Tool Path display showed the arcs incorrectly).  Then I changed the arc mode back to incremental (the correct mode).  Surprised again.  Both programs now loaded without the error and the arcs look correct.  I haven't run the programs yet, but I'm assuming that they will work correctly.

I didn't really change anything (I'm back to the same arc mode I started with and the programs were not changed), but now I can load the programs without the error.  Maybe I should just be happy that everything seems to be working correctly now, but it's driving me crazy trying to figure out why I started getting the error and why flip-flopping the arc mode corrected the problem!?!?!?!??!?

Anybody got any ideas?

General Mach Discussion / Setting up a 4th axis (A)
« on: April 18, 2010, 04:16:49 PM »
I just added a rotary table to my Taig mill and I've got a few questions.

I can jog the A axis using the Job Pendant pull-out, but I'd like to be able to use keyboard keys (like with the X,Y&Z). 

1) Are there keys already assigned for jogging the A axis?

2) I looked at the Config menu for System Hotkeys.  All the definitions show 999 for the code numbers.  This surprised me.  I thought that the X, Y and Z jog keys would be defined here???????  There appears to be a setting for A+ and A- (I assume this is jogging), but it wants a code number for the key.  How do I determine the number for a given key?

3) Is there a listing somewhere of all of the Hotkey definitions in the standard screen set.  One, I don't want to override a key that already has a function. Two, I'd like to know what Hotkeys are defined.

Thanks for helping out a newbie!

General Mach Discussion / Curious occurrance
« on: April 09, 2010, 08:40:33 PM »
I have been gone for 5 months and just got back to my CNC mill. Everything was working fine when I left, so I wasn't expecting any problems.  Yea....sure ;)

I fired up MACH and then powered up my controller.  To my suprise, nothing worked.  It took me an hour to realize that I had started MACH with the wrong XML.  Duh!!!!!!!!

Great....restarted with the correct XML, powered up my controller and bingo...I heard the stepper motors "lock" in postion and I thought I was ready to go....again ;D   This time, everything "seemed" OK, but, when I tried to jog, the DRO's advanced, but the stepper motors didn't move.  This time I spent two hours pouring over the forum trying to find the answer.  I knew that my ports and pins settings were OK because I had run the machine before with this XML (once I loaded the correct one  :-[) I was just about convinced that I had somehow damaged the parallel port on my computer, but decided to reboot the computer one more time and suddenly everything started working perfectly.

At this point, I have no idea why it didn't work (when I used the correct XML) or why it started working again.

I'm happy it's working, but I'd like to know what was going on when the DRO's were moving but there was no axis movement.

Has anyone else ever run into this sort of situation?  Do parallel ports just get "flaky" sometimes and then straighten themselves out?

Also, I read about a "parallel port test program" referred to in several threads.   Where can I find that?

General Mach Discussion / How often do you upgrade your version of Mach?
« on: September 17, 2009, 03:30:18 PM »
I'm just getting started and I'm currently using version R3.042.020 of Mach that I downloaded when I first got my machine.  I noticed that the current lockdown version is R3.042.029.  Just wondering if I should upgrade.  I'm not currently having any problems.

What's the concensus? Do you always download the latest version when it's available?

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