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Topics - PROTOPLANT

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1
Hello again!

At the risk of overdoing the shameless self-promotion, I wanted to also let you know about our new line of regulated switching power supplies.  I have been using Gecko Drives and similar for years for bigger machine retrofits and finding an affordable 80V regulated supply that can handle the back EMF from decelerating motors has been a real challenge.  Based on the idea that other folks have this same problem I have come up with a solution that has these two primary features:

      1.  Multiple power supplies can safely be installed in series to increase output voltage
      2.  The power supplies and load (Gecko Drives) are protected from over-voltage due to motor back EMF

The Back EMF Clamp is a thoughtfully designed circuit that uses a comparator and MOSFET to dissipate the back EMF energy, and diodes protect each supply for safe series operation.  Pricing for just the back EMF Clamp for one power supply is $48.75.  We sell 3 models for one, two, and three series power supplies, along with complete power supplies.  Our most powerful supply is 80Vdc @ 14.6A and is $247.06.

Please check out www.protoplant.com/power for full details, there are a lot of features that I have not mentioned here.  We have put a ton of work into the power web page and you can download complete documentation, including 2D drawings and solid models of all our products.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments, any feedback would be great!
Thanks for checking this out,
Dustin

2
Hi All!
We have a new project up on Kickstarter and thought you may be interested in checking it out: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1375236253/stepperature-open-source-quadrature-hand-wheel?ref=live
It is also up on our website here: www.protoplant.com/stepperature

It is a small micro-controller circuit that converts the signals a stepper motor makes when turned by hand into clean, reliable quadrature for making your own MPG hand-wheels.  We also have a discrete component version that we will post details on at the end of the kickstarter campaign for those of you who are hardcore electronics enthusiasts.

This has been tried before but we really spent a lot of time on the design and it works very well.  Best of all the project is totally open source and low priced, $16.00 on Kickstarter right now for complete boards including shipping.

Post kickstarter they will be up for sale at www.protoplant.com/stepperature.

Mostly we think it is a cool idea and want to get it out to the community!
Thanks so much for checking it out, happy machining!
Dustin

3
General Mach Discussion / Lathe G1 XYZ move servos ""jump" to position
« on: January 03, 2010, 02:32:27 PM »
Hi all,

I have been working on my turret lathe and it is working great, I've made a run of 50 parts and things are looking really good.  One thing I cannot figure out is why when there is a 'N30 G1 X2.6334 Y0. Z0.0884 F70 S1200 M4' the servos "Jump" to position after a short pause.  The axis move at a rate WAY over the max tuned value in motor tuning, and generally fault out.  It is almost like the servos count the steps and wait, then try to move all at once.  I use SprutCam and edited the post to remove the Y0. value and the problem went away.  What is with the Y0. that would do that?  The Y axis is not set up in mach at all, it seems like it should not really do anything.  Also, there is a Y0. in the G2 and G3 moves but that does not seem to mess anything up.  I've attached code snippets and the Sprut post in case anybody is looking for one...  I am OK with just leaving out the Y's, but am interested if there is another problem that this may cause.

Thank you!!

Offending code
'-------
%
OLathe Roughing
N10 G90 G17 G40 G80 G49
;Lathe Roughing
N20 T101
;OD-TOOL1 (l0.5, Ti0.157, Re0.031, Kr95, Qr5)
N30 G1 X2.6334 Y0. Z0.0884 F70 S1200 M4
N40 Z0.135
N50 X2.6444
N60 F12
N70 X2.6169 Z0.1074
N80 Z-0.2811
N90 X2.6444 Z-0.2535
N100 Z0.1456 F70
N110 X2.5444
N120 X2.5169 Z0.118 F12
N130 Z-0.148
N140 X2.556
N150 G2 G18 X2.602 Y0. Z-0.194 I0. K-0.046
'-------

Code that works-
'-------
%
OLathe Roughing
N10 G90 G17 G40 G80 G49
;Lathe Roughing
N20 T101
;OD-TOOL1 (l0.5, Ti0.157, Re0.031, Kr95, Qr5)
N30 G1 X2.6334 Z0.0884 F70 S1200 M4
N40 Z0.135
N50 X2.6444
N60 F12
N70 X2.6169 Z0.1074
N80 Z-0.2811
N90 X2.6444 Z-0.2535
N100 Z0.1456 F70
N110 X2.5444
N120 X2.5169 Z0.118 F12
N130 Z-0.148
N140 X2.556
N150 G2 G18 X2.602 Y0. Z-0.194 I0. K-0.046
N160 G1 Z-0.2421
'----------



4
General Mach Discussion / CNC4PC C11G Analog Output Spindle Control
« on: December 01, 2009, 01:02:51 AM »
Hi All,

OK, the next step is to get the spindle working with Mach3, now that I have the index pulse properly setup to read the speed.  I have a C11G BOB from CNC4PC and I am not sure how to proceed, here are my problems:-)

1- The VFD I am using ( a 15HP GS3 from automation direct) has an analog output supply of 10V at 20mA max.  The C11G has a required input of 12V @50mA.  Do I really need another isolated power supply?  I feel like I have about enough in that control panel...  24VDC, 24VAC, 12VDC for the drives, 60VDC for the servos, and on and on.....

2- Ive read some not so encouraging things about the C11G's analog capabilities after purchasing it quite some time ago, if I go to the trouble of setting up another PS, will it even work?  Has someone out there had success with it?  I have 4 of their boards going right now and all the other functionality seems OK, although I had to return one for workmanship issues (pins bent over on IC) and they always look a little funky right out of the box...

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to proceed?  I am seriously considering just switching over completely to Peter Hommans boards and use the C11G in my other lathe which is currently BOB-less.

I've recently received a big order for parts and am feeling the pressure to get this retrofit done, but want it done right :-)

Thanks for any suggestions,
Dustin





5
General Mach Discussion / Index Pulse, nothing happens in S True DRO
« on: November 30, 2009, 01:43:28 AM »
Hi All,

This is probably something simple but I am not figuring it out...  I am trying to set up the index pulse on my Takisawa lathe and just cannot get Mach to display the spindle speed.

It is a one-pulse per revolution encoder, and I have electronically lengthened the pulse to 20ms.  This gives me a nice ~50% duty cycle square wave at ~1500RPM.  It is also adjustable so I can decrease the pulse width to something shorter if I ever get it working :-)

So, my setup is this-  I have pin 10 of port1 set as the Index input, it is set to active high and the pulse is 20ms high every 1 revolution.  The index (virtual) LED lights up in Mach every time, and the (actual) LED on the CNC4PC card lights up every rev too.

The problem is that nothing happens in the spindle speed DRO.  I have it setup just like (I think) my other lathe running Mach (A different version) which will cut threads all day :-)

Any ideas?  It is probably just a check box somewhere, but it is starting to drive me a little nuts:-)

Thanks so much for any suggestion,
Dustin

6
Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / 1979 Takisawa DTX-1 Turret Lathe Update
« on: November 24, 2009, 04:10:40 PM »
Hi All,

Here are a few more images of the lathe project, I thought you might be interested!  The turret is up & running, the servos are tuned and working great, and the spindle, way lube, spindle oil, and coolant pumps are all on-line.  I still need to interface the spindle drive with mach, and get the index pulse working....  Among other things :-)

Thanks for looking!
Dustin

7
General Mach Discussion / Noise, external e-stop triggering, grounding
« on: November 24, 2009, 12:13:25 AM »
Hi All,

I've been working on my Takisawa lathe for a few weeks now and am making great progress thanks to Hood, Peter and others.  I was having a noise problem and finally fixed it and wanted to share what fixed it for me in case someone else has the same problem.

What was happening is whenever the spindle was on I would get intermittent false triggering of my external e-stop, and I had some major problems with the computer dropping the USB keyboard connection.  It turns out if the keyboard disconnects while jogging, it keeps jogging (E-stops are good :-)).  Replacing the keyboard made that problem go away, but I was still getting false e-stops all the time even with de-bounce set to 2000.  The computer was plugged into a separate 110V outlet from the rest of the lathe so I knew that the two grounds were probably at substantially different levels, and the noise on one would not be common with the other.  So I decided to run the PC and monitor off of 240V, which almost all monitors and power supplies have an option for.  I lopped off the 110V US plugs and just wired it right into an existing circuit with a breaker inside the control panel, and grounded them to the main tie-point.  No more problems, so far :-)  Everything on the whole machine now runs off of the 240V 3-phase coming in and has a SINGLE nice solid ground back to the service.

I'm sure there are a zillion ways to fix noise, and it is more black magic than science (if you ask me...) but this worked way better than I thought it would so thought I would share.

Dustin

8
General Mach Discussion / Lathe turret, VB, PLC, MODBUS, Position
« on: November 16, 2009, 11:42:04 AM »
Hi all,

Thanks to everyone's help I am making good progress on the Takisawa turret.  I've got all the I-O wired and have a CLICK PLC wired up and communicating with MACH.  Also the power side is up and running, the motor relays are happy....  I have a few questions that maybe some folks could help with, any comments would be appreciated :-)

1-  I am having trouble with the idea of home switches and separate coordinate systems.  This may expose some ignorance on my part, but on my other machines I have no home switches and never change between coordinate systems, just zero the machine on the part and go.  Now I want the tool change to take place at the same spot all the time without having to zero off anything but the home switches, I think....  Anybody have a good explanation of this?

2- Another conceptual issue I am having is with communication between Mach and the PLC via VB scripts.  What it looks like others have done is write a ladder in the PLC and have Mach write a bit to the PLC to initiate that ladder program.  In other words Mach communicates with the PLC with single bits like I-O instead of sending some sort of commands?  I've read through a lot of posts on here and that seems like the idea but I wanted to see what folks think before assuming that is how it works. 

3-I think I want to avoid Brains for this one, is that a good idea?

4- When setting up the MODBUS, the dialogue box will not go away.  If you hit OK it just goes to the bottom left of the screen and stays there?  Is this abnormal?

OK, hope that's not too much stuff....  I will post some more images in show and tell one of these days, it is looking good.
Thanks so much,
Dustin

9
General Mach Discussion / Switching on/off large DC Motor
« on: November 01, 2009, 02:18:22 PM »
Hi All,

This is not exactly a Mach question, but thought someone might be able to help.  I am having trouble with switching my DC turret motor on/off without killing whatever is doing the switching.  I cannot find any mechanical relays that are rated for DC at the current/voltage I want to switch, and the super-expensive DC solid state relay I bought from http://www.power-io.com turned it on about 3 times before failing on.  The guy I talked to there said it would work fine, and I installed the inductance-spike diode as required, etc...

The motor draws 5 amps @60V while running, and a whole lot more when starting up.  The DC supply is 60V 1500VA with a 40,000mfd cap, and also runs a Viper 200.

Thanks for any suggestions,
Dustin

10
Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / 1979 Takisawa DTX-1 Turret Lathe
« on: October 29, 2009, 01:00:15 AM »
Hi All,

Just wanted to post some images of the lathe I have been working on for the last few months!  It still needs lots of love, but it is coming along.

Thanks for looking!
Dustin

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