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Topics - 72Zorad

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1
Galil / Migrating to newer computer
« on: January 19, 2014, 01:50:00 PM »
The computer that came with my mill is on it's last leg so it's time to move this over to a new platform.  I have a Galil 18x2 4 axis controller (currently using 3 axis) and ICM-1900 interconnect module.  Software on the current system is SmarTerm as well as the Servo Design kit.  I'm hopeful there is a way to easily back up/copy the existing config over to the new system so I don't have to relearn everything to get the new computer operational.

Thanks,

Mark

2
Galil / Galil + Mach3 slowly losing position
« on: November 30, 2013, 08:46:21 PM »
Some time ago I purchased a used Wells-Index NC that had been converted to CNC with a Galil controller.  After much assistance from Ken I got it converted to Mach3 and have been very happy with it.  However, I noticed recently that it seems to be slowly losing it's 'place' in the X-axis.  When I first got it running I noticed the "DRO's" in Mach3 didn't always go back to 0.000 when I zero'd the machine out, did some machining, then gave it a G1 X0 Y0 manually.  It will be off sometimes by as much as a thousandths or two.  My tolerances aren't that finicky so a couple thou here and there isn't that big of a deal typically.  The Mach3 DRO's read to the tenths.  First question is; shouldn't Mach3 at least zero out to the thousandths?

Bigger problem:
Recently I was doing some 1/16" round overs and noticed that after cutting out a part and going straight to the round over bit I'd end up with a "lip" on one side where the cutter obviously didn't maintain the correct offset.  I started documenting the X and Y dials and have found the X axis seems to be creeping.  So far my solution has been to zero the machine out then mill a bit.  Between MOPS I do a G1 X0 Y0 and then give it manual moves until the dial is back at the documented location.  Then I zero it out again.  Preliminary information seems to show the X creep gets worse with longer, more time consuming runs but resetting it occasionally 'fixes' the problem. 

The machine has balls screws and seems pretty tight.  I've noticed that if I use it for a few hours I'm putting in a -.001 to -.0025 about once every 30-45 minutes.  If my understanding of everything is correct it can't be a mechanical problem because, over time, I'm adding as much as 10-15 thou in one direction only.  Seems if it was mechanical slop I'd be adding it to either side depending on the direction I approached 0 from.  And, by doing this I'm getting finish passes that are taking material off all sides consistently and symmetric parts I can cut, round over with a 1/16" round over then flip and round over with a nice outcome.

I'm not even sure where to begin looking into this.  It would seem that with encoders the system would either work or wouldn't work.

Thanks for any advice/assistance,

Mark



3
General Mach Discussion / Tool Information Diameter
« on: May 28, 2013, 02:23:53 PM »
I'm making a fixture plate that will have some ground precision .25" locating pins installed.  I drilled them to a rough size smaller than the final size and am then using a CW drill MOP with a .1875 end mill to cut it to finish size.  My CAM program has tool offsets so I can just enter the tool diameter and it creates the path.  I'd like to 'sneak up' on the final hole size so I get a nice fit, not too loose, not too tight.  To do this I've been going back to my CAM program and modifying the roughing clearance, starting with .003 and moving down a thou each time.  This is a bit laborious as I have to generate the tool path and then the code each time.  This is compounded by the fact that I intentionally don't use my Mach3 machine for anything else and it's not on my network so I'm 'thumb driving' the files back and forth.  I'm guessing there is a more intelligent solution.
I noticed Mach3 has a tool diameter.  Could it be as simple as putting in a tool diameter entry in Mach3 such as .1878 and then run it to get a .006 undersized hole, then enter .1877 and rerun the same program to clean it to .004 undersized....and continue decreasing the tool size until I get the fit I'm after?  Is Mach3 smart enough to see that I coded a .1875 tool in the G code but have a .1878 in the tool info and it will then do the math?

Thanks,

Mark

4
Galil / Galil Communication Failure - Restart Program
« on: March 07, 2013, 10:19:04 PM »
Got everything working with my 1842/1900 and WinGCNC.  Now trying to port over to Mach3.  Downloaded installed and configured version 4.4 of the plug-in.  When I start Mach3 I get a Galil Communication Error in the status window in the bottom left of the screen.  Mach3 also typically becomes unresponsive and locks up.

I can close Mach3 and then run WinGCNC and everything operates fine under that control system.  I'm assuming all the Galil registration stuff is already done since the other software (WinGCNC) that it came with works.

Suggestions?  I'm considering taking another computer and moving everything over to it as it is a better machine.  I intend to do that anyway but wanted to go this route first as this machine already has the PCI card, drivers, registration, config..... in it and WinGCNC works fine so I have less 'variables' to deal with for my initial setup.  Once I get this up and running and understand all the parts/pieces better I'll move it over.

Thanks,

Mark

5
Galil / Galil support
« on: March 07, 2013, 01:04:33 PM »
I recently acquired a CNC retrofit mill with a Galil 1842 and 1900.  The electrician did a horrible job of labeling/identifying wiring during disassembly and shipping.  Working with the documentation I got the axis all working correctly but was having problems with the relays for motor forward, motor reverse, coolant on/off....  The documentation covers many models and there are different options so I called support to see if I had opto-isolation and better understand how it should work and be wired.
I've read that these are awesome boards and the support is great but my experience was different.  First keep in mind they were apparently at a trade show so were short staffed (one guy).  As I called through the day I was told he was out to lunch, it appears for about 2 hours, then later he was apparently on a break for about an hour and half.  As I neared the end of the day he asked for the serial number and I said I'd have to run to the shop to get that (5 minutes).  I asked if they were east coast or west coast to see when they might be closing and he said they were west coast to which I replied, "oh, so you'll be open for a bit longer" as it was about 4:15PST.  I ran up and got it then immediately called back and the receptionist said he was gone for the day.  He knew I was calling back in 5 minutes or less and didn't indicate that he was leaving or end of shift...so I emailed the serial number.  All that, eh, a pain but nothing I can't work through.

This morning when I called he asked where I had bought the board and I said it came with the mill I purchased from a commercial machine shop.  He said it was sold to CamSoft and I'd have to ask them my questions.  I was asking a very specific Galil question.  Motor reverse doesn't work which is output 2 on the Galil board.  I verified in the CNC software that the bit is changing states, using the Galil terminal I verified the bit is changing states (_OP returns a 2, that is Output 2) and I moved the wire to another Output on the 1900, flipped that outputs state, and the motor runs in reverse just fine.  This would all seem to indicate that the Galil Output 2 is bad and I was just calling to verify that.  It's not a big deal as I'm only using 3 of the 8 outputs and I can move it.  I just wanted to know the true result of my findings as it related to the direct query and use of the Galil board.  He repeated evaded my questions saying I'd have to contact CamSoft although I told him the machine doesn't run CamSoft and I was working directly with the Galil components.

So, with all that said...when I bought this I thought about scrapping all of the parts/pieces and doing new retrofit.  This seems to work and seems to work pretty well.  However, I definitely got the impression the company doesn't want to work with you unless they sold you the hardware.  Although I'm a 'hobby' user I'm not interested in running a system that has hardware the manufacturer won't support unless you are the original purchaser.

Thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks,

Mark

6
Galil / New (to me) Galil system, many questions
« on: March 03, 2013, 08:48:17 PM »
Where to start....
I picked up a used Wells-Index 883 with a Galil 18x2 4 axis controller (currently using 3 axis) and ICM-1900 interconnect module.  It is a retrofit as the 883 actually came from the factory as an NC system in 1979 so I'm trying to reverse engineer what they did in the retrofit.  The CNC software is WinGCNC.  My end goal is to try and get this operational with Mach as I'm much more familiar with it.  I've been using it on my Sherline for many years, basically just want the same interface on a bigger machine.

So, I wired it all up as he had labeled the wires and found my X and Z drive would 'run away' to the limit switches where they would stop.  MT -1,1,1 would fix the X but every time I rebooted the computer it was back to MT 1,1,1   Appears the limit switches are connected to the NC104 solid state servo controllers so it would just run up against the limit switch and stop.  Starting with the X I tried everything in the Galil instruction book, reverse A+ and A-, reverse channel A and B and finally reversing the motor leads.  The last was a mistake as it looks like each limit switch feeds a positive and negative 'clamp' on the servo controller.  Took me about 2 hours to disassemble the mill enough to 'un bury' the axis due to severe binding and repair the limit switch.  I'm guessing that limit switch was sending the signal to stop the servo but in the opposite direction it was now going.
After trying everything my last effort was to open the servo and check the pin outs on the encoder then ohm everything back to the controller.  How they had this working is beyond me.  The wires are in pairs and they had A+ paired with Index- and so on.  I'm guessing they just moved wires until it worked then left the labels (now incorrect) on the wires.....anyway, I finally got X working right.  Moved on to Z.  Z would run away to the limit switch then stop. If I gave it a MT 1,1,-1 it would just run away in the other direction to the other limit switch.  I opened the encoder and it appeared right but I took all the leads off the encoder and started ohm'ing/connecting again.  I'm not sure but I think they had the +5 and ground backwards.  After putting it all back together again it seemed to work fine however, after rebooting I find I now have to enter an MT 1,1,-1 every time to make it work.  I know the encoder is now wired correctly.  I did each wire separately and double checked my work.  I'm ok with just giving it an MT 1,1,-1 but can't seem to figure out how to make it 'stick' as it defaults back to MT 1,1,1 at every reboot.  This is my first experience with Galil so I'm sure there is a way....
So now, once I enter the MT 1,1,-1 all axis move and the WinGCNC software can be used.  It's been many months since I was able to mess with my Sherline but I'm almost certain the X and Y axis are backwards.  Z negative moves the cutter down, that seems right.  Jogging X negative moves the table left and negative Y moves the table toward the operator.  I could swear those are backwards as direction is supposed to be in reference to the cutter, am I wrong or does something need tweaked/changed.
Next I moved on to the inputs and outputs.  It has one input coming from what looks like the either 'motor on' or 'tool change'.  I'm having a bear of a time figuring out the original electrician schematics on this thing.  They are much different than electronics schematics.  I notice in the Galil book under the inputs section it says something about connecting an external power supply to the 1900 at pin INCOM but the description of that pin says Input Common, No Connection.  Not sure what to do here as I've got axis movement but can't get the motor to turn on.  I'm guessing that line is now coming from the switch used to turn the motor on that is on the mill head but I can't make Input 1 change states (constant zero volts).
On the outputs I've got Out 1 and Out 2 (motor forward and motor reverse) wired and can change their states with M8, M9, M10, M11 but the motor doesn't turn on.  I'm guessing that Input 1 has to change states first and I'm lost on how to make that happen.  Is there a way to get in the Galil config and see what that input is used for so I might be able to figure out where I should be looking?
Once all that's done it's just the migration to Mach and I've got a couple questions there.  First can/should it be done.  Anyone know if my parts/pieces will work well with Mach3. 
And last, just out of curiosity I see where I could probably use the ENA pins on the Galil system for the limit switches/servo drivers.  That would have been handy to use when troubleshooting as there are commands to stop run away servos.  Am I better to leave them connected directly to the drivers or is there value in moving them?  Another thing I've found is once the limit switch is tripped I can't seem to drive the servo in either direction.  I have to manually (no handwheels) move it off the limit switch.  Seems I should be able to 'drive' it in the direction that is off the limit switch.

Long and a lot of buried questions, sorry about that...I'm new to Galil.

Thanks,

Mark

7
General Mach Discussion / Mach3 on older factory CNC mill
« on: October 25, 2012, 02:08:38 PM »

I been running Alibre, CamBam, and Mach3 for years and am very happy with them on my Sherline mill.  I just bought a full size mill that was sold new in 1979 as a factory built (Wells Index) CNC knee milling machine.  It has been upgraded over the years so no longer runs the same controller software (the documentation boasts the original came with 120 feet of tape for storage!).  It currently has WinGCNC installed but I'd like to run Mach3 as I'm familiar with it already.  This machine has a cabinet on the back with lots of wiring/circuit boards filling about 2 square feet of space and another cabinet off to the side that is about 2.5 feet on each dimension also full of wiring/circuit boards.  Is there any hope that I can 'plug n play' Mach3 to this or is it more likely a complete rebuild of the electronics to convert it to something Mach3 compatible?

I'm really excited that this was a factory CNC machine as it's less likely that it was something that was cobbled together in someones garage but not too excited about vintage electronics/controls.  Especially if they start breaking and need replaced.

Thanks,

Mark

8
I posted this on the CNC zone but am starting to think I have a Mach3 configuration issue as I review the numbers.

I recently hooked up the A axis to my machine.  I've been running XYZ for some time with no issues.  The A axis has the same (Gecko) configuration (resistor setting) as the other steppers but runs very hot.  If I let it run it will get to the point that after turning it off the stepper feels like a gear that has sand in it if I try and turn it by the hand wheel.  I'm currently having to stop and turn off the CNC system power at tool changes and let it cool for about an hour.  This is limiting me to about 7 minutes of maximum run time before an hour cooldown.

I'm starting to think this is a Mach3 configuration issue as I had to modify the A axis settings to some pretty radical numbers to get decent speeds.  Below is what I posted on the CNC zone forum;

I have a 1:72 reduction in my rotary table

Steps for the XYZ are 40,000
Steps for the A is 400

Velocity (in/min) of the XYZ are 19.98
Velocity (in/min) of the A is 2032

Acceleration of the XYZ are 1.5
Acceleration of the A is 168.75

G's of the XYZ are .0038
G's of the A is .43

Now, I can assure you I'm not cutting 2032 in/min (I wish!) nor pulling an acceleration of 168.75. This is a small Sherline and although I am cutting delrin with a nice sharp bit the A handwheel is spinning at about 3 revs/second at most. It is faster than the others but not by that much. That in itself makes me wonder....the A axis doesn't know it going through a reducer. It's just spinning....why did I have to ramp it up to over 2000 in/min to get a stepper rotation speed slightly higher than the XYZ when they are at 20 in/min?

Thanks,

Mark

9
Just now moving into some A axis milling using my cnc rotary table.  Part is rotating about the X with no movement of the table in the Y.  Using CNC Wrapper to convert Y axis to A Axis angular commands.

I've got the motor tuned so it works fine.  400 steps for the A axis rather than the 40,000 on the other axis gives me the correct movement.  Also set the speed and velocity for acceptable amounts and it works just fine using the jog keys.

The problem I have is when sending commands such as G1 A10 (gives me 10 degrees of movement) it gets there but literally takes 8 seconds to go just one degree.  Again, jog speeds are fine and I can change then so that jog is way faster than anyone could desire so I'm assuming I've missed a setting somewhere.

I should probably also mention that the Mach3 screen doesn't say A axis....it the X, Y, Z, and 4 axis (reading from top to bottom).  I also noticed when I watch the 4th axis DRO it is 'moving' at a nice pace just like the X, Y, and Z do.  However, there is a big difference between going 1 inch and 1 degree.  I suspect that has something to do with it as it appears the A axis is trying to move at the same 'linear' pace as the other axis.

Suggestions?

Thanks,

Mark

10
General Mach Discussion / Turn off E-Stop
« on: July 29, 2010, 02:36:20 PM »
I'm not trying to disable the E-stop on a functioning system.

I have two computers.  The one that controls my mill is downstairs and off the network.  It is used solely for Mach3 so I don't run any other programs and don't have it on the network so no virus protection and such is needed.  I use my main computer upstairs to run Alibre and CamBam then transfer the files to the other system with a thumb drive when I'm ready to mill.

I loaded Mach3 on my main computer as I'd often like to step through the CamBam generated code with Mach3 to test it before taking it downstairs.  This system is not hooked up to a mill and I can't seem to turn the E-stop off so I can dry run the code.

Thanks,

Mark

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