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Started playing with an Arduino Micro controller. It can be programmed to function as a keyboard device. About any keyboard key code can be sent, the board has enough pins to handle a Cycle Start button, A FeedHold button, a Stop button, Jog Keys, Jog Mode, Jog Enable toggle and others. AND No Special Drivers needed. Plugs into a USB port, is programmed using Arduino.

Just a little something to think about.

Had an interesting one today. Went to run the spindle and got no output from M3. M4 works just fine, as I have no relay connector for reverse so it gives me forward... Both are assigned pin fourteen, port 1 and M3 worked just fine a couple days ago. I am using a Smoothstepper and have made no changes to its config since M3 last worked.

General Mach Discussion / Suggestion for PCI Parallel Port
« on: December 07, 2018, 10:25:46 PM »
I have been having problem with Mach3 shutting down Generally just after a tool change. I wind up back at Windows with no errors. I am running a Sieg KX3 with an Ethernet Smoothstepper. I have reloaded Mach3 and it still acts up.

I want to try and simplify things to see if I can isolate the problem.

It has been a few years since I have been active here on this forum and my present job may afford an opportunity to convert/update a machine and so I am looking for information.ideas as to what might be the way to go.

I am working for a small granite counter top company and they have several older Italian made CNC profiling machines - kind of like a cross between a router and a mill. One of them uses Yaskawa drives, so a stepper interface is no problem there, but the other uses Fagor drives, and from the documentation they are analog only. The third machine uses Siemens, and everything is integrated and not much hope for that machine without doing a complete drive replacement.

Okay... What are the options for interfacing Mach 3 with analog drives? And what are the options for being able to interface to more inputs/outputs? And what other questions might I ought to ask?

Sieg Machines / Setting up Homing
« on: March 17, 2011, 09:30:24 AM »
As delivered my KX3 did not have homing configured. I started out manually homing, but decided it would be nice to have the homing process automated. The process should be the same for the KX1 and it appears that some of them have teh same error in the config that I found.

The initial step to configurring homing is to make sure the limits are set up properly. Go to the Config Menu, select Ports & Pins and then select the Input Signals tab. As shipped the the table looked something like this - (only the necesay collumns shown)

Signal     Enabled   Port #    Pin Number   Active Low   
X++       Green     1            11              Green
X--         Green     1            11              Green
XHome   Red        1            0                Red
Y++       Green     1            12              Green
Y--         Green     1            12              Green
YHome   Red        1            0                Red
Z++       Green     1            13              Green
Z--         Green     1            13              Green
ZHome   Red        1            0                Red

I Changed the XHome, YHome &ZHome to match the other entries for those axis so now the table looks like this -

Signal     Enabled   Port #    Pin Number   Active Low   
X++       Green     1            11              Green
X--         Green     1            11              Green
XHome   Green     1            11               Green
Y++       Green     1            12              Green
Y--         Green     1            12              Green
YHome   Green    1             12              Green
Z++       Green     1            13              Green
Z--         Green     1            13              Green
ZHome   Green    1             13              Green

It may seem strange to use the same input for all fuctions on an axis but Mach is able to figure it all out.
I clicked on Apply and closed that window.
I then Cliked oon Config and Homing/Limits.
Z axis wants to home full up. X & Y really don't matter, I home Y full forward and X full to the right.Puts the table at a nice place to change parts.

The necesary changes to this tabel were -
X Axis - Home Negative - Green
If you want the X Axis to home to the left leave the Home Negative Check red.

Now at this point I attempted Homing and the Z Axis would go to the top and hit the limit and the Z Dro would just keep counting. It turns out that the X & Z Input Pins were swapped.
I had to make the Input Signals look like this -

Signal     Enabled   Port #    Pin Number   Active Low   
X++       Green     1            13              Green
X--         Green     1            13              Green
XHome   Green     1            13               Green
Y++       Green     1            12              Green
Y--         Green     1            12              Green
YHome   Green    1             12              Green
Z++       Green     1            11              Green
Z--         Green     1            11              Green
ZHome   Green    1             11              Green

and then Homing worked perfectly.

There is a way to check how you machine is hooked up - at the bottom of the Input Signals there is a button labeled Automated Setup of Inputs. Click this button and a new window opens and in the pick box it will say X-Limit Switch ++ and next to it is a button the says Autoset - click this button and then trip one of the X Axis limits and the little message box will say Signal set to Port#1 Pin ??. Select next Signal. if the 2 question marks say 11 then the machine should home using the factory settings, it the ?? is 13 then all the XAxis pins need to be 13 and the Z Axis pins need to be 11.

Sieg Machines / Seig X3 configured in INCHES.
« on: July 19, 2010, 03:33:13 PM »
While this is frowned on by those in the Seig Support forum -
I am more comfortable working with a machine that is configured for INCH and so I re-configured my KX3 so that it was default INCH. I kept the original XML files so that I can run it in "factory" mode, but I have had no occasion to run it that way since I created my new configuration.

I made a new config that I call KX3 Inch and under Motor Tuning I made the following changes -

Select Native units = Inch

Steps Per = 12,700 ( I played with this and came up with 12776.66 when comparing to an indicator, 12700 should work)
Velocity = 100 (will work with my setup at 120)
Acceleration = 20
Step Pulse = 6

Mr Stephenson gave me a bunch of grief about making this change and how the machine wouldn't work, but all that I did was scale the numbers they were using for steps per MM and changed it to Steps per inch.

I keep getting the error - Radius to end of arc differs from raduius to start line ...

Using absolute I & J

When I go back in and check the difference it comes to less than 0.00001 (1/100,000) error, and is awfully hard to get rid of.

For instance -

startpoin to center radius -
X 1.1682 - I .5713 = .5969, squared = 0.35628961
Y 1,9091 - I.5713 = 1.453, squared =  2.111209
added together = 2.467499
square root = 1.570827365

End point to center radius -
X0.125 - I .5713 = -0.4463, squared = 0.199,183,69
Y1.9622 - I 0.4561 = 1.5061, squared = 2.268,337,21
added together = 2.467,520,9
square root = 1.570,834,46

Difference =
1.570,827,365 - 1.570,834,46 = -0.000,007,095,0

Add 0.0001 to any of the dimensions and the radius grows too much.

Any clues as to how to minimize this problem so Mach3 can tolerate this insignificant bit of error?

I am doing some "artsy" stuff that has many arc segments but have to deal with this only 2 or 3 times in a program.


I have been working on a simple CAM application that works in side ProgeCAD or AutoCAD. It is written in VBA and lets you pick a line or an arc and create the CNC code. By picking sequential entities and clicking the appropriate button it creates teh CNC code which you can then save to a file and run. Right now I am working on it in ProgeCAD Professional and I am planning to get it working under AutoCAD after I get a couple more features working. It is one step above manual - you just have a few buttons to click and the code it created 1 entity at a time. you can also enter lines manually for G & M codes and Z axis moves - It is primarily 2D at teh present, but I plan to do more as I develop it further.

I would like to get some feedback from others, so please post if this interrests you.


General Mach Discussion / Using System Rotation and G41 G42
« on: April 09, 2010, 04:27:25 PM »
Are there any known issues with G41/G42 when using a Local System Rotation of something other than 0 degrees? I am trying to cut an artsy shape where the inside lines are cut without cutter comp, but when I turn cutter comp on to cut the outside I get some really strange moves that are well outside the expected.

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