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Just wondering if the Mach video window supports a video stream from a PCI express capture card with an analog camera attached.  The system I am working on has an analog camera with a seperate monitor and crosshair generator, but I want to get the Mach video window working as well.  I currently do not have a capture card so I'm hoping someone else can let me know if it works before I take the plunge and purchase one.  Any recommendations of cards are also welcome!

General Mach Discussion / interlock / feed hold for multiple heads
« on: July 26, 2011, 03:07:22 PM »
Hey gang, I'm configuring a pick and place system with onboard dot dispensing and need a little help.  I have a nozzle and 2 dispensers mounted on a single tooling plate.  Each has its own linear actuator moving it in and out of the work area.  At the top of the stroke of each actuator I have a single reed switch wired in series.  This reed switch triggers a digital input to mach which is meant to ensure that the axes will not move while a tool is down, preventing damage to the dispensers and nozzle. 
My problem is that I cannot find an easy way to configure the input to prevent motion.  Using the input as a feed hold works but requires the operator to hit the start button again after every stroke of an actuator.  So what I need is a way to configure a single input to stop all movement on a machine until Mach sees the input... Any suggestions are appreciated!

Hey guys, embarking on another fun Mach project and I've hit a snag.

The system is going to be a pick, place and solder machine with integrated dispensing of adhesive and solder paste.  I'm trying to use Mach to control the motion and a PLC to control the actuators and timing for the pick/place/solder head.

I've tried writing a macro that does the following:
1)turns on a Mach3 output that enables the PLC
2)waits until a PLC output triggers a Mach3 input before motion can continue

here is said macro:
ActivateSignal(output1)   'triggers PLC to start PICK cycle
SystemWaitFor(input1)    'PLC program is complete, Mach may continue

So far everything works, Mach moves the system to its specified coordinates, the halts and the PLC program executes, however when it is complete, the system is stopped.  I can see input 1 being triggered on the diagnostics page but the macro never completes.  Am I executing the systemwaitfor command improperly?

Any suggestions or ideas are more than welcome!

General Mach Discussion / Let's talk about brushless drives!
« on: November 22, 2010, 01:36:16 PM »
I'm in the market for a new supplier and am wondering what everyone else is using to drive their servos.  My last few machines have exclusively used Copley Controls drives, mainly Xenus and Accelus.


These guys are nice to work with and very flexible, and the tuning software includes a function generator to get the motors tuned to hell and back.  The trade off is that they are very expensive, always over $1000 per unit, susceptible to external noise, and I have recently found their support department to be lacking.  With that in mind, I'm wondering what everyone else is using to drive their motors.

If you have a moment, please share what you are using, and the pro's and con's you've encountered with different manufacturers.

Much obliged!

Hey guys, work is progressing on the dispensing machine and we're now at that crucial stage of tuning the living hell out of it!

I ended up using 2 seperate .xml files for the system, one to use the high speed spindle for milling, and a second to use the stepper driven dispenser as a spindle itself.

What I'm trying to do now is synchronize the speed of the dispenser to the feedrate or blended feedrate of the rest of the machine in order to get a constant flow rate.  I'm brainstorming a few ways to do this, any advice or criticism welcome, I just need some feedback!

1) Can I make my S-value in the spindle speed control set by a function of the blended feedrate?  For example, Blended Feed rate / 1000 = S value...  Is this possible with a VB script or a brain?

2) Can I use a constant S-value and override the spindle with a function of the blended feedrate, or is there any other way to scale the spindle speed in small increments on the fly?

Again, any thoughts and criticism welcome, just seeing what you guys think.  Cheers!

General Mach Discussion / Disabling an axis via mach
« on: August 18, 2010, 02:48:56 PM »
Kind of a strange request, I worked so hard to get them going and now I want to go and disable one!

I'm using my C axis stepper motor to drive a a fluid dispenser.  The dispense rate is is controlled by a formula taking into account the velocities of the other 5 axes, so as far as code goes, the C axis is never referenced.  Everything is working great except I have a high speed spindle on the same tooling plate.  When I go to use my spindle to mill a small groove, the dispenser is going to keep right on going!  Can anyone recommend a way to either disable or somehow hold the C axis from moving while my spindle is active? 

Right now I'm having to power down the machine and unplug the dispensers motor from the controller!  It works but I would love a more elegant solution.


General Mach Discussion / Sensorless spindle operation
« on: August 09, 2010, 08:59:52 AM »
Why do the supposedly easy parts always seem to cause the most headaches??

I'm trying to set up a high speed NSK spindle to run with Mach3 and have seemingly run into a brick wall.  One of the three speed sensors on the motor has burned out and now my servo drive (Copley Accelus) can't spin the motor without its full feedback. 

I'm hoping I can alter my setup to use one of the remaining speed sensors as my index pin and run the motor using mach's pwm output.  Problem is I can't think of how I can set my current driver to run it.

Can anyone recommend me a good servo driver?  I need something that meets the following criteria:

-PWM input
-Sensorless (or single sensor)
-ability to run up to 50,000 RPM

Any input, comments, recommendations or tomfoolery will be much appreciated!

General Mach Discussion / zero an axis before every move
« on: August 01, 2010, 03:47:51 PM »
Hey guys, I'm working on a rather unique 5 axis dispensing machine and am still quite new to Mach and VB, so I'm having a difficult time with what is probably a simple problem.  I have a dispenser controlled by my C-axis that is moved in and out of the work area via a linear actuator.  This actuator is moved into place with the M-command M802 (switching output 1).  My goal is to have the C axis reset to zero every time the actuator is activated.  This is to simplify the g-code when programming the dispenser;  Rather than accumulating a larger and larger value each time a small amount of fluid is dispensed, we want to start from zero each time.  Can anyone help me with a VB script or any other approach to make my C axis zero each time I activate M802?

My M802 script currently looks like this:

code("G4 P1")

I just need some help on what lines to add to set the C axis to zero!

Hey guys, doing my best at this VB programming thing but still quite new to it.  I'm using my C-axis as a fluid dispenser which is mounted on a linear actuator to move it in and out of the work area.  Currently, I have it set up as M802 to extend the actuator (output 2 in Mach) and M902 to retract it.  On the retract command, M902, I want to add a few lines to incrementally step the dispenser back a set amount.  Here is what my current script looks like:

'raises dispenser actuator
code(G01 C-.005 F50")

This script does work in testing, but I'm worried that the G91 command is going to affect the g-code I am running by switching it momentarily to incremental mode and then back to absolute.  Is there a way to make the g91 only affect the c-axis, or a way to momentarily inhibit movement on the other 5 axes?  It seems like there should be a really obvious solution here but I can't figure it out for the life of me!

General Mach Discussion / controlling outputs through g-code
« on: July 22, 2010, 11:38:57 AM »
Hey guys, I'm having trouble wrapping my stupid head around Mach's control of outputs.  I have a mill with a spindle and a dispenser mounted on separate air actuators to move them into the work area and act as a float.  I want Mach to be able to switch these actuators on and off when they're needed through the g-code.  Has anyone had any experience with an application like this, or can anyone recommend a visual basic script to get me started?

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