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Topics - LGF

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General Mach Discussion / A HUGE THANK YOU is in order !!!
« on: June 15, 2015, 04:39:36 PM »
Just wanna thank 2 gentlemen here on this forum.

Now I can go on and on about the friendly direction and at least a bump (wasn't kicked) in the right direction. These two blokes in particular helped me more than they realize and finally tonight for the first time in almost two years (since I started building my machine) can I say "IT's WORKING" and working great!! yes I still might need to tweak some small thingy here and there, i.e. flooding not directed at the tip of the mill-bit, but it's no biggy and perhaps just fine tune my  spindle speed/rev counter but other than that the rest is all done.

Got a cross-hair laser, accurate to within .0015 mm
Got "BIG TEX's" tool setter blue screen, what a piece of ART that is, works like you will not believe, just SUPER, no hassles, no overrun's, no breaking bits, no stressing about tool changes and so forth and so forth, Thanx BIG Tex !!

Now, the initial two Gents I want to thank is HOOD and TWEAKIE!!

THANX Guys, thanx for all the advise, the nudges in the right direction the patience you guys showed a Noob like me, you saved me from ending up in some asylum !!!

Thumbs up to the both of you, keep at it, even though it seems your advice and assistance is not appreciated at times, know this I APPRECIATE IT more than I can say.



Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / My Build EVO v1.I
« on: September 05, 2014, 04:40:16 AM »
Hi All

Just wanna show and tell a bit (mostly tell for now, pic's to follow soon).

For several years now, I had the need for a CNC machine. I make fishing lures for an OBSESSION, was a hobby a very long time ago. This was due to the molds that I could import, well they weren't exactly the shapes and sizes I wanted, so I had to settle for somebody else's designs. Hence the requirement.

I am completely new to CNC as such but have never been scared of trying and learning something new, so I ended up building my own machine, partly due to the fact that a commercial unit with the same dimentions costs roughly 5 times as much as I have spent on my build and my build includes a coolant system, a 4th (rotational) axis and is even placed in a soundproofing poly-carbonate cabinet.

@ first I struggled alot with getting help and info to understand the complexities of Mach, controlling hardware, software, functions, features etc etc etc.

Thanks to Tweakie.cnc and stirling, I can glady announce that as of last night 23:30 CAT, I have a operational 4 axis CNC machine titled EVO v1.I, EVO because it has and most likely will keep on evolving, v1, well version 1 and .I meaning it will be for infinite/infitity of alterations to the machine.

I intended to use a config of ModBus with Mach3, and Arduino 2560 Mega and four stepper drivers, where Mach would be the Master and the Arduino would be the ModBus-slave. At first I struggled imensly with getting the ModBus sketch to compile in the Arduino IDE. Once that was sorted, the next chalenge came in understanding the ModBus config with relation to the Master and Slave idea. I failed here, I still do not really understand it, BUT, "stirling" advised me to not consider ModBus for the time critical functions for Mach and to rather opt for the traditional LPT setup.

Although this meant that I had to obtain a "new" OLD desktop PC that actually had a parallel port, it was such a breeze after I did. Managed to get Mach working as intended on the desktop, configured the ports (wiring and config setup's) and in a matter of virtually two hours had the first actual Mach controlled movement of EVO's steppers. Thanks you so much for the nudge in the right direction stirling.

Although optional, stirling also advised me that it would probably be better to make use of a BOB if I didn't know what I was doing, that, the electronics I have no issues with, but I was so discouraged and, well, fed-up with the build that I went out and bought a BOB that is supposed to be Mach configured already. Works like a charm and was the easiest part of the entire biuld up and until now. Thanks again for the nudging!!

I had some issues last night, but sorted them out and they are listed here for ref should anybody else run into the same issues.

I had my X, Y and Z inverted with relation to dircetion: Solution, swoped the wires (polarity) on one of the two coils of these steppers.
The B axis (bolted to the far most + side of Y) kept on moving when I jogged Y: Solution, unchecked the "Slave" box in the Config setting relating to the slave settings.
One that still remains is the limit switches, I bought 6, 2 for each axis, but the BOB only has space for 5 inputs excl. the e-Stop and Spindle inputs. (thing of combining the X input leads inot one input, the Y leads the same and the same for Z) thus if any of the 2 switches per axis is activated, it will perform the required fucntion that I have written into my limit switch brain, still need to verify if this is actually a functional brain and if it will function correctly with my intention.

Another issue I still have to sort, again thanks to 'stirling' is the pitch of the threaded rods i am using which is M12X1.75, the 1.75 is really very slow and even with the steppers configured to run just below "selfdestruct", ROFL, not really, but at the max of their comfort zone, it is really bordering on rediculousness!!! So, I will have to replace these, at least on the X and Y, not so sure the "slow" speed (current MaxComfort setting) of the Z is actually an issue, it is rather ok, FOR Z!!

I still need to setup the following in Mach and the BOB obviously:

Spindle control (on, off, speed)
Flood control (on, off and flowrate)
Machine behaviour (end of process/job, return to home, shut down etc.)

Once this is done, I will need to mill the bed-surface and install a clamping system of sorts, still need to design one.Learn how to "fix" my 3D scans in some CAD/CAM software and the processes to follow to get valid G-code that I can load inot Mach.

Then the neighbour should move house, he won't like the constant buzzing sound that inevitably will prevail.

Updates to follow!!

FAQs / Lost Brain
« on: August 28, 2014, 07:44:02 AM »
Yes I have lost mine.....

Do I actually need to have a brain for running Mach3 via Modbus to operate my 4 axis CNC machine?

If so, Can someone, PLEASE tell me where to begin? Do I need a pen and paper to map out what I want to do and then look at the Tut video's and endless documentation again, before I start?

I am completely lost and require utter NOOB assistance!

Brains Development / testing the water, so to speak
« on: August 27, 2014, 06:06:23 AM »

Yes total noob at this (all of it) but managed to get my arduino to be a slave, comms between Mach3 and arduino (ModBus slave) seems to be working (test's can read and write) and started some of the config's in Mach screens, however, I have no idea how to start a brain.

I have created one, but completely lack the means to be sure if it will work for what I have. So here's me testing the water, if I post it here, would somebody please be so kind as to at least check it for me and tell me it's rubbish or yes it will work, but i still need to rework it?

I have the following as far as the physical machine setup goes:

4 axis X,Y, Z and a rotational axis B parallel fitted to Y pointing in the Y- direction.
these are connected to four Nema23 1.8deg Steppers, X, Y, and Z have 3NM holding torque and B only has 1NM holding torque.
4 Wantai DQ542MA stepper controllers.
a cooling pump currently manually switched (would love to include that into the brain, dunno how to thou)
Manual (POT operated speed control, Not very accurate at best) speed control for the router spindle.
iPad app, to be installed today along with the PC applet (looking forward to this control interface)
No limit switches at current, perhaps me struggling with the brain is a blessing in disguise as to ensure I have these installed prior to any actual movements of the machine. I am intending to install at least two per X, Y and Z axis and hopefully also a homing switch (not too sure how many and config (physical machine layout) would be required)
There is a 2Channel relay that is still to be fitted to actually cut the power at the end of a program (entire cycle one channel) remainder channel to cut router and coolant power between tool changes (tool cycle ends)
and lastly, an arduino LCDKeypad (six button) shield which p;ugs onto the mega2560 board which was intended for info regarding realtime axis pos, toolpath/job duration/status/completion but again i am hampered by my lack of knowledge. Having said that I cannot do something if I am just told to do it, I need to understand it and therefore have to learn how to do it myself.

PLEASE I do not want any handouts just some help in understanding how to get my and the Mach3 brain working for the above specs?

Thanx in advance!

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